In 2020, the pandemic delivered a sobering jolt to our patterns and priorities. Our beauty routines were hit hard as well, as lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation forced us to take matters into our own hands. With our go-to estheticians physically inaccessible, we had to be more self-sufficient and learn to DIY. We make our health our top priority, and we (re)discover the cathartic power of self-care.
Now moving forward to 2021, with lighter social and health restrictions (but not out of the woods just yet with the pesky COVID-19), it’s safe to say we can carry on with some of our pandemic beauty habits, As Dr. Fauci says COVID-19 is getting under control. It’s best we uphold our time-tested ways (our heightened self-care being one of many) as we look forward and try our best to adapt to the times.
So in the spirit of looking forward, the following are 11 beauty trends you may want to try to up your beauty game this year.
1. Hyper-personalised Beauty
When it comes to beauty, it’s best to take it personally. For what could be better than the care best suited for you?
With brands tapping on technology to help pinpoint consumer needs, personalization has become a crucial area of development in the beauty industry. AI tech, augmented reality, DNA analysis, and 3D printing are among the cutting edge ways utilized by brands for them to be able to deliver viable, personalized solutions.
Skin analysis, for one, uses artificial intelligence to analyze and identify skin concerns through photography and algorithms, capturing the skin in nearly microscopic detail. The clarity of minute and distinct parts not otherwise seen with the naked human eye helps uncover clogged pores, wrinkles developing in the inner layers of the skin, UV radiation damage, and more.
Besides solutions to existing problems, hyper-personalized beauty can also address and meet ever-changing needs and concerns in real-time. There are wearable beauty devices with data trackers and accompanying customizable treatment options for these. Truly, we can expect more hyper-personalized beauty experiences and products as innovations in beauty and tech continue to flourish.
2. At-home Beauty Culture
With the pandemic forcing salons to close everywhere and confining you mostly at home, I’m sure you have picked up new DIY skills, as well as nifty gadgets for your beauty arsenal. And if you haven’t yet, it’s never too late to start. You have to admit acquiring new skills and becoming more self-sufficient are actually quite empowering. Given the continuing unrelenting effects of the pandemic, at-home and DIY beauty are rather convenient.
3. Smarter Beauty Gadgets
Mastering your mani-pedis, root touch-ups, and brow grooming are no easy tasks, but having come this far with the pandemic and everything, a pat on the back is well deserved. Fortunately, if you have to keep winging it, ingenious beauty gadgets can lend you a hand.
From microcurrent rollers to hair-zapping lasers, there are devices you can use at home to replicate the treatments you get in salons and make your beauty routine a lot easier. Tech is becoming more widespread, so you can expect more beauty devices to become accessible and affordable.
Coined by Pinterest, “skinimalism” is the new trending term in the beauty circuit. Like “minimalism,” it’s about keeping your skincare routine to a bare minimum – doing shorter routines, but using products that pack a punch. It’s basically “less is more.”
With quarantine restricting your social interactions to Zoom meetings and having to wear facemasks in public, this trend is just perfect. Ditching the glam and doing away with foundation and lipstick is only practical with a mask on, and learning to accept your makeup-free self and embracing your natural skin is also an act of self-love.
5. Elevated Personal Hygiene
As the viral transmission of COVID-19 continues to surge, good daily hygiene is a must. So while there’s a dip in glam, the rise in demand for hygiene-focused beauty and personal care items comes as no surprise. Alcohol and hand sanitizers are deemed top pandemic ‘essential’ sanitary items, as well as hand and body soaps, toothpaste, and mouthwashes. Remember that hygiene is a matter of necessity, and all the more so in this pandemic.
With this indulgence in sanitary products, the beauty industry responds – touting a more microbiome-friendly approach to beauty and health. This approach goes hand-in-hand with skinimalism and sustainability, so prepare to see a spike in beauty products peddling ingredients such as pre-, pro-, and postbiotics, which are all deemed favorable to your skin’s delicate microbiome.
