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Skincare Trends 2021-2022

Whether you exclusively use K-beauty skincare or not, there’s a good chance that whatever products you’re using have been influenced by the trends coming out of South Korea. So many new methods, technology, and popular ingredients come out of Korean skincare brands and make their way around the world.

We’re looking at some of the major K-beauty skincare trends that have really taken off in 2021, and what will continue into 2022. Let’s get ready for a new (better) year!

Acids, acids, acids

Whether you’re trying to revive dull skin, get rid of stubborn hyperpigmentation, or manage a breakout, people have been turning to acids. AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs are in cleansers, acne treatments, masks, and even moisturizers. People have started layering them. And as consumers learned more about acids, home chemical peels became more common. Working from home gave us the perfect excuse to use them, since no one would notice a few days of peeling, flaking skin!

Anti-inflammation products

Unfortunately, a lot of us spent 2021 still wearing a mask in public places. And while it kept us safe, that inevitably meant that some people suffered from “maskne”, a nasty combination of inflammation and acne. Others experienced stress-related breakouts. Cleansers, soothing ingredients, and light moisturizers have been a staple for those looking to control the humid, hot environment a mask creates for our skin.


They’re in drinks, but they’re also skincare. Fermented tea, kombucha, and other solutions containing “good bacteria” have crept into our routines. Fermented ingredients have always been a big part of K-beauty, but more interest and awareness in the microbiome of our skin has really boosted their popularity. The idea is that our skin should be dynamic and thriving with naturally beneficial bacterias - not sterile.

The year of centella

At some point or another, you must have used centella (or “cica”) on your skin. It is in practically everything because it has so many great properties - it’s healing, anti-inflammatory, strengthens your skin barrier, and fights irritation. In a year where stress ran high and calming ingredients peaked, centella was at the top of the pack. Many brands went so far as to create centella-based skincare lines.


Sustainable, clean, and green products have grown in popularity, and are more and more important as people become more aware of climate crisis. Skincare brands that use responsibly harvested and manufactured ingredients appeal to a lot of people. Everything from organic certification to recyclable packaging is now a priority for a lot of consumers when they choose what to buy.

Tik-Tok Skincare Trends

Not long ago, we all watched with fascination as YouTube influencers peeled sticky black charcoal peels off their faces, then showed us the gunk it removed with glee. This year, short clips on Tik-Tok lead to the viral spread of some skincare trends, like “slugging”. While we always recommend listening to experts for skincare advice, a lot of people swore that applying a petroleum jelly product to their entire face helped to balance and even their skin!


Gentle exfoliators

The next generation of exfoliating ingredients are looking like they’ll be gentler, and more forgiving for people with sensitive skin. We’re seeing a focus on “low irritation”, and that means milder peels, and ingredients like bakuchiol (often called “plant-based retinol”) taking centre stage.


A lot of people take some time at the beginning of a new year to declutter and re-evaluate their routines. The same often occurs with skincare. Multi-tasking products and pared-down routines are becoming more popular. When we do want a more indulgent skincare session, it’ll be more of an event - a self-care evening or home spa night.

Traditional ingredients

Korean skincare is known for being cutting edge, but that doesn’t mean they don’t use traditional ingredients. In fact, we’re likely to see a rