Whereas beauty products used to be designed for the sole purpose of improving the appearance of the user, this is all changing. Beauty products are now increasingly being formulated to achieve incidental benefits like improving skin condition, providing sun protection to the skin, fighting inflammation and the aging process and helping the environment.
Advances in science and tech have led to new innovations which are incorporated into beauty products to achieve a range of simultaneous benefits for the user. The days of the old-fashioned powder puff and powder are long gone and this article will explore these developments in detail, asking why they have come about and also charting what beauty trends are likely to abound in 2020.
Eagle-eyed fashion writers watch important fashion events like the Met Gala very intently to devine what trends will emerge as the year progresses, and the article will explore what trends are taking hold after the May 2019 Met Gala ball. Other events, like London Fashion Week will be considered in an attempt to predict what “looks” will become popular as 2019 draws to a close.
A Shift Towards Beauty Products With Multiple Benefits And Incidental Benefits
Gone are the days when a moisturiser, did just that – moisturise. Moisturisers, these days pack a powerful punch, like the latest serum out of Facile
Dermatology + Boutique which penetrates deep into the skin’s deeper layers of epidermis and stimulates new skin cell growth, leading to an anti-aging and skin tightening effect. Similar products tap into the body’s natural repair processes and stimulate repair overnight. A good example is Melatonik
, which uses melatonin to stimulate the body’s natural repair process and which prepares the skin for oxidative stress from pollution and inflammation the following day. The Kalmes
range of skincare products have been designed by a scientist founder whose aim was to use his dermatology background to produce a range of skincare products that also address common skin problems like rosacea, eczema and inflammation.
Other incidental benefits include skin-healing ingredients being incorporated into skincare products. An ingredient – Cira that has been used for healing in the Asian culture for decades has recently been incorporated into skincare products with great success. Google searches for “cira balm” have increased 800 percent
since 2016. There is also a growing trend towards the incorporation of probiotics
into skincare products, and this is expected to open up several new product ranges for niche manufacturers in 2020.
Shimmer And Glow
The range of products being used on skin apart from the face is growing in line with trends surrounding body makeup. Products that tan, add shimmer and glitter to the body are growing in popularity, fuelling a trend known as “head-to-toe glow
” and accessorising the skin. Many commentators agree that this trend started gaining popularity with celebrities on the red carpet, but has now evolved to become more within the reach of the everyday beauty product consumer. Related trends that have emerged include customisable body jewelry, including products formulated to closely match different skin tones and colours.
Cher led the charge for shimmer and glow at this year’s Met Gala
with her use of crystals and Sara Sampaio also used crystals to line the inner corners of her eyes, as well as in her hair’s centre parting. Other celebrities, including Lady Gaga used crystals by sticking them around their eyebrows to create asymmetrical looks and challenge norms applicable to eyebrows.
Nails are big in 2019 as people are paying more and more attention to nails as part of an overall look. Detailed nail art
, with casual as well as more sophisticated nail art designs trending is taking hold as a much more central tenet of “getting ready” for an occasion. Some are using established brands like Gucci
to create extra impact with their nail designs, whereas playful, “cute” designs, like fried egg motifs on nails are also in vogue, depending on the context. Nail art in 2019 is also pushing traditional norms in nail fashion by featuring different motifs, colours and styles on individual fingernails, thus bucking a long held tradition of matching designs and colours across all nails.
Global trends in diversity
are beginning to be reflected in beauty product ranges. Black people, now more than ever are able to get a range of choice in skincare that was never available before. Historically, makeup was manufactured to cater for white, western needs and the needs of different ethnicities were simply overlooked. Mainstream manufacturers like L’Oreal
now offer over 20 different shades
in many of their foundation products to reflect different skin colours and tones. In 2019 niche providers, catering solely for ethnic skin tones are springing up, with Nuhanciam
being one notable example.
Manufacturers are more accountable than ever these days, particularly in the advent of social media where a manufacturer can be brought to its knees due to backlashes from the public over racism and diversity issues. A prime example is when Dove
was forced to apologise
when one of its ads showed a black woman turning into a white woman. As such, beauty product brands are not just catering to aesthetic needs, rather they are taking a more holistic view of their products and their impact on the world around them, not just the impact in terms of their primary functions.
