Your hands are dry and ashy from using
hand sanitiser every five minutes, you’ve been switching off between staring at your phone and computer, and you're actively avoiding doing the mental maths to figure out how high your screen time is. Maybe your skin threw some curveballs at you last year, and you ended up stocking up excessively during Black Friday and Cyber Monday... only to realise you don’t need half the products you anxiously tracked on the postal website.
You don’t have to admit any of this to us — we’re already here to give you the guide we think might help you stay ahead of the skincare phenomena we predict will gain more traction over the next eleven months. Ahead, the top trends and products to keep an eye on in 2021, and the best
dermatologist tips for getting in on them. Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission. Transparency is important to us at Refinery29, if you have any questions please reach out to us. 1 of 12 Minimalist Routines
While you can't deny the aesthetic value of the shelves of beauty products in the backgrounds of our favourite influencers' videos, the rest of us might be questioning if we really need a skincare tower just as high in our own bathrooms. Sometimes, less is more — and if you feel overwhelmed by the constant marketing and #texturetuesday images on social media, a minimal skincare set might be exactly what you need.
Caroline Robinson, MD
, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of
in Chicago, says that when dermatologists' offices and spas closed at the start of the pandemic, consumers started exploring more skincare on their own time, which led to a lot more products filling their nightstands. But now, she says, “I feel like people are backing off of that and they’re like, ‘Do I really need this stuff? Could I find one Holy Grail product, or can I find a three-step routine and minimise a little bit?'" Your skin — and your wallet, too — might just thank you for settling down with a solid few products instead of an ever-growing collection.
2 of 12 Versed Dew Point Moisturising Gel Cream If you want to simplify your routine but the idea of paring it down to just two or three products gives you FOMO, Versed has you covered with a stripped back range of targeted serums and lightweight moisturisers. Head to Cult pick and choose what products work best for your skin. We rate the Dew Point Moisturizer for oily, acne-prone skin. Versed
Dew Point Moisturizing Gel-Cream, $13.50
Buy 3 of 12 Amie
soft + smooth Nourishing Moisturiser, $6.95
Buy 4 of 12 Blue-Light Protection
By now we know that sunscreen is imperative to keeping our skin protected against cancer and visible signs of skin damage, but wearing SPF at home is just as vital as when we were able to go to the beach — even if your closest beach was Coney Island. Blue light, like the kind that emanates from our computer screens, can potentially impact the skin.
Board-certified dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, founder of
Skin Wellness Dermatology
, explains the domino effect as follows: "When blue light penetrates the skin, reactive oxygen species are generated, which leads to DNA damage, causing hyperpigmentation and sagginess." Protecting your skin from photoageing and UV light overall can make you proactive in supporting your skin’s health.
5 of 12 Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30 Unsun's tinted sunscreen easily fits in at the end of your routine to keep skin protected from UV damage. Unsun Cosmetics
Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 30, $26.00
Buy 6 of 12 Glossier Super Pure Serum In addition to diligent sun protection, Dr. Hartman recommends this niacinamide- and zinc-infused serum to help defend skin from toxins, pollutants, and sun damage — while also calming acne and soothing inflammation. Glossier
Super Pure, $28.00
Buy 7 of 12 Barrier Repair Consider the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, the bodyguard of your body's largest organ. This is your skin's barrier, protecting what lies underneath from environmental toxins while holding in essential moisture. When compromised by variables like over-cleansing, external factors (say, constant wearing of face masks), and the natural ageing process, that barrier loses its fighting power, leaving skin more prone to redness and irritation. While no product can rebuild your stratum corneum from scratch, certain key ingredients can help reinforce the moisture barrier for happier, healthier, safer skin. 8 of 12 SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream When your skin just needs a break from the day-to-day wear and tear, a lightweight yet nourishing repair cream is key to have nearby. This green tea-infused formula will do the trick — and if you don’t believe us, the clinical before-and-after photos on the site will back us up. Sente
Dermal Repair Cream, $158.00
Buy 9 of 12
Skin experts rate the Paula's Choice Barrier Repair Moisturiser because it's packed with antioxidants to protect skin from dulling environmental aggressors and chock full of squalane, which moisturises skin deeply and makes it soft and dewy.
Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer, $33.00
Buy 10 of 12 Hand Care While our faces are weathering the stress of the past year compounded by constant mask-wearing, our hands have constant washing and sanitising to deal with. The hands are all too easy to overlook, but you can feel their trauma in the form of painful cracking. Your hands deserve a "thank you" for getting you through late-night text paragraphs, endless camera clicks, and high fives — back when those weren’t something we thought twice about. 11 of 12 Weleda Skin Food Cream If you know nothing else about this cream, just remember one word: thick. The plant-derived formula can be used wherever ash usually creeps up, like elbows and heels, but mixing in a few drops of your favourite body oil makes spreading it on an indulgent ritual in between your constant hand-washing and sanitising. Weleda
Skin Food Cream, $12.50
Buy 12 of 12 Esas Kolonya Moisturizing Rinse-Free Hand Cleanser A rinse-free cleanser doesn't sound like much, but Esas' Kolonya — named for the age-old Turkish tradition dating back to the Ottomon Empire — is our new favourite way to keep our hands fresh when we're not near a sink. The antioxidant-rich formula keeps hands soft and hydrated despite containing 70% alcohol, and the hints of citrus and mint make using it feel luxurious, not antiseptic. Esas
N. 1 The Original Scent Kolonya, $8.93