Expert says this will be the biggest skincare trend of 2021 (and it'll save you time and money)

A top dermatologist has revealed her predictions for the biggest skincare trends next year

Skincare flatlay
(Image credit: Getty Images / Anna Efetova)

Perhaps more than ever before we're starting looking ahead to the fresh new year and starting to think about what the 2021 beauty trends will look like. 

With this hair colour trend set to be all the rage after lockdown and the best selling beauty products at John Lewis reflecting our increased "at home" time, we can expect to see even more of a shift in our skincare habits next year.

A top dermatologist has revealed her predictions for the biggest skincare trend in 2021, and it makes a lot of sense. Even better, if you follow this particular trend you could end up saving both time and money spent on your skincare routine – and that's a win-win.

According to consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto, the biggest skincare trend for 2021 will be multipurpose products – those that offer us a multi-pronged approach in tackling our biggest skin concerns. 

"Consumers are going to start making wiser choices about which products they truly need to be using," she tells us. "One way of minimising the products we need is to choose ingredients or skincare that are multipurpose in nature. 

"For example, why use an AHA toner and then a retinol if you have a product which incorporates both – like the Alpha-H Midnight Gold Reboot Serum (£70, Cult Beauty)? Why use a separate azelaic acid and niacinamide product when Dr Sam’s Brightly Serum (£44) has both? 

"Using one product rather than multiple ones to achieve the same end point cuts on waste and also reduces the risk of irritation and sensitivity to the skin. This is the future of streamlined skincare."

Sound advice, no? Keep reading for a few more of Dr Mahto's predictions for 2021...

A 'less is more' approach

Thanks to this year's global pandemic, it's been a tumultuous year for many people's finances – meaning less to spend on skincare. Dr Mahto notes that, as a result, the less is more approach is likely to filter into skincare.

"Not only will many people have far less expendable cash as a result of the economic downturn post-Covid, but there is an increasing awareness of the impact the beauty industry is having on the environment and climate change. 

"Every product we buy and layer onto our skin utilises resources, which impact every aspect of the supply chain from the extraction of raw materials to packaging. To be truly kind to the world we live in, we need to start taking sustainability seriously – and the only way to be truly sustainable is simply to buy less."

model applying face mask

(Image credit: Getty Images / Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm)

Representation of skin of colour

2021 will also continue to see long overdue changes made within the beauty industry. "After the political events of this year and the Black Lives Matter movement, there will be two direct knock-on effects on the beauty industry," Dr Mahto explains. "The first will be a valid expectation that brands need to be representative of the population they serve – more shade options, diverse models and choice of influencer or spokesperson.  

"There is also likely to be a 'mushrooming' of new Indie brands targeting issues specific to skin of colour such as pigmentation," she continues. "Popular ingredients that can disrupt the pigment pathway such as mandelic acid, kojic acid, alpha-arbutin, and tranexamic acid are likely to be key players in the formulation of these types of products."

Better sunscreen technologies

We all know that being diligent with sun protection and wearing SPF every day is essential in helping to prevent skin cancer and fight the visible signs of ageing. But in 2021, we can expect to see the best SPF productss get even better. 

"A large part of the population also suffer with issues of pigmentation, which in darker skin tones is driven in part by the synergistic action of UVA-1 and visible light from the sun," the doctor tells us. "Based on current scientific data, this can only be effectively be blocked by iron oxide-containing sunscreens and there are only a relatively small number of these on the market.

"As knowledge grows on visible light, companies need to respond accordingly and start producing effective sunscreens with the right ingredients to filter this out; simply using antioxidants will not be the answer based on current data for pigmentation."

Injectables: on the up

Thanks to the internet and social media, we have access to more information than ever before, meaning consumers can do more research into skincare and treatments on their own.

"A decade ago, talking about injectable treatments such as Botox or fillers publicly would be unheard of, but social media has demystified these treatments with each passing year," Dr Anjali says. "People are also better educated about what can and cannot be achieved with skincare alone.

According to our doctor, this combined with all those extra Zoom calls has caused a surge in tweakments like injectables – something that will only continue into 2021.

"Knowledge, combined with prolonged periods this year examining our own faces over Zoom, has led to a boom in injectable therapy. Many who have had the treatment for the first time are likely to continue into next year, as well as increasingly through word of mouth openly discuss their experiences. Next year will bring more 'first-timers' to the injectables market."

Online services

With so many of us spending more time at home than ever before, it's hardly surprising that online skincare services have surged in popularity. And while we're hoping for fewer lockdowns next year, it's likely that we'll still be spending a fair bit of time chez nous – and those skincare deliveries extend to prescription skincare.

"While a few platforms already exist in the UK, next year will see a mushrooming of medically-led prescription products available via digital platforms," explains Dr Mahto. "There is an unmet demand for gold-standard skincare ingredients, such as tretinoin, and online platforms provide a quick and easy way to purchase these."

It looks like we're in for an exciting 12 months of skincare trends next year. Which of these will you be giving a go in 2021?

Lucy Abbersteen
Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week.

During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists. When she's not got beauty on the brain you'll probably find her in the company of dogs, reading, or being shamed by Netflix's "are you still watching?" message. You can follow her on Instagram at @lucyabbers.