The 12 K Beauty Trends to Try in 2021, According to the Experts

“2021 is less about what’s ‘buzzy’ and more about what’s tried and true, with a focus on calming the skin. Centella asiatica [a herb grown in Asia, known for being anti-inflammatory]—or cica—is huge right now. With everyone dealing with the prolonged stress of the pandemic and dreaded ‘maskne’, soothing irritated, angry skin seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds. Cica is the ingredient that everyone wants to add to their routine.”

6. Clean beauty

“More brands are developing products free of chemical additives, artificial ingredients and fragrance. Products will be even more gentle with effective plant-based ingredients and many brands are becoming vegan as well. Consumers are more aware of what they put on their skin.”

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb

Primera Black Seed Cold-Brew Serum

7. Pre-, pro-, and postbiotics

“This year, inner and outer wellness brands and products will gain more popularity. For example, brands that focus on pre-, pro-, and postbiotics; microbiome-friendly skincare; and consumable supplements, which benefit both the skin and the gut.

“K-beauty will shift more towards a holistic approach, linking skincare and internal health
. I take probiotic supplements for my bouts of eczema and I love using K-beauty products with fermented ingredients. I regularly use 107—it uses aged [seven and 10-year-old] vinegar [that promotes good gut health]. Their vinegar tastes delicious with honey!”

107 Micro Drizzle Hydro Toner

107 Hanega Black 10-Year Vinegar

8. Flexible minimalism

“A few years back, we were oversaturated with the ‘10-step Korean skincare routine’. The ‘skincare diet’ [using fewer products and steps] that followed was a pushback against that, but it was too restrictive for those who wanted more results than could be attained with just the basics.

“Flexible minimalism is a focus on clean and simple product lines, which makes customizing your routine easier. There will also be a push towards pared-back lists of ingredients. Single and minimal ingredients are appealing because of their simplicity and high concentration of the hero component.”

Manyo Factory Pure Cleansing Oil

Etude House Soon Jung PH 5.5 Relief Toner

9. At-home indulgences

“Skincare has a functional element—it has to work and deliver results—but I expect products that provide meditative, soothing, and spa-like moments to take off in a big way. They can transport you mentally and emotionally to another headspace.”

Peach & Lily Matcha Pudding Antioxidant Cream

Shangpree S-Energy Repair Eye Cream

Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, co-founders of Glow Recipe

10. Hyphenate and hybrid skincare

“We’ve started seeing ‘skipcare’ as a K-beauty trend, where the focus is on a pared-down, simple, and minimalist routine. We will be seeing more efficient and effective multitasking and versatile products—what we like to call ‘hyphenates’ or ‘hybrid’ skincare.”

11. Skin detoxifying and barrier strengthening

“The belief that ‘skin is a reflection of your mental state’ comes from Korea and growing up, my mother emphasized this to me many times. We’ll see more barrier-strengthening ingredients that boost immunity, such as mushrooms, plus detoxifying herbs including mugwort and ginger. Ceramides [which form a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss and visible skin damage] will make a comeback, too.”

12. A boost in body care

“In Korea, many body-care rituals originate from the bathhouse culture, where milk treatments are slathered on the face and body, and baths are steeped with skin-beneficial ingredients such as green tea and probiotics. During a difficult year, personal self-care has taken on new importance for many, so we expect to see the definition to include all of the skin, from head to toe.”

Glow Recipe Papaya Sorbet Smoothing Enzyme Cleansing Balm & Makeup Remover

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum