NFTs, (Taylor’s version), fairycore, cottagecore cluttercore, metaverse, Squishmallows, wolf haircuts. That’s just a sampling of the trends that were part of our 2021 vernacular. In the beauty realm, skinimalism, neo-grunge and high-puff hair were some of the big buzz words of the year. What else? Read on for the top ten trends that kept the world interested, engaged and inspired.
Social media has taken the self-expression game to a whole new level, with alternative beauty flying in the face of long-held beauty norms. Need an example? Eyebrows. Rainbrows, bleached brows, ombre brows — you name it, the internet saw it. Then there were extreme nails, using fingers as a canvas for phenomenal artwork; ear makeup, draped blush, gems galore, and painted-on freckles. But the list doesn’t end there. And while you may see these trends online vs. IRL, just wait. Main Street is next.
The gurus at Instagram said they saw an increased number of male beauty creators focusing on skincare this year, posting their shelfies and morning routine Reels. What made us follow the likes of Harry Hill, Matt Woodcox and David Yi? Their honest, amusing posts and serious devotion to good skin.
As #truebeauty and #naturalbeauty continued Instagram domination, it’s only natural that gray hair would get more and more love. The Grombre (gray + ombre) account, dedicated to mixed hair shades for anyone who wants to contribute a pic, has nearly 240,000 followers. Sure, lockdowns meant many people couldn’t get to their colorists and had the opportunity to embrace their natural selves, but there was also a celebration of silver strands that we’ve never seen before. When actress and model Andie MacDowell stepped onto the red carpet at Cannes, revealing a cascade of gray locks, women worldwide whooped in support. In And Just Like That…, the first episode focuses extensively on Miranda’s grays and her acceptance of them. Haircare brands also jumped on board with formulas catering to this group. Because that’s what the beauty community is doing these days — supporting each other to embrace ourselves rather than fighting what we were born with.
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Ode to Grunge
Thanks to fashion runways and TikTokers, the beauty of the ‘90s saw a resurgence with space buns, smudgy black eye makeup, vamp lipstick and long, messy hair with haphazard baby braids. One of the most popular products from the decade (it debuted in 1989), Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, saw a major comeback thanks to TikTok. The sheer raisin shade, known for its universality, had over 242 million views this year (with the hashtags #blackhoney and #cliniqueblackhoney).
Black Girl Magic
The hashtag #blackgirlmagic started in 2013 as a way to celebrate an accomplishment, especially in the face of adversity. And it has only grown since then, ranking as one of the biggest trends on Instagram this year. There’s also been a spotlight on black-owned beauty and wellness products: Since January 2021, Instagram has seen #blackownedskincare grow 40 percent, and #blackownedbeauty grow 25 percent. Likewise, Yelp saw searches for “Black-owned hair salons” increase 243 percent this year. It shows that not only are people wanting to support and celebrate diversity, but the beauty world is also finally recognizing and meeting the needs of every skin tone, skin type, hair type, and more.
Pore Vacuums (and other at-home devices)
Globally, the at-home device market has grown significantly in the last two years and is expected to be worth $90 billion by the end of the decade. The current uptick is for obvious reasons — people are at home more than ever. Plus, as technology continues to evolve, it means we don’t necessarily need to leave home for treatments formerly only available at a dermatologist’s office. Pore vacuums, one of the dozens of at-home devices gaining in popularity in 2021, was the subject of Sunday Edit’s fourth most-read story this year. LED and photorejuvenation continue to be the most popular devices, but expect plenty more on the horizon, as 3D-printed nails, at-home facial steamers, cryogenic tools, and even DIY microneedling become the norm.
Pinterest researchers predicted skinimalism — the idea of a simple skincare routine that’s not overly product-heavy and going light on skin makeup (even skipping foundation entirely) — to be a major trend, and they were spot-on. Searches for “how to get naturally glowing skin” quadrupled on the pinning site. Also, big this year was the “clean look” heavily hashtagged on TikTok, with users showing how to get the no-makeup-makeup look, a la 2021. Hint: It starts with beautiful, glowy skin.
Colorful Eye Makeup
There is a slew of reasons why neon and pastel eyeliners, colorful mascara, and glitter-glitter everywhere had a very good year. We could discuss mask-wearing that gave the eyes center stage or how the multitude of new makeup offerings for kaleidoscope eyes just keeps getting better and better. But let’s focus on one thing here: Joy. These looks posted all over social media are just plain fun. They’re fun to create on yourself, and they’re fun to look at. And we all can use this kind of joy these days, so glitter. it. up.
High Puff Hairstyles
With an increase of 165 percent, the high-puff hairstyle is another highly-pinned beauty moment of ’21. So what exactly is it? What it sounds like! Hair pulled up high on the head that extends out into a full puff. It’s a curly girl’s version of a ponytail, basically. And it’s fresh and fabulous. Expect to see it a lot in 2022. Pinterest does.
Scalp Care is the New Skincare
It sounds a bit uncreative writing that heading — Scalp Care is the New Skincare — because it was written over and over and over this year. (In fact, if you Google those exact words with quotes around them, you’ll get more than 5,000 entries.) But the words were used for a reason — people are starting to see that their skin doesn’t miraculously end at the hairline. The scalp actually needs attention, especially to clean away product build-up. (An acid-infused serum works wonders.) But, unless you’re bald, can you see results in the same way you can see results from skincare on your face? Actually, yes — in the health of the hair. Devotees report how phenomenal hair looks once the scalp gets some weekly TLC. Like so many of this year’s trends — alt beauty, #blackgirlmagic, gray hair — once again, people want products, looks, and trends that work with what they have and who they are. That’s #truebeauty in 2021.
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