2018 was a game-changing year in the beauty world. As social and cultural developments opened up bigger conversations around sustainability and technology, the beauty industry – known for always being ahead of the curve when it comes to advances – is aligning too. Here are the key beauty trends of 2018.
Clean Beauty Movement
Sustainability is on everyone’s mind and beauty brands are no exception. There’s been a significant move towards “clean” beauty, or at least cleaning up the act of how products are formulated, produced and packaged.
Drunk Elephant, the no-nasties California-born brand that launched in 2014, gained a cult US following before rolling out globally to Australia, Singapore, Canada and New Zealand, landing in the UK this October. Its products are formulated with sustainable ingredients, using “clean actives” – i.e. ingredients that avoid synthetics and are biocompatible with the skin, enabling them to better penetrate the dermal layers and reducing further impact on internal health.
Haircare is on a similar trajectory. This year, L’Oréal Professionnel launched a vegan, plant-based line, Source Essentielle, created using 80 to 99 per cent natural origin ingredients.
Sustainable packaging is also on the rise – seeing a return to glass as an alternative to plastic, the use of recycled materials, as well as refilling services and initiatives.
The question is, will checking in with your favourite brands’ “clean criteria” become as instinctive as reaching for your re-usable coffee cup?
New Classic Scents
This was the year of new classics. The last few years has seen a shift away from the idea of having one signature scent; instead perfume has become as a transient as changing your clothes every season. But this year saw a resurgence of classics that might bring us back full circle.
Chanel launched a limited-edition of their iconic No.5, the reassuringly grand, powdery scent, reimagined in a red bottle to mark the holiday season. Dior’s new classic – a nouvelle vague if you will – Joy, spells intimacy and warmth in a grown-up fragrance, heady with sandalwood and musks. And Tom Ford launched Lost Cherry, syrupy sweet with cherry notes and tobacco, perhaps a bottled invention of lost youth.
Inner health has been high on the list of priorities this year. The gut has taken centre stage – linked to healthy skin, hair and an overall preventative immune boost, it’s been dubbed the “second brain”. Turbo-charged probiotics, such as Symprove, have gained popularity and supplements have become much more targeted, with multi-ingredient formulas to best fit your needs. Hum Nutrition targets everything from sluggish digestion and energy levels, to skin health. Dr Frank Lipman, the functional medicine expert behind the celebrity favourite Cleanse programme (a 14- or 28-day series of digestive enzyme pills, shakes and dietary guidance, for a deep internal cleanse that promises to improve gut health, sleep and immunity) has now created Be Well supplements to sit alongside the Cleanse, which aim to enhance the condition of hair, nails and skin. Lyma – a premium supplement that supports the immune and cardiovascular systems, lifts energy and reduces stress levels – was created by fitness specialist Russell Bateman to optimise our health under modern day stresses. The days of taking a hit-and-miss cocktail of vitamins are over.
Year Of Glitter
This was the year of the “Kira Kira” sparkle filter, which influenced beauty trends from the catwalk to our make-up bags. Once considered OTT, glitter now has a much more wearable aesthetic. Taking inspiration from space-age films, Gucci spring/summer 2018 saw inner eyelids covered in turquoise glitter, applied with gusto. And at Anna Sui, little drops of silver glitter were painted in a vertical line from the centre of the lower lash line.
The trend extends to nail art too, sealed under a gel top coat leaving the finish infinitely wearable and elevating a demure nude nail to something more indulgent – perfect for party season.
Leave it to the genius of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, to bring a trend that on paper feels out-there, but in practice makes complete sense: yellow-gold highlighter across the cheekbones. Their Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife can be applied generously over the cheekbones to create flattering dimensions. Chanel did the same for autumn/winter 2018, with washes of gilded yellow. Welcome to a new era in contouring.
Beauty gadgets have come a long way this year. James Dyson demonstrated his Dyson AirWrap in New York – an instant styling wand that creates waves, glossy straight locks and more, using air rather than heat.
Technology is developing at pace, and while some beauty gadgets may sit in a higher price bracket, other handhelds are more accessible, even linking with phone apps to get the very best out of your skincare. Foreo, for example, offers light- and heat-emitting handheld devices that track and respond to internal and external factors affecting the skin. The Foreo UFO uses LED technology and hot and cold sonic waves to stimulate skin cells and boost the penetrative prowess of face mask ingredients. The app that you download alongside it times and instructs on how best to apply the device, for truly visible results.
Always at the forefront of home-beauty technology, Dr Dennis Gross launched the SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, an FDA-approved face mask charged with blue and red LED lights that target the appearance of wrinkles and improve acne and skin conditions. After two weeks of daily three-minute sessions, you’ll notice a visible difference. The future’s bright.
The potency of active ingredients has grown ever stronger as we demand more and more from our skincare. Highlights this year are: Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Capsules with retinol; Clinique’s seven-day vitamin C-packed programme, full of antioxidants to brighten the complexion; and Glossier’s exfoliating Solution.
No longer solely the domain of dermatologists, whether it’s specially formulated acids or added vitamins that speed up skin cell regeneration, expert skincare has now gone beyond the prescription.
Low-Maintenance Hair Styling
The anti-blow-dry movement has been going strong for some time, but the trend this year has been about little details that require minimal effort for maximum effect.
Alberta Ferretti created neat ponytails with a carefully tied rope-like finish. Ann Demeulemeester effortlessly styled low-slung plaits with ribbons at the ends. And Victoria Beckham had barely-tied half-ponytails with a loop to keep the hair out of the face. An easy, chic and infinitely wearable trend to suit everyone.