4 Skincare Trends That Are Going To Be Everywhere In 2021

Sydney Clarke
·8-min read

Your hands are dry and ashy from using hand sanitiser every five minutes, you’ve been switching off between staring at your phone and computer, and you're actively avoiding doing the mental maths to figure out how high your screen time is. Maybe your skin threw some curveballs at you last year, and you ended up stocking up excessively during Black Friday and Cyber Monday... only to realise you don’t need half the products you anxiously tracked on the postal website.

You don’t have to admit any of this to us — we’re already here to give you the guide we think might help you stay ahead of the skincare phenomena we predict will gain more traction over the next eleven months. Ahead, the top trends and products to keep an eye on in 2021, and the best dermatologist tips for getting in on them.

Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us.

<h3>Minimalist Routines</h3><br>While you can't deny the aesthetic value of the shelves of beauty products in the backgrounds of our favourite influencers' videos, the rest of us might be questioning if we really need a skincare tower just as high in our own bathrooms. Sometimes, less is more — and if you feel overwhelmed by the constant marketing and #texturetuesday images on social media, a minimal skincare set might be exactly what you need. <br><br><a href="https://www.crobinsonmd.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Caroline Robinson, MD" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Caroline Robinson, MD</a>, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of <a href="https://tonedermatology.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tone Dermatology" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tone Dermatology</a> in Chicago, says that when dermatologists' offices and spas closed at the start of the pandemic, consumers started exploring more skincare on their own time, which led to a lot more products filling their nightstands. But now, she says, “I feel like people are backing off of that and they’re like, ‘Do I really need this stuff? Could I find one Holy Grail product, or can I find a three-step routine and minimise a little bit?'" Your skin — and your wallet, too — might just thank you for settling down with a solid few products instead of an ever-growing collection.

Minimalist Routines


While you can't deny the aesthetic value of the shelves of beauty products in the backgrounds of our favourite influencers' videos, the rest of us might be questioning if we really need a skincare tower just as high in our own bathrooms. Sometimes, less is more — and if you feel overwhelmed by the constant marketing and #texturetuesday images on social media, a minimal skincare set might be exactly what you need.

Caroline Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology in Chicago, says that when dermatologists' offices and spas closed at the start of the pandemic, consumers started exploring more skincare on their own time, which led to a lot more products filling their nightstands. But now, she says, “I feel like people are backing off of that and they’re like, ‘Do I really need this stuff? Could I find one Holy Grail product, or can I find a three-step routine and minimise a little bit?'" Your skin — and your wallet, too — might just thank you for settling down with a solid few products instead of an ever-growing collection.
<h2>Versed Dew Point Moisturising Gel Cream</h2><br>If you want to simplify your routine but the idea of paring it down to just two or three products gives you FOMO, Versed has you covered with a stripped back range of targeted serums and lightweight moisturisers. Head to Cult pick and choose what products work best for your skin. We rate the Dew Point Moisturizer for oily, acne-prone skin. <br><br><strong>Versed</strong> Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream, $, available at <a href="https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/versed-dew-point-moisturizing-gel-cream.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cult Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cult Beauty</a>

Versed Dew Point Moisturising Gel Cream


If you want to simplify your routine but the idea of paring it down to just two or three products gives you FOMO, Versed has you covered with a stripped back range of targeted serums and lightweight moisturisers. Head to Cult pick and choose what products work best for your skin. We rate the Dew Point Moisturizer for oily, acne-prone skin.

Versed Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream, $, available at Cult Beauty
<h2>Amie Soft & Smooth Regimen</h2><br>This affordable regimen is all about attaining — you guessed it — smooth and soft skin. The <a href="https://www.amieskincare.com/collections/normal-dry-skin/products/soft-smooth-cleansing-balm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cleansing Balm" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cleansing Balm</a>, <a href="https://www.amieskincare.com/collections/normal-dry-skin/products/soft-smooth-exfoliating-polish" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Exfoliating Polish" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Exfoliating Polish</a>, and <a href="https://www.amieskincare.com/collections/normal-dry-skin/products/soft-smooth-moisturiser" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nourishing Moisturizer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nourishing Moisturizer</a> make for the perfect trio, and the gentle <a href="https://www.amieskincare.com/collections/all-new-products/products/clear-calm-cleansing-wipes" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cleansing Cloths" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cleansing Cloths</a> have vitamin B5 to help even out your complexion while refreshing skin.<br><br><strong>Amie</strong> soft + smooth Nourishing Moisturiser, $, available at <a href="https://www.amieskincare.com/collections/normal-dry-skin/products/soft-smooth-moisturiser" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amie" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amie</a>

Amie Soft & Smooth Regimen


This affordable regimen is all about attaining — you guessed it — smooth and soft skin. The Cleansing Balm, Exfoliating Polish, and Nourishing Moisturizer make for the perfect trio, and the gentle Cleansing Cloths have vitamin B5 to help even out your complexion while refreshing skin.

