What the year 2021 has in store for us ?

 This year’s exclusively digital edition of Cosmetic 360 was held on 12 and 13 October 2020.

Dubbed e-Cosmetic 360, its theme was ‘mindful innovation’. The impact of industry changes, major social and environmental challenges of our time, and the COVID-19 pandemic were all apparent at e-Cosmetic 360.

Over 100 product innovations, raw materials, services, and technologies, and a focus on three big trends that have surfaced this year:

  1. green beauty = environmental conscience
  2. beauty tech = connected conscience
  3. test performance = deep conscience

For several years now, the trend agency Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation has been a privileged partner of the fair. In 2020, you were able to find the agency in the conference program, hosted by the agency's founder Leïla Rochet; as well as behind our trend e-bar which allowed you to take a tour of the world's most innovative cosmetics products.

It is therefore only natural that Cosmetic 360 and Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation renew their partnership in 2021. 

At the beginning of this year, Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation offers you an overview of the 2021 trends, which you will certainly find among the next innovations presented on 13 and 14 October.




Top 5 Beauty Predictions for 2021 (&Beyond)


2020 has been the year of acceleration of significant trends and a year that has reshaped the market forever, as consumers have disrupted their behavior in the way they shop, their needs, and their beauty aspirations. As 2021 has started, hopes are emerging, and brands need to prepare for the new normal.

Consumers have lived through a year of new experimentations, more in-depth knowledge through digitalization, and have had the time to think about what they truly value in their lives (and their Beauty).

2021 will be essential to reinvent, find new dimensions of excellence and luxury, redefine values, meet new requirements, and participate in resilience.

This article highlights 5 of the main trends to be ahead of the beauty game in 2021 and beyond to prepare for what's next—an extract of a white paper available at the agency.


  1. From Transparency to Radical Traceability


As trust is the new currency, safety and wellness become key; brands will need to explore radical traceability solutions.

Transparency is a prerequisite of conscious consumption, and 2020 has reinforced the need to make a safe choice for anything applied on skin. Moreover, reaching global wellbeing implies ethical decisions, especially in luxury.  IPSOS Luxury survey shows that 90% of the affluent Chinese expect brands to have an ethical/ecological commitment, and 88% expect them to respect animal wellbeing. More than words, consumers call for facts. 

According to the UEBT, consumers expect more information on packaging: 82% want to know the origin of ingredients, and 78% wish to know the social impact of sourcing local ingredients. In 2020, the discussion on ethical sourcing accelerated.  In the USA, Beautycounter has made a massive communication on responsible sourcing, pointing out the “clean” origin of their Mica and the urgency to fight against hidden forced labor.

British E-Retailer, Cult, has cooperated with the blockchain technology platform Provenance to collect information about the source, ingredients, craftsmanship, and requirements of its products, and then use evidence to prove the authenticity of this information.


  1. From "Skinification" to augmented "Healthification."

"Skinification" was the major trend in 2020, as consumers shifted from makeup to the "pandemic-proof" skincare market. But what 2020 has taught us is the importance of prevention for our health. According to Innova's Consumer Survey 2020, "six out of ten global consumers are increasingly looking for F&B products that support their immune health. One in three says that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019".

A healthy complexion has always been the quintessence of Beauty, but consumers are actively looking at ingredients that bring more than a quick fix or beautiful makeup.

According to WWD, Vitamins, supplements, and even homeopathic remedies experienced unprecedented levels of demand during the April coronavirus pandemic in the US. We have seen skincare transitioning to self-care, as consumers were spending more time at home, dealing with anxiety and their mental health. Interest in wellness has increased, and new brands are taking the stand to answer this new need. Psychotherapy brand Disciple offers a holistic approach to stress-relief and answers to anxiety-related skin issues such as acne.

The British wellness DTC brand Nue Co. launched Forest Lungs, a fragrance "supplement" intended to "deliver the healing effects of nature to the body [and] support the reduction of everyday stress."  


