A definitive round-up of the best and worst beauty trends of 2020.

Oh, 2020. You've been a weird one. And along with a fancy pandemic, you brought along a bucket load of beauty trends. Some good, some... not so much.

While the usual runway shows and red carpets weren't on the cards this year, we all emerged out of our respective lockdowns with some very ~different~ hair and makeup trends.

Exhibit A: Watch this clip of Nutella being used as hair dye. Yep. Now we've seen it all. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

To break it all down, we asked a makeup artist, dermatologist and a couple of hair experts, for some of their favourite beauty trends so far - and the ones they hope will stay in 2020 with all that other horrible s**t.

Let's start with the good stuff, shall we?

The BEST beauty trends of 2020.

1. Dolphin skin.

"2020 was the year of skin and increasing skincare, with more time at home to pamper ourselves during some tough and uncertain times due to COVID," said celebrity makeup artist Michael Brown. "One new trend that came up was Dolphin Skin."

Never heard of it? 

Basically, this technique is all about leaving your skin almost wet-looking, without appearing oily - think that glistening, fresh-out-of-the ocean skin. Like, well, a dolphin.


"Most skincare brands saw a growth this year, and dolphin was born on the back of this movement and the use of metallic and light reflecting pigments not only on the skin but also eyes, cheeks and lips," said Brown.

While the 'glass skin' trend involves the use of highlighter and sheen, Brown said, "Dolphin skin is much more about light reflecting, metallic pigments used in makeup to capture light and glow on the entire face, with obviously matting sheen on oil prone areas like the T-zone, for balance."

Look at you glow!


2. Curtain fringes.

ICYMI curtain bangs are big again. HUGE. And they suit everyone (psst... we even wrote a whole article on the curtain fringe trend).

"Curtain fringes are also making a comeback! Super stylish, chic and sophisticated, bangs are the ultimate way to change your style without spending a fortune," said Head of Education and Talent Virginia Gayssot from Franck Provost. "They are super flattering for every face shape and tres versatile."

So cool! So trendy! You should totally do it. 

Image: Getty 


3. Barely there makeup.

Minimal makeup has been trending for a while, but this year it seemed to take off. Whether it's due to the pandemic, or people just finally learning to embrace their own skin, we saw social media flooded with barely there, fresh-faced looks. 

It seems we've very much moved on from the era of Kardashian glam into one focused on skincare and a healthy glow instead of heavy coverage. Instead of slapping on highlighter and foundation, this year sheer makeup options like tinted moisturisers and glow-worthy primers became our BFFs for creating naturally radiant-looking skin on the daily.

Want to check out some of the latest glow-worthy products? Check out this article on how Gen Z even said the whole foundation thing was over.


4. Bakuchiol.

Heard of it? It's like a natural plant-based form of retinol that everyone's been going nuts over.

Dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technology said, "Bakuchiol is a phytochemical derived from the leaves and seeds of the psoralea corylifolia plant. It is a 'functional analogue' of retinol. This means it works on the same receptors in the skin and produces the same effects."

Interesting! So does it have the same benefits as retinol?

"It is a potent antioxidant, reduces unwanted pigmentation, promotes new collagen production, and smoothes the skin. It has also been shown to improve acne," said Armour.


So, why exactly is everyone going crazy over it?

"The latest research shows topical application has unique benefits for all skin types as it is much better tolerated than retinol. Importantly, bakuchiol is able to provide retinol benefits safely in women who are pregnant and breast-feeding- collagen production is induced, and congestion and acne are effectively tackled," said Armour.


5. Long layered hair.

If your hair is longer than usual, 'cause pandemic - we have some good news. Long hair is very much back in, so maybe hold back on hacking it all off.

"Say au revoir to blunt bobs because long, healthy hair is finally back and will continue throughout Autumn/Winter next year," said Gayssot. "The entire Franck Provost season preview was focused on luscious, long locks."

If you're looking to freshen up your lengthy hair, Gayssot suggests opting for some layers to add a little bit of movement and dimension "especially those that frame around the face." 

If you have finer hair, adding layers is your ticket to volume. "We are also seeing a lot of textured layers, which really brings back volume into the hair," said Gayssot.


6. Pastel eyeshadow.

Forget the neutral tones. Cute, playful eye makeup looks like pastel eyeshadow jumped onto the scene this year, making covering half your face with a mask look way less boring. 

While you can wear it however you want to, why not keep it simple and use your finger to press it onto your lid for a soft, uneven blend.


If you're feeling creative, try layering a few colours together to add a bit of dimension. 

Um, look at you go!


7. Slugging

The gross-sounding K-Beauty trend really hit an all-time high this year (maybe/absolutely cause everyone was stuck at home trying things they saw on TikTok).

So what exactly is it? Well, 'slugging' is a skincare trend that involves smearing a thick layer of Vaseline all over your face before bed. Yep, really.

Why though? Dr Armour?

"Vaseline is an occlusive product which prevents 99 percent of transepidermal water loss, thus trapping moisture and hydrating your skin," she said.

Listen: Wanna learn more about the whole 'slugging' thing? We got you covered. Listen to this episode of YouBeauty, where Leigh and Kelly unpack this interesting practice.

"Despite what you may have read, petrolatum is one of the safest things you can put on your skin.  Applying Vaseline in this way, acts as a barrier, and allows an impaired skin barrier to repair itself. It is particularly helpful for dry and irritated skin. When you remove the petrolatum, your skin feels plump and hydrated – some would say a bit like a 'slug'."

