Daily Vanity Logo

To say that the beauty industry is ever-evolving would be an understatement. Each year, we see a new crop of ingredients and trends rise to prominence across categories of skincare, makeup, hair, and even nails.

In 2021, beauty enthusiasts and experts endlessly gushed about our microbiome, “milk tea”-inspired makeup, and the modern mullet. This coming year, we’re expecting the trends to be just as dynamic and diverse.

Of course, we aren’t simply going to toss 2021’s trends into the gutter, which is why Daily Vanity will be sifting through the top trends of the past year to pick out the ones that are worth keeping, and the ones to say goodbye to forever.

Trends we’re keeping: Skincare

Supporting your skin’s microbiome

beauty trends 2021 roundup microbiome

Credit: xFrame.io

2021 saw an even stronger focus on our skin’s microbiome – and for a good reason. A thriving microbiome is able to prevent a whole host of skin issues, from eczema and rosacea to acne and even premature ageing. This means that the greater the variety of bacterial species we have on our skin, the healthier our skin barrier will be.

It’s no surprise then that 2021 saw brands launching products infused with probiotics. But apart from cutting down on excessive exfoliation, skipping harsh cleansers, and slathering on probiotic-rich skincare products, a good way to keep your microbiome healthy and flourishing is to support it from within.

Soluble fibre, which can be found in oatmeal, lentils, beans, and fruit, ferments in the colon and feeds the bacteria that live there, which keeps them happy and thriving. Fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are jam-packed with beneficial bacteria too. But if you can’t stand the sour taste of fermented foods, probiotic supplements will do just the trick.

Related reads: 

Barrier repair

beauty trends 2021 roundup barrier repair

Credit: xFrame.io

A weakened skin barrier can result from numerous issues, whether it’s harsh weather, physical abrasion, or certain fragrance additives. All of these factors can lead to redness, dryness, and itching.

In line with supporting our skin’s microbiome, barrier respect is something we saw plenty of in 2021. In response to numerous skin stressors of last year, more barrier repair skincare products that strengthen, restore, and protect popped up left, right, and centre.

These formulas boast skin-soothing ingredients like ceramides, essential fatty acids, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, oat, aloe, and niacinamide. And we’re grateful to have them within arm’s reach to put out any flare-ups – just in case we go a little overboard with our exfoliating acids.

At this point, barrier repair products are more of a staple than a trend.

Related reads:


beauty trends 2021 roundup skinimalism

Credit: Polina Kovaleva/Pexels

In the same lane of respecting our skin barrier, skinimalism is all about stripping back our beauty routines in favour of a more minimalist approach. That could mean reducing the number of products and active ingredients in our routines, or simply wearing less foundation and concealer to allow our skin to shine through.

With the constant barrage of information around buzzy ingredients and formulas, we’re tempted to try new products regularly. This overwhelms, overstimulates, and confuses the skin, so you may not reap the benefits of your skincare products at the end of the day.

After years of double cleansing and 10-step skincare routines, the pandemic has pretty much set us up perfectly for skinimalism. It’s all about taking a few steps back, harnessing the power of multitasking products, and ultimately committing to a more sustainable, more affordable beauty routine.

Related read: Skinimalism is the skincare trend that will take over 2021 – here’s one product to start with


beauty trends 2021 roundup monodosing

Credit: @elizabetharden on Instagram

This year, more skincare enthusiasts turned to tabs, ampoules, and patches instead of pots of moisturiser and bottles of serum. These smaller formats give you a daily dose of product in a more concentrated form, cutting down on preservatives and amping up the potency for targeted use.

Bacteria and oxygen can significantly lower the efficacy of an active, advanced formula, which is why brands have been coming out with products in clever packaging to preserve their freshness, keep them sanitary, and ultimately maximise their benefits.

Since these mighty formulas come in mini packaging, you can take them along with you on your next vacation or staycation without having to lug around a bulky beauty bag – something our skin and shoulders will surely appreciate.

