13 big beauty trends for 2019

With innovative indie brands born daily, non-stop product drops and an endless stream of trends taking over social media, the beauty industry thrives on newness – but among all the buzz some movements are more significant than others. This year, conversations around sustainability in the beauty industryboomed, while commitments to greater diversity and inclusion were cemented. So what’s next?Here are the 13 biggest trends to have on your radar for 2019.

1. Expect further commitments to sustainability

The beauty industry now seems united on reducing the impact of plastic pollution, with new thoughtful packaging strategies and refined formulations. Lush is pioneering the movement for zero packaging (‘naked’, as they call it) by making products in solid form, from shampoo to make-up, and in January 2019 the brand will open the first packaging free cosmetic shop in the UK.

In addition to the #passonplastic campaign, comes the rise of #waterlessbeauty. As the industry’s most-used ingredient, there are concerns that demand for water could outstrip supply. Cosmetics giant L’Oréal has committed to a 60 per cent reduction in water consumption per finished product by 2020 (from a 2005 baseline), while Unilever is committing to halve the water associated with the consumer use of its products by 2020 (against a baseline of 2010).

In the new year, expect to see the launch of more ‘dry’ products (think powdered cleansers and dry sheet masks), as well as entirely waterless beauty brand launches.

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2. Beauty regimes will streamline

If part of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle includes being more modest with your product habit, know that in 2019 skincare regimes are set for a streamlined makeover. Lisa Payne, senior beauty editor at global trends company Stylus, says that while Korea may have exported its (often misunderstood) ‘10-step’ routine to the UK, a more honed approach is on the horizon.

“Much of the beauty innovation and product adoption we see in the West (UK and US) is influenced by Asia,” Payne confirms. “Korea specifically is a hotbed of ingredient innovation, new regimes and beauty tech, but it’s also renowned for its laborious, multi-step approach, and as such we’ve seen the UK follow suit.” The new year update? ‘Skip-care’, the latest Korean beauty trend which has already arrived here.

“A return to a more minimalist approach to beauty, this skincare ‘diet’ is all about using fewer, but harder-working items that contain higher concentrations of effective ingredients. For instance, in Korea we’re seeing hybrid products that tone and hydrate in one, using hero ingredients such as green tea and vitamin E.” Consider it a more mindful, highly-personalised approach to your skincare usage.

Payne adds that this results-driven routine has both a genderless and ageless appeal, and, thankfully, “it doesn’t clutter up the bathroom” – or your recycling bin.

3. Diversity and inclusion conversations will further be heard

The last two years have seen the industry’s late move towards demonstrating greater diversity. While we hope that by this time next year it will seem unbelievable that mainstream cosmetic brands didn’t always cater for all, with extensive colour ranges and ethnicity/gender/age-inclusive marketing, there is still a lot to be done.

Of course, an all-inclusive approach doesn’t work when niche brands are intending to service specific needs, and with so many indie beauty brands providing that vast choice now, expect to see a rise in lines targeting the needs of skin tones that have been too often neglected.

Dr Barbara Kubicka, aesthetic doctor and founder of Clinicbe, says that “2019 is set to see the launch of new skincare ranges that have been specifically formulated to treat and address the needs of skin of colour”. Aesthetician and Black Skin Directory founder Dija Ayodele highlights French skincare brand Nuhanciam (specifically developed for medium to darker skin tones), which will be launching in the UK in 2019 as one to watch.

4. Health and beauty will further converge

2018 will likely be known as the year of wellness-driven beauty launches, and in 2019 we expect that experimentation to continue, further blurring boundaries between health and beauty. Payne says it’s “essentially ‘360-degree’ beauty – focussing as much on what we put in our bodies as on them”.

She explains, “Consumers today are much more aware of the links between inner balance and wellbeing and the positive effects that has on external beauty. As such, we’re seeing a growing trend for efficacy-backed beauty edibles and tandem products that work both internally and topically. And we’re seeing beauty brands tapping into this with much more ritualistic concepts.” See Rituals’ ‘Rituals of Banyu’ collection, inspired by the ancient Balinese water ceremony, which celebrates the healing properties of water, encouraging users to “wash away the physical and spiritual dust of everyday life”, and Mauli Rituals (on Net-a-Porter), with its “handcrafted formulas inspired by Ayurvedic practices of India”. Payne adds that we should “expect to see more holistic offerings come through in 2019, with a focus on mental and emotional balance achieved through stress-busting beauty and health products.”

