Your hands are dry and ashy from using
hand sanitizer every five minutes, you’ve been switching off between staring at your phone and computer, and you're actively avoiding doing the mental math 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 realize 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 skin-care 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. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. 1 of 16 Minimalist Routines
While you can't deny the aesthetic value of the shelves of beauty products in the backgrounds of our favorite influencers' videos, the rest of us might be questioning if we really need a skin-care 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 skin-care 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 skin care 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 minimize 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 16 Versed Haul of Fame Best of Versed Collection
If you want to simplify your routine but the idea of paring it down to just two or three products gives you FOMO, this kit from Versed has you covered with a range of six. The limited-edition collection gives you a chance to pick and choose what products work best for your skin, and the brand's cult-favorite
Guards Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 35
comes included, so that's one less product you have to scour the web for.
Haul of Fame Best of Versed Collection, $69.99
Buy 3 of 16 Amie Soft & Smooth Regimen
This affordable regimen is all about attaining — you guessed it — smooth and soft skin. The
, and Nourishing Moisturizer make for the perfect trio, and the gentle
have vitamin B5 to help even out your complexion while refreshing skin.
Soft & Smooth Nourishing Moisturizer, $8.99
Buy 4 of 16 Bubble Hydrating Bundle The right hydrating products can turn dry, tired skin into a healthy, supple complexion, even if you have combination or oily skin. The customer reviews for this buzzy hydration lineup from Bubbles note clearer and smoother skin, shrunken pores, and fewer blemishes. Complete with a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, the colorful set makes your introduction to a simpler regimen less of a chore and more of a part of your daily routine to look forward to. Bubble
Hydrating Bundle, $39.00
Buy 5 of 16 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 impact the skin similarly to ultraviolet light from the outdoors.
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 photoaging and UV light overall can make you proactive in supporting your skin’s health.
6 of 16 Unsun Everyday Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen Just like the product name says, you need to wear sunscreen every day — and Unsun's tinted sunscreen easily fits in at the end of your routine to keep skin protected from UV damage. Unsun Cosmetics
EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen, $15.99
Buy 7 of 16 EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 Mineral sunscreens, like this sheer tinted one from EltaMD, rely on ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to act a physical barrier between skin and environmental damage. The hyaluronic acid in this formula helps smooth fine lines, and while it might take a few more months for you to try out its water resistance in the pool, you should be able to count on it lasting around 40 minutes before reapplying. EltaMD
UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum ... , $35.50
Buy 8 of 16 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 9 of 16 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 aging 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. 10 of 16 Topicals Like Butter
An instant cult favorite when it dropped last year, this hydrating mask doesn't offer miracles, but the next best thing: barrier-restoring moisture that soothes inflammations and evens out dry, textured skin. This
2020 Beauty Innovator Award winner
will bring lacking skin back to life — and if you can't get enough of it during the day, it works as an overnight mask, too.
LIKE BUTTER, $32.00
Buy 11 of 16 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
SENTÉ Dermal Repair Cream, $158.00
Buy 12 of 16 Krave Great Barrier Relief Skin Barrier Restoring Serum It's all in the name: This head-to-toe serum offers serious relief, with safflower, rosehip, and tamanu oils as your dynamic trio to ease inflammation without any stickiness or residue. The addition of niacinamide helps treat acne, too. Krave
Great Barrier Relief, $28.00
Buy 13 of 16 Hand Care While our faces are weathering the stress of the past year compounded by constant mask-wearing, our hands have constant washing and sanitizing 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. 14 of 16 Karité Shea Butter This dermatologist-approved hand cream is magic in a bottle for its ability to work on all skin types with its rich, hypoallergenic formula. Developed by three sisters from Ghana, the formula uses palm oil and coconut oil to keep your hands nourished throughout the day. Karité Shea Butter
Crème Mains Karité Shea Butter, $36.00
Buy 15 of 16 Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich 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 favorite body oil makes spreading it on an indulgent ritual in between your constant hand-washing and sanitizing. Weleda
Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream, $18.99
Buy 16 of 16 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 favorite 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™, $12.00