After enduring the endlessly unpredictable year of 2020, we’d be amazed if anyone could tell us exactly what 2021 might look like before its even begun. But based on our shopping habits over the last 12 months, there are some clear indicators out there of how the world of beauty could change over the course of the next year – according to the experts from John Lewis & Partners, at least.
The department store has just unveiled its inaugural John Lewis Beauty Bets, a report which outlines the top 10 key trends that it forsees us all investing in going forward, based on a combination of detailed customer insight and opinions from the shop’s team of ultra-knowledgable beauty buyers.
As home to one of the best beauty halls on our high street, their suggestions are the closest thing we’ll get to a roadmap of our shopping habits for 2021; how accurate they’ll be remains to be seen, but either way, it makes for seriously interesting reading…
John Lewis beauty trends 2021: The predictions explained
1. Holistic beauty
‘As we move into the new year, beauty takes on an increasingly holistic approach,’ says Amelia Kendrick, Beauty Buyer for Emerging Beauty. ‘With the pandemic ensuring physical and mental health will continue to be main priorities in 2021, we are seeing the consumer demand more from their beauty products; not only must they make you look good, they need to make you feel good too – it’s about the 360 experience.’
This shift will take shape in the form of spikes in demand for supplements, sleep aids and wellness products; John Lewis notes huge growth in brands like Aromatherapy Associates this year, and anticipates Australian brand The Beauty Chef as a bestseller over the next 12 months.
2. Scaled-back make-up
From staying home more than ever to wearing face masks when we’re out and about, it’s no surprise that we’re less interested in overly complex make-up routines, instead choosing to focus on more in-depth skincare.
‘This new mood for minimalism, coupled with an ongoing strong customer desire to reduce waste, will see cosmetic bags contain smart kits featuring hardworking essentials: a light base or tinted moisturiser, lip balm or tint (which are already soaring at +122 per cent), a glow-giving cheek product and lengthening, natural-look mascara. Expansive tool sets will be replaced by a considered edit of do-it-all brushes or cushions, and we’ll see more finger-tip application giving a softer finish,’ John Lewis says.
3. Menopause ‘becomes mainstream’
In terms of beauty buying, the Dermaflash Luxe Anti-ageing Exfoliating & Peach Fuzz Removal device and the Anatome Menosupport + Renewal supplement were already among John Lewis’s bestsellers for 2020, suggesting even bigger growth in the category to come.
4. Hair wellness
Both John Lewis and Space NK reported a significant rise in sales of Olaplex throughout 2020 – at JL, the brand has been a runaway success with over 4,000 bottles sold (or enough to fill 5.2 bathtubs sold) to date.
In addition to our regular shampoo and condition, next year they suspect we’ll see the growth in popularity of additional products like scalp scrubs, serums and deep cleansers, containing nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid which have been more commonly found in skincare until now.
5. The natural look
Similar to the decline in full-face make-up noted by point too, John Lewis says 2021 is the year we’ll embrace the ‘unfiltered face’, celebrating our individual characteristics and reaching for low-maintenance products to help us embrace them rather than hide them away.
There’s already strong demand for tinted moisturisers, with online sales up by +81 per cent. ‘To complement this natural look, we will also see subtle glow-enhancers prove popular. We predict strong sales of highlighters, blushers and bronzers from brands such as Hourglass, NARS and Charlotte Tilbury. Throughout lockdown, bronzers proved popular with sales +147 per cent,’ the brand explains. They’re also backing the Benefit Brow Microfiling Pen to be a big seller for 2021 as we continue to covet big fluffy brows.
6. Home fragrance
‘With our homes having become not just our living spaces but also our offices, gyms, schools and restaurants, never has it been more important to make them feel as comfortable and desirable as possible,’ says Joe Coggrave, Beauty Buyer for Skincare and Fragrance. ‘It is for this reason home fragrances are going to be an important category into next year and beyond.’
According to John Lewis, in 2021 we’ll take inspiration from the concept of a perfume wardrobe and bring that into our home spaces too, with key players in the category said to be Diptyque, Le Labo and Jo Malone.
7. Discovery and education
‘The joy of the beauty hall lies in the ability to discover new brands, trial out textures, test colours and sample scents to find your next beauty favourite. However, current restrictions in shops have meant that the traditional mode of testing is, in many cases, no longer possible. As such the beauty industry is having to adapt, and for 2021 we will see this done through beauty boxes, discovery sets, travel miniatures and virtual eventing,’ John Lewis says of this next trend.
Customers appear to be especially interested in curated edits (both the Discovery Beauty Box and Advent Calendar sold out in record time this year), as well as online beauty masterclasses as they further their beauty education from home. They’re also more likely to give new or niche brands a chance in the name of this exploration.
8. Buy less and better
Looking ahead, John Lewis says we’ll be investing in more premium products, but balancing this out by reducing our routines and investing in the formulas that really work for us. They put this down partially to sustainability efforts – having seen a huge uptake of their BeautyCycle recycling scheme which launched in 2019 – and partially from the perspective of self-gifts that lift our mood during turbulent times and allow us to access high-end names that might otherwise be out of reach.
‘While a Chanel handbag might be out of reach for many, a Chanel bronzer, at £40, is far more accessible,’ they say – indeed, Laurie Cilberto, Beauty Buyer for Make Up shares that ‘Chanel’s iconic Soleil cream bronzer has been one of our biggest selling products in the make-up category in 2020, with enough sold to fill 17,000 2.55 bags.’
9. Serious skincare
Considering we’ve already touched on focusing on skincare over make-up and deepening our product knowledge, it makes sense that another trend we’ll see next year will be interest in result-driven skincare that can give professional-level results at home. This will manifest across new and established brands, from Sunday Riley and Kate Somerville to ‘the big three’ of Clarins, Clinique and Estée Lauder (the latter’s recently reformulated Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex has already seen a 34 per cent increase year on year).
Gadgets will also be part of the process, and we won’t be afraid to spend on them – John Lewis’s current bestseller is the MZ Skin Light-Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device Five- Coloured Light Treatment, which is priced at £385.
10. The everyday ritual
‘We’ve also seen a huge surge in customer demand for bath and body gift sets from brands including Diptyque, Le Labo, Molton Brown, Rituals and L’Occitane,’ John Lewis details. ‘Offering a full bathing kit, they allow the customer to experience an end-to-end ritual at home without having to spend on full-sized products.’
In short, we’re putting more time, effort and money into our everyday tasks, creating at-home spa experiences and even turning acts like handwashing into something of a ‘ritual’ to find comfort and relaxation from inside our own four walls. In line with this, John Lewis has already sold enough Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash to fill 285 bathroom sinks.