As health and wellness took centre stage during the pandemic, 2021 saw a rise in the focus of skincare. Primers and highlighters were relegated to our makeup drawers and instead, we looked to hardworking actives and hero ingredients to rejuvenate our skin.
Probiotics, ceramides, and mandelic acid were some of our go-to ingredients last year as more of us broadened our skincare knowledge to tackle emerging issues like maskne (mask-induced acne) and a weakened skin barrier. But what does 2022 have in store for us?
In the upcoming year, brands and skin experts are predicting a shift in the way we care for our skin and shop for products. We enlisted the help of two beauty experts to divulge the skincare trends of 2022 and share how they can work for us.
- Skincare trends 2022: Less is more
- Skincare trends 2022: Hybrid skincare-makeup products
- Skincare trends 2022: A continued focus on barrier repair
- Skincare trends 2022: Customisable skincare
- Skincare trends 2022: The rise of bodycare
- Skincare trends to leave behind in 2021: The obsession with natural and clean beauty
Skincare trends 2022: Less is more
2021 saw the descent of the multi-step skincare routine and the rise of skinimalism, which is all about stripping back our beauty routines in favour of a more minimalist approach. That could mean reducing the number of products and active ingredients in our routines, or simply wearing less foundation and concealer to allow our skin to shine through.
“Over the past year, consumers have learned to focus on just the essentials, which are cleanser, moisturiser, and SPF,” cosmetic scientist Lalita Iyer (@skinchemy) shares. “I think we’re finally leaving behind the 10-step skincare routine.”
With the constant barrage of information around buzzy ingredients and formulas, we’re tempted to try new products regularly. This overwhelms, overstimulates, and confuses the skin, so you may not reap the benefits of your skincare products at the end of the day.
2022 is the perfect year to practise skinimalism. It’s all about taking a few steps back, harnessing the power of multitasking products, and ultimately committing to a more sustainable, more affordable beauty routine. Your skin and bank account will thank you for it.
Skincare trends 2022: Hybrid skincare-makeup products
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Aesthetic doctor Dr Rachel Ho predicts that more people will turn to multitasking beauty products, such as “skincare products that double as makeup (e.g. sunscreen with makeup properties) as well as makeup products with skincare benefits (e.g. makeup bases with antioxidants or hyaluronic acid).”
“Although these products are already available, the popularity of multitasking products and a minimalist approach to beauty will continue to propel the sales of these products,” Dr Ho says.
Lalita agrees and says she foresees more consumers reaching for tinted sunscreens next year. “Although it’s not a new concept, a lot of consumers have been using less makeup. Tinted SPF, while keeping in mind using the correct amount, is one of them,” she shares.
Instead of taking the time to go through an entire skincare routine followed by the application of a multitude of makeup products, you can use products that serve double-duty – addressing your complexion concerns while covering up imperfections and playing up your best features. What’s not to love?
Skincare trends 2022: A continued focus on barrier repair
In line with the skinimalism trend, barrier repairing skincare products are something we saw plenty of in 2021 – and according to both our experts, we’ll continue to in 2022.
Barrier repair skincare products strengthen, restore, and protect damaged or sensitised skin, perhaps in response to numerous skin stressors of the last couple of years. A weakened skin barrier can result from numerous issues, whether it’s harsh weather, physical abrasion, or certain fragrance additives. All of these factors can lead to redness, dryness, and itching.
“Skin barrier function is one of the integral functions of the skin and it will impact the dynamics of how our skin behaves and responds to skincare ingredients,” Dr Ho explains.
“With consumers becoming more empowered and daring to try more active ingredients, there is a potential for the skin barrier to be disrupted by harsh active ingredients, so maintaining a healthy skin barrier is essential,” she lets on.
If you’re guilty of over-exfoliating and using harsh actives, however, fret not. There are barrier-loving ingredients out there that can help strengthen your skin’s first line of defence.
