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).
"For those that would like a more textured product, this purifying cleanser delivers the most refined, gentle scrub," Go confirms. "It's made from a Japanese root crop called Konnyaku, which is traditionally used in detoxification diets, so it's effective at lifting impurities from the skin."
To complete your ritual, Go suggests following both of the above products with this quick treatment formulated with kaolin clay, vitamin C, and coconut oil: "It feels refreshing because of kaolin's slightly cooling effect on the skin. There is a faint whiff of frankincense which we love for its holistic healing properties. Once you wash it off, your skin feels completely renewed, smooth, and bouncy—a bit similar to the texture of a freshly boiled egg!"
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."
Inspired by the ancient self-care and beauty rituals of Indian royalty, Ranavat is the ultimate union of "modern alchemy and romance." Rooted in Indian tradition, this radiance-enhancing serum boasts lush, high-quality ingredients like saffron to revive a tired complexion.
Encapsulating the ritual of Korean spas and their iconic bath scrubs, Peach & Lily founder Alicia Yoon formulated this KP-busting body elixir to iron out frazzled texture while drenching skin in traditional Korean ingredients such as mugwort, tea extracts, barley, and cucumber.
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.)
This at-home light therapy device from Dr. Dennis Gross has a cult following amongst beauty editors, celebrities, and skincare experts, alike. Use it in between professional appointments to eradicate breakouts, and/or slow the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and other tell-tale signs of aging. (If you're into that sort of thing, of course.)
A thing to add to your wishlist: This handy-dandy microinfusion stamp from celebrity-loved injector and skin expert, Vanessa Lee of The Things We Do. From the comfort of your own home, you'll reap a gentler form of microneedling that deposits tiny droplets of the brand's "Skin Brew" (containing star ingredients like snail mucin and moringa) directly into the skin.
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."
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."
Unlike a lot of other CBD skincare products, this cream (which is thick, luscious, and super reparative) doesn't contain any comedogenic (i.e., pore-clogging) ingredients. Instead, it utilizes the natural healing powers of whole hemp plant–derived CBD, ceramides, squalane, and hyaluronic acid to soothe, support, and rebalance the skin barrier.
This best-selling moisturizer from SkinCeuticals is a go-to moisturizer amongst celebrities and skin experts. It still feels supremely nourishing and hydrating, but it's lighter weight and effortlessly absorbs into the skin so you're not left feeling slick or oily.
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."
This beautiful face oil from Klur is designed for all skin types (yep, even if you veer oily), and it will keep your skin bright, balanced, and dewy all year round. The potent mix of plant-based actives like vitamin C and E plus squalene and Coq10 treat your skin to a healthy portion of protective antioxidants which tag team to form a bio-identical support system that mimics your skin's natural protective functions
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."
This from Versed is a staple around the Who What Wear office. Thanks to SPF 35 and an antioxidant-rich formula, it protects against UVA and UVB rays as well as environmental and blue-light damage. Not to mention, the universally flattering peachy tint blends to your skin tone and never leaves a white cast.
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."
For optimal gut health, immunity, and glowing skin, these comprehensive capsules contain 15 billion spores per dose and were specifically formulated to address and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other long-term digestive issues that hinder gut health.
Color us excited when Augustinus Bader decided to plop its iconic skin magic into single-serving sachets. According to the brand, each nutritive dose is the first science-backed blend to nurture and improve gut health, collagen synthesis, defense against environmental damage and inflammation, and the production of natural skin oils.
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."
You'll love this oil-free, firming serum from Caudalíe, especially if you're skin doesn't handle retinol well. (And according to the brand, this formula is twice as effective in the firming and smoothing departments, anyway!) The key ingredient players include resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant), hyaluronic acid, and a vegan collagen alternative for a super-plump finish.
A hydrating serum that's so moisturizing you can even use it in lieu of your normal moisturizer? Count us in. This one from InnBeauty Project features Mother Nature's alternative to retinol, bakuchiol, in addition to hyaluronic acid and yuzu for a full steam ahead attack against hyperpigmentation, uneven texture, enlarged pores, and fine lines.
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."
This under-the-radar fan favorite is heaven-sent for those suffering from a dry, cranky, and itchy scalp. It's brimming with amazing ingredients like apple stem cells (to slow aging hair follicles) and Indian senna (for hydration), and one pipette worth of product evenly applied throughout the scalp on a daily basis will soothe even the worst fall and winter hair woes.
"I love this shampoo for scalp health because it’s a perfect balance," explains Markenson. "It cleanses while also treating the scalp with ingredients you'd typically find in skincare products for the face like hyaluronic acid, AHAs, clay, and fermented essential minerals."
Pre-shampoo, treat yourself to this award-winning scalp treatment. Not only does it tackle product buildup and excess sebum, but it also uses clutch ingredients like meadowfoam, chia seed oil, (and so much more) to revive your hair's natural shine and texture.