Amie soft + smooth Nourishing Moisturiser, $, available at Amie
<h2>Bubble Hydrating Bundle</h2><br>The right hydrating products can turn dry, tired skin into a healthy, supple complexion, even if you have combination or oily skin. The customer reviews for this buzzy hydration lineup from Bubbles note clearer and smoother skin, shrunken pores, and fewer blemishes. Complete with a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, the colorful set makes your introduction to a simpler regimen less of a chore and more of a part of your daily routine to look forward to.<br><br><strong>Bubble</strong> Hydrating Bundle, $, available at <a href="https://hellobubble.com/products/hydrating-bundle-3-step?gclid=Cj0KCQiA3NX_BRDQARIsALA3fIJr9lWyr7eOkU4aWwM1kqF0NkcKDwX_1SAf1dUYLI0K1zIUidMX4iEaAq62EALw_wcB" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bubble" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bubble</a>

Bubble Hydrating Bundle


The right hydrating products can turn dry, tired skin into a healthy, supple complexion, even if you have combination or oily skin. The customer reviews for this buzzy hydration lineup from Bubbles note clearer and smoother skin, shrunken pores, and fewer blemishes. Complete with a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, the colorful set makes your introduction to a simpler regimen less of a chore and more of a part of your daily routine to look forward to.

Bubble Hydrating Bundle, $, available at Bubble
<h3>Blue-Light Protection</h3><br>By now we know that sunscreen is imperative to keeping our skin protected against cancer and visible signs of skin damage, but wearing SPF at home is just as vital as when we were able to go to the beach — even if your closest beach was Coney Island. Blue light, like the kind that emanates from our computer screens, can potentially impact the skin.<br><br>Board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, founder of <a href="https://skinwellness.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Skin Wellness Dermatology" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Skin Wellness Dermatology</a>, explains the domino effect as follows: "When blue light penetrates the skin, reactive oxygen species are generated, which leads to DNA damage, causing hyperpigmentation and sagginess." Protecting your skin from photoageing and UV light overall can make you proactive in supporting your skin’s health.

Blue-Light Protection


By now we know that sunscreen is imperative to keeping our skin protected against cancer and visible signs of skin damage, but wearing SPF at home is just as vital as when we were able to go to the beach — even if your closest beach was Coney Island. Blue light, like the kind that emanates from our computer screens, can potentially impact the skin.

Board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology, explains the domino effect as follows: "When blue light penetrates the skin, reactive oxygen species are generated, which leads to DNA damage, causing hyperpigmentation and sagginess." Protecting your skin from photoageing and UV light overall can make you proactive in supporting your skin’s health.
<h2><strong>Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30<br></strong></h2><br>Unsun's tinted sunscreen easily fits in at the end of your routine to keep skin protected from UV damage.<br><br><strong>Unsun Cosmetics</strong> Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30, $, available at <a href="https://www.revolve.com/unsun-cosmetics-mineral-tinted-face-sunscreen-spf-30/dp/UNSR-WU1/?d=Womens&page=1&lc=1&plpSrc=%2Fr%2FSearch.jsp%3Fsearch%3DMineral+Tinted+Face+Sunscreen+SPF+30%26d%3DWomens%26sortBy%3Dfeatured&itrownum=1&itcurrpage=1&itview=05&bneEl=false" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Revolve" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Revolve</a>

Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30


Unsun's tinted sunscreen easily fits in at the end of your routine to keep skin protected from UV damage.

Unsun Cosmetics Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30, $, available at Revolve
<strong><h2>EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44</h2></strong><br>Mineral sunscreens, like this sheer tinted one from EltaMD, rely on ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to act a physical barrier between skin and environmental damage. The hyaluronic acid in this formula helps smooth fine lines, and while it might take a few more months for you to try out its water resistance in the pool, you should be able to count on it lasting around 40 minutes before reapplying. <br><br><strong>EltaMD</strong> UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.), $, available at <a href="https://www.dermstore.com/product_UV+Elements+Tinted+BroadSpectrum+SPF+44+_68301.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a>

EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44


Mineral sunscreens, like this sheer tinted one from EltaMD, rely on ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to act a physical barrier between skin and environmental damage. The hyaluronic acid in this formula helps smooth fine lines, and while it might take a few more months for you to try out its water resistance in the pool, you should be able to count on it lasting around 40 minutes before reapplying.

EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 (2 oz.), $, available at DermStore
<h2>Glossier Super Pure Serum</h2><br>In addition to diligent sun protection, Dr. Hartman recommends this niacinamide- and zinc-infused serum to help defend skin from toxins, pollutants, and sun damage — while also calming acne and soothing inflammation.<br><br><strong>Glossier</strong> Super Pure, $, available at <a href="https://www.glossier.com/products/super-pure" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Glossier" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Glossier</a>

Glossier Super Pure Serum


In addition to diligent sun protection, Dr. Hartman recommends this niacinamide- and zinc-infused serum to help defend skin from toxins, pollutants, and sun damage — while also calming acne and soothing inflammation.

Glossier Super Pure, $, available at Glossier
<h3>Barrier Repair</h3><br>Consider the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, the bodyguard of your body's largest organ. This is your skin's barrier, protecting what lies underneath from environmental toxins while holding in essential moisture. When compromised by variables like over-cleansing, external factors (say, constant wearing of face masks), and the natural ageing process, that barrier loses its fighting power, leaving skin more prone to redness and irritation.<br><br>While no product can rebuild your stratum corneum from scratch, certain key ingredients can help reinforce the moisture barrier for happier, healthier, safer skin.

Barrier Repair


Consider the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, the bodyguard of your body's largest organ. This is your skin's barrier, protecting what lies underneath from environmental toxins while holding in essential moisture. When compromised by variables like over-cleansing, external factors (say, constant wearing of face masks), and the natural ageing process, that barrier loses its fighting power, leaving skin more prone to redness and irritation.

While no product can rebuild your stratum corneum from scratch, certain key ingredients can help reinforce the moisture barrier for happier, healthier, safer skin.
<strong><h2>Topicals Like Butter </h2></strong><br>An instant cult favorite when it dropped last year, this hydrating mask doesn't offer miracles, but the next best thing: barrier-restoring moisture that soothes inflammations and evens out dry, textured skin. This <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/unbothered-black-women-beauty-products-2020" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:2020 Beauty Innovator Award winner" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">2020 Beauty Innovator Award winner</a> will bring lacking skin back to life — and if you can't get enough of it during the day, it works as an overnight mask, too.<br><br><strong>Topicals</strong> LIKE BUTTER, $, available at <a href="https://www.mytopicals.com/products/like-butter" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:My Topicals" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">My Topicals</a>

Topicals Like Butter


An instant cult favorite when it dropped last year, this hydrating mask doesn't offer miracles, but the next best thing: barrier-restoring moisture that soothes inflammations and evens out dry, textured skin. This 2020 Beauty Innovator Award winner will bring lacking skin back to life — and if you can't get enough of it during the day, it works as an overnight mask, too.

Topicals LIKE BUTTER, $, available at My Topicals
<h2>SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream</h2><br>When your skin just needs a break from the day-to-day wear and tear, a lightweight yet nourishing repair cream is key to have nearby. This green tea-infused formula will do the trick — and if you don’t believe us, the clinical before-and-after photos on the site will back us up.<br><br><strong>Sente</strong> Dermal Repair Cream, $, available at <a href="https://www.medifine.co.uk/product/sente-dermal-repair-cream/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Medifine" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Medifine</a>

SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream


When your skin just needs a break from the day-to-day wear and tear, a lightweight yet nourishing repair cream is key to have nearby. This green tea-infused formula will do the trick — and if you don’t believe us, the clinical before-and-after photos on the site will back us up.

Sente Dermal Repair Cream, $, available at Medifine
Skin experts rate the Paula's Choice Barrier Repair Moisturiser because it's packed with antioxidants to protect skin from dulling environmental aggressors and chock full of squalane, which moisturises skin deeply and makes it soft and dewy. <br><br><strong>Paula's Choice</strong> Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer, $, available at <a href="https://www.cultbeauty.co.uk/paulas-choice-resist-barrier-repair-moisturiser.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cult Beauty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cult Beauty</a>
Skin experts rate the Paula's Choice Barrier Repair Moisturiser because it's packed with antioxidants to protect skin from dulling environmental aggressors and chock full of squalane, which moisturises skin deeply and makes it soft and dewy.

