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10 Beauty Trends You Will Be Seeing in 2022.
According to Experts
It’s a new year, which famously implies that it’s time to pause and reflect on the last twelve months of our lives. But if you’re not into that idea, we get it—it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. Perhaps you’re more interested in looking forward to 2022. In that case, hello and welcome; you’ve come to the right place. Now that 2021 is over, we’re setting our sights on the months ahead. For this beauty-obsessed writer, that means focusing on what exciting trends are blowing up in the areas of makeup, hair, and skincare.
Let's start with what trends to expect across the board. According to the trend forecasting company WGSN, a common thread amongst new beauty products in 2022 will be "usability and sustainability." In terms of your everyday routine, this means that you can anticipate longer-lasting, more potent, and overall, more consciously crafted formulas that are safe for you and the environment (hi, clean makeup).
And as far as color cosmetics are concerned, a big focus of 2022 will be on fusing natural beauty and maximalist glam. Think: barely-there complexions teamed with bold pops of color on the lids and a renewed interest in embracing one's natural hair textures.
From dewy complexions and endorphin-boosting makeup to fermented skincare and waterless formulations, here are the top 10 trends to get excited about this year, according to beauty industry leaders.
2022's Biggest Beauty Trends
1. Barely-There Bases
Real skin is in. In 2022, you can expect to see a surge of lightweight complexion products, à la the industry's cult-favorite Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer or Ilia’s tinted skin serum. As you shop the shelves of your favorite beauty retailer, you may notice a shift away from medium to full coverage formulas in favor of comfortable, breathable, and straight-up natural-looking bases.
“In 2022, it will be all about radical self-expression and dressing for your own gaze— not what society or a potential partner finds attractive,” says Cat Quinn, executive director of Global Trends at MAC Cosmetics. “‘Flaws’ and ‘imperfections’ are a thing of the past, and this year we'll embrace the real and raw with luminous finishes that highlight your actual skin—freckles and all.”
2. Fermented Ingredients
The microbiome skincare boom of 2021 will continue to thrive in 2022 (so if you haven’t learned about your skin’s barrier yet, now’s the time). WGSN notes that fermented ingredients—especially kombucha—are about to take off even higher than they already have. (See: Youth to the People's Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Toner with Lactic Acid and Fresh's Kombucha Antioxidant Facial Treatment Essence).
For the uninitiated, fermentation is "deeply rooted in culture and based on ancient beauty techniques," says Clare Varga, WGSN's Head of Beauty. "However, the trend is becoming popular amongst beauty brands for its remarkable capacity to boost effectiveness and extend the shelf life of products [and thus ensure that it doesn't go to waste]."
According to Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, fermentation is the process of breaking down an ingredient into an ultra-potent form using live organisms like yeast or bacteria. "In doing this, fermentation produces postbiotic ingredients and other potent actives like antioxidants," he explains. "So, when postbiotic fermented ingredients are used in skincare, they can help restore a damaged skin barrier and balance the microbiome." Now that’s something we can get behind.
3. Serotonin-Boosting Glam
Whether the result of months of lockdown or inspiration from TikTok, both celebs and us regular folk are embracing head turn-worthy glam (think: bold beauty looks straight out of an episode of Euphoria).
“That natural gleaming foundation will provide the canvas for bright, energetic, feel-good makeup, from bold cherry lips and yellow buttercream eyes to colorful swirled and bubble liner,” predicts Quinn.
Likewise, she says, “tones will be saturated and electric, from primary reds, yellows, and greens to Power Pink (MAC's take on a cool-toned fuchsia that will be THE color of the year). On top of that, you'll see gemstones, pearls, and accessories in nails, hair, and makeup.”
4. Refillable Packaging
Refillable packaging has slowly but surely become a part of our everyday beauty vernacular. These days, consumers are no stranger to calling out beauty brands to do better, especially when it comes to reducing waste and extending a product’s lifetime whenever possible. Glow recipe jumped on this with their newest release, The Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream, which features a custom glass jar and refillable inserts that pop out and can easily be replaced.
Another one of the brands getting it right is Bite, a zero-waste, plastic-free company making toothpaste bits that come in a refillable glass bottle. Founder Lindsay McCormick explains that “single-use packaging creates an enormous amount of waste, and now more than ever, people are looking for products that are not just better for their health but better for the planet as well.”
“When we started with our refillable toothpaste tablets back in 2018, it took a lot of time to educate potential customers on the environmental impact of plastic toothpaste tubes and why refillable is better, McCormick continues. “Contrast that to the launch of our plastic-free, refillable deodorant earlier this year; in less than two months, it’s become one of our best selling products and is a testament to how much the conversation around refillable products has progressed.” This is something we can’t wait to see more of in 2022.
5. Waterless Products
Waterless (AKA, anhydrous) skin, hair, and body innovations are already making waves in the industry, but in 2022, WGSN expects it to become even bigger. Put simply, waterless beauty is products that contain botanical ingredients and nourishing oils as the formula’s base, rather than water. Why? Well, first, it makes them more potent, which means you don’t need preservatives. Second, it reduces water consumption—but more on that in a sec.
