After a year like no other, we reflect on the changes to our everyday beauty rituals and look ahead to the big ideas, product launches and trends that we’re most excited for in 2021. So buckle up beauty fans, you’re in for a treat!
The Cocoon Factor
There’s no denying our appetite for products that can soothe the body and calm the mind has grown tenfold over the past year. And while ‘wellness’ is a term that often rolls around every January, our newfound appreciation of soothing beauty rituals is pushing this area of beauty into new, seriously pampering territory. Interestingly, we’re seeing age-old rituals experiencing a resurgence, with people embracing tried-and-tested routes to wellbeing for the first time – from acupuncture mats to dry brushing. Looking ahead, we’re perhaps most excited by the developments in the world of supplements as years of medical research are being poured into capsules that promise to heal and protect the skin from inside out (discover some of our favourites here).
And yet the sensorial pleasure we get from applying a luxurious oil or deeply nourishing cream continues to provide the day-to-day comfort we’re looking for, particularly in these cold winter months. Some of our self-care favourites include La Mer’s skin-plumping Genaissance Set, Sisley’s bestselling Black Rose collection (you’ll find the mask in every beauty editor’s bathroom), and Augustinus Bader’s potent products renowned for their ability to deeply hydrate and repair the skin.
“2020 has been the year for self-care and an increased focus on what we are putting on and in our bodies. The beauty of supplements is exactly that – to add to your existing routine. Our customers are really responding to the heightened desire to look after ourselves, from sleep-inducing supplements and CBD to skin, hair and nail boosters, there’s something for everyone.”
– Emily Saunders, Beauty Buyer
The 2021 Face
Although 2020 was the year our everyday make-up routines went out of the window, it encouraged us to take a step back and hit reset. So, what do we want from our products in 2021? Well, if the last year is anything to go by, we’re seeing a desire to go back to basics – we want to look the healthiest, most radiant version of ourselves, even if we’ve spent just five minutes on our routine. Think: fresh, dewy skin thanks to CC creams, tinted moisturisers and glow-giving serums that offer a hint of colour with little effort. Proving basic needn’t be boring, we’re excited by the new crop of sophisticated formulas that deliver bold pigments in effortless textures – look no further than NARS’ Air Matte Lip Colour, which lasts for hours yet feels as light as, well, air. On the subject of ease, we’re particularly fond of the rise in hybrid products that can be used on eyes, lips, cheeks – or anywhere you fancy. From the multi-use sticks in Dior’s new Pure Glow collection to Nudestix’s bestselling all-over face colour – they’re everywhere.
It goes without saying: everyone should be able to enjoy beauty. And as integral as a fully inclusive shade range is, the conversation around race and representation now goes beyond just offering additional shades to a foundation line. Instead, we’re looking to the Black-founded brands that are questioning the status quo and moving things forward – from the inspiring Cashmere Nicole of Beauty Bakerie to the powerhouse that is Pat McGrath, plus the women behind Dizziak and Bouclème who saw a gap in the market for luxurious and effective haircare for all hair types, including afro hair. Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter founded UOMA on the principle of empowering women to celebrate their differences. “Everything should not be one size fits all,” explains Sharon, “this is why we created a foundation with unique formulas for different skin types. Inclusivity starts at home. As an industry, we need to learn to embrace our differences, uniqueness, heritage and identity.”
“I hope to play a small part in making the world a better place – a place where women who look like me understand that they are truly beautiful and have the courage to explore that from outside in. Every person deserves to have that feeling of being enough, being worthy, being beautiful.”
– Sharon Chuter, Founder, CEO & Creative Director of UOMA
Fragrance has a unique way of transporting you to a happy memory or even making you feel (for a split second) like you’re in sunnier climates. It’s this power of escapism that brands are focusing on more than ever, with complex, evocative scents that are rich in storytelling. Gone are the days of spritzing a simple feminine floral bouquet; modern fragrances are all about the experience. ‘How does that fragrance make you feel?’ ‘Who do you want to be today?’ are just some of the questions you may ask yourself before choosing your next bottle. A discovery set is a great way to test-drive a few – Byredo’s La Sélection Nomade includes three travel-size versions of its bestsellers for an introduction to the chic Scandi brand. And when it comes to storytelling through scent, does anyone do it better than Maison Margiela? Hmm, probably not. Its Replica fragrances are designed to evoke personal memories and locations – from favourites Beach Walk and Lazy Sunday Morning to By The Fireplace (which makes the perfect cosy winter candle). Finally, for those with some serious wanderlust (we hear you), transport yourself to the balmy evenings of Miami or Italy thanks to the citrussy musks of Loewe’s Agua Miami or Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino.
As we look ahead to 2021, sustainability is, and will always be, an integral thread that runs through the pleasure we find in beauty. We love championing brands that are doing their bit for people and the planet, and this year we’ll be welcoming even more Project Earth products to our ever-growing roster. Today, earth-conscious brands are proving that their formulas are just as luxurious and indulgent as their counterparts – from Tata Harper and Sunday Riley’s high-grade cruelty-free skincare to the totally vegan Biossance, which are all housed in recyclable packaging. Also reducing their footprint are Hermès with its gorgeous refillable lipsticks and fragrance brand Floral Street, whose vegan candles are all responsibly sourced and recyclable. And finally, we’re excited to tease the launch of Westman Atelier (launching later this month), the range of carefully crafted products marry skin-loving (palm-oil free!) ingredients with fast, easy make-up solutions from world-renowned make-up artist Gucci Westman.
“Modern and exciting beauty brands place as much importance on a product’s impact on the environment as on our skin, hair and wellbeing. More than ever, it’s what consumers expect.”
– Sali Hughes, Journalist and Beauty Editor