Interesting. Should I start slugging, then?

"Slugging isn’t for everyone. Whilst petrolatum is not 'comedogenic' per se, it is occlusive. Any occlusive leave-on skincare is best avoided in those who are prone to acne."

Okay, cool.


8. Multi-coloured nails.

So cute! So playful! So g-damn refreshing! Multi-coloured manicures are one the biggest nail trends that have come out of 2020, and we love that it's so easy to DIY. 


Wanna give it a go? Of course you do - how good does it look!

Okay - it's pretty simple. All you gotta do is paint your nails with alternating nail polish shades - you can either follow a theme (like a beige/neutral look) or pick a completely different shade for each nail (for something like the rainbow-inspired mani above). 

The best part? It's always IG -worthy. Always.

9. Sunscreen

Um, so this could be the best trend we've seen in YONKS.

"There is no doubt that 2020 has seen a newfound love of sunscreen," said Dr Armour. 

We're not crying, you're crying!


"Instead of something that is begrudgingly applied (or not!), women everywhere are finally embracing the importance of applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen EVERY day, as well as reapplying during the day."

So, why the change of heart? Did a heap of people just suddenly read our 35464 articles on why you should always wear SPF every dingin' day?

"I think that sunscreen has suddenly become sexy due to the development of numerous new sunscreen brands which are cosmetically elegant and are a pleasure to wear," said Armous. "Think Ultra Violette – fabulous formulations, and gorgeous packaging. What’s not to love?"


Psst... we also rate La Roche Posay's Anthelios Invisible Fluid Sunscreen, cause it's super cute and easy to chuck in your handbag. 

You're welcome.

10. 'E-girl' hairstyles.

"One of the biggest hair trends of 2020 would be high-contrast face frames, the Dua Lipa inspired 'E-girl' highlighting technique used to bring out your cheekbones, eyes and jawline." said Jaye Edwards from EdwardsAndCo.

The best part about this trend is that it can range from a super edgy look, paying homage to the '90s, with darker brunettes and raw, blocky blondes, to a much more subtle variation of a balayage, where finer highlights are blended from the ends, through to the roots of the hair around your face.

Here's the look we're talking about BTW:


THE WORST beauty trends of 2020.

1. The mullet.

Did you cut yourself a mullet during iso and... keep it? Well, don't.

"The mullet is very harsh and hard to wear," said Gayssot. "Some people will definitely look amazing and stylish with it, but for most people it will be a disaster if I am being really honest. Having said that, if you have confidence and conviction, you can rock anything."

Just sayin'.

2. Jade/Amethyst/Rose Quartz facial rollers.

"Whilst rolling these devices over your skin feels cooling and soothing, the claimed benefits just don’t stack up in terms of the science." said Dr Armour.

Sorry to break it to you, friends.

"There is no way that skin tightening, lifting or facial slimming is going to be stimulated. But, these devices look lovely in your bathroom, and feel nice on the skin. If you want home skincare devices that actually elicit benefit on the skin, I’d go with dermal needling skin rollers or home LED devices," said Dr Armour.


3. At-home 'E-girl' hairstyles.

Okay, remember how we were talking about the E-girl colour trend above and how good and cool and edgy it was? Yeah? Well, when COVID hit and everyone tried DIY-ing this look at home, it quickly turned into one of the worst trends. 


"The worst part about this trend was lockdown. Everyone became their own at home colourist and we saw some absolute horror stories, from patchy yellow and orange face frames, to hair that had literally melted off. Good thing we love a colour correction challenge here at EdwardsAndCo."

How awkward!

4. Celebrity skincare.

Do you know what's just as big as celebrity fragrances and makeup collections? Celebrity skincare. And while you probably already had an inkling most of it was BS, Dr Armour has confirmed our beliefs. 


And she's a dermatologist - so, yeah. She knows what's good when it comes to skincare.

"On a quick peruse of celebrity skincare brands which hit our shores recently, these brands do not add anything to the existing skincare market," said Dr Armour.  

"We don’t see new cosmeceutical ingredients or scientific innovation. What we tend to see is use of existing and well-established ingredients (like Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid), often in very low concentrations. Or, you are paying big money for something that has no active ingredients at all," she said.


"GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream is a plain moisturiser, containing nothing innovative, but carrying a price tag of $152 here in Australia. It is a lovely plain moisturiser. You are buying brand here, and not much else. That is fine, as long as you are informed about this."

And as for Kylie Skin by Kylie Jenner

"Again, nothing new - but at least this comes at an accessible price-point. You are buying a little piece of Kylie. If you’re fine with that, go for it," said Dr Armour.


"For the ultimate celebrity skincare splurge, look no further than MDNA Skin. 'The Serum' contains ingredients which are not expensive to work with (hyaluronic acid and resveratrol) and those that just don't work (apple stem cells). For a hefty $335, we can purchase a little bit of Madonna’s magic. But I think I’ll save my funds!"

Soz, Mads.


Anyone else feel intensely happy that this whole celebrity skincare things has finally been spelt out for us? We sure are.

"In my opinion, your money is better spent on established brands with effective ingredients, such as Avene, QV Skincare, Cetaphil, Bioderma and La Roche-Posay - these are great skincare ranges, backed by science, and at an accessible price."


Feature image: Getty; @goop

What are your thoughts on the above? Are you a fan of any of these trends? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.