If ‘unprecedented’ and ‘new normal’ were the buzzwords of 2020, then it seems that ‘cautious optimism’ is the phrase of 2021. And with this in mind, Wunderman Thompson recently released its Future 100 report
with the trends and changes to keep abreast of in 2021.
The report details predictions for how everything from food and drink to retail, work, finance and beauty will fare in the next 12 months. The beauty industry, in particular, has seen a huge shakeup in recent months with the rise of the so-called ‘Zoom face
’. Thanks to a bevy of video calls, more and more people are spending time staring at themselves via camera and magnifying their imperfections tenfold. Couple this with a rise in consumer consciousness when it comes to the way we use skincare ingredients, as well as a change in the way ‘skinfluencers’ will work, it seems that the industry will be full of plenty of shake-up over 2021.
The report follows the key themes of unbound beauty, foraged ingredients, science-backed brands, three hot beauty ingredients, intersectional beauty, haute haircare, healthcare as selfcare, skinfluencers, brazen brows and waste-free beauty.
Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s global director Emma Chui speaks to LBB’s Natasha Patel about the key beauty trends and how she sees these playing out in the long run.
LBB> There's a lot happening in the beauty world at the moment and the trends for 2021 reflect that, which of these is the most exciting and which do you think will be the most groundbreaking?
Emma> The intertwining of healthcare and selfcare is demonstrating the power of beauty and the impact it has in our health and wellbeing. This has always been evident, but beauty has always been overshadowed by being labelled or seen as superficial. Now daily beauty rituals are vital selfcare actions that connect directly with our health. What’s exciting is that this selfcare regime also translates into highly experimental beauty, where this freedom of expression in makeup is offering a liberating wellness movement for many.
LBB> How much do you think the Covid-19 pandemic has added some of these trends that are appearing?
Emma> The repercussions of a global pandemic including intense time at home and more time for reflection has given rise to a number of trends that include experimental DIY hair and makeup inventions that really push the boundaries of beauty—even the way we are raising the bar for statement eyebrows.
Also, a heightened desire for clean, sustainable, and inclusive beauty brands are connected to people wanting to make ethical and purposeful purchases.
LBB> The insight about foraged ingredients is especially interesting considering people are so in tune with sustainability and being kind to the environment, how do you think consumers will react to this?
Emma> A lot of food trends tend to take off and beauty catches on a few years later. Foraged ingredients is one of those food-turn-beauty trends that is taking off. Being a sustainable brand is not enough for consumers today, they want to have a deeper connection with nature. Knowing ingredients they have using in the beauty products are foraged connects consumers to nature’s natural ecosystem in a real-time and locatable way.
LBB> Tell us more about the three new ingredients predicted to be big this year, do you think this list will evolve as people look to veganism and nature to look and feel their best?
Emma> The three hot beauty ingredients this year include grape, bakuchiol and anchusa azurea. All nature-friendly ingredients that promote a lot of trends in consumers we are seeing elsewhere such as veganism and plant-based lifestyles. As these ingredients move mainstream there may be an evolution, but these ingredients really resonate with the lifestyle of consumers today. It may not necessarily be about looking young, but about looking their best and wanting to achieve that in the most natural way.
LBB> Intersectional beauty is definitely a hot topic and with the rise of diversity in the industry, how do you think this will sway the way brand campaigns look in the future? And will this mean products are tailored to a wider spectrum of consumers?
Emma> There is a huge demand from consumers wanting beauty brands to do better when it comes to diversity, inclusivity and intersectional feminism. The beauty industry will need to really unpack every aspect of their brand from campaigns to product offerings and even internal recruitment to offer a truly diverse brand. This will resonate with a wider spectrum of consumers as they see themselves reflected in the brand’s mission both inside and out.
LBB> Do you think Skinfluencers have the ability to knock the traditional A-list models off the radar when it comes to campaigns?
Emma> Skinfluencers have a lot of sway to the point they are able to make or break a brand. Why? Largely because younger consumers, more specifically gen Z are able to resonate with skinfluencers on their digital channels such as YouTube, Instagram or TikTok. Brands may want these skinfluencers as their next brand ambassadors, but the question is if skinfluencers want to take that role. The power they currently wield includes how liberal they are by not being endorsed by brands or if they are promoting to be extremely explicit about it. Transparency here is key.
LBB> Healthcare as selfcare is, as mentioned, particularly important due to Covid, but will this continue in the future? Or as we go back to 'normal' life will this be forgotten?
Emma> There are some rituals Covid-19 has enforced that will become a daily habit for many. A bit like brushing our teeth, sanitising our hands and the upkeep of hygiene in our beauty regime will be a long-lasting action baked into our everyday.