5. Formulation transparency will become commonplace

Whether we consider ourselves ‘skintellectual’ or are simply curious, questioning the science of skincare we’re buying into is the new norm, and the brands that give us what we want are winning.

Sarah Chapman, celebrity facialist and founder of Sarah Chapman Skinesis, tells us, “As customers are becoming increasingly savvy about ingredients, they are refusing to accept things at face value, which is forcing brands to be more open and honest about their formulations. Customers know the difference between the different types of vitamin A and the pros and cons of using retinyl palmitate over retinol, for example. The wealth of skincare knowledge available on the internet now is very empowering for the customer and this transparency is great for the beauty industry.”

The pro (and skin guru to Victoria Beckham, no less), says this is something she has always championed. “Since launching the brand in 2008 I have listed the ingredient trade names on my packaging, enabling the customer to easily research the benefits of each. This transparency is something I think we should expect to see much more of moving into 2019.” Of course, we can also thank the likes of The Ordinary and NIOD, which sit under umbrella company Deciem, for this movement too.

But it’s not just the advanced science brands that are taking this open approach. Natural brands are adopting this style too, such as By Sarah, a plant-based brand which details full ingredient listings on the front labels. We predict more mass brands will too follow suit.

6. Expect to see more skincare ampoules and capsules

In addition to transparency, the empowered skincare shopper demands efficacy – and lab-fresh formulas in airtight packaging. Enter more expertly packaged products including ampoules (long popular in Korea), which Kate Bancroft, skincare expert and founder of Face the Future, says we’ll see a huge rise in.

 “Ampoules are individually packaged vials, usually made of glass, containing the perfect shot of nutrients for your skin,” she explains. “The advantage of ampoules, as opposed to traditional serums, is the expert packaging that helps to keep the product fresh. The individually packaged treatments maintain the strength and potency of active ingredients such as vitamin C, glycolic acid and more.” L’Oreal Paris looks set to make this mass market come February 2019, when it releases Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid Ampoules, a “highly concentrated essence, sealed until use to preserve the benefits and freshness of the formula”.

Estée Lauder has already helped popularise this trend with the release of its Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules, though the capsules are made of an organic, plant based biodegradable material, not glass. Elizabeth Arden this year also released its new Retinol Ceramide Capsules, sealed for freshness and potency in a vegetable-based material that is also fully biodegradable.

7. Skin-healing solutions will become beauty staples

After anti-ageing, the skin healing category saw the biggest growth in skincare this year, with google searches related to ‘cica balm’ up by 800 per cent versus 2016. Cica, from the French word ‘to heal’, has been used for centuries to treat burns, cuts, irritation and redness.

Sure, it’s been a French pharmacy and K-beauty staple for a long time, but Fiona Brackenbury, global education director for Decleor, thinks its rise in popularity is also to do with our increasingly stimulated skin. “With more retinol and acid use we’re now seeing huge growth in healing,” she says, explaining that cica products calm reactions, whether that manifests as redness, dry patches, or invisible irritation.

Expect to see more skin-healing solutions hit the shelves, including Decleor’s new Cica-Botanic Balm, out in January.

8. We’ll be fighting pollution via the skin microbiome

We will all be getting to know our skin microbiome better in 2019, says Dr Justine Kluk, consultant dermatologist at 25 Harley Street. “We are now all familiar with the concept of good bacteria and bad bacteria and trying to preserve the former in order for optimal immune functioning of the skin,” she says. “I predict that the trend towards incorporating probiotics in skincare will continue in the coming year and that rather than just including these because it sounds appealing to consumers, products offering a probiotic claim will become more personalised and thus more effective in time.”

“Pollution is a big aggressor for the skin and has been linked to the rise in people suffering with sensitivity”

In particular, Chapman says microbiota-balancing actives in skincare will be key to targeting pollution concerns. “With global pollution levels on the rise, the trend for anti-pollution skincare looks set to continue in 2019. Pollution is a big aggressor for the skin and has been linked to the rise in people suffering with sensitivity. It is also to blame for many signs of premature ageing due to oxidative stress, whereby damaging free radicals reduce the skin’s ability to repair itself properly.” The breakthrough? “Microbiota-balancing actives derived from yeast can rebalance our skin’s immune system and boost the natural defence barrier, so they are an interesting innovation to look out for.”

