Lately, we've been pretty caught up ensuring all of our holiday hair and makeup looks are in order, our skin is behaving as peaceably as possible, and our fashion game is fit to match. It's the most festive time of year, and one of the best opportunities to switch up our ho-hum manicure or basic hairstyle. Even better news? The New Year is just around the corner, which is inspiring in and of itself, not to mention we're entering an entirely new decade. Bye, 2010s, and hello, 2020!
Of course, we're planning on kicking things off with a beauty-centric bang, and we can't wait to see where the upcoming New Year takes us in terms of new product formulas, fresh brands, cool variations on hair and makeup, and so much more. To celebrate, and to get the juices flowing, I reached out to some of the best experts in the business from every inch of the beauty industry—from the hairstylist that cuts and styles Margot Robbie to the estheticians who cater to Hollywood's most glamorous faces, we're forecasting the most important beauty trends of 2020 just ahead—hair, makeup, skincare, and nails. Keep scrolling! Your excitement for the New Year is about to officially take off.
Creepy, crawly but very, very chic. Celebrity nail artist Hang Nguyen tells us that the snakeskin trend (which has also dominated the fashion world) will be one of the biggest trends for 2020.
"I think snakeskin nails will perhaps be the next popular thing in 2020. The look is a bit of a challenge to DIY, but if you have the patience, a sponge that's on the smaller side can help mimic the signature texture and look of the print." Or simply go into your fave nail salon to request the trend.
We've seen bouquet-inspired nail art and color schemes bourgeoning big time recently on the ’gram. And Nguyen (who's one of our favorite artists to follow on IG, BTW) says the look of blooming flowers on our tips won't be going anywhere in 2020. Plus, the vibe couldn't be more on point for spring.
Up until very recently, French manicures were still considered pretty dated and, let's be honest, boring. Alas, the new generation of French manicures is anything but, featuring bold colors, unique shapes, double Frenches, and other fun accents and accessories—2020 will definitely continue the trend's playful whimsical direction.
Metallics, shimmer, and glitter do feel quintessentially holiday, but according to Tuttle, the finish is still going to have major legs that will walk right on into 2020. She forecasts beautiful shade hues ranging from warm rose gold to icy platinum.
Want even more nail predictions for 2020? We have a dedicated feature with everything an ahead-of-the-curve nail lover needs to know here.
Clean Formulas Rich in Exfoliating Actives
"I think we will see more active, effective ingredients in skincare products, especially from some of the popular clean skincare companies that have had a rise in the past year or so," shares Breana Wheeler, MSN, NP, at Facile Dermatology + Boutique.
"Harsh physical scrubs and exfoliants are going to fade away," adds Xochitl Cubero Renteln, PA-C, from Facile. "The public is realizing that manual scrubs can be too abrasive leading to micro-tears in the skin, which can result in inflammation, acne, and other skin
damage without much benefit. Although physical scrubs might be okay for some, especially in moderation, I see chemical exfoliants taking over completely in popularity putting physical ones in the past. Herbivore Botanicals has lovely clean beauty options."
Treatments to Boost Collagen
"Skin treatments with PRP (platelet-rich plasma) will continue to be a major treatment trend for boosting collagen in the skin," shares Wheeler. "To see if a skin treatment like micro-needling with PRP would benefit your skin, schedule a consult with a cosmetic dermatology provider."
Or you can opt for some of the amazing at-home microinfusion/micro-needling tools that have charged onto the market. They're not filled with PRP like in-office treatments, but this one, for example (created by celebrity skin expert Vanessa Lee), features a plumping and dew-enhancing Skin Brew, a blend of moringa leaf and snail mucin to promote elasticity, collagen production, and protective qualities.
As far as ingredients go, Renteln predicts specialty ingredients like brightening niacinamide will gain popularity in 2020. "Also known as vitamin B3, this powerhouse ingredient reduces inflammation, inhibits sebum production, improves pigmentation, protects against oxidative stress, and minimizes fine lines and pores. It can be applied topically or taken orally," she explains. (This cult-loved SPF formula from EltaMD is rich with the stuff!)
CBD (Yep, Still!)
This was the year of CBD everything, and according to both Renteln and Lena Metcalfe, PA-C, from Facile, cannabinoid-spiked skincare won't be disappearing anytime soon. "This trend has already started gaining popularity, but I think it’s really going to take off next year as we see more skincare lines use this ingredient for anti-inflammatory properties," Metcalfe adds. (FYI—this serum worn underneath makeup is absolutely game-changing.)
Customized Skincare Products
Just like no one's skincare routine is exactly the same, in a perfect world, neither would our skincare formulations. And interestingly, the concept of customized complexion elixirs is probably going to surge in 2020.
"What works for one person might not work for another," says Renteln. "Some brands like SkinCeuticals are engineering products via machine that are specific to the patient's needs. I
imagine that more and more brands will follow suit." (Turns out OG customization-focused brands like Curology were way ahead of the curve.)
"This is the reference of the moment: The right typical square of the '90s, a clean haircut, fairly short, with the part in the middle—or with bangs," shares celebrity hairstylist Stéphane Bodin. Alternatively, he says you can style the cut with a more "disheveled" texture or it can be very smooth and shiny. He cites Kaia Gerber as the ultimate inspiration.
"This trend is always toward the fringe, worn a bit shorter like Jane Birkin did. It's a lived-in look that women like Jeanne Damas, Bérénice Bejo, and Alexa Chung are making so cool." Plus, according to Bodin, it's super easy to maintain, and you can even execute your own trims. He recommends keeping it shorter between the eyebrows for the true, French-girl styling.
