2021 is the year you should feel most beautiful, inside and out. Have a look at what the industry experts predict will be the biggest beauty trends of the new year!
With a raging global pandemic, a contentious presidential election, and an unexpected economic crash, 2020 changed nearly every facet of our lives, and not even our beauty routines were immune to its effects. As salons and spas closed, we were forced to add “hairstylist,” “esthetician,” “dermatologist,” and “manicurist” to our job descriptions overnight, even as the stress of the year wreaked havoc on our skin and hair. Of course, it wasn’t all bad, and with in-person work and socializing taking a backseat, so too did makeup, giving many the chance to re-examine their beauty habits and try something new. As we head into 2021, many of the trends we saw emerge last year appear here to stay, and still others remain on the horizon, especially as the world hopefully returns to some glimmer of pre-pandemic normalcy. Beauty experts believe that 2021 will be unlike any other for the industry, and seven of them are here to tell us exactly what they predict will be the biggest trends of the new year.
Monika Blunder, Celebrity Makeup Artist & Founder of Monika Blunder Beauty
Monika Blunder has always been a proponent of natural beauty, and that’s exactly the look she’s created in her career as a makeup artist to some of Hollywood’s biggest names. But now, she believes the ‘less is more’ approach that she’s long pioneered will be just as popular off of the red carpet as it will on it. “Women have realized they don’t need as much makeup during the pandemic. They are really simplifying their routines and learning less is more—makeup no longer has to be “perfect” with a full face, but rather effortless and natural,” Blunder says. And she even created her debut product, Blunder Cover, with this in mind. “It’s amazing for subtle touch-ups to give the look of flawless skin without having to finish with a correlating eye or lip look,” she explains. “Less is more! It’s all about enhancing one’s natural beauty.”
Blunder also thinks that this year, lip masks will become the new lipstick. “Because of face masks, people are moving towards treatments instead of color out of convenience,” she says. “Glosses can be sticky and high maintenance, and who wants to deal with smudged lipstick because of your mask? So, it’s better to make your pout beautiful by plumping and moisturizing it with treatments that are long-lasting.”
Sheena Yaitanes, Founder of Kosas Cosmetics
Last year’s biggest accessory, the face mask, brought a newfound focus to the top half of the face, and Kosas founder Sheena Yaitanes thinks this will only continue.“I see 2021 bringing an even bigger emphasis on the whole upper part of the face—eyes, eyebrows and under eyes,” says Yaitanes. “Fluffy brows, bold lashes, and multitasking products that marry skincare with makeup will continue to take over complicated beauty routines.” Kosas’s bestselling Tinted Face Oil and Revealer Concealer are what the founder calls “double-duty products” because they cover and conceal but also deliver skincare benefits so that your makeup is working for you throughout the day, and she believes 2021 will see the launch of many similarly multitasking products.
Dr. Barbara Sturm, Aesthetics Doctor & Founder of Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics
If 2020 taught us nothing else, it’s that our health matters, and with anxieties still high, skin guru Dr. Barbara Sturm has found that more people than ever want to know that their skincare is safe. “I think the most important beauty and wellness trend will be the customer’s increasing desire to know: what ingredients are they are putting on their skin and into their bodies, do they work, and why?,” she says. But Dr. Sturm also believes skincare and treatments backed by advanced science are not only the present but also the future of the industry. “I have some interesting new inventions coming out—new delivery methods for potent ingredients and new compounds, increasingly tailored products, and advanced procedures,” she adds.
Dr. Michelle Henry, Board-certified dermatologist
Alongside the much-talked-about maskne and stress breakouts, New York City dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry says that the uncertainty of the pandemic has also led to a rise in hair loss. Patients have been asking about ways to reverse this hair loss, and while interest in solutions like red light will surely continue, Dr. Henry thinks it will usher in an even bigger trend: scalp care. “I think we now all understand that our scalp is literally just an extension of our facial skin and that it deserves the same attention that we give to our face,” she says. “I’ve been having a growing conversation about scalp care and how to utilize skincare ingredients in scalp care, and I think this will be a really big thing in 2021.”
