According to Euromonitor, in 2021, the global skin care market will be worth $162.6bn. The sector continues to dazzle as one of beauty world’s fastest growing categories, with 2020 confirming its place as the ‘indisputable year of skincare’, due to a renewed emphasis on wellness, self-care and the ‘dreaded lockdown skin’.  As video calling became vital, ‘maskne’; skin breakouts caused by wearing masks became a problem, and consumers had more time on their hands - without access to beauty salons, spas and treatments, skincare became a bigger focus.


When talking about skincare these days it’s important to talk about the whole body and not just break it down into facial care and body care. The skin, as the largest organ of the body (with a total area of about 20 square feet) has the need of a skincare routine as much as the face does, and both heritage and discovery brands are developing this awareness. So, consumers are still reaching for creams, serums and oils for that coveted ‘glowing face’, but will also be investing in scrubs, butters, jellys, exfoliants and serums that aim to provide the same quality of care for the body, as products designed for facial care.



‘Slow beauty’, ‘skip-care’ and ‘skinimalism’ are being predicted as key market drivers, with consumers to ‘buy fewer, but better’. Many people will have far less expendable cash as a result of the economic downturn, post-Covid, alongside an increasing awareness of the impacts the beauty industry is having on the environment and climate change.
Over the past few years we have seen the epic rise of Korean skincare routines, anti-ageing turned to pro-ageing, the ‘glowing skin’ phenomenon, the scientific only approach swing into organic only to shift back to ‘clean beauty’ with naturals backed by science in terms of efficacy and sustainability, and skin diversity begin to come to the fore, with launches such as Unilever’s  Melé; made with ingredients that ‘nourish, enhance and protect the beauty of melanin-rich skin’. We are also seeing skincare targeted to specific lifestyle stages and factors, and ‘ingredients’ become more important than ever. Take the meteoric rise of Vitamin A; Retinol or bakuchiol (touted as the natural alternative to retinol), the recent CBT focused ranges, or the ‘skin boosters’ including 2 of the most recent popular ingredients; Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide; now that consumers are skincare experts -  the opportunities are vast!
Recent statistics tell us, that in 2020 ‘Maskne’ has become one of the most searched skincare concerns globally, up +16,668% according to Trendanalytics. Boots UK released information saying that face masks followed by moisturisers were the fastest growing areas, and Euromonitor has found that consumers are prioritising looking healthy as their most important beauty ideal, with only 30% saying their perception of beauty was keeping a youthful appearance.


Thanks to brands such as The Ordinary and The Inkey List and their consumer education resources, ingredient-led skincare is taking the beauty industry by storm. Boots reported a 100% increase in sales from this category alone in 2019, which led in 2020 to the brand launching their own ingredient-led ‘affordable and effective’ skincare range.
John Lewis in their ‘Beauty Bets’ Report 2020 said that products including vitamin C were seeing a huge uplift (up +248%), with the Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Vitamin C and Turmeric Glow Serum proving particularly popular. Pixi (famous for their much copied Glow Tonic) have just launched a Vitamin-C Remedy Mask packed with a blend of citrus, green tea, ferulic acid and ginseng. 


Fragrances were once the product of choice for celebrities in the beauty sector, but as the appeal for celebrity scents has been declining since 2016, and the skincare sector has been outpacing colour cosmetics since 2017, it’s not a great surprise that celebrities have turned to the lucrative skincare sector. 
In 2020 Pharrell Williams launched his long-awaited skin care line Humanrace, with the three products designed to fulfil the most basic requirements of a skin-care routine: prepare, repair and protect. The Rice Powder Cleanser arrives dry (picking up on the trend for waterless beauty) and includes fruit alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) plus kaolin clay, whilst the Lotus Enzyme Exfoliant is formulated with glycolic acid, and the Humidifying Cream contains snow mushroom extract; a moisture-binding, organic ingredient with roots in Chinese medicine.
Rihanna extended her beauty remit with Fenty Skin in the summer of 2020, initially with 3 eco-conscious, coral-reef friendly, gender neutral products; Fenty Skin Total Cleans'r, FAT WATER Pore-Refining Toner Serum and Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor SPF Moisturiser. Barbados Cherry is the hero ingredient of the range, alongside fig, green tea, watermelon, aloe, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and Japanese raisin tree. 
Jennifer Lopez’s famously radiant glow and time defying complexion is much admired, so JLo Beauty, seemed the next logical step for the music mogul. The skincare range includes eight products; a gel cream cleanser, a serum, a mask, a 'wonder' cream, a broad spectrum SPF moisturiser, an eye cream, a 'complexion booster' and a dietary supplement. The line's star ingredient is the 'JLo Beauty Olive Complex’; a 4-part olive blend of squalane, fermented oil, extra virgin oil and leaf extract. The inclusion of a supplement reinforces the nutrition angle of ‘beauty from the inside out’.
Also leaning into the wellness trend, as we entered 2021, is the new skincare line from Alicia Keys; Soulcare, which aims to connect beauty with lifestyle and nutrition. The Skin Transformation Cream is a concoction of ceramides, hyaluronic acid and bakuchiol. The line also includes; Golden Cleanser, Luminous Exfoliation Powder, Reviving Aura Mist, Comforting Balm and Harmony Mask, each with a skincare benefit, ‘soulcare benefit’ and affirmation.


According to Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey 2020 Key Insights Report, the top global skin concerns are; Acne-related issues (49%), Ageing skin (44%), Lifestyle concerns (34%), Sensitive skin (33%) and Hormone-related (9%).
We are already seeing hormone related skincare  products launch, such as Avon’s new Adapt skin care range; a trio of products that are designed to alleviate hot flushes, dry and sagging skin, aiming to cater to menopausal and perimenopausal women. Faace, a range of lifestyle-focused masks, will be launching Menopause Faace, formulated to help tackle loss of elasticity and collagen, and reboot the skin’s circulation, which changes during the menopause.
Searches for ‘self-care’ increased 26.9% in the US during the year to November 2020 (Spate) and this blending of health, lifestyle, self-care, holistic practices, wellbeing and skin will be even greater from 2021 onwards. Brands will be focusing on launching ranges based on 2 key factors; how the product will make consumers look, in other words; physical skin health as well as how it will make them feel; emotional wellbeing.
Again, we are already seeing launches that blend key ingredients, lifestyle and health such as; This Works new Stress Check Body Cocoon; a ‘supersized, naturally stress-busting’ body lotion with CBD, shea butter, ylang ylang, neroli and lavender essential oils to ‘help comfort and revitalise skin and promote a sense of wellbeing’. Susanne Kaufmann’s new Toning Body Serum will be taking the holistic wellbeing approach further. Her new launch, which blends caffeine, tiger grass and boldo to help boost skin metabolism, also promises to help enhance the skin-firming results of regular workouts and the detox benefits of an improved diet.
Reducing the effects of blue light will be the ‘anti-pollution’ sectors new direction, as we all spend more time in front of screens at home. The Body Shop is ahead of the game, at mass level, with their new Drops of Youth Bouncy Jelly Mist, designed to protect the skin from the harmful effects of blue light.
Lastly, the category which is definitely worth a mention is antibacterial. This is not a category you would necessarily link to skincare, although prebiotics and probiotics have been around for a while now and acne treatments a lot longer. However, that was pre-Covid and continuous sanitiser launches.  Now facial skincare launches are taking a new approach to bacteria. Fortify+, for example, is a new range of skincare harnessing the power of Zeolite; a mineral helping fight viral bodies and eradicate germs. This type of skincare launch is for ‘the new normal’ where the fear of putting anything sanitising on your face will become a distant concern!