“A lot of brands have been focusing on creating really soothing barrier repair moisturisers that contain ingredients like centella, niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and panthenol, to name a few,” Lalita says. “All of these have shown to help improve skin barrier function and combat irritation associated with wearing masks.”
Related read: 16 best ceramide moisturisers to lock in moisture and rebuild your skin’s barrier
Skincare trends 2022: Customisable skincare
Even if it’s not stamped with your monogram, nothing says luxury (or “hands off”) like a customised beauty product. Whether it’s a treatment made just for your breakouts or a supercharged serum that’s tailored to address your specific skin concerns, options for customisable skincare have never been more readily available.
“Customisable skincare products through an algorithm or AI-based technologies will become more popular and affordable,” Dr Ho shares. “Brands like Skinceuticals and L’Oreal allow users to input data points such as their skin types, concerns, and age to personalise products.”
Based on your responses, you’ll then be given recommendations on bespoke products, made with blends tailored to your skin issues and sensitivities.
Of course, some of these customised blends aren’t going to work like magic, but they’re more likely to play well with your skin than something off the shelf, which means a lot less trial-and-error. It’s as fuss-free as it gets.
Skincare trends 2022: The rise of bodycare
With all the attention focused on finding the best serum to fade dark spots or a moisturiser that packs a punch of hydration, the skin on the rest of our body can feel neglected. Next year, skincare is going to be a full-body agenda, so get ready to coddle, smooth, and protect every last inch of your skin.
“With more consumers spending time at home, taking care of the skin on your body is just as important as taking care of the skin on your face,” Lalita shares.
Body exfoliation, in particular, is something more brands have been focusing on. Long gone are the days of using our pimple creams to nix body acne.
Now, there are blemish-busting, acid-infused washes and scrubs, like Kosas’ Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash and First Aid Beauty’s KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub With 10% AHA.
These options help to target stubborn spots as well as keratosis pilaris, a buildup of dead skin cells and keratin that causes small bumps and rough patches on areas of the body.
Besides exfoliation, we’re about to see a boom in the handcare department in the coming year. Incessant hand washing has further contributed to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in many people, resulting in skin dryness and damage to the skin barrier’s function, which is essential for protection against infection and disease.
To combat this issue, we’ll be seeing a strong demand for ultra-hydrating, protecting creams and nourishing oils rich in squalane and ceramides for soft, supple hands.
Related read: 25 best body lotions in Malaysia for soft, smooth skin 24/7
Skincare trends to leave behind in 2021: The obsession with natural and clean beauty
Despite their popularity in the industry and among consumers, natural skincare and clean beauty are trends that both our experts want to leave behind in 2021. “As a chemist, nothing is natural as everything we are surrounded by, including water, is made up of chemicals,” Lalita articulates.
“Beauty brands claiming to use ‘natural’ ingredients are a bit misleading because we can’t just take an entire plant material and toss it into a formulation. All ingredients (natural or not) undergo some form of chemical processing to be able to mix into a formulation to create a final product.”
Dr Ho adds on, saying that there is no real definition of what “clean beauty” really is. “It has been defined loosely by beauty evangelists, consumer groups, retailers, and manufacturers as products that are devoid of ‘toxic’ ingredients or are derived from ‘natural sources’,” she explains.
“Clean beauty products have been falsely marketed as safer and more superior. Most ingredients in beauty products are safe and are included for a purpose (e.g. preservatives to prolong shelf life and prevent fungal growth). To exclude these helpful ingredients would instead make the products unsafe for consumer use.”
Dr Ho shares that “natural plant extracts are also not shown to be safer or more efficacious than non-plant ingredients,” which is also why she wants more consumers to educate themselves before hopping on a new skincare trend.
“Information and knowledge are now easily accessible and with doctors and skincare experts bridging the knowledge gap by putting out more information on their social media platforms. [It] really helps consumers make more informed choices about ingredients and products,” she elaborates.
Related read: 7 dermatologists to follow on TikTok for the best skincare advice