  1. From Skintellectualization to "Science Inside"

The "skintellectualization" of Beauty has emerged as a significant trend in 2020, propelled by Gen Z.

Empowered by digital tools, these consumers are armed with in-depth Beauty knowledge and are now "ingredient wizards", even more attentive to INCI. Online, they are building a digital Beauty library, thanks to all the knowledge passed on forums, Reddit, Youtube, and social media.

Simultaneously, a new generation of influencers such as skincare guru By Hyram in the US or Secret de Peau (Laurent Pan) in France, deciphers every product. Ready to make the next leap, ingredient-focused brand Inkey List drives the trend with a pedagogical approach to imperfections, specific protocols, and a radical education of consumers.

While recent years' fascination for mystical wellness was key, led by gurus such as Gwyneth Paltrow, we now see a renewed quest for scientific legitimacy. 2020 was the year of the emergence of scientific expert brands such as Dr. Barbara Sturm. Her website relaunch in September 2020 focused on more educational features, propelling the views to  + 400%, according to Glossy. Co. Dr. Barbara Sturm's success embodies this new quest for science reinforcement – calling for experts, doctors, PHD with solid backgrounds and claims backed with scientific facts.


  1. From Sustainability to Eco Celebration

The recent sanitary crisis led to an acceleration of the expectation of consumers for purpose-driven and sustainable solutions. Mc Kinsey mentions "sustainability first”, while 57% of consumers in Germany and the UK declared, "they had made significant changes to their lifestyles to lessen their environmental impact."

2020 was a significant year in sustainability stand up from brands in all markets. From zero-waste dining restaurants, zero-waste design, second-hand fashion or trashion (fashion with trash), innovation with eco-friendly solutions have accelerated, pushing brands to rethink packaging, product-delivery system, and delivery. New refills solutions (ex Unilever, Clarins Eco-Bar, Shiseido) have propelled the concept of zero waste beyond Indie. In the USA, Clean retailer Credo has sped up their Clean 2.O philosophy prioritizing sustainability by announcing that in 2023 they will banish single-use packaging, from single-use masks to testing wands in store.  Same for Selfridges in the UK, progressing in reducing its "plastic footprint" banning wipes to plastic-based glitter. All-over bold moves in the context of a sanitary crisis


  1. From Lockdown Beauty to Unleashing Freedom

2020 lockdown transformed homes into safe life-spaces and wellness sanctuaries.

This "home-hubbing" behavior created new needs, like self-care, intimate skincare, or the quest for minimalism. Lockdown was also an opportunity to self-experiment. Makeup became a powerful tool to fight boredom and fuel personal creativity. From maximalist nudes to extreme color payoffs, "lockdown looks", we witnessed the rise of highly creative looks shared on social media. Some 46% of women and 41% of men said they've spent more time on social media during the pandemic (source: Business.com). Instagram story, Tik Tok, and Twitch thus became the perfect platforms to boost self-expression, fight boredom, and seek inspiration. These platforms privilege movement, fun, freedom, far away from the lavish looks of Instagram and the hybridization of the virtual and real world.

Shining example: the collaboration Travis Scott x Byredo gave birth to the Space Rage perfume, which encapsulates the essence of space to fly from home. The virtual gathering also increased to connect meaningfully, express creativity, and feel alive. Beauty brands surfed the trend: Morphe collaborated with the d'Amelio sisters on TikTok, and ELF created ASMR-like videos for their new Mint Collection. New into cosmetics market, we also explore the impact of Twitch in Makeup.


This article is an extract from a white paper produced by the Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation agency, also providing concrete solutions to allow brands to adapt and approach the future of Beauty with genius and creativity. Find more on Cosmetics inspiration & Creation website.

Curious about the future of Beauty? The Cosmetics Creation & Inspiration Forecasting & Consulting agency released a complete trend-book, Beauty Revivalism, on the US's major post-COVID shifts, identifying prospective territories and innovation opportunities for Beauty brands. Contact the agency for more information.





*Credit photo: Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation -  Los Angeles - Art District Hauser