“The world's freshwater supply is depleting, and by 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in water-stressed circumstances,” warns Varga. Because of this, she speculates that waterless beauty is bound to "migrate from novelty to necessity." She predicts companies will react by developing products that “try to lessen the need for excessive water usage.”
Among the waterless beauty products leading the pack is SWAIR, a purveyor of “showerless” shampoo. Co-founder Carrie Sporer explains that the brand was born out of a need to “go from working out to the rest of our day without having to do a full blow-dry.” She and partner Meredith Krill set out to develop a product that didn’t involve water. "In the development process, we realized our customers would be saving more than 300 gallons of water a year by swapping just two in-shower shampoos for Showerless Shampoos each week,” she shared. Good for the planet, good for you.
6. Statement Haircuts
According to Pinterest’s annual trends report, so-called “rebel cuts,” are about to become one of the most-requested styles at the hair salon. And they have the stats to back it up: Searches for “mullet hairstyle” grew a whopping 190 percent, while “shaved head dye designs” saw a lesser-but-still-significant increase of 12 percent. If you're looking for a new 'do in 2022, don't be afraid to go bold.
There's also a solid case to be made for the wolf cut, a mullet-shag hybrid that evokes a retro aesthetic popularized by Billie Eilish and hyper-sensationalized on TikTok. At the time of writing, the hashtag #wolfcut has nearly 900 million views on the video-sharing platform. For comparison, #mullethaircut has 85.2 million, and shag, 90 percent.
7. Nature-Inspired Nails
Intricate nail art isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and you can expect to see a ton of natural-inspired nail designs take over your social media feeds. "This year, people will paint landscape-style designs on their digits," says Pinterest in its annual report, a trend they've aptly nicknamed "nailscapes." "Geode, desert, and constellation-inspired nail art are all trending up, especially among Millennial searchers," the report states.
We've already seen some of these escapist nail art themes on celebrity talons. In September 2021, Megan Thee Stallion debuted a remarkably intricate galaxy-themed set. Likewise, Euphoria's Sydney Sweeney hit the 10th Annual Los Angeles County Museum of Art Art + Film Gala in November, sporting a blue and gold geode-inspired design. We'll be bringing these photos to our next mani appointment.
8. Increased Interest in Upcycled Beauty
Whole Foods' 2021 clean beauty report named upcycled beauty a trend to watch. "Upcycled products aren't just showing up in food," the company noted, adding that repurposed ingredients—like coffee grounds, olive leaves, and unsellable bananas—were making their way into beauty products. Today, the trend (which is led predominantly by indie brands) has gone mainstream, with upcycled options conveniently available at Ulta Beauty.
At the start of the first lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Upcircle Beauty’s Anna Brightman says that the zero-waste, upcycled beauty brand saw a sharp increase in online sales, which has continued to rise ever since.
9. High-Puff Hairstyles
Puff hairstyles are a trend that will reign supreme in 2022. We've seen so many celebrities embracing their natural hair both on and off the red carpet, whether it be Andra Day at the Oscars or Taraji P. Henson on an average Wednesday.
Searches for "high puff hairstyles" went up a whopping 165 percent, while "space buns natural hair" increased 100 percent, per Pinterest. The social media service's inclusive new hair pattern search feature certainly played a part in people's interest to embrace their natural hair texture, thanks to an influx of educational resources and inspirational user-generated content.
According to NYC-based texture expert Jazzee Green, height-defying hairstyles of all kinds are trending for 2022, from high puffs to high bun and top knots. “Unable to get that professional haircut or blow-out style during the 2020 pandemic, people were left home figuring out ways to look good on that zoom call or corporate meeting,” Green explains. “As their hair was growing and in the awkward’ in-between’ long and short stage, the high puff or top knot became über-popular.”
10. Edible Beauty and “Beauty Snacking”
Benefits of tools like Gua Sha or jade rollers are starting to permeate mainstream consciousness and will increase in 2022. According to Ulta Beauty, these tools are just a tiny sampling of holistic beauty items that will continue to trend in the new year. What’s next: "specially formulated ingestibles." You may already be familiar with some, like superfood powders and gummies containing skin-boosting ingredients like collagen.
The stats align with industry projections. Trendalytics—a predictive data and retail analytics platform—notes a 106 percent rise in searches for ingestibles from last year and a 44 percent increase in supplements formulated with mood and beauty-boosting benefits. WGSN's yearly report also supports this trend prediction, noting that "edible skincare in the shape of sweets and health bars" will emerge in 2022.
While not as literal as edible beauty, the industry is also buzzing about a compelling trend WGSN-coined term called "beauty snacking." Summed up, it refers to "flash treatments and easy, no-mess formulas." The idea is that you treat yourself to little beauty pleasures throughout the day, meant to "break up the homeworking lifestyle or create moments of pleasure." Think, pick-me-up products like undereye patches, face mists, and transdermal patches, all of which are examples of these micro beauty moments that are about to blow up.
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