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From DIYs to personalised beauty: Skincare trends that made mark this year

With 2020 almost coming to an end — we aren’t surprised that even a pandemic threw up major skincare trends

Written by Shambhavi Dutta | New Delhi |
Updated: December 23, 2020 12:16:35 pm
Which trend did you give into this year? (Photo: Getty)

With a major chunk of 2020 spent inside the confines of our home, people indulged and invested in various hobbies and activities that helped them feel calm in a year that threw unforgettable curveballs. While for some it was gardening and cooking, for many others it was fitness and skincare. With 2020 almost coming to an end — we aren’t surprised that even a pandemic threw up major skincare trends.

From DIYs allowing us to get more creative with our routine, to social media paving the way for an audience going gaga over active ingredients, there was no stopping the industry from exploring its strengths. As we move closer towards a new year, let’s take a look at the skincare trends that dominated 2020.

Rise in DIYs 

With salons and spas closed for months, we became inventive — well, 2020 was the year where not only did we drink coffee but also used it as a face scrub.

The pandemic made popular the concept of DIYs; it became associated with cutting back on unnecessary spending and avoiding physical contact. As per a McKinsey report, 66 per cent of people believed their finances were affected for at least two months because of COVID-19, and 36 per cent said they were cutting back on spending.

In fact, many Indian actors like Shruti Haasan, Bhagyashree, Sameera Reddy, among others, frequently shared DIYs with fans on social media.

Sharmishtha Singh (22), a masters student, also jumped on the bandwagon, as she shared with how she started a new account on Instagram only to share skincare DIYs. “It’s something I enjoy. I have so much fun; it almost energises and pumps me up to face the day!”

One of the other reasons for people choosing DIYs has been the amount of free time that came with staying at home. And as self-care became the need of the hour, there was also a surge in the sale of personal products.

Sale of personal care products

For many, beauty is not just about using the best available products or those that are famous because of their word-of-mouth campaign, it is instead about how well it translates into self-care.

Manish Taneja, co-founder and CEO of, tells “We witnessed a 90 per cent spike in the sale of personal care products and an increase in our overall volumes, vis-à-vis pre-lockdown period.”

He notes that one of the primary reasons for the surge in the sale of personal products is that there has been an increased focus on health and wellness for many. “There was a significant increase in sales of health and wellness products, too, which grew by over 750 per cent, followed by hair and hygiene care items.”

This was coupled with increased sale of health care supplements, herbal teas, hair masks, facial serums, toners, and sanitizers. Products like moisturisers and body lotions have been in demand owing to the seasonal change, Taneja explains.

Active-based skincare products

The skincare industry was buzzing with words such as retinol, vitamin C, AHAs and BHAs. These ingredients have one common functionality — they are all active. Until recently, many focused on having a basic skincare routine or CTM; but with more time and the availability of free information, consumers started navigating towards active-based skincare regimes.

The rise of an advanced skincare routine amidst the pandemic can be credited to the fact that consumers are more aware and are taking note of the ingredients they apply on their face. Agrees, Irene Kim, general manager at “The increasing popularity of active-based ingredients has come from the consumer knowledge and behaviour of clean-beauty, plant-based products.” She says products rich with arbutin, niacinamide and vitamin C serum were hot-sellers. Kim believes this trend will only continue to grow in 2021, “Active ingredients like Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Bamboo, AHA, BHA, and more, will continue to remain the highlight, and the sale of these products will only increase.”

Clean beauty and packaging 

The pandemic also made many realise their responsibility towards the environment. Consumers started to focus on clean beauty and packaging that drives the major retail force of an industry which produces huge amounts of waste — precisely 300 million tonnes of plastic. According to the UN, that is “nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population”.

The way products are packaged has started affecting consumer buying choice, too. Naina Ruhail, the co-founder & CIO of Vanity Wagon believes consumers are becoming more conscious about what they purchase, keeping in mind the adverse effects on the environment. She says: “Over time, they prefer minimal waste packaging and greener alternatives over regular bubble wraps and plastic packaging.”

The brand, too, makes sure it only partners with brands which are clean, toxin-free and sustainable in their packaging. “We have been working towards reducing waste and hence, have stopped using plastic in our packaging. We also give out seed paper in all our packages, encouraging people to plant them in their homes,” Ruhail adds.

Clean beauty, however, not only defines packaging but also the ingredients used in the products. With information on the internet readily available, consumers are consciously choosing to become more natural. Rahul Yadav, founder of The Minimalist is of the opinion that clean beauty was already on the rise when people became aware of not only what they ate, but also what they applied on the face. “But, the pandemic has acted as a catalyst and made us all a lot more aware of our lifestyle choices. People are now looking for products that are completely safe, sustainable, and highly effective.”

He adds that clean beauty is not just a passing trend, but a way of life. “We are just getting started. Now, there is an inherent approach where consumers believe that ‘less is more’, and the same applies to the skincare products, too.”

All things custom

The demand for better-suited products is strongly echoing in the industry. Consumers are finally letting go of products that do not suit their skin. In the world of bespoke beauty, products are formulated not keeping a skin type in mind, but one which is tailor-made for your skin.

Rohit Chawla, CEO & co-founder of Bare Anatomy — a homegrown beauty brand that offers personalised skincare solutions — shares how they had received a rave response when they launched three months ago. “We serviced more than 2,500 orders within a month of our launch, sans any marketing effort!” Consumers begin their personalisation journey with a detailed quiz where the brand looks into factors such as skin type, lifestyle habits to best customise a formulation for the kind of results you want to witness. “Our skin quiz factors in 30+ data points about the customer which is then analysed by our proprietary algorithm to pick ingredients which will work for their specific skin profile,” Chawla explains.

With personalised skincare being all about ‘less is more’, how do they plan to thrive in an ever-growing dynamic industry? “Once a customer sees how a personalised product can cater to multiple concerns at a time and can be tweaked according to progress, it becomes challenging to displace them — something that has worked in our favour so far,” Chawla says.

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