This year, we witnessed the skinification of beauty. Instead of relying on makeup products such as primers and illuminators to give us that glow, we turned to hardworking actives and hero ingredients to rejuvenate our skin.
The main cause of this switch? Social media’s influence, of course.
“Edutainment is now the means by which consumers are converted,” Dr Teo Wan Lin, Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, shares. “In the past, beauty marketing was mainly to entertain, but it’s far more powerful now to be able to educate and entertain simultaneously.”
And from that edutainment, we learned about the “skin cycling” trend, the proper method of using sunscreen sprays, as well as topical wrinkle relaxers that work like magic. But what does 2023 have in store for us?
To forecast the skincare trends of 2023, we enlisted the help of four beauty experts, who also share how we can make these trends work for us.
- Skincare trends 2023: In favour of skinimalism
- Skincare trends 2023: Advanced derivatives and plant-based alternatives to retinol
- Skincare trends 2023: A renewed focus on barrier repair
- Skincare trends 2023: Upcycled beauty will go the distance
- Skincare trends 2023: Exosomes are the next big thing
- Skincare trends 2023: Niacinamide, salicylic acid, and probiotics will take the spotlight
- Skincare trends to leave behind in 2022
Skincare trends 2023: In favour of skinimalism
Since the start of 2021, the multi-step skincare routine started taking a backseat, while skinimalism was pushed to the forefront. The trend is all about stripping back our beauty routines in favour of a more minimalist approach.
“This means using [fewer] products, where each one is more multifunctional,” cosmetic scientist Lalita Iyer (@skinchemy) explains. Someone who follows a minimalist skincare routine may only require a cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen.
If needed, he or she may incorporate “an antioxidant such as vitamin C serum and/or a retinoid. The idea is to only use what your skin really needs.”
But how exactly did we climb down the peak of the 10-step skincare routine nearly a decade ago to skinimalism?
“It is most probably due to Covid and maskne,” Xenia Wong, Founder of Sigi Skin, suggests. “We will definitely see more of [skinimalism] in 2023 as people realise that having great skin is the basis of a good base, not the kind of foundation you’re using.”
Dr Teo doesn’t find skinimalism peculiar to 2022. “In general, there are users who will always be attracted to a low-maintenance regimen. There are always basic and advanced versions of anything. It depends on what you are looking for and your lifestyle preferences,” she shares.
“While the “skinimalism” trend will not go away next year, we expect that beauty devices that increase the efficacy of products will have a greater momentum as they go hand in hand with the skinimalism trend,” says the team of experts from BEAUTYSTREAMS, a one-stop trend insights source for strategy, marketing, and product development teams worldwide.
Skincare trends 2023: Advanced derivatives and plant-based alternatives to retinol
By now, you’ve probably heard of one derivative of vitamin A, retinol, which is renowned for its skin benefits.
“[It is a] tried-and-true ingredient that has decades of clinical research showing its efficacy in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, while helping stimulate collagen production and also helping to reduce acne,” Lalita shares.
“Additionally, with the advancement in delivery systems such as encapsulated retinol, where the active ingredient is enclosed in a protective shell, chemists are able to formulate retinol with better stability.”
However, retinol does bring several side effects with it. You may experience redness, irritation, burning, and peeling with regular retinol use. Fortunately, retinol alternatives are on the rise, which brings good news to those who aren’t able to use standard retinol.
“Plant-based retinol alternatives are far better because of the minimal/zero irritation potential, safety in pregnancy/lactating states, and also added anti-inflammatory benefits” Dr Teo claims.
“In my book Asian Beauty Secrets, a compendium of plant-based skincare ingredients, I share about bakuchiol, which has all the exact cellular pathways exerted by retinol on [the] skin – for collagen stimulation and antioxidant properties, without irritation,” she leads on.
Xenia is on the same page when it comes to bakuchiol. According to her, bakuchiol “provides the same benefits [as] retinol but without its side effects.”
“Bakuchiol is found in the Dream Capsule Daily Overnight Sleeping Mask that we launched back in 2020, and it’s one of our bestsellers,” Xenia shares. The product is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce skin inflammation and scarring.
“In 2023 and beyond, we expect to see an increasing use of advanced derivatives of retinol, as they combine reduced irritation with optimal performance,” BEAUTYSTREAMS remarks.
“Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR) is emerging as the rising star in the vitamin A family, with clinical studies demonstrating its myriad skincare benefits,” the team elaborates.
“HPR is seen as an effective alternative to retinoic acid, without the unpleasant side effects of skin peeling or irritation. It visibly reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, while also reducing uneven skin tone, firming the skin, reducing visible pores, and addressing excess oil production. HPR is also more stable than alternative forms of vitamin A, and its small molecular size means it easily penetrates the skin.”
“Retinaldehyde, meanwhile, is a more powerful vitamin A derivative compared to traditional retinol. It works faster, performs better and with less irritation, and has the additional benefit of being anti-bacterial, making it great for those whose skin is blemish-prone, too.”
Related read: Bakuchiol is the natural, gentler alternative to retinol – here are the 10 best products for younger-looking skin!
Skincare trends 2023: A renewed focus on barrier repair
Barrier-repairing skincare products are something we saw plenty of in 2022 and 2021 – and according to Lalita, we’ll continue to in 2022.
“We’ve seen an increase in the use of barrier repair creams in response to various skin stressors ever since the pandemic,” she says.
In order to repair our skin barrier, we have to start by supporting our skin’s microbiome, which means balancing the skin’s bacteria instead of stripping it with harsh cleansers.
