At the beginning of each year, I share my predictions for the biggest upcoming trends in skin care. Keep reading to learn what I think will be the top 10 trends of 2022 (and what I think of them!).
1. Products Focused on Barrier Repair
Barrier repair was a trend I predicted would take off in 2021, and this prediction definitely came true. It seems like just a few years ago, not many people were even aware of the concept of the skin’s protective moisture barrier. Now, most people understand that a damaged barrier can contribute to almost every skin concern, from acne to sensitivity. If 2021 was the year of barrier education, this year we’ll see more products that cater to strengthening and repairing your skin’s moisture barrier.
It’s not that barrier-boosting products didn’t already exist, but I think the marketing will shift so that they’re labeled as such. Most of the ingredients that can help fortify your barrier are oil-based, so barrier-repairing products have traditionally been marketed to people with dry skin types. Anyone’s barrier can be compromised, though, so I think we’ll start to see more nuanced formulas that also cater to those with combination or oily skin types (I’m actually working on a product like this myself, stay tuned!).
2. Sensitive Skin Care
Fragrance-free, allergen-free, essential-oil-free—whatever you call it, we’ve been seeing an increase in products geared toward sensitive skin, and I definitely think this trend will continue to grow. I think it also ties into the trend of barrier repair somewhat.
For a long time, skin care was all about active ingredients. Everyone was trying to use as many as they could, as often as possible, be it vitamin C, retinol, or exfoliating acids. I definitely think this contributed to a bit of an epidemic of damaged barriers—people were just overdoing it. Now, as I mentioned, people really understand how important it is to have a strong foundation in the form of a healthy barrier. This has led to them seeking out gentler products that nourish the skin.
3. Reusable Skincare Accessories
As companies work to find new ways to be more sustainable and minimize waste, we’ll start seeing more of them put out reusable accessories. Refillable packaging has already been on the rise, but I’m noticing more things like washable “cotton rounds” and reusable face and eye masks. I’m definitely a fan of this and think it’s an innovative category. I’ve never really liked traditional, single-use sheet or eye masks, so I think it’s cool to have reusable ones that enhance the effects of your serums and other skin treatments.
4. Sophisticated Body-Care Routines
Skin care isn’t just for the face! Too often, we neglect the skin on our bodies while caring meticulously for our faces. Over time, this begins to show and things end up looking uneven. I can always tell, for example, when someone hasn’t been extending their skincare routine to their neck and chest. Another part of the body that often gives away someone’s age is the hands, which a lot of us don’t think to protect despite how exposed they are (here’s what I recommend for younger-looking hands).
This year, we’ll continue to see more sophisticated body care products that use the same ingredients as products you’d use for your face, including exfoliating acids, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Want to know more? Read about my winter body care routine that keeps dry skin at bay.
5. “Tweakments” (Like Lip Filler)
Minimally invasive cosmetic procedures, such as injectables or threading, have been skyrocketing in popularity, and I don’t see them slowing down any time soon. These treatments, sometimes dubbed “tweakments” since they’re considered less invasive or extreme than traditional cosmetic surgery, are also being sought out by younger and younger audiences.
Moving forward, I think we’ll continue to see a rise in people getting these procedures to “tweak” certain aspects of their appearance. Of course, no procedure seems to be as popular as lip filler, and this will probably be the case for quite some time.
I spoke to Dr. Sam Lam, a plastic surgeon in Dallas, to get his take on lip filler (especially people getting it at such a young age).
“Lip fillers are fantastic and problematic at the same time,” says Dr. Lam. “First and foremost, they’re way overdone—everyone is getting lips filled. Lips are typically the last thing I rejuvenate in older patients. I focus more on the eyes, jawline, and lines around the mouth. If you start with lips, even if they’re well-designed, the lips will end up looking younger than the rest of the face.”
