It’s been another strange year, but there has been lots to celebrate. Skincare innovations have been coming thick and fast this year, so we’re rounding up some of our favorite products and trends. We’re helping you to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world of skincare, and you might even find the perfect gift for this holiday season! We won’t tell if you treat yourself instead of someone else, don’t worry! So, which is the best skincare brand in 2021? We’ve broken down some of this year’s biggest launches, delved into star ingredients from this year, and how our approach to skincare has changed this year.
2021 skincare trends
This year saw us adapt to new ways of life around the world, with face masks becoming a staple of our everyday life. Along with masks came maskne, aka breakouts, because we’ve been wearing masks so much. It comes as no surprise that one of the most significant shifts in skincare this year was towards managing these pesky zits and treating skin to some gentle skincare.
Medik8’s Blemish SOS is the zit relief you need when you’re mid-break-out and need a quick fix. It can reduce the appearance of problem areas over 24 hours, so it’s perfect for coming to the rescue in a pinch… as the name suggests. Zit patches have had a moment this year, too. Hero Cosmetics’ Mighty Patches are hydrocolloid gel patches that collect gunk from zits to reduce their inflammation.
Oil-free moisturizers grew in popularity because of maskne, too. Natrium’s Niacinamide Gel Cream 5% balances out hydration levels leaving skin looking and feeling hydrated without clogging pores. In turn, gentle exfoliators became an increasingly popular trend. Omorovicza launched their Gentle Buffing Gelée in the summer. The AHA exfoliant combines physical and chemical elements to remove dead skin cells.
We couldn’t do a 2021 skincare roundup without giving a special mention to natural fiber silk face masks that were a total savior for people dealing with mask acne. Our favorites are Face Coverings by Slip (you probably know the brand from their amazing silk pillowcases). They come in a bunch of stylish colors, too.
New skincare launches in 2021
At-home dermatologist-grade skincare regimens came into the spotlight this year, too. Emerage Skin’s Aerify Complexion Kit became the first medical-grade peel kit that you could use at home. The system, designed by Dr. Jason Emer, contains everything you need to promote your skin’s cells to regenerate, leaving your skin looking clearer and more youthful.
This year, body skincare’s been in the spotlight, with Bawdy Beauty’s body Gua Sha the Bawdy Tool becoming a self-care staple. The agate gua sha is shaped specifically to sculpt your butt and can be used wherever your skin and muscles need some extra attention. We’ve seen brands focusing on helping you to deepen your self-care practice at home, and Bawdy’s innovation is an excellent example of that.
Staying on the theme of body skincare, ZitStika launched their AHA/BHA body exfoliant, , this fall, and it’s already becoming a cult favorite. It brings the best bits of your facial skin care regimen to the rest of your body, meaning you can glow all over. We’re seeing brands create products that encourage us to complete a multi-step skincare regimen in the shower, with masks to be put on before we shower, to effective exfoliators containing ingredients that have proven effective in other skincare products.
Tech in skincare in 2021
This year had us feeling like we were living in the future at some points, mainly when it came to tech innovations in skincare. Advances in lab-grown natural ingredients are making sustainable natural ingredients more widely available, while advances in stem cell science are making their way into skincare products.
MAKE Beauty combines lab-grown natural ingredients (cloned plants and seaweeds, for example) and up cycled ingredients, including rice enzymes which otherwise would go to waste.
We couldn’t put together a 2021 highlights list without mentioning the NASA-backed skincare system Droplette. The system uses physics to deliver serums deep into the skin without using needles. It transforms skincare ingredients into a micro-mist that can penetrate the skin much better than thicker substances. If it’s not already in your skincare cupboard, chances are it will be soon.
Top facial product ingredients in 2021
As for the last few years, CBD is having a moment right now. Brands like Bawdy are finding new ways to incorporate versatile anti-inflammatory ingredients into skincare products. Their CBD Butt Balm soothes and firms skin, encouraging the user to spend time appreciating their body.
Ingestible skin care ingredients have been growing in popularity this year. One Ocean Beauty’s Marine Collagen supplements are a sustainable source of collagen to improve your skin, hair, and nail health. As we become more aware of how our inner health and our outer appearance are linked, supplements look to be a growing trend in beauty.
Glycolic acid has been in the spotlight this year, too, with products such as Weekly Decree becoming a staple in many people’s skincare regimen. The ingredient both exfoliates the skin and encourages cell turnover, making it ideal for creating a healthy glow. If you’re wondering how to ‘glow’ your face naturally, then look no further than fruit-derived AHAs.
Biotechnology is also making waves in the skincare world. Brands such as Heraux are taking inflaming technology that has been developed by scientists to combat complex medical conditions and applying it to skincare. Heraux’s serum uses the technology to even out skin tone and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
2021 best skincare brands for Sustainability
Sustainability has been at the forefront of marketing campaigns for lots of skin beauty brands this year. From lab-engineered ingredients to reducing waste in production, companies have been innovating at every level.
One brand whose work stands out, though, is Oquist Cosmetics. Their water-free formulations save on unnecessary packaging and transportation impact, but they’ve gone further than that. Their unique product packaging is so carefully designed that it can be reused when you’ve finished using the product. Think anti-aging serum that comes in a terracotta bottle which can then be repurposed as an incense holder.
Youth to the People is also working on making sustainability a top priority in skincare. They’ve worked hard to source local ingredients, so their California-made skincare range has the lowest possible carbon footprint. Their ingredients are also all biodegradable, so they don’t have a negative impact on the ocean once you wash them off your face.
The bottom line
Beauty brands have been innovating a lot this year, and we’ve seen lots of exciting new products come to market. Sustainability is the broadest trend we’ve seen this year, with both new launches and established brands looking at ways to reduce their environmental impact. Skincare is also moving beyond simply caring for the skin on your face: body skincare is growing. Brands are creating body care products that contain the same active ingredients as face care products, meaning you can now actively target problem areas on your skin as well as on your face.