Related read: ‘Monodosing’ is the mini but mighty skincare trend that skincare gurus love – here are the products to start with


beauty trends 2021 roundup slugging

Credit: @vaselinebrand on Instagram

Originated in Korea, “slugging” is a trend that includes coating your face in petrolatum or Vaseline. This is meant to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and keep moisture in your skin, and it’s usually the last step in your nighttime routine.

While it sounds like you could end up with a sticky, greasy mess, the key is to apply a very thin layer of petrolatum on your skin. And you don’t have to slather it all over your face – just on the areas where your skin is driest.

Since petrolatum is an occlusive ingredient, it forms a protective layer on your skin to help repair a damaged skin barrier. Most people who’ve tried the hack have raved about its efficacy, saying it made their skin softer, suppler, and less tight overnight.

The beauty community has been raving about the benefits of this unorthodox skincare trend — they found that slugging increased the efficacy of their moisturiser, made their skin less tight, softer, suppler, and helped to lock in moisture overnight. This is definitely a skincare trend we’d want to keep for days when we get dry, flaky patches.

Related read: “Slugging” is the Korean skincare trend that purportedly gives you the coveted glass skin

Trends we’re saying goodbye to: Skincare

DIY skincare

beauty trends 2021 roundup diy

Most of us skincare enthusiasts have probably tried whipping up our own DIY mask, body lotion, or serum. And while food-grade ingredients in our pantry are nourishing and moisturising, creating our own skincare products may not be the best idea.

Figuring out which ingredients work best for your specific skin type could take plenty of trial and error. And this trend is particularly tricky for those with sensitive skin. Citrus fruits in DIY products can cause skin irritation due to their high acidity levels, possibly triggering redness and rashes.

In addition, lemons contain psoralen, which can increase light sensitivity and lead to blisters or discolouration when exposed to sunlight too soon after. Heavier, richer ingredients like avocado, coconut, and olive oils may clog pores and lead to breakouts too.

It’s also best to be careful when using ingredients like blueberries or turmeric since they contain strong natural pigments. When they’re left on your face longer than they should, they can stain the skin. Turmeric is also known to leave an orange hue that doesn’t wash out easily.

Clean beauty

beauty trends 2021 roundup clean beauty

Credit: Artem Podrez/Pexels

The clean beauty movement is relatively new and evolving, but it’s also complicated and confusing. Even the exact definition of “clean beauty” itself is still hotly debated by pretty much everyone in the community.

And because the messaging around clean beauty products isn’t regulated, a brand can claim anything it wants about its supposedly clean, green, or sustainable products, and there’s no governing body to fact-check it.

Perhaps what is most alarming about most clean beauty brands is that they use fearmongering tactics to win consumers over. When we hear that an ingredient is “unsafe” or “toxic,” we’re hardwired to panic. And in the clean beauty world, where unsubstantiated claims about health and safety are casually thrown around every day, it’s unsurprising that misinformation then spreads like wildfire.

The idea that natural ingredients are superior to synthetic ones is false. Most experts agree that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In fact, some of the most poisonous ingredients in the world are derived from nature.

However, this also doesn’t mean that natural- and plant-based ingredients are never a good choice. Green tea, aloe vera, and centella asiatica are all incredibly effective natural ingredients, as long as they’re being used properly in a formula.

If you’re not sure how to go about shopping for skincare, make it a habit to buy from brands that clearly state on their website or packaging that they do clinical testing, are backed by experts, or use science to support their claims.

Trends we’re keeping: Makeup

“Milk tea” lipsticks & blushes

beauty trends 2021 roundup milk tea lipstick

Credit: RED

From Givenchy’s shimmery “milk tea” lipstick to Chanel’s “peach milk tea” blush, it seems like “milk tea”-inspired makeup isn’t coming to a halt any time soon – and it’s easy to see why.