Covid put pause on many new products and innovations, but Dr. Henry believes all of these launches will finally arrive in the new year. “There will be a ton of new launches in 2021, including some exciting new injectables that are made to look more natural and that have been successfully used in Europe for many years,” she says. “There will also be some new body-sculpting devices on the market that will come in the first half of the year and the extension of Sofwave, which is a radiofrequency device, and we’re seeing a lot more Pico devices that are more inclusive and safe for all skin tones.” The dermatologist is looking forward to these long-awaited additions and thinks that if anything, there will be too many things to choose from. “It’s almost like, ‘What do I get?’ because there’s just so much,” she adds.
Georgia Louise, Celebrity Facialist
With little or no access to our trusted beauty experts, many people had to learn how to take care of themselves in 2020, and the at-home salon and spa show no sign of going away this year. “People have mastered the art of eyebrow shaping and doing their own manicures and pedicures and cutting their own bangs, so the consumer has that confidence now, and they’re ready to start investing in skincare products, high-tech gadgets, and devices to get the best results,” says acclaimed facialist Georgia Louise. She believes many brands will launch at-home devices, particularly to help people penetrate product into their skin and to help them cleanse, and they’ll become so widespread that it will be weird not to have a device. “I’d say right now, only one in 10 people have an at-home skincare device, but I think by the end of 2021, it’ll be closer to seven to eight who have a gadget in hand,” she predicts. “People are really embracing technology, and it’s so accessible and portable now.”
But devices, Louise explains, will only be the beginning. “There’s now a tech part of the industry, and I think that will only grow,” she says. “Beauty should be personalized, and I think that a lot of people are no longer just wanting to go into a store and pick something from a shelf. They want a one-on-one consultation—whether it’s over Zoom or through an AI-powered app.”
Even as consumers become better equipped to handle their skincare needs at home, however, Louise thinks that when facials return, they’ll return in a big way. “We’re training our clients to do their own facials, but what people really want in 2021 is touch, and what we can do for them at home is totally different from what they can experience at a spa or atelier,” she notes. “I think there will be a lot of people who come in and just want to be pampered because nothing feels better than healing hands, and a lot of us are craving that.” Louise acknowledges that until more of us are vaccinated, many people likely will not feel totally comfortable being touched. “But in quarter three of 2021,” she says, “ I predict there will be a boom in appointments once again.”
Dr. Leslie Irvine, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon
Few of us seemed concerned with our appearances last year when we were wearing sweatpants every day and washing our hair just once a week, but all that time spent on Zoom actually led many people to see themselves in a new, not-so-flattering light. “Zoom dysmorphia is a real thing, and regardless of the platform people use, video conferencing is not going anywhere in 2021,” explains Dr. Leslie Irvine, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles. “Trends I see taking off in 2021 are procedures that make us look better on video—and I am finding that people really don’t want to wait any longer to do that procedure that will change the way they look and hopefully feel.” Most commonly, she says patients are hoping to improve unflattering shadows and textural irregularities on the face and neck that show up on video, as well as dynamic imperfections, like double and triple chins. With continued mask-wearing and increased attention on the upper face, Dr. Irvine foresees even more demand for eye procedures. “Since the eyes are becoming our most defining facial feature when we are out in public with our masks, blepharoplasty surgery is really having a heyday,” she says.
Nikki Lee, Celebrity Hair Stylist & Co-Founder of In Common Beauty
A year may have passed since your last haircut, and your once-perfect highlights might be but a mere memory at this point, but LA-based stylist Nikki Lee thinks 2021 will present just the hair opportunity so many need. “Since everyone was stuck at home last year, people are going to want big changes this year,” the Nine Zero One salon co-owner says. “I see this mainly happening with cuts—cutting off all those dead ends and saying goodbye to 2020.” Lee thinks blunt bobs, textured layers, and Bardot bangs will be all the rage and the go-to cuts of the year. She also believes the pandemic’s forced effects on hair have given people a new approach to color. “We have all embraced low maintenance and are going for lived-in rooted blondes, as well as glossy rich brunettes,” the stylist says.
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