We're not even two full months into the new year, and it looks like we've already got some unexpected beauty trends to watch. While it certainly feels like a warp in the space-time continuum is responsible for this snappy arrival of new skincare, makeup, and hair fads, it probably has more to do with the fact that we're all still actively adapting our beauty routines to the new normal of spending increased time at home, mastering our mask-friendly beauty practices, and paying way more attention to the happenings on social media. Whatever the case, new trends are here, and they're… something.
Okay, so last year's beauty trends haven't all fallen completely off the map. Curtain bangs are still wildly popular, as are skincare tools and graphic eyeliner. But alas, the internet has spoken. I won't torture you any longer—keep scrolling for the eight beauty trends poised to rule 2021.
Trend #1: Slugging
The latest skincare craze you may or may not have heard about but have almost certainly seen visuals of is slugging. The name of the game here is creating an outer barrier with a super-thick, occlusive substance (Vaseline is a popular option) to lock in any underlying skincare to do its thing while you sleep. While skincare pros are on either side of the fence with this one (see what two pros had to say here), the practice has taken off like gangbusters online. It's not a totally new concept—we've been tapping salves like Weleda's Skin Food ($18) on our high points and dry spots for ages—but apparently, moderation is now dead. Don't stop smearing until you look like a freshly glazed doughnut or, you guessed it, a slug.
Trend #2: CeraVe
There's nothing new about this skincare brand. After more than a decade of flying under the radar as every dermatologist's go-to recommendation for simplified staples, CeraVe has officially achieved massive internet fame. It's hard to pinpoint exactly where this renewed interest stems from, but once YouTube skincare sensation Hyram started raving about the products to his four million subscribers, it was a wrap. Now, you can't get through a single product roundup or expert-led routine without coming across at least one product from the beloved drugstore line. After years of going nuts with acids and all but destroying our skin barriers by overexfoliating, it's nice to see some simple, effective products gaining traction among the peels and intense actives that have been dominating the industry.
Trend #3: High-Performing Drugstore Makeup
It's no secret that the price of a product isn't always indicative of its quality, but lately, the internet has been working overtime to prove it. Just as makeup artists have always been quick to call out the affordable staples they keep stocked in their kits, social media stars have been busy showing off the cheap thrills that help them create the most epic face beats. Get ready to replace some of your favorite prestige picks with some highly publicized favorites from drugstore mainstays like L'Oréal, E.L.F., and Maybelline.
Trend #4: Royalcore
First came Netflix's Bridgerton. Then, it was announced that Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella—the '90s made-for-TV gem featuring Brandy and Whitney Houston—would be released on Disney+. And somewhere in between, everyone started adorning their hair with regal headbands that have a delightful resemblance to tiaras. This is, of course, an oversimplification of a much more expansive aesthetic where creators and enthusiasts go full-out with garb resembling what we might have seen on West European royalty circa the 1800s, but for the casual participant, eccentric headbands are an easy and chic entry point.
Trend #5: Updated Concealer Placement
It seems like just yesterday that the beauty behemoths of YouTube taught us about the inverted-triangle concealer trick. They promised this old-school makeup hack would lift and brighten our faces so much better than… whatever it is we were doing before that, and it wasn't long before we were all on board and applying tiny pyramids of concealer under our eyes. But according to recent studies conducted by the internet's latest class of makeup gurus, it turns out that our beloved triangle method often drags the eye down because it actually draws attention to the lowest part of the cheek, where the tip of the triangle falls. Whoops. If you didn't notice, don't feel bad—I suppose we all got used to blending our concealer into our cheeks. But never fear because as quickly as the internet breaks us down, it always builds us back up and comes through with answers to our burning questions. Professional makeup artist and popular TikTok creator Scortezz Beauty is just one advocate for placing a small dab of concealer on the inner-most corner under the eye and another dab on the outer corner angled slightly upward. Blend it all together and what do you get? A snatched face, that's what.
Trend #6: All-Over Blush
Remember when we used to identify the perfect spot for our blush by smiling big and buffing the stuff into the apples of our cheeks? Well, the internet has decided that those days are over. Much like the concealer correction we learned about above, it's also been determined that, for some face shapes, blush is best applied in a swirling motion from mid-cheek and up toward the temples to create lift. For a youthful glow, some e-girls even pat blush through the middle of the face and on the tip of the nose for an "I may or may not have a fever" kind of look. Looking for a monochrome moment? Sweeping your blush over the eyelids and tapping it into the lips are also things that happen now!
Masks aren't going anywhere, and as a result, our favorite online makeup masters are stepping up their demonstrations of out-of-this-world eye looks. From shimmery motifs to minimalist dabs of paint-like primary hues and even 3D embellishments à la Euphoria, there are no limits to what's doable. After all, now is the time to really go for it. And if, like most, you don't know where to start, just refer to the world wide web for more ideas than you'll even know what to do with.
Trend #8: Middle Parts
Move over curtain bangs and bobs. There's a new hair trend in town: middle parts. I know what you're thinking—that's not a new trend. And by all accounts, you would be right. But according to the ruling class (aka Gen Z), your crying laughing emoji, your skinny jeans, and, most of all, your side parts are out. A viral voice-over sound on TikTok proclaiming that middle parts are, indeed, the supreme hair part now serves as the backdrop for countless videos of people switching from fugly side parts to gorgeous middle parts and reeling over the improvement. Do with this information what you will, and if this one just hoisted you into internet elder status, as it did me, then my thoughts are with you. We'll get through this together.