The Most Sought-After Skin Experts Predict 2022's Biggest Trends


(Image credit: @misstpw)

In all honesty, the word "trend" always makes me balk a little. Especially when it comes to beauty, and especially as it pertains to skincare. After all, cultivating an effective routine should be more about what works for you and your skin and much less about what everyone else happens to be doing. (Despite what TikTok wants us to think, wink, wink.)

Yes, good skincare should be evergreen (as one facialist I interviewed for this piece pointed out), but on the other hand, I don't know if it's quite that simple. If the past couple of years have proven anything, it's that the ebb and flow of life—the good, the bad, and the completely unexpected—will dictate and influence our habits and needs. We adapt, and collectively as a society, this can create waves of change and preferences—trends, if you will. More mask-wearing caused an influx of irritation and breakouts, which, in turn, created a demand for products that could help us address that from home. More stress caused a need for self-nurturing and self-care, which in turn, created a demand for soul-warming products like candles, luxurious body oils, and anything else that might brighten our day.

With all hope, 2022 will be a continued journey toward a new version of normalcy, and yes, our thoughts and approach to skincare will likely fluctuate accordingly. Below, I'm chatting with some of the industry's best to find out which practices, rituals, and products will re-bubble and dominate in the coming year. Keep scrolling for 10 of the biggest skincare trends (there, I said it) to keep your eye out for.

Trend #1: "Osaji" (AKA the Ritual of Cleansing)

"In 2022, the ritual of cleansing in skincare will resonate with a lot of people dealing with the effects of a post-pandemic world," predicts Giselle Go, co-founder of DamDam. "Japanese culture practices "Osoji," which means to clean or bathe. Bathing culture is a big (and very practical!) tradition done at the end and beginning of the year, whether it is de-cluttering your space or your body. Osoji transcends the functional act of cleaning. It gives us time to unpack our thoughts and soothe the body."

Spending more quality time in the tub or in the front of the sink is definitely something we can lean into, and according to Go, the ritual is considered to be one of the most sacred ceremonies, a time to cleanse and heal the body. To imbibe, try pairing a cleanser like DamDam's Silk Rice Cleansing Oil ($46) or the Nomad's Cream Purifying Cleanser ($38) with a 5-minute vitamin C treatment like the Skin Mud Pure Mask ($48). 

Shop the practice:

Trend #2: The Influence of Ancient Tradition & Cultural Ritual

"Skincare products that are minimalist, technologically advanced, and influenced by ancient traditions and ingredients will be important in 2022," says Go. "As people are becoming more conscious about what they buy and put on/in their bodies, there will be a gravitation towards skincare that supports a symbiotic relationship with the world we live in."

Shop the practice:

Trend #3: The Comeback of In-Person Professional Treatments

Of course, it's impossible to predict what 2022 has in store for us in terms of the pandemic, but we're remaining optimistic that in-person skincare treatments will regain a normal, pre-pandemic cadence.

"I think professional skin treatments like microdermabrasion and facials will be huge, agrees Lesley Thornton, the founder of Klur. "For many, it's been over two years since they have had regular treatments, and in 2022, I can definitely see people making professional care a priority again." (Psst: you can shop some of our favorite at-home products to help maintain professional results below.)

Shop the practice:

Trend #4: Retinol Creams > Everything Else

"Multi-active products and hardworking ingredients like retinol will be front and center in 2022," Thornton tells us. "Klur will be releasing its Sculpture A Retinol Cream in March—it is important to incorporate a retinol cream that works against inflammatory-aging in addition to maintaining barrier health. Creams will make a major comeback; I think most consumers know that oils alone will never be enough for adequate skin support. Minimalism in skincare will carry over into 2022, so products that are well-formulated and address multiple concerns will have a place on the top shelf."

Shop the practice:

Trend #5: Protecting the Skin Barrier

"Products that protect the skin barrier, hydrate, and reduce inflammation will be huge in 2022," predicts plastic surgeon Smita Ramanadham, M.D. "Months (even years) of combatting maskne or other skin issues from mask-wearing, has resulted in the over- treatment, inflammation, and irritation of the skin. Products containing ceramides can be helpful in terms of treatment and are quickly becoming more popular. The addition of ceramides helps to seal the skin and create a protective layer with the added benefit of anti-aging effects."

Shop the practice:

Trend #6: Squalane, Squalane, and More Squalane

"Squalane is another ingredient we will continue to see more of," Ramanadham adds. "This is an ingredient that does an amazing job of moisturizing the skin but is lightweight and won't clog pores. It even has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce redness."

Shop the practice:

Trend #7: The Domination of Mineral Sunscreen

"Mineral sunscreens are on the rise, and their popularity will only continue in the coming year," notes Ramanadham. "With the latest FDA statements and ongoing research regarding the chemical ingredients in sunscreen products, I think we will be seeing more products available that are mineral-based, especially tinted options which help eliminate the white cast that can occasionally occur."

Shop the practice:

Trend #8: Bacteria-Laden Skincare

"Bacteria is no longer a dirty word in skincare," says La Jolla-based dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi. "The skin’s microbiome is getting more recognition with the emergence of probiotic skincare products—supporting healthy bacteria on our skin strengthens our skin barrier, boosts skin immunity, maintains pH balance, and allows the skin to perform better. Moving into 2022, we'll see even more skincare products and skin-geared supplements featuring prebiotics and probiotics."

Shop the practice:

Trend #9: Plant-Based Anti-Aging Alternatives 

"As we continue to research ingredients that boost collagen and elastin while also rejuvenating the skin, I expect to see more plant-based formulations in the anti-aging category," Shirazi continues. "Examples include Centella Asiatica, bakuchiol, elderberry, and resveratrol."

Shop the practice:

Trend #10: Prioritizing Scalp Care

"I think people are starting to look at skin care as a holistic, whole-body practice that extends beyond the boundaries of the face," shares Hillary Markenson, co-founder of Reverie. "One area of skincare we are particularly focused on is the scalp; it’s the soil from which our hair grows and we need to tend the garden. With the rise of scalp serums, like Reverie's Cake Restorative Scalp Tonic ($72) this long-neglected area is coming to the forefront."

Shop the practice:

Beauty Director

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.