When it came to our beauty priorities last year, skincare reigned supreme. Given the fact that most of 2020 was spent in the comfort of our own homes, any need, want or desire to pay attention to our hair and makeup routines dwindled. Time usually spent on makeup application was instead used for self-care rituals like kicking back with a face mask, doing an at-home manicure, or indulging in a quick facial massage. Having said that, while there’s no doubt that spending this time on my skin was much-needed (in hindsight, it acted as a nice form of escapism), I’m officially ready to get back into this beauty thing properly.
Sure, it’s been great to let my skin breathe and give my hair a bit of a break, but the truth is that I really miss doing my hair and makeup. At the start of last year, not having to wake up early to spend time applying my makeup and styling my hair felt good, but I think the novelty is starting to wear off, and now, I’m sort of over it. In fact, I’m more ready than ever to pull out my full beauty arsenal and get creative. I miss applying eyeshadows and playing with palettes, I miss feeling great with one swipe of lipstick, and (dare I say it) I even miss curling my hair.
But that’s not to say I want to go back to how things were entirely because, in reality, I still want things to feel easy for me and be relatively low-maintenance. Looking at my beauty routine with fresh eyes, I have come to the realisation that what I really want is to look and feel great without too much effort. And no, I’m not talking about the sort of no-makeup makeup looks and "just out of bed" hairstyles that actually take hours to execute. I’m talking genuinely quick, stress-free looks that lift my spirits and leave me looking and feeling my best.
It would seem I’m not alone. In fact, my saved folder on Instagram is full of other people’s low-key, low-fuss beauty looks that I am just itching to re-create now that the new year has arrived. Keep scrolling for the 11 beauty trends I’m getting ready to embrace for 2021.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m all about the glow, but achieving the perfect faux glow is no mean feat. In fact, layering up product after product to get that light to hit just right is starting to prove a little tiresome. So with my skin in good shape after a year of TLC, I think I am finally ready to start embracing matte textures. New-gen formulas leave makeup looking soft, subtle, and diffused, with zero dryness or discomfort, and I’m here for it.
It’s safe to assume that, for most of us, visits to the hair salon were few and far between last year—nothing much has changed in 2021. While we’ve been focusing on doing everything we can to keep our hair healthy and strong, I must admit I’m kind of missing the fun of switching my style up from time to time. My hair is seriously long, and I haven’t had it short since I got a Victoria Beckham-inspired inverted bob when I was 14, but the temptation to go for the chop is starting to bubble. With hair appointments off the cards right now, I’m nowhere near brave enough to go for it, but playing with up-dos to mimic a short style is something I’m into. In fact, I’m in love with the idea of doing a side-swept low bun like this one to create the illusion of a pixie cut. The biggest win is that if I get bored of it, then all I have to do is take it out.
To be brutally honest, eyeliner is really not my thing. I like a natural makeup look, and whenever I apply liner, I can’t help but feel a bit too done. I have friends, however, who quite literally cannot leave the house without the perfect wing. In true low-maintenance fashion, there is one particular emerging liner trend that I’m here for. It would seem that liner people have also adapted their looks for a more fuss-free lifestyle, and I have started spotting what I like to call "naked liner" on my Instagram quite often. The look is really quite simple: Just liner. Skipping the shadow and just applying a very subtle flick across the lash line is exactly the sort of understated look I’m planning to embrace this year.
I know I just said I’m ready to ditch glow, but I’ll make an exception for this. It seems to be a trend that springs up every year, but this time around, it’s really happening, people. Blush is officially back. Forget super-pigmented powders that are tricky to get right. It’s time to embrace creamy, dewy formulas instead. Just dab pigment onto cheekbones, brush your brows, apply a layer of mascara, and behold a natural-looking, glowing look that oozes health and radiance. If you want to amp things up, cream blushes look great dabbed onto the lids and lips, too.
Trust me. I’m a nude kind of girl through and through, but there’s just something about a pop of watercolor-like shadow on the lids, teamed with a bare face and bare lashes, that seriously appeals to me. Just a swipe of pigment over the lids, blended out with a super-fluffy brush or your finger, is all it takes. Let’s face it—a colorful lid is exactly the sort of joy we all need right now.
For some time now, full-on power brows have been on their way out. I’m talking the sort of heavily drawn, highly arched, HD-style brows that we would spend hours agonising over just a few years ago. However, a new sort of power brow appears to be emerging for 2021. Sitting somewhere between the fluffed-up brow we saw dominate 2020 and the bold brow of yesterday, the new power brow is full and big but still soft and feathery. I’m excited to master this one.
Feathered hair is set to be big for 2021 thanks to its zero-fuss nature. While I’m all for soft but choppy layers throughout, the thing I’m really excited for this year is the return of the feathered fringe. While blunt, glossy styles are too high-maintenance for a time when salons might be closed for months at a time, wispy, feathered styles can work, even when grown out. Keep ends nourished with an oil and create texture with volume sprays.
Like so many others, I wasn’t able to escape to the sunshine last year, so I’m swooning over bronzed, sun-kissed looks. Maybe as an intentional protest, maybe just by accident through overcompensating, deep, matte, sun-stripe bronzer is back. The key for 2021 is to ensure the shade is right. Steer clear of warm oranges and instead opt for deep, red tones swept liberally over the apples of the cheeks and across the nose for a convincing sun-kissed look. Paired with a dark nude lip, it’s a totally evergreen look.
I was ready to start living out my mermaid hair dreams at the start of 2020, but things didn’t quite play out how I’d hoped. While this style was set for big things last year, it seems the trend hasn’t faded. It's simply been postponed until our social lives pick up again. The effortless look can be achieved with simple plaits or a heated waver. I picked up the Amika High Tide Deep Waver at the start of this year and can’t wait to show off some cool, textured lengths.
Just Red Lipstick
Red lipstick can be messy at the best of times, but throw face coverings into the mix and it’s basically mission impossible. It’s safe to assume, therefore, that most of us put our red lipsticks away somewhere safe with the hope we could return to them again soon. However, the truth is that it’s just not clear how much longer it will be until we can show off our red lipstick to the world again, and I miss it. In a bid to lift my spirits, I’m planning on swiping my lips with rouge every single day in 2021. If you ask me, a bare-faced look teamed with a striking red lip is the perfect way to feel put-together while working from home without any major effort.
I’m not sure about you, but not using any major heat on my hair (and masking every single day) throughout 2020 was great for the health of my strands. They are strong and resilient, but that’s not to say they look great. In fact, without any heat styling, for the majority of last year, they looked a little lacklustre. Considering hairstylists are saying they’re pleasantly surprised with the condition of clients’ hair post-lockdown, it’s time to embrace seriously sleek, straight hair for 2021. With good heat protection, good strengthening treatments, and new-gen straighteners, you can go for a dramatic straight look without causing too much damage.