“Milk tea” makeup takes inspiration from the creamy aspect of our beloved drink, blending hints of pink with nude to give you the perfect My Lips But Better (MLBB) colour. Apart from a natural-looking, sheer wash of colour, these shades also add shine to your lips and radiance to your cheeks for a three-dimensional glow.

We simply can’t get enough of them.

“Milk skin”

beauty trends 2021 roundup milk skin

Credit: @awatsumai on Instagram

Say goodbye to “glass skin” and hello to “milk skin” – a more attainable trend that embraces your natural skin texture. “Milk skin” aims to make your complexion appear more translucent, giving it an almost soft-focus effect in real life.

All you have to do is keep concealing to a bare minimum, paying special attention to your T-zone area for a soft, blurred effect. Try evening out your complexion with a tinted moisturiser and go over blemishes and dark spots with concealer.

To tie up the delicate look, add a hint of blush to make those cheeks appear soft and plump.

Related read:

Spidery lashes

beauty trends 2021 roundup spidery lashes

Credit: @sooyaaa__ on Instagram

This year, full, dramatic, fluffy lashes took a back seat while a wispier style took over: spidery lashes. While its name may conjure up the image of tarantula-like eyelashes, this look actually gives you a more natural, separated lash look that’s ultra-lengthening.

Start by curling your lashes and applying mascara as you normally would, and then grab a pair of tweezers and carefully clump your lash hairs together to create bold strands.

This lengthening hack delivers impactful lashes that we’ll continue to try.

Related read: Spidery lashes are trending among our favourite Korean stars – here’s how you can get them too

Trends we’re saying goodbye to: Makeup

“Pixel contouring”

@mimiermakeup Why do I do these things to myself #makeup #fyppagee #contour ♬ original sound – mimiermakeup

Started by TikTok user @mimiermakeup, the “pixel contouring” hack involves drawing a white grid of squares on your face and filling them in with different shades of concealer, foundation, bronzer, and blusher. After that, you blend all of the shades out to (hopefully) give you a flawless, full-glam beat.

Since the trend kicked off, others on the app also jumped on the bandwagon – most of whom ended up with messy results that weren’t quite worth the effort and time.

Needless to say, we’ll be giving this trend a massive pass. Trust us, you’d be better off using a regular contouring palette.

Using lube as makeup primer

@lukeketuhok 💚💚💚 #lubeprimer #fyp #gay #makeup #makeuptutorial #makeuphacks #dojacat #sayso #nickiminaj #fentybeauty #nyxcosmetics #natashadenona #hudabeauty ♬ sayso nicki verse – da big crybaby.

This makeup trend takes the cake for being the most ridiculous TikTok hack. Makeup artist Lukas Kohutek popularised this trend and in many of his tutorials on TikTok, you’ll see him using lube as primer.

Many other users on the app have also tested the hack and claim that it works because lube leaves a tacky feel on their skin, which makes makeup adhere better.

Depending on the brand and type of lube you’re using, however, it can be harmful to your skin. Fragrances, oils, and other potential irritants can trigger breakouts, rashes, and eczema, so those with sensitive skin should steer clear of this trend.

Related read: People are using lube as makeup primer – and we’re not sure how we feel about this

“Glass skin”

beauty trends 2021 roundup glass skin

Credit: xFrame.io

“Glass skin” has long been the gold standard of complexions in K-beauty, but it looks like K-beauty makeup trends may be ditching it for good. While it’s highly sought-after, “glass skin” is tedious to pull off and maintain.

You have to take meticulous care of your skin, which means regular exfoliation, applying layers of serums and essences, and opting for makeup with dewy finishes. Not to mention, you may end up looking like a shiny, greasy mess in an attempt to replicate the look too. It isn’t worth it in our humid climate, if you ask us.

Trends we’re keeping: Hair

Curtain bangs

beauty trends 2021 roundup curtain bangs

Credit: @sooyaaa__ on Instagram

Curtain bangs are exactly what they sound like. They go past the eyebrows and are usually cut at an angle – short in the middle and gradually get longer towards the ears, creating a draping, curtain-like effect.

