A year of renewal? Top 5 EMEA beauty trends to watch in 2021

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

CosmeticsDesign-Europe spotlights the top five beauty and personal care trends to watch in 2021 – think inclusive, tech-driven and green… (Getty Images)
CosmeticsDesign-Europe spotlights the top five beauty and personal care trends to watch in 2021 – think inclusive, tech-driven and green… (Getty Images)

Related tags 2021 Consumer trends beauty 4.0 inclusive beauty genderless beauty self-care wellbeing Oral care Hygiene green beauty

Curiosity for digital, a need for inclusivity and heightened demand for green beauty are just some of the key trends set to shape the European, Middle East & African beauty market next year – here are our Top 5 EMEA trends to watch.

2021 beauty trends to watch across EMEA

After a tough 2020, carved out and largely defined by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 should see a turn in consumer behaviour and industry innovation, as the world adjusts to a ‘new normal’.

So, what exactly will take the spotlight in 2021? CosmeticsDesign-Europe believes there will be five key trends to watch in the year ahead:

. Beauty 4.0

. Beauty for all

. Self-care society

. Oral care spotlight

. Green beauty

1. Beauty 4.0: Tech and digital advances to ‘transform beauty interactions’

In the wake of COVID-19, Beauty 4.0 will truly dig its heels in next year. As consumers continue to flock online and social media continues its rise, the uptake of smart beauty devices and engagement with brands online should broaden.

Beauty 4.0 will be driven by a desire to engage with brands one-on-one and obtain highly personalised products and curated content.

Tech advances should help industry cater to these rising demands, with many product launches already in the pipeline or at early-design phases this year. L’Oréal is primed to launch its at-home beauty device Perso next year​; Beiersdorf recently patented a sunscreen UV stamp dispenser​; and The Alchemist Atelier wants to expand its at-home perfume blender​.

2. Beauty for all: An inclusive industry where consumers are ‘understood’

As consumers become louder in their desire to flout dated labels and more dismissive of being pigeon-holed by meaningless marketing terms, beauty for all – which includes genderless, makeup for men and beauty that considers diversity – will rise fast.

Consumers increasingly want to feel catered to and better understood and are looking for products that match them, inside and out, no matter what age, gender, race or creed they identify as.

Industry has raced to cater to these needs and be more inclusive, and efforts in this space will only continue. Independent brand War Paint for Men in the UK has already proven the desire for a dedicated male makeup category​ and industry heavyweights Tiger Savage and Will King launched a genderless, humanity-led beauty brand​.

3. Self-care society: ‘Time, money and space’ dedicated to wellbeing

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has seen consumers flip the lid on priorities, with many dedicating more time, money and space to taking care of themselves and their loved ones.

Self-care has truly soared into the beauty spotlight​ as consumers look to feel better, healthier, happier and more satisfied in themselves amidst all the negativity brought about by the pandemic and this will stick as we edge into 2021.

Much of what can be done here by industry centres around joy and detachment – what many brands already do very well – but there’s scope to go deeper, innovating with fragrances, textures and packaging design.

During the crisis, many beauty retailers and brands already started to address ‘self-care’, with The Body Shop launching care packages that could be sent to family or friends and unveiling data proving self-care has risen in importance​. 

4. Oral care spotlight: Can toothpaste and mouthwash become COVID important?

Scientific interest and consumer engagement in the oral care category started to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by increased hygiene concerns amongst consumers.

And as the science world learns more about the virus, many oral care specialist brands have started to invest in research and clinical trials looking at how toothpaste and mouthwash products could potentially curb viral transmission of the virus. Colgate-Palmolive​ and Unilever​ both shared early preliminary findings they called promising.

Packaging and active ingredient innovation​ has also risen in the category recently, spelling great potential for 2021. What will be important, however, is understanding how important sound scientific findings are and clear, concise and engaging consumer communication on any advances made.

5. Green Beauty: A trend set to become ‘paramount’ in 2021

Sustainability has been hugely important in the EMEA region for some time, but this trend has gained new ground in beauty recently as the importance of planetary health works its way deeper into the hearts and minds of consumers​.

Consumers are looking for more sustainable packaging options, certified ingredients and want a transparent and honest insight into everything behind a brand. And as Europe aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050, noise around this topic will only grow.

There is already a raft of independent certifications widely used in beauty – COSMOS, Cruelty-Free and B Corp just a few – but industry will need to go further next year. A common definition of ‘green beauty’ would help, along with certifications that stretch commitments even further. Scottish startup Seilich, for example, opted for a Wildlife Friendly certification​ to fulfil its goal of creating net environmental good in its operations.

There’s also still plenty that can continue from a packaging standpoint, with plastic alternatives and new technologies offering promise for big and small brands alike.

WATCH: Top 15 global beauty trends to watch in 2021

These top five EMEA trends form part of our wider look at what is set to shape the global beauty and personal care market next year. For deeper insight on key trends at a global level, watch our full Top 15 Global Beauty Trends 2021 video​ compiled by our global editors.

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