13 - 16 February 2024 // Nürnberg, Germany


Five major beauty trends in 2021

© Julia Keith

Our society is constantly changing, and that’s also being reflected in the current beauty trends. In my presentation “Beauty Briefing 2021: global beauty trends and inspirations” at the VIVANESS Congress, I will be discussing the important trends in the beauty sector for 2021 and beyond. You can read about five interesting influences below:

Safe beauty, self-care and “maskne”

Decorative cosmetics are not having an easy time during the pandemic. Due to mandatory mask-wearing and the fact that people are working from home, there's been a significantly lower demand for lipstick and other cosmetic products. This has been countered by an increase in sales of soap, hand sanitisers and antiviral essential oils, which can be brought together under the heading “safe beauty”. New to Europe are mask sprays, which have been established and in widespread use in Asia for quite some time now. For example, VIVANESS 2021 will feature a mask spray from Primavera. In addition, there is a demand for body oils and bath essences for those at-home pampering experiences, as people have more time for self-care in their own bathrooms.

In conjunction with facial skin care, the buzzword “maskne” (mask-related acne) has been doing the rounds on social media since the start of mandatory mask-wearing. “Maskne” refers to the skin impurities that can occur due to wearing a mask and which can be treated using products with anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties.

The retail segment was and is also subject to changes during the pandemic. During the lockdown, large parts of the bricks-and-mortar retail segment had to close (fortunately, organic food and natural cosmetic retailers were exempted). As a result, the online retail sector became more important than ever. Instagram Lives evolved into the new shopping TV experience, combining entertainment with sales pitches.


In the spring of 2020, the US “Black Lives Matter” movement garnered worldwide attention. One of the consequences of this has been that in Europe too, the product ranges and advertising photos of cosmetics companies are now being publicly scrutinised. It is high time for make-up for dark skin tones to be included in product ranges or for hair care products to make provision for curly and frizzy hair. In Germany too, there are a lot of people with a migrant background whose special beauty needs are often not being addressed. This means there's scope for new start-ups to fill these gaps in the market, including in the natural and organic cosmetics sector.


The term “anti-aging” has probably had its day, as more and more women can no longer identify with it. A new, less negative attitude to aging can also be observed in social media. Even the well-known beauty magazine Allure from the Condé Nast stable has deleted the word “anti-aging” from its vocabulary. In future, the cosmetics sector will no longer be about denying the aging process but about growing older healthily and good grooming. In this context it is therefore fitting that topics like the menstrual cycle or the menopause are no longer taboo nowadays.

In any case, it is really astounding that cosmetic product ranges have until now only catered for a major target group like boomers with labels like “mature skin” or “anti-aging”. In the USA, for example, dynamic startups are already working on cosmetic products to meet the different needs of the older target group. They are also openly addressing the needs of women before and after the menopause. In this context, there is often a connection between inner and outer beauty, as the growing range of beauty supplements shows.


Skinfluencers closely scrutinise the ingredients in your cosmetics products. The term is a neologism created from the words skin and influencer. Skinfluencers focus on cosmetic products whose effectiveness has been verified by scientific studies. In this context, active ingredients like retinol, fruit acids or vitamin C come off well, while essential oils or ethanol have a more difficult status. It is therefore increasingly important for brands to communicate the active ingredients used in their products in a more scientific way. At VIVANESS you will get the chance to look at the new Reface Sleep & Peel Overnight Serum or the Vitamin C Illuminating Recovery Cream by Mádara; both products draw on the increasing clout of skinfluencers over the years.

Organic and natural cosmetics and sustainability

Even during the pandemic, there was and is strong demand for natural cosmetics, which continues to drive growth in the cosmetics industry. In recent years, the concept of natural and organic cosmetics was not just taken up and further developed by niche brands but increasingly, by global concerns as well. (This is evident, for example, in the meanwhile extensive range of solid cosmetics on offer, which will also be strongly represented at VIVANESS.) Where possible, sustainability is now being considered holistically: How much CO2 is emitted during the production of the raw materials? What does environmentally compatible packaging look like? What about the use of water through the entire product life cycle? And how can natural resources be conserved in the manufacture of cosmetics? New developments raise new questions: Are biotechnologically produced raw materials from biomass, CO2 or recycled material the sustainable future? And what will the natural cosmetics of the future look like?

Now that I have given you food for thought I'd like to wish you lots of fun discovering all the innovations at VIVANESS 2021!