Plus, they can hide protruding cheekbones and make your face appear smaller, which is no wonder why Korean celebs are all about this fringe trend.

They’re great for all face shapes, which is why this trend is one to keep.

Related read: The most popular Korean bangs to try – here’s how to cut and style them

Ash brown hair

beauty trends 2021 roundup ash brown hair

Credit: @xcellentbeautysalon on Instagram

Defined by its brunette base that’s spiced up with cooler silver or blue undertones, ash brown hair is one of the biggest hair colour trends of 2021. The shade is a little deeper than your usual warm brown. It has a smokey, matte finish that’s flattering and mysterious in equal measure.

You can sport subtle highlights for a hint of cool bronde or full-on balayage for a knockout transformation. It’s an edgier take on brown hair that we’ll revisit time and time again.

Related read: Ash brown hair is one of the biggest colour trends of 2021 – here are 30 shades for some serious hairspo

“Tea brown” hair

beauty trends 2021 roundup tea brown hair

Credit: @haum_handeul on Instagram

Just like how “milk tea” shades have taken over the makeup industry, “tea brown” has dominated hair colour trends in 2021. From a softer, more golden caramel hue to slightly more red-tinged black tea, these options flatter most skin tones and you can consult your hairstylist to get a specific shade.

The options are endless and this evergreen trend is definitely here to stay.

Related read: “Tea brown” is the top trending Korean hair colour of 2021 – here are 5 gorgeous shades for some inspiration

The French girl fringe

beauty trends 2021 roundup french girl fringe

Credit: @jeannedamas on Instagram

As a result of staying indoors more, people took a lower-maintenance approach to hair this year, which is why the effortless French girl fringe had a moment earlier this year.

These versatile bangs can be tailored to flatter your face shape and hair texture, so it works for pretty much anyone. Wear it slightly cropped with the point cut in just above or sitting on the eyebrow, or you can have them skimming your lashes à la Jane Birkin. The trick is to make sure it doesn’t look too neat – it’s all about effortlessness.

Related read: The French girl fringe is in – here’s all the inspo and info you need to pull off the chic trend

Grey blending

beauty trends 2021 roundup grey blending

Credit: @grombre on Instagram

Grey hair finally came out to play with a fresh new hair trend that’s been dominating our social media feeds: grey blending. The movement is all about accepting our natural greys and enhancing them with hair colour.

Hairstylists around the world have been embracing the trend too as they think of different ways to mask and blend their clients’ grey hair. We’re all for this trend, and we hope to see it stick around for much longer.

Related read: 2021 hair trend alert: Grey hair is finally in, thanks to grey blending

Trends we’re saying goodbye to: Hair

Pastel pink hair

beauty trends 2021 roundup pastel pink hair

Credit: @emzaans on Instagram

Last year, Dua Lipa showed off her pastel pink hair during quarantine and the shade saw quite the revival. However, we got a little bored of seeing it in 2021.

To take pastel pink hair to the next level, why not try a smokey pink or copper pink? A blend of grey or orange undertones on pink strays away from the conventional pastel pink tones and refreshes your look instantly.

Related read: “Smokey pink hair” is making waves in Korea! Here’s how you can take on the trend yourself

“Squid Game” red hair

beauty trends 2021 roundup squid game red hair

Credit: @hoooooyeony on Instagram

Arguably the most popular Netflix series of the year, Squid Game dominated our screens and its influence seeped into every other industry – beauty included. As a matter of fact, “Squid Game red hair” was one of Google’s top 10 trending hairstyle searches of 2021.

While the vivid shade symbolises the protagonist’s rage and it’s certainly a head-turner, we don’t foresee many people taking on the trend themselves. It’s a little too loud and dated for our liking, so we’ll be giving this shade a pass.

Related read: “Squid Game” red is one of the top trending hair colours of 2021 – here are 8 looks to get you inspired