Although the issue of animal welfare is taken more seriously by some brands more than others, in 2019, there is a definite trend towards selling and manufacturing products that are “cruelty free”, as ethically conscious consumers
are demanding more cruelty free products.
1980s And 1990s Influences On Eye Makeup And Foundation
2019 has so far been a fruitful year as “big” events like the Met Gala have highlighted many new trends, like the new trend for “bright eyes”
. For eye makeup, the 1980s seems to have returned in a muted resurgence of loud, impactful colours on eyelids designed to make eyes “pop” – not quite the same as the 1980s, but reminiscent of the era with a few important caveats. At this year’s Met Gala, Celine Dion wore a striking yellow eye makeup to set off her Oscar de la Renta bodysuit, while Camila Mendes used a stunning yellow eyeliner to create an unforgettable look.
These days science underpins many makeup trends and eye makeup application is no exception. Makeup artists emphasise the use of a good quality, sheer primer before makeup is applied to the eye. The rationale is that the primer absorbs any smudging and “fallout” in the makeup application process, allowing for precise applications in notoriously delicate areas like the eyelid and the undereye.
Traditional rules continue to be applied to eye makeup application routines, for example the idea of offsetting green eyes with reddish undertones found in purple, pinks and bronzes. For blue eyes, more “earthy” tones are recommended for example orange, plum and red. Jewel-coloured tones, for example purples and blues are recommended to complement brown eyes this season. This season, though much focus is being placed on blending eye makeup from the inner corner of the eye, across the entire eyelid, mostly to create a more dramatic look.
This season’s eye makeup trends also include a resurgence of the monochrome look, where an overall theme emerges from nail, eye and lip colours combined. In fact, some see this as a resurgence of looks that were popular in the 1990s. Among those espousing this view is Director of makeup artistry at MAC Cosmetics
, Terry Barber. In the job since 1994, Terry has seen a few trends come and go. One he particularly notices is the tendency to use a heavily lined lip again in 2019 – a throw back to the 1990s. Like most fashion trends that have become popular again, having seen a period of decline, the trend towards heavily lined lips is slightly different after its resurgence. Now, makeup artists are graduating and blending the liner into the main colour used on the lips. The look is supposedly softer and more subtle. As in the 1990s, lip balms are also in vogue, but again with a slight caveat. Whereas the 1990s lip gloss was high shine and appeared bolder, the lip gloss of 2019 is more balmy and understated. Other 1990s looks
coming back into fashion include glass skin, latex lips and heavy contouring.
For foundations in 2019 makeup artists aim to achieve a dewy and natural finish, definitely a marked departure from the powdery, matte finishes of yesteryear. Scientific advances have made this “dewy” look possible, since most foundations now incorporate ingredients that are kind to the skin, and aim to improve its overall condition.
Candy And Pastel Coloured Hair
A major take-away
of the Met Gala 2019 was the theme of candy-coloured hair. Influencer Kylie Jenner made a bold statement with waist length violet tones in her hair. One of the “rising stars” showcased at the Met Gala, Lucy Boynton made a statement with a cornflower blue tone in her hair. Other iconic fashion figures who opted to create impactful hair with “candy” themed colours included Kristen Stewart, whose green shades made headlines, Donatella Versace who displayed neon tangerine tones in her hair and Regina Hall whose washed-out crimson hair garnered lots of attention. Hamish Bowles of Vogue wore a purple outfit, complemented by hair dyed mint green, cerulean and daffodil.
Another take away from the 2019 Met Gala is the trend towards statement eyelashes
. Lady Gaga’s eyelashes at this year’s Met Gala were very large and featured a gilded set of gold leaf adornments. Others whose eyelashes packed a punch included Gigi Hadid whose eyelashes were cast in gray foils and Priyanka Copra’s whose lashes were tipped in silver. Lykke Li’s lashes featured a stunning feathered effect coupled with a deep crimson makeup on her eyelids.
Formulation Of Beauty Products
In 2019 the quality of ingredients used in beauty products is coming under intense scrutiny from customers. Manufacturers are being forced to be more open about where ingredients are sourced from and to defend the quality of the ingredients in the face of consumers who are evaluating products more than ever. In the information age, manufacturers are increasingly being held to account for their supply chains and the concentrations of ingredients and their properties. We can expect to see this trend develop in 2020.