Yep, the shag has already started making a comeback, and according to Bodin, a full resurgence in 2020 is on the horizon.
"The shag cut has not finished wreaking havoc," he tells us. "And for good reason—this hairstyle is the result of a sum of past trends. We are indeed revisiting a cut from the late '80s and early '90s that originally found its inspiration in the '70s. In 2019 and 2020, we're adapting this clever mix between the degraded cut of Farrah Fawcett and the styling Patti Smith–style rock."
"For 2020, I believe a huge trend will be a mid-length haircut," (think Margot Robbie or Jourdan Dunn) celebrity hairstylist Cervando Maldonado shares. "Basically, it's between a bob and a lob, but definitely on the shorter side. It's a great trend for 2020 because the length gives you versatility in styling (low pony, updos, etc.), yet when worn down, it can look loose with lots of pretty movement OR easily sleek and polished."
According to Karissa Schaudt, colorist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, beautiful "orchard" shades of red will be huge for 2020. "Like an apple, orchard red contains both copper and auburn tones, which can richen your entire appearance. If your hair is natural, you can achieve this within a single process. If there’s previous color, you’ll need a base color and balayage to achieve this multi-reflective look"
"For brunettes who want to try something on trend for 2020, ask for twilighting," suggests Schaudt. Twilighting, she explains, is a shade of brunette with warm undertones where the color reflects pretty hints of gold. "The look is achieved by painting a few balayage pieces in addition to foiled 'baby lights.' It's a low-maintenance color that will carry from season to season. Plus, it gives a basic shade of brunette a touch more dimension."
"If you're looking to take your blonde shade to the next level, go 'beyond blonde,' an ultra-pale vanilla," says Schaudt. "By diminishing any dark face-framing shadows, this shade elongates, drawing attention to the cheekbones and jawline. You'll want to ask for a color that's not too yellow or too ashy. This color trend is a light, neutral beige that allows for variation."
For at-home TLC and color maintenance, Schaudt says to be sure you invest in Olaplex's Hair Perfector No. 3 ($28) and a toning shampoo—blue is better than purple here. (We're obsessed with Davines Alchemic Shampoo, Silver, $27)
"This color works for brunettes or blondes and is focused on brightening the face with sandy tones around the hairline," says Schaudt. "Foiling the hairline and also balayaging the tips creates the most dimension, with minimum maintenance. This year, more women were embracing their natural roots and this will continue with the addition of a little dimension."
"Blue clearly will be on everyone's radar in 2020," says celebrity makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan. She suggests "finding fun ways to play with color," such as "taking an unexpected bright shade and creating a sharp winged cat eye." But really, the sky is the limit.
Be it a saturated pat of pink shimmer on our lids, a streak of hot-pink liner, or celebrity makeup artist Hung Vanngo's dreamy mix of both, 2020 is going to be the year of pink-everything makeup. And frankly, we couldn't be more excited.
Sure, we've heard for ages that the best way to open up our eyes and shed the look of sleep deprivation is to line our waterlines with a pop of white or nude. That said, makeup artists have been taking the trend up a notch by painting thick lines of white in lieu of inky black on their A-list clientele. Surprisingly wearable, the look is sure to spill into the coming decade just as fervently.
Highlighter is one of our most-prized beauty accessories, but according to Sofia Schwarzkopf-Tilbury, creative executive of Charlotte Tilbury, the trend for 2020 is going to be a far subtler radiance.
"Glow will never be out of trend, but for 2020 I feel like highlighting products and complexion boosters are really going to get amped up for the ultimate flawless glow," she told us. Oh, and master celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta agrees: "I think sheer, more natural products are going to be the focus this season," he says. "Less is definitely more for spring 2020." (FYI—the brand's Hollywood Flawless Filter, $44, is a must for creating this exact kind of finish.)
"Gems and face appliqués will be a trend that continues to grow in 2020," says celebrity makeup artist Michael Ashton. "Thanks to the inspirational makeup looks created on hit shows like Euphoria, there has never been a better time to experiment with a more creative editorial aesthetic. The key to ensuring this trend feels modern rather than overdone is pairing everything else down, so if you’re wearing glitter or sequin star stickers on your eyes, keep the skin looking fresh and just add a soft tinted lip balm."
"Twenty-twenty will see the return of a more radiant, natural-looking skin finish when it comes to foundations and a less-is-more approach," says Ashton. "New innovations in foundation formulas mean that you can get the coverage you need without having to use too much product. Two of my favorite recent launches are Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation ($42) and Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint ($65), which both give a dewy youthful-looking finish and blend into the skin beautifully with a soft synthetic buffing brush.”
"Blush will be back in a big way and is the perfect way to quickly add a flirty flush or drape dramatic color across the cheekbones," Ashton adds. "Liquid and cream blushes are perfect to use if you're new to wearing blusher, as they're more forgiving and easier to work with. Tom Ford Soleil Neige Highlighter & Blush Glow Stick ($55) comes in beautiful duo shades that give a sheer wash of color and can be applied directly from the bullet and blended with your fingers. For a more amplified dramatic color payoff, use a cream/liquid as a base and then product-cocktail a powder blush over top."
In 2019, we began to see a resurgence of classic makeup looks—satin-finish skin, red matte lips, jet-black cat eyes, the like. And yes, the trend will only increase its momentum in the coming decade.
As celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder shares, 2020 will feature the ultimate mix of trendy and classic products and finishes. "Classics are huge right now, and they will continue to be in 2020! A classic red like Clé de Peau Beauté Lipstick Cashmere in Legend ($65) will never go out of style and will be making a bold appearance in the New Year."
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.
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