6. Sustainable Beauty
This pandemic has taught us, among other things, the importance of sustainability as we realize that caring for our planet should go alongside our self-care. And thanks mainly to growing consumer demand, more and more brands are gradually gravitating towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Modern technology also plays a significant role in this, helping develop sustainable products from waterless beauty items to refillable packaging—a win for us all and the environment.
Hopefully, this emphasis on sustainability will ripple out into lasting and profound changes in the way we choose, buy, and dispose of beauty products. Let sustainable choices drive your buying criteria, and opt for non-toxic ingredients and biodegradable materials. There are also refillable options if you wish to incorporate more sustainability into your beauty routine.
Falling under this sustainability umbrella is biotech beauty, which is the term used to describe lab-made ingredients to recreate endangered natural ingredients. You may have heard of hyaluronic acid and squalane and didn’t know they were biotech ingredients (now you do).
Besides promoting sustainability and combating the growing scarcity of natural ingredients, biotech ingredients are also perceived to be more potent and effective, making them all the more worthwhile.
7. Embracing Natural Hair
Pinterest’s 2021 Trends Predictions declare low maintenance is the new high heat. So don’t be afraid to give your crowning glory a break from the flat irons and blow dryers – air-dry your strands and embrace your natural texture. But if blow-out is your thing, then hey, you do you. The number of gorgeous ways you can cut, color, and style your natural hair is limitless!
With quarantine orders in place for a considerable chunk of the past year, braided and protective hairstyles have resurfaced, with many getting creative with various braiding techniques while spending more time at home. How to do bubble braids and box braids have been all over Pinterest. You can add your personal touch with hair accessories (such as beads) or colorful highlights.
8. Curtain Bangs
Curtain bangs are turning out to be the It cut of 2021, with celebs like Gigi Hadid, Ariana Grande, and Kaley Cuoco rocking this look. You think bangs are not for you? Well, it generally looks good on everyone; you just have to create the right fringe for your face shape, and you’re set.
If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons that may help you decide: One, they can help cover up an uneven hairline, making for a seriously stylish hairstyle. Two, they help hide imperfections like fine lines, wrinkles, and breakouts on the forehead. Three, they’re face-framing and soft and add a subtle sultriness to your look.
9. Hair Accessories
Hair accessories are another Zoom-inspired trend, and they are here to stay. They make your hair look put together with the most minimal effort. And what better way to cover up unwashed hair or simply a bad hair day than a strategically-placed bandana, headband, barrette, or—the hair accessory predicted to dominate 2021—claw clip.
The claw clip emerging as a fashion must-have makes perfect sense as we adopt an overall more casual sense of style. It just lets you pull your hair up into a simple, no-fuss up-do. Plus, unlike hair ties, they’re gentle on your hair, so you can avoid the typical breakage that comes with putting your hair up.
10. Graphic and Colorful Eye Makeup
Eye makeup is one segment of the makeup industry that thrived in 2020, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Wearing masks while out and about has seen many accentuate their eyes with makeup.
This trend has propelled brands to push innovations such as multi-chrome eyeshadows and bold eyeliners. And with who-knows-how-many-more-months we have of mask-wearing to go, pros predict this trend to become only more popular. If you want to ease into this trend, you can do the classic cat eye but swap black for a bold color or even glitter.
11. Eye-catching Nails
We love intricate details, and having so on our nails is one thing we can do without restraint. While more elaborate designs are best left to the pros, you can replicate the same vibes with nail decals. Closed nail salons had us embracing DIY manicures with 3D decals and press-ons to up our game. If anything, eye-catching nails are a respite from the monotony of our otherwise all-too-casual, home-confined pandemic fashion.
Trends are corollary to how we adapt to the times and current changes, and pandemic beauty trends are no different. As we transition towards the ‘new normal,’ many trends from the previous year persist, and new ones crop up in response to our ever-evolving conditions. At this juncture, we can only look forward to more developments in health and beauty.