Environmental And Sustainability Issues
Beauty products in 2019 are also being designed with incidental environmental and sustainability benefits. With their “naked” range, Lush
is taking pioneering steps to create a zero packaging
approach to selling beauty products. Lush products are being manufactured without plastic packaging and will typically take solid form for example solid form shampoo and make-up. Other makeup manufacturers are following suit and aligning their manufacture processes with environmental aims, for example L’Oreal has pledged a 60% reduction
in water consumption per manufactured product by 2020. Similiarly, Unilever
has pledged to halve the water used in the manufacture of their products by 2020.
Streamlining Beauty Regimes
Another trend that is emerging in 2019 and expected to continue into 2020 are beauty products that perform “all-in-one” functions, like moisturisers that also provide protection against sun damage or moisturisers that also tan and colour the skin. This is sometimes referred to as “skip-care” which means that traditional steps associated with skincare are eliminated by products that have multiple benefits. Phyto
, for example has developed a product that nourishes the hair, but also the scalp.
Hair Pieces And Styles
2019 is seeing hair arranged in styles that are increasingly dramatic. It seems that, for hair in 2019, understated is definitely “out”. Indeed, this year’s Met Gala attendees channeled Marie Antoinette with hundreds of ceiling high hairstyles. With hair piled on top of their heads to reach dramatic proportions many of this year’s up and coming celebrities and influencers paid homage to one of 2019’s quirkier trends, with some even going as far as to spray political messages on to their hair pieces. For example, Lupita Nyong’o added spray-painted “fight the power” hair clips in gold to her afro, creating a modern and impactful look. Hair accessories were equally dramatic in this year’s Met Gala event, with Lily Collin’s wearing a white headband complemented by lots of tiny flowers. The brushed-back look, reminiscent of the 1980s featured in some of the high profile attendees’ looks and many sculpted hair-up hairstyles to dramatic heights. One attendee, Ciara, even donned a seven foot tall afro!
Caps, wigs, extensions and other hair pieces were used liberally at the 2019 Met Gala. Jennifer Lopez wore a stunning chandelier-effect beaded headpiece that sparkled and glowed. Other celebrities worn head wraps and caps, with some opting to wear matching styles for husband and wife, like Gabrielle Union and her husband Dwayne Wade who both wore matching, embellished caps to complement their outfits.
The evolution of tech is impacting beauty trends in 2019, with several manufacturers involved in serious “behind the scenes” races to get certain concepts developed. One example is perfume providers working on a means of transmitting
smell via the internet. Other innovations include gesture-shaped packaging, like that developed by Glossier
. Glossier has invented a lip-balm which opens conveniently because its packaging mimics the size and shape of the palm and thumb – the area used to hold traditional pots of lip balms. The design also features a conveniently flippable hinged swivel which makes the product easy and convenient to flip open and closed, catering to the needs of people who use lip balm several times a day, by mimicking the design of a mobile phone in terms of how it opens and closes.
“Looks” That Are Impactful On Social Media
Tech has other interesting impacts on beauty trends, for example the trends towards creating products that, in turn create looks that are easier to display on social media platforms like Instagram
. This phenomenon was much talked about at the most recent London Fashion Week
where outrageous fashion accessories are increasingly selected, not just for their impact on consumers, but for their potential to fuel a successful social media campaign.
Beauty In 2019
Beauty in 2019 is drawing in profits for retailers and brands like never before. It helps every retailer selling products within the beauty sector to pay attention to what trends are popular as this will allow them to make helpful predictions about what fashion lines to invest in and what products to stock in abundance.
As we have seen from the article, beauty in 2019 is increasingly being redefined in original ways for example with trends towards making political statements on hair pieces and new norms emerging from manicures and nail art. Some trends that have seen decline over the past few decades have rebounded, perhaps most notably in the form of statement eye makeup redolent of the 1980s and 1990s. New innovations driven by science and technology advances are also making their mark on the 2019 beauty scene, perhaps most notably the trend towards creating incidental benefits with beauty products, like moisturisers that protect the skin from sun or add longlasting tint to skin.