9. At-home facial tools will become ever more advanced

It will come as no surprise that as people are investing in their skin like never before, the facial tool market is booming. “I’m already seeing an increased demand for advanced facial tools to use at home and I think this trend will continue into the new year,” Chapman says. “Massage devices like my Facialift, facial steamers and derma rollers are but a few examples already on the market.”

Next year looks set to see the launch of more smart tools. Iliyana Mesheva, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData says,“Brands are exploring usage of smart tools that assist in tracking the efficacy of beauty regimes and products by providing real-time diagnostics, including the development of smartphone connect beauty devices and tools that provide more personalised solutions. Neutrogena launched Neutrogena Skin360, a sensor-based skin-scanning device with an accompanying app to measure a user’s skin moisture, pores, lines, and wrinkles over time.”

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10. Effortless glamour will replace Instaglam make-up

When it comes to make-up, expect to describe your new vibe as ‘effortless glamour’ next year. Think polished skin, with accents of singular bold colour.

Hannah Martin, pro make-up artist, explains. “Washes of bold colour in foil textures on the eye could see a resurgence in 2019. Minimum effort, maximum impact, this look is so simple to recreate for effortless glam, not the painstaking, laborious umpteen layers of shadow we’ve come so accustomed to seeing on Instagram.”

“Minimum effort, maximum impact. Not the painstaking, laborious umpteen layers of shadow we’ve come so accustomed to seeing on Instagram”

Complexion-wise, she feels that the K-beauty trend for ‘glass skin’ will make its way mainstream. “Using skincare and make-up to achieve a luminous, almost wet look to the base, heavy foundations and powders are replaced with luminous tinted moisturisers and face oils.” And don’t even mention contouring.

Against a sheer, luminous base comes loud mouths. With saves for ‘standout lip colour’ searches on Pinterest recently up by 467 per cent, it’s clear that a simple swipe of bold lip colour is the easiest accessory to wear.

11. We’ll be experimenting with more self-expressive styling

For creative types, maximalist costume make-up – in the direction of big, bold looks, married with historical art references – won’t look out of place at a party in 2019.

“We’ll see a greater focus on stick-ons, which have trickled into the mainstream as a key festival look. Moving forward, these will become more vintage and opulent, with stick-on faux pearls and colourful, treasure-chest gems,” says Payne.

“The joy of this youthful trend is that it translates into body, hair, face and nails. We’ll also see this maximalist-meets-history trend play out via painted make-up applications that mirrors watercolour, and playful neon accents, tapping into ‘90s nostalgia. In every case, these looks are all about individuality, experimentation, personalisation and an increasingly fun approach to self-expressive styling.”

Expect this all over your Insta feed.

12. Innovative ways to buy and apply perfume

Fragrance brands are heavily investing in ways to appeal to new markets in the digital age when, of course, you can’t smell the internet. But that looks set to change, Jo Malone CBE told Bazaar. “It’s coming – we’ll be able to switch on our computer or phone and be able to smell a fragrance. It’s there… it’s just how it’s interpreted.”

“It’s coming – we’ll be able to switch on our computer or phone and be able to smell a fragrance”

For now, the imminent future of fragrance is about thinking outside the box. The way fragrance is applied is becoming more creative. Malone, for example, created her Jo Loves Fragrance Paintbrush, and Andrea Rickard, trading director for The Perfume Shop says that new fragrance formats are more popular than ever.

“Just this year we’ve seen our exclusive Mugler Perfuming Pencils sell out, and we’ve tipped the YSL Black Opium Click to be a best-seller this Christmas. Next year we’ll be looking at more perfumed powders, solid sticks, cushions and tissues which will all scent us in a different, modern, way.”

13. Expect more tech-inspired product packaging

The way ever-buzzy beauty brand Glossier made its latest fragrance launch even more enticing was with gesture-based packaging. Lucie Greene, director of JWT Innovation and author of their Future 100 trend report, notes how this solid balm version of the Glossier You fragrance is housed in a weighted metal compact designed to “fit the curve of your palm and thumb”, and open and close “with an addictively flippable hinged swivel”. She explains, “this swiping motion echoes the way in which consumers are used to flipping through their smartphone content.”

Other brands like Lilah B (intended to provide a ‘luxe, sensory experience’, which as Green points out is “much like the sleekest tech products”) and Fenty – whose Match Stix Rihanna explains are “magnetic so they click together and are easy to find in your bag” – know that a packaging gesture can contribute to a product’s covetability as much as its contents.

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