Paula's Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer, $, available at Cult Beauty
<h2>Krave Great Barrier Relief Skin Barrier Restoring Serum</h2><br>It's all in the name: This head-to-toe serum offers serious relief, with safflower, rosehip, and tamanu oils as your dynamic trio to ease inflammation without any stickiness or residue. The addition of niacinamide helps treat acne, too.<br><br><strong>Krave</strong> Great Barrier Relief, $, available at <a href="https://kravebeauty.com/products/great-barrier-relief" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Krave" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Krave</a>

Krave Great Barrier Relief Skin Barrier Restoring Serum


It's all in the name: This head-to-toe serum offers serious relief, with safflower, rosehip, and tamanu oils as your dynamic trio to ease inflammation without any stickiness or residue. The addition of niacinamide helps treat acne, too.

Krave Great Barrier Relief, $, available at Krave
<h3>Hand Care</h3><br>While our faces are weathering the stress of the past year compounded by constant mask-wearing, our hands have constant washing and sanitising to deal with. The hands are all too easy to overlook, but you can feel their trauma in the form of painful cracking. Your hands deserve a "thank you" for getting you through late-night text paragraphs, endless camera clicks, and high fives — back when those weren’t something we thought twice about.

Hand Care


While our faces are weathering the stress of the past year compounded by constant mask-wearing, our hands have constant washing and sanitising to deal with. The hands are all too easy to overlook, but you can feel their trauma in the form of painful cracking. Your hands deserve a "thank you" for getting you through late-night text paragraphs, endless camera clicks, and high fives — back when those weren’t something we thought twice about.
<strong><h2>Karité Shea Butter </h2></strong><br>This dermatologist-approved hand cream is magic in a bottle for its ability to work on all skin types with its rich, hypoallergenic formula. Developed by three sisters from Ghana, the formula uses palm oil and coconut oil to keep your hands nourished throughout the day.<br><br><strong>Karité Shea Butter</strong> Crème Mains Karité Shea Butter, $, available at <a href="https://www.mykarite.com/products/hand-cream-3-4-fl-oz" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Karité Shea Butter" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Karité Shea Butter</a>

Karité Shea Butter


This dermatologist-approved hand cream is magic in a bottle for its ability to work on all skin types with its rich, hypoallergenic formula. Developed by three sisters from Ghana, the formula uses palm oil and coconut oil to keep your hands nourished throughout the day.

Karité Shea Butter Crème Mains Karité Shea Butter, $, available at Karité Shea Butter
<h2>Weleda Skin Food Cream</h2><br>If you know nothing else about this cream, just remember one word: <em>thick</em>. The plant-derived formula can be used wherever ash usually creeps up, like elbows and heels, but mixing in a few drops of your favourite body oil makes spreading it on an indulgent ritual in between your constant hand-washing and sanitising.<br><br><strong>Weleda</strong> Skin Food Cream, $, available at <a href="https://www.boots.com/weleda-skin-food-75ml-10256597" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Boots" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Boots</a>

Weleda Skin Food Cream


If you know nothing else about this cream, just remember one word: thick. The plant-derived formula can be used wherever ash usually creeps up, like elbows and heels, but mixing in a few drops of your favourite body oil makes spreading it on an indulgent ritual in between your constant hand-washing and sanitising.

Weleda Skin Food Cream, $, available at Boots
<strong><h2>Esas Kolonya Moisturizing Rinse-Free Hand Cleanser </h2></strong><br>A rinse-free cleanser doesn't sound like much, but Esas' Kolonya — named for the age-old Turkish tradition dating back to the Ottomon Empire — is our new favourite way to keep our hands fresh when we're not near a sink. The antioxidant-rich formula keeps hands soft and hydrated despite containing 70% alcohol, and the hints of citrus and mint make using it feel luxurious, not antiseptic.<br><br><strong>Esas</strong> N. 1 The Original Scent Kolonya, $, available at <a href="https://esasnyc.com/collections/hand-cleanser/products/kolonya-the-original-cent?variant=35074215510169" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Esas NYC" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Esas NYC</a>

Esas Kolonya Moisturizing Rinse-Free Hand Cleanser


A rinse-free cleanser doesn't sound like much, but Esas' Kolonya — named for the age-old Turkish tradition dating back to the Ottomon Empire — is our new favourite way to keep our hands fresh when we're not near a sink. The antioxidant-rich formula keeps hands soft and hydrated despite containing 70% alcohol, and the hints of citrus and mint make using it feel luxurious, not antiseptic.

Esas N. 1 The Original Scent Kolonya, $, available at Esas NYC

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

These Korean Skincare Trends Will Be Huge In 2021

I Tried TikTok's Most Popular Skincare Brand

How To Get Clear Skin Fast, By A Top Beauty Expert