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beauty trends that will dominate in 2020

The beauty industry may thrive on newness, but this year a slower approach is on the horizon, with sustainability movements flourishing. The 2020 spirit of beauty is more inclusive than ever, too; from innovations in hyper-personalised products, to the boom of products servicing subjects previously considered taboo. From the ethical to the escapist, theses are the trends to get excited about now…

1. Ageless beauty will be (belatedly) celebrated

In the latter part of the last decade, brands and retailers made significant strides in catering to under-represented communities. “In 2019, Superdrug announced their decision to only stock foundations that come in a minimum of 20 different shades following research revealing that two-thirds of black and Asian women do not feel that high-street brands cater for their beauty needs,” consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk notes of the post-Fenty Beauty era, whereby brands stocking foundation in a small shade range will be called out as archaic. But while products, from make-up to hair and skincare, are more readily available to all ethnicities, body types, skin tones, gender expressions and identities, beauty industry marketing is still often guilty of assuming their customer is white – and young.

Indeed, age inclusion in particular has felt somewhat lacking from the diversity conversation in beauty; 40 per cent of women over the age of 50 ‘don’t feel seen’ according to L’Oreal Paris research (the brand itself has a rich history of speaking to women over 40, with ‘ageless’ messaging and mature beauty ambassadors). But that looks set to change across the board, with brands now speaking directly to the neglected Generation X woman (aged 45 and up). In a further move away from ‘anti-ageing’ towards those servicing specific concerns – often targeting hormonally-driven changes (menopausal women represent a large and lucrative category but have been significantly underserved until recently), brands are introducing more products for Gen Xers. Look out for new launches in 2020 from L’Oreal Paris, Clarins, Trinny London, Korres and Boots No7.

2. Conscious capitalism and consumption: from ‘slow beauty’ to ‘blue beauty’

The ever-increasing focus on conscious capitalism has seen beauty giants such as L’Oréal publicly commit to 100 per cent eco-friendly packaging (meaning compostable or reusable) by 2025, while British brand Lush (among other indie brands) has pioneered the movement for zero packaging (‘naked’, as they call it) by successfully making products in solid form. Waterless beauty has also become a focus: in 2019 L’Oréal achieved a 60 per cent reduction in water consumption per finished product, while Unilever halved the water associated with the consumer use of its products. This year, a new Procter & Gamble hair line called Waterless will launch in the US. As the industry’s most-used ingredient, there are concerns that demand for water could outstrip supply if these changes aren’t made.

When it comes to conscious consumption, a collective slow (or slower) beauty stance will be adopted, with respect to sustainability and environmental ethics. So coined ‘blue beauty’ will rise, too. The concept referring to products that aim to protect the oceans and water supplies (such as One Ocean Beauty, which partners with charity Oceana) is the “next generation clean beauty”, according to WWD. The new decade is essential to the wellbeing of our planet, and the beauty industry can play a big part in that.

3. Microbiome skincare will become increasingly sophisticated

Google searches for ‘microbiome’ (the microorganisms on and inside your body) increased by +110 per cent year-on-year in 2019, and – according to Mintel – it’s this that is driving the UK facial skincare market. “There are a trillion microorganisms on the surface of your skin and not one of us on the planet has the same microbiome,” says skincare authority Paula Begoun. Hence why it is a challenge for bacteria-balancing ingredients in products to suit all. But a move towards hyper-personalised skincare will factor in one’s microbiome, with beauty giants such as Johnson & Johnson having a dedicated microbiome platform working on it. Dendy Engelman M.D., consulting dermatologist at Elizabeth Arden (too focusing on this sector) confirms, “the microbiome will be on the forefront in 2020,” in a bid to tackle all – from ageing concerns to acne. Maintaining bacterial homeostasis on your skin means it “reflects the light better, keeps hydration in and lets products penetrate deeper,” she adds. Yes please.

4. A hyper-personalised approach awaits

Taking skin swabs to test bacterial analysis and DNA – and therefore receive products customised to your microbiome and genetic make-up – are just two ways in which we will be taking a more targeted approach to beauty in the new decade. Home tech can also help tell us about our beauty needs. HiMirror analyses your skin’s conditions through a photo, storing data to track progress over time and reveal whether your products actually work for you. Like an at-home skincare consultant, it can assess your skin for lines and wrinkles, dark circles, dark spots, blemishes, roughness and pore size. When it comes to make-up, Procter & Gamble will launch its Opte Precision Wand in 2020, which identifies skin imperfections and applies make-up to those exact area without wasting product on places that don’t require coverage. No, it’s not wizardry. For your hair, Sisley has developed its Hair Rituel Analyser, a tool providing an accurate and customised diagnosis of the scalp and hair fibre, allowing you to better bespoke your routine and track progress.

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