Skincare in 2021 looks rather different. So, here are the brand new beauty rules you better get used to.

Umm... so skincare was a total babe this year. She was! She really was. Everyone loved her. We all ditched our makeup routines (foundation? Pfft!) and decided there was absolutely NO limit as to how many face masks you could apply in a single day. What a time.

Watch: Speaking of face masks, let's all watch just how satisfying it is to rid 100 blackheads outta your face. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

We stopped buying 'going out' clothes and ransacked beauty stores (virtually, of course), purchasing a whole heap of skincare products we've wanted to try since, forever. 

The skincare industry dealt with things like maskne woes, at-home treatment alternatives and churned out some swanky, game-changing devices to keep our little salon-deprived selves happy.

As for the year ahead? Here's what experts predict skincare will be like in 2021.

1. Personalised skincare.

Fact: Everyone's skin is different - and beauty brands are starting to notice that skincare is not a one-size-fits-all kinda deal. In 2021 you'll see more and more customisable options to suit individual needs.

"Skincare has seen tremendous growth this past year. People are much more invested in their skin health than ever before and I don’t think that’s going to change coming into 2021," said beauty therapist and founder of The Parlour Room, Natalie Papadopoulos.

Listen: In this episode of You Beauty, we speak to the founder of personalised skincare brand Qr8 about the basics of a good skincare routine. Post continues after podcast.

"We’re seeing a lot more people eager to learn about their skin and understanding their unique skincare needs, and how they react with particular products and environmental aggressors. The goal has always been achieving glowing skin, and I feel 2021 is going to the year of mastering the real, 'no makeup' makeup look," said Papadopoulos. 

2. Skin needling.

When it comes to in-clinic skincare treatments, skin practitioner Sarah Hudson from Skin By Sarah Hudson said skin needling is going to have a major moment.


"I think treatments will focus on enhancing the natural look of the skin, rather than altering it. Skin needling will be key next year because it aligns to optimising the skin’s natural condition by stimulating the natural collagen production so the face appears healthier and more luminous," said Hudson.

If you haven't heard of skin needling before, it's basically a non-surgical treatment that involves pricking the skin with tiny needles to tighten loose skin, reduce lines and wrinkles, reduce scarring and generate a surge of collagen and elastin production. 

"Collagen gives your skin strength and hydration and has been revered for helping keep a youthful appearance. So stimulating the natural production of it will be really big in 2021."

Sign us up!

3. Paring it back to basics.

If you're anything like us, you went crazy and used ALL of the aforementioned skincare products you bought online during COVID, pretty much burning a whole layer of skin off your face. Cute! 

But according to Papadopoulos, in 2021 we'll start to pare back the old 25 step skincare routine, and focus on the essentials for healthy skin.

"After COVID everyone's masked-out, having used so many different products - so now they’re trying to repair this skin barrier. This means we're going to see a considered use of products, where we'll be paring it back to the basics - for example a simple exfoliator, cleanser, moisturiser and SPF," said Papadopoulos.

4. At-home LED light therapy.

Thanks to COVID, taking a trip to a skincare clinic wasn't a thing for a large portion of 2020. That means there was little access to professional treatments and high-tech facials - which is why the industry churned out a whole load of at-home options.

"If we’ve learnt anything from 2020, it’s how to master the art of pretty much anything at home," said Papadopoulos.

And it looks like we'll be loving the convenience and results associated with these kind of devices right into 2021 - particularly at-home LED treatments. 

Image: Getty


"While I'm a bit hesitant when it comes to performing any kind of skin treatment that is usually done in the hands of a professional, LED light therapy is something we’re seeing appear more and more in our homes," said Papadopoulos. 

What's the go with LED treatments, anyway? What do they do?

"LED light therapy is really beneficial in reducing any redness and scarring, improving our overall skin health and smoothing out uneven skin tones."

5. Retinol and fast-acting Vitamin A products.

"This is having a huge moment and I love it," said Papadopoulos. "Exfoliating is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine and using a Vitamin A to help speed up the skin cell turnover is only an added benefit." 

New to the whole vitamin A thing? That's cool. Just make sure you start off with something with a low concentration and build things up slowly.

"Using a beautiful vitamin A can increase cell turnover from 28 days to 21 days, which means the soft skin underneath is able to come through much quicker. I’ve always been a big fan of the OCosmedics Potent Retinol Serum (0.5%)," adds Papadopoulos.

6. Supplements.

It's no secret that beauty supplements have taken OFF. They're everywhere right now. And you'll only see more hype around the benefits of edible beauty in 2021.

"We’re seeing more and more beauty supplements enter the market and this is only going to continue. There is a direct correlation between our gut health and our skin health, so when looking to treat specific skin concerns, it's important we look at the whole picture," said Papadopoulos. "What we use topically is just an important as what we use internally."

7. Sustainability.

Sustainability has been a huge focus for the beauty industry for quite a few years now, and the push for innovative and reusable packaging will continue to ramp up in 2021. 

"This is something I hope will become more than a trend, rather a standard," said Hudson. "I think this will be the biggest movement of 2021, as we begin to see more brands offering refillables to counteract the impact production has had on the environment."


Yes! Go team.

8. SPF lip balms.

We all know how important it is to wear SPF every day - we've been banging on about it for ages. But are you protecting your lips, too? Don't worry, 2021-you is ALL over it.

"We often forget our lips yet they’re easily the most exposed and susceptible to sunspots," said Papadopoulos. "It used to be about filling them in, but now it’s about protecting them."

And don't think you need to go full Shane Warne with the green zinc - there's so many great options out there right now. "Mavala has a really beautiful SPF lip balm range," adds Papadopoulos.

9. Online consultations.

"2020 really proved how we can do pretty much everything via Skype or Zoom - and I believe this will continue," said Hudson. 

So, don't delete the Zoom app just yet, people.

"Historically, in order to offer customers a truly personalised skincare consultation involved seeing them in person. However, now it is becoming more and more simple for people to communicate and consult digitally, so we can achieve personalised skincare programs from the comfort of their home."

10. Full body treatments.

Have you ever had a full body treatment? We haven't. But it looks like it's all the rage in 2021.

"Our skin is the body's largest organ and these treatments ensure total body care," said Papadopoulos.

"From exfoliation and hydration, dry body brushing techniques and more, full body treatments help to improve circulation and smooth out uneven skin tone. These treatments work every part of the body, and areas we tend to forget most, especially when it comes to skincare - including the back, legs, feet, hands and scalp."

11. Facial massage techniques.

Those pretty little jade rollers and gua sha tools you see all over Instagram will continue to be a popular thing in 2021 - and more broadly, facial massaging as a whole.

"Because people haven’t been holidaying as normal, we’re finding ways to give ourselves that little extra indulgence at home and the facial massage is perfect for this," said Hudson. "Tools like jade rollers or gua shas are great when paired with a light facial oil or serum to stimulate circulation and help the product penetrate the skin more." 

"At Skin by Sarah Hudson, I use Ayurvedic massage techniques to release the stress within the face to help glow and firm. I definitely see a lot more facial massaging coming in 2021!"

Feature: Getty

What skincare treatment are you most keen to try in 2021? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.