“Younger patients are also getting their lips filled beyond the natural borders,” he added, “but I won’t do this for people. I believe it can quickly become too much. Women think the filler doesn’t stay so they keep on getting their lips filled, but it stays! They have done studies where 8 years later after a single syringe by MRI standards the product is still there. So this can definitely be an issue when someone starts young with lip filler because they end up becoming over-filled.”
6. Mushroom Ingredients
I work very closely with talented cosmetic chemists in order to formulate products, and they’ve been telling me that some of the most in-demand ingredients right now are mushroom extracts. There are, of course, different types of mushroom extracts, but almost all of them boast impressive anti-inflammatory capabilities. My personal favorite (and the one I formulate with) is silver ear mushroom, also known as Tremella fuciformis. This ingredient has been shown to strengthen the skin’s immune system, soothe irritation, and provide hydration.
7. Skin Supplements
Taking good care of your body and living a healthy lifestyle can undoubtedly improve the overall appearance of your skin. Companies are embracing this philosophy and starting to add skincare supplements to their lines, and I think we’ll see more of this in 2022. Curious whether or not they really work? Read my take on which skincare supplements might actually make a difference.
8. Maskne Solutions
Ah, maskne. An issue we’d all hoped would be in our rearview mirrors by now. Unfortunately, the need for masks hasn’t abated, and neither have the skin issues that accompany mask-wearing. In 2022, I think we’ll continue to see innovation in this area as companies try to come up with solutions for this unique concern. We’ve already seen silk masks meant to minimize friction as well as “anti-acne” masks infused with things like copper and silver to repel microbes. On the other hand, some have gone the skin care route with products meant to minimize mask-related acne. I actually launched this Rapid Response Maskne Spray, which uses the same hero ingredients to combat breakouts as the rest of my rapid response collection. I’ve also seen sprays targeting the irritation and inflammation associated with mask-wearing, and I think we can expect to see more products like that this year.
Learn how to manage maskne and irritation caused by face masks.
9. Cleansing Balms
Cleansing balms became very popular when K-beauty first took hold in the U.S., and they seem to be making a resurgence. My hope for this newer generation of cleansing balms is that the formulas become more sophisticated to improve rinsability. Let me explain. Traditional cleansing balms are made up entirely of oils and while oils are great for breaking down makeup and sunscreen, they’re really difficult to rinse off the skin since they repel water. This can leave a film on the skin, which makes it difficult for your other skincare products to penetrate.
This is why I’m more partial to transforming cleansers that start as a traditional balm consistency but emulsify once you add water. They’re still great for removing makeup and sunscreen while being much easier to rinse off the skin. (Hint: you may see a product like this from my line this year! Sign up for text messages to be the first to receive new product updates.)
Another K-beauty inspired trend, I’m noticing a rise in the popularity of essences (and couldn’t be more thrilled about it!). Essentially, I consider an essence to be a serum-infused toner. I’m a huge proponent of toners thanks to their ability to remove mineral build-up from tap water and instantly hydrate the skin. Infusing a toner with targeted ingredients can give you additional benefits above and beyond just hydration, so it’s a great step to have in your routine. I’ve always considered this toner from my line to be more of an essence, and it’s a fan-favorite thanks to its silky texture and skin-plumping abilities.
Honorable Mention: Celebrity Skincare Lines
This was a trend I predicted last year, and you can read more about my thoughts on why having a celebrity behind a brand isn’t necessarily a vote of confidence in my eyes. Essentially, celebrities are used as the face of a product line because their looks are aspirational to people, but their looks are never the result of the skincare line they’re promoting. For instance, when Jlo launched her line, I thought, “That’s great, but these products have only existed for a few months and I want to know what she’s been doing for the last 30 years!” Also, keep in mind that it’s almost never just skin care that keeps celebs looking the way they do—there are usually a lot of professional treatments going on behind the scenes as well. All in all, I think celebrity skincare brands are a little misleading. I also think people are starting to feel the fatigue since we saw SO many of them launch this past year, and now that this particular market is so saturated I believe we’ll see a decline in 2022.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”