Five skincare authorities divulge the trends we'll be seeing everywhere in 2021. Notepads at the ready... Photo / Getty Images

New In Skin: Five Key Skincare Trends To Try In 2021

Five skincare experts speak to Ashleigh Cometti about the trends they predict will dominate the year ahead

If you’d told us this time last year that we’d be dabbling with box dyes, combating “maskne” or researching ways to refresh shellac manicures from home — we wouldn’t have believed you.

Multiple lockdowns saw us streamlining our skincare regimes, Marie Kondo-ing our bathroom cabinets and attempting to replicate our regular spa experiences while visits to the pros were off limits.

Yes, our skincare regimes have been through the wringer in 2020 but the good news is, things are looking up.

Skinimalism, supplementation and sustainability are just a handful of the skincare trends that will be everywhere in 2021.

We enlisted five of the industry’s top beauty experts to spill the beans on this year’s emerging skincare trends, and how to work these to your advantage.

Choose sustainably

Sustainable skincare is hardly a new trend, but it’s set to become more mainstream in 2021, says Sans Ceuticals founder Lucy Vincent. 

"This will be the year when high-end beauty companies start to be held truly accountable for their packaging. The beauty industry creates massive amounts of waste,” she says.

Expect to see brands switching to post-consumer recycled packaging or introduce refillable options to help offset their environmental impact. 

READ: Makeup For Millennials: Three Experts Spill The Beans On How Their Brands Stay Relevant

Finding packaging that ticks all the boxes of preserving active ingredients while saving the planet is no easy feat, Lucy adds. “But that’s no excuse to put it in the too-hard basketWe’ve been focused on minimising waste by using highly recyclable materials and formulating multifunctional products (like Sans Activator 7 Oil for Face, Body and Hair).

But we’ve got something coming that is a truly revolutionary way to sustainably package high-performance, clean beauty,” Lucy says. 

The rise of skinimalism

“One pandemic later and we’re leaning towards a ‘less in more’ approach to skincare with a focus on not only on embracing natural beauty, but also superfood ingredients that have a multifunctional purpose,” says Skinography founder and director Kate Michelmore. 

Skinimalism works on the principle of reducing steps or products to form a more streamlined routine – one that doesn’t compromise of efficacy but saves time. 

Having been in lockdown for some of 2020, what last year showed us when it comes to skincare is that simplicity and the best ingredients are key. Our skincare regime should be something we savour and look forward to (not dread) and the benefits of scaling back are immense,” Kate says. 

Stress less

We’re all familiar with the detrimental impacts stress can have on our central nervous system, but have you ever considered the affect it has on skin?

Lucy Shaw, Mecca skincare education manager says 2021 will shine a light on how stress affects the surface of skin. 

As we learn more about the gut-skin axis, Lucy says we will see ingredients traditionally used in supplements suspended in skincare.

As we know, there is a large connection between the gut and skin and whilst we learn more about this phenomenon (after one of the most stressful years on record), we will see ingredients traditionally used in ingestible supplements suspended in our skincare,” she says.

This shift is likely to see skincare users mirror their topical skincare with internal supplementation in both liquid and pill form, Lucy adds. “Our skincare routines will extend beyond the surface of the skin to become more holistic and more focused on prevention rather than cure and correct.

Enter in epigenetics

While 2020 was all about the skin’s microbiome, 2021 will delve into the field of epigenetics, or the study of gene expression.

Caroline Parker, head of education for Dermalogica New Zealand, teases that epigenetics are the next frontier in skincare.

READ: Clean Up Your Act: Consider These 7 Sustainable Beauty Swaps

Epigenetic skincare uses “certain active skincare ingredients that aim to promote rapid skin cell regeneration at the basal layer and improve production of nutrients such as proteins and collagen. These ingredients have the ability to mimic certain skin functions that the skin does naturally, potentially reversing the signs of ageing,” she says.

Keep your eyes peeled for products specifically aimed at epigenetic intervention, especially when it comes to protecting and repairing ageing skin from environmental damage (including one from Dermalogica).

Brighten up

The skin brightening trend is here to stay in 2021, says April Roberts, Sisley national trainer for Australia and New Zealand.

We all dream of having a bright and even complexion and in 2021 we will see this demand grow even more,” April says.

A dull complexion can be chalked up to a number of factors, and April stresses the importance of understanding the root cause of your skin’s discolouration.

“To reveal the skin’s natural clarity, it is essential to reduce factors that cause it to be dull and uneven,” she says.

Look out for active ingredients that work at a cellular level to target the formulation of melanin, like Sisley’s new Phyto-Blanc reformulation, which combats the four stages of melanogenesis (the production of melanin) to reduce the appearance of dark, dull spots.

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