“New fermentation processes are creating molecules such as variations of lactic acid, peptides and probiotics, in addition to enhancing the potency of tried and tested skincare ingredients,” BEAUTYSTREAMS shares.
“Together, they strengthen the skin’s barrier, kick-start the production of ceramides, and supercharge skin care routines. The holy grail is achieving a diverse and balanced microbiome for calm, non-reactive skin.”
Ceramides and essential fatty acids in barrier repair creams will continue to be a go-to recommendation from skin experts, but they should be combined with gentler cleansing, milder but thorough exfoliation, as well as skin-strengthening amino acids.
Related read: 16 best ceramide moisturisers to lock in moisture and rebuild your skin’s barrier
Skincare trends 2023: Upcycled beauty will go the distance
As more consumers demand more sustainable beauty options, brands are turning to the concept of upcycling ingredients as a means of chipping away at the industry’s rampant waste problem.
“Upcycled beauty, where brands repurpose waste material such as coffee grounds and other food scraps into functional cosmetic ingredients, have also been in demand,” Lalita reveals.
Indeed, a host of brands have started taking discarded byproducts like fruit seeds and pits to give them a second life as extracts and oils in skincare products.
One such brand is Krave Beauty, which uses sustainably sourced, upcycled grapeseed oil in its latest launch, the Makeup Re-Wined Jelly Oil Cleanser.
According to Founder Liah Yoo, the brand works with a supplier that collects wine pomaces from local wineries to create cold-pressed grapeseed oil, so the remains of the grapes won’t go to waste.
Artisan-crafted skincare brand Ladson’s uses oil from upcycled avocados from Ethiopia, and by doing so, it supports over 30,000 farmers in the region of Addis Ababa.
Farmacy, which touts itself as a “farm-to-face” skincare brand, launched its 10% Niacinamide Night Mask this year, which relies on upcycled blueberry seed oil extracted from the seeds that typically get discarded by the food industry when making jam and candy.
It certainly won’t be the last we hear about upcycled beauty.
Skincare trends 2023: Exosomes are the next big thing
When it comes to predicting the next big thing in skincare, Xenia says that exosomes are it. “Exosomes are used as anti-ageing ingredients in medical grade skin care products and are used in cosmetic procedures such as after microneedling,” she explains.
“[These] are emerging bioactive substances involved in multiple biological and cellular activities of the skin. Recently more research has been done on this to prove its efficacy,” she informs, suggesting that they activate stem cells for skin rejuvenation.
While there aren’t many skincare products that tap onto their benefits, Sigi Skin has announced that they’ll be releasing a product powered by exosomes, so watch this space!
Skincare trends 2023: Niacinamide, salicylic acid, and probiotics will take the spotlight
Niacinamide has made its rounds in the beauty community, and yet we come back to it time and again – well, there are a few good reasons behind that.
“Niacinamide is quite a multifunctional ingredient in that it helps strengthen skin barrier function, helps with reducing any discolouration, and helps reduce the appearance of large pores,” Lalita explains.
“Salicylic acid is another tried-and-true ingredient that has [been] shown to penetrate pores due to its oil-soluble property and can effectively combat acne.”
“Another ingredient would be probiotics. People have now understood that having a balanced microbiome equates to having good healthy skin,” Xenia adds.
An easy way to add probiotics into your skincare regimen is with two of Sigi Skin’s products. “[The] Tea-Tox 20% probiotics sheet mask instantly calms skin inflammation and redness as well as Youth Beam Anti-Ageing Night Serum that contains pre, pro, and postbiotics,” Xenia shares.
Related reads: Salicylic acid is the ingredient you need for clearer, clog-free skin – here’s everything you need to know
Skincare trends to leave behind in 2022
While consumers will continue to stay informed about skincare via social media platforms like TikTok, we have to be much more cautious about following hacks blindly.
One hack Xenia doesn’t recommend trying? “Sunscreen contouring”.
I am convinced this works! #tutorial #contour #summer #lifehack #hack #beautyhack #snatched #tiktokwellness #hiddentalent
For those who aren’t quite sure what we’re referring to, “sunscreen contouring” trended on TikTok when one TikToker shared a technique where she applies an initial layer of SPF 30 to her entire face and then layers SPF 90 to its high points.
Actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow shared a similar technique in a Vogue Beauty Secrets video. She explains that she doesn’t apply it “head to toe,” but rather, dabs it on with her ring finger “where the sun really hits.”
“It should have never been a trend. Sunscreen should be applied liberally on the whole face for protection,” Xenia shares.
How to slug like a derm 🧴 🤍 #dermatologist #dermatologydoctor #skincareroutine #skintok #skincare #skincaretips #learnontiktok #slugging #sluggingmethod #foryou #fyp #fypシ
“Slugging, a hack the involves coating your face in Vaseline to lock in moisture and combat dryness was one of the major trends on social media platforms in 2022. Although some dermatologists have backed it, we believe that many consumers will understand that it is not for every skin type,” BEAUTYSTREAMS comments.
“A common consequence of layering on a substance with such a high viscosity is that oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped, causing breakouts. Another aspect of the trend is that petroleum-based products like Vaseline do not align with consumers’ values.”
The one skincare trend I would gladly leave behind in 2022 is DIYers on social media such as TikTok and Instagram that spread skincare misinformation,” Lalita laments.
“While there are a lot of experts on these platforms that educate consumers on skincare, there is also a lot of misinformation from those that don’t have relevant expertise in skincare,” she continues. “I would also leave the “clean beauty” trend behind as it’s very misleading and is responsible for a lot of the misinformation regarding ingredient safety.”