5 beauty industry trends on the rise in 2021

While 2020 affected many sectors, things are starting to look up again. The beauty industry is no different. According to reports, beauty product sales dropped by 30% in the first half of 2020. However, the pandemic seems to have changed the attitude people have towards beauty products as a PowerReviews survey found that individuals are 40% more likely to try something new and 59% of consumers spend the same amount of money, if not more, on beauty products as they did prior to the pandemic. It seems that everyone is willing to practice more self-care than before.

With that in mind, what are some of the beauty industry trends that we can expect in the second half of 2021 and further? Keep on reading to learn more.

Inclusivity still reigns supreme

Since Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty back in 2017, the industry has made an effort to be more inclusive. For example, Macy’s and Sephora are among major retailers that have made the 15 Percent Pledge – a promise that 15% of shelf space will be committed to Black-owned businesses. However, this inclusivity is not focused only on the color of people’s skin. Companies are also expanding their offers of male personal care and beauty products beyond basic hygiene and face washes. They are now including eye creams, face masks, and makeup, among many different products to attract a new generation of male consumers. Taking it a step further, there are brands that understand that gender-neutral beauty products are also a necessity as more and more individuals, especially Gen Z, see gender as a spectrum. Everything from makeup to fragrance is packaged and marketed in a unisex way. Lastly, individuals that don’t belong to the 18-35 age group also want to feel included, which is why more and more companies are looking to cater to baby boomers and Gen X as well as babies and children. From menopausal skincare products to fragrance-free baby lotions, all people should be able to find a product that is right for them. What this also does is create various niches so that people can start companies that cater to specific consumers.

Personalization is getting more sophisticated

Besides inclusivity, personalization is another trend that is going strong. However, with new technology, refined methods are available to create even more customized offers for consumers. An Accenture study found that 75% of consumers would purchase a personalized recommendation. With that in mind, brands have made an effort in creating different offerings that are personalized to each consumer. There is a wide variety of approaches that beauty companies take in order to ensure their customers are satisfied with their products. For example, quizzes are a method that can provide companies with many customer-specific preferences. By answering questions about themselves, their skincare routines, and affinities, consumers can get products that suit their lifestyles. On the other hand, there are DNA testing kits that allow companies to create products based on their clients’ genes and at-home devices that measure various conditions that make it possible to create the best products for the clients’ circumstances. Moreover, custom printing is a method where companies create specific products based on users’ needs. For instance, MAC Shanghai allows customers to 3D print custom eyeshadow palettes. There is also the option of shoppers trying out different makeup options with the help of AR-powered cosmetics tools.

Technology is making more things possible

In addition to helping personalize the products, technology has found itself in many other parts of the beauty industry. For example, the above-mentioned virtual try-on technology makes it possible to test products from big brands like L’Oréal, MAC Cosmetics, and Estée Lauder, thanks to their 2020 partnership with Google. Moreover, augmented technology has many other applications in the beauty industry. The Taiwan-based beauty company, Perfect Corp has an AI-powered diagnostic tool that lets users analyze their skin in real-time. From wrinkles and eye bags to redness and spots, this tool is used to provide customers with personalized recommendations. Besides makeup, users can also try out different hair and nail colors. What is more, beauty companies are also leveraging big data for both product development and marketing. They can easily collect data about their consumers through their spending habits, browser searches, and various questionnaires.

Products and services are more accessible

Trying out products using various AI tools and having them delivered is just one part of the accessibility that the beauty industry comes with nowadays. As COVID-19 started closing down spas and salons, individuals started offering in-house services. Whether it’s hair, nails, facials, or massages, professionals that have completed a range of beauty courses are willing to bring these services straight to their client’s home. While the state of the world might be improving, this is one trend that might stick around for the long run. Moreover, there are also apps all over the world that have the goal of connecting beauty service providers with clients in need as well as consulting apps where clients speak with experts in the field online and get sent what they need to their home address. For example, ManiMe is a company that uses 3D scanning and printing to create personalized press-on nails that are sent to users while Coral has a fully automated device that can provide manicures at home in development.

Sustainability and transparency are a must

Lastly, there are two very important things that consumers expect from beauty companies nowadays – sustainability and transparency. In terms of sustainability, it ranges from production and realizing that biosynthetic ingredients are a great alternative all the way to packaging and using containers that can be recycled, refilled, and reused. Consumers care about the planet and want to see big brands take action in preserving it. Estée Lauder and L’Oréal, for example, have announced plans to reach carbon neutrality. When it comes to transparency, customers expect to know what ingredients the products they use are made of. As consumers have started to realize that not everything synthetic is bad and not everything natural is good, they are more appreciative of transparency than labels such as “clean”.


Trends in the beauty industry are various but ensuring that a wide range of sustainable and inclusive beauty products is accessible to everyone is something that is here to stay.