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”Just like the fashion industry, the beauty industry is expected to be transparent about where ingredients come from”

The now Stockholm-based beauty and health journalist and author of two books on skincare from within (”Beautyfood – 85 recipes for health and beauty from within” and ”Destination Beautyfood”) lived many years in Tokyo, which, she describes, profoundly influenced her beauty life. She’s just even launched her own Japan-influenced beauty line, Essential Liquids, inspired by Japanese beauty foods with products that hold a natural place in Asian skincare rituals, like cleansing oil, toner, and essence, for skincare brand Skin Treat. 

Which 5 skincare trends would you like to point out for 2021?

1. Focus on microbiome. Pre-, pro-, and post-biotics in skincare have been around for a while, but I think the trend will really take off this year. The bacterial balance is crucial for a healthy skin barrier, and after years of heavy focus on exfoliating acids and cocktailing insta-hyped active ingredients, many of us have challenged our skin microbiome. Probiotics are notoriously difficult to use since they are living bacteria, but the research is ongoing and I predict many breakthroughs.

2. Acne alert. Adult acne is on the rise. Stress is a well-known pimple trigger, and the past year has served us its fair share of worries. The pandemic, social unrest, climate change, unemployment on the rise — all these things add up. Add a face mask, and there’s a perfect breeding ground for acne, which means a bigger focus on products that target both acne and aging.

3. Cica care. Centella asiatica, or cica, is by no means a new ingredient — it’s been a staple in Korean and Japanese skincare for ages. But as the demand for calming, soothing skincare grows, cica is everywhere.

4. Next level deodorants. Antiperspirants and deodorants have long been a forgotten and un-sexy category, but a new generation of brands are launching deodorants that are savvy enough to earn a place on the top shelf. For those who are seeking an aluminum-free deodorant, it’s easier than ever to find an effective underarm savior.

5. Refills and new formats. Sustainability is on top of everyone’s mind, and brands have to come up with clever solutions. In a bid to save waste, packaging, and water, refills and water-less format are on the rise. Solid shampoos, powdered hand soaps and refillable fragrance candles are just a few examples. This weekend I even got my hands on a solid dry shampoo.

And how do you hope that the skincare industry will develop in the future?

— It’s all about sustainability and transparency. Just like the fashion industry, the beauty industry is expected to be transparent about where ingredients come from and to take responsibility for the entire production chain. Social sustainability is equally important. As consumers, we want to know that the brands we support are representing our values, says Ahlgren. She continues:

— There will also be a huge focus on packaging. Less waste, recyclable materials, minimizing the use of virgin plastics and using QR codes instead of printed folders are just the beginning.

— As for active ingredients, the market is always hungry for the next big thing that really gives results. After the success of bakuchiol, many brands will surely continue the quest for gentler retinoid alternatives. 

— Lastly, the awareness of how both food and nutrition and our mental well-being affect our overall skin health will grow. Skin is our largest organ, and what goes on on the inside will inevitably show on the outside.

Ahlgren’s Liquid Essentials range for Skin Treat.

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