The Beauty Industry Trends That Defined 2021

Soon after a 12 months of social distancing and a whole lot of pores and skin care, daily life (just about) went back again to regular in 2021.

And with that, it was a huge 12 months for splendor. People today started out to have on makeup once more a slew of new superstar manufacturers barrelled into an now crowded sector desire for at-property manicures and the corresponding polish, therapies and tools remained higher and brick-and-mortar shops positioned new emphasis on their beauty offerings.

Below, BoF breaks down the 4 key forces that guided the elegance field this year.

Make-up Can make a Comeback

Just after a yrs-long make-up slump — that even predated the pandemic — specialists say colour cosmetics are on the upswing. The lifting of pandemic constraints and return to ordinary socialising and routines fuelled that surge, giving people a renewed curiosity in colourful lips, eyes and cheek following going so extended without.

In accordance to The NPD Group, US prestige make-up sales grew by 23 per cent from January by way of November of this yr, compared to the identical interval in 2020. That advancement reverses pre-pandemic tendencies, which saw prestige makeup product sales drop and the over-all prestige magnificence category continue to be flat from 2018 to 2019.

“People truly have to have the dopamine influence of make-up,” reported Sam Cheow, senior vice president and worldwide head of make-up innovation, portfolio and merchandise growth at The Estée Lauder Providers. “In the very last 12 months we all have, culturally, gone by way of a whole lot.”

Cheow included that the sub-classes “we deserted when we stayed home,” like brows, eye shadow, blush, highlighters, eyeliner and satin complete lipsticks are dealing with powerful advancement.

“We went for our moisturiser, a minimal little bit of powder and lip balm, and out of the blue anything resurges,” he claimed.

The symptoms so considerably in 2021 are promising. But a modern surge in Covid situations could threaten makeup’s uptick if it yet again places a pause on the return to “normal” life that designed people today want to put on make-up in the to start with put.

“People definitely will need the dopamine impact of makeup.”

Elegance Retail Reimagined

The when distinct delineation amongst where by 1 could possibly buy CeraVe encounter wash — Focus on or a drug retail store — and Tarte foundation — Sephora or Ulta — is blurring. Mass shops are wading even more into status natural beauty, many thanks in substantial aspect to Kohl’s and Goal debuting their Sephora and Ulta store-in-shop concepts. Many others, like Walmart and JCPenney, reimagined their attractiveness departments and are bringing in new immediate-to-shopper lines.

Soon after opening its first shop-in-shop in Concentrate on in August, Ulta Magnificence will have 100 spots in Concentrate on outlets by the close of 2021. That similar thirty day period, Kohl’s opened Sephora boutiques in 70 of its doorways, the commencing of a two-yr rollout in 850 doorways.

Not to be outdone by Target’s Ulta offer, Walmart launched about 100 new splendor models this yr, which includes Uoma by Sharon C, Uoma’s new make-up line, Bubble, a Gen-Z-concentrated pores and skin treatment line and sexual wellness label Cake, to up its natural beauty reliability and entice youthful buyers in retail store.

This evolution of how and where solutions are purchased and marketed is a consequence of shoppers mixing large-stop goods with much more very affordable types — substantially like they do in manner. The pandemic only heightened these changes as it redirected numerous splendor buys to “essential” stores — big box and drug outlets.

“Beauty is a battleground that a large amount of merchants are making an attempt to concentration on,” Musab Balbale, vice president of splendor at Walmart, explained to BoF previously this 12 months. “We’re bringing extra indie, niche makes into our merchants that would probably shock a purchaser 5 yrs ago.”

Movie star and Influencer Manufacturers

The splendor world additional very a several additional popular founders to its mix this calendar year, with a selection of famous people launching make-up, skincare and nail polish makes, both equally online by using their have e-commerce websites and in merchants like Sephora.

If executed nicely — feel Rihanna’s Fenty or Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics — a splendor model can be much more rewarding than the acting, singing, accomplishing or influencing gigs that the moment paid the costs.

“Being a founder is almost like successful an Emmy for celebs — they have to have that title now as very well,” explained Chris Ventry, vice president at consulting agency SSA & Corporation, of the increasingly energetic movie star splendor ­sector.

The concept isn’t new it’s the fee at which movie star models are coming out — coupled with the incubators created entirely to breed them — that has accelerated.

This yr, superstars coming into the magnificence field provided key names like Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston and Billie Eilish, who introduced makeup, skin care, hair care and fragrance brand names, respectively, this 12 months. Influencers also received in on the trend, with TikTok celebrity Addison Rae dropping a makeup manufacturer and fragrance line. Even male celebs hopped on board: Alex Rodriguez debuted a concealer, although Harry Designs and Equipment Gun Kelly (serious identify Colson Baker) released their nail color strains, Pleasing and UN/DN LAQR, months aside in late November and early December. There is still far more to arrive: Hailey Bieber and Scarlett Johansson announced lines that will drop upcoming calendar year.

“So several of these superstars have this covetable asset known as traffic,” Ventry claimed, meaning their passionate supporter bases. As a retailer, he noted, just one of the hardest matters to do is get targeted traffic — but even harder is converting that site visitors into a sale, even when a superstar has a crafted-in fan base.

A popular title can deliver curiosity, as Baker and Types proved. In the hours just after UN/DN LAQR and Pleasing launched, on the net queries for “men’s nail polish” surged by 420 % and 512 %, respectively, in accordance to details from style marketplace Lovethesales. For this new crop of brand names, even so, it continues to be to be noticed if individuals lookups will guide to sales.


When some could have resumed weekly manicures at the salon, a good deal nevertheless want to paint their fingers and toes at house. Together with that increase in at-residence manicures has come rising experimentation with nails, as both of those adult males and women of all ages have embraced every little thing from intricately painted nail art and daring colors to gradient and glitter press-ons.

Sarah Gibson Tuttle, founder and main govt of nail model Olive & June, explained sales increased by double digits this yr soon after currently growing 16 times in 2020. The brand sees continued fascination in both equally its polish and manicure “systems” that involve clippers, files, buffers, cuticle serums and “The Poppy,” a gadget that can make it less complicated to paint with your non-dominant hand.

Olive & June’s achievements is following business tendencies. According to the NPD Group, nail products and solutions offered in the US status market from January through November of this 12 months grew 14 % around 2020, with nail polish specifically increasing 13 per cent. Online, profits for anything nail linked improved 12 per cent from September 2020 to September 2021, with the nail category’s expansion outpacing both face and lip items, according to knowledge management system 1010information. On TikTok, the #NailArt hashtag amassed around 17 billion sights.

“[Nail products] taught people to give by themselves a variety of self care that lasts lengthier than almost anything at all else that they can do,” mentioned Gibson Tuttle. “If you set makeup on, if you give yourself a blowout, even if you get a therapeutic massage … What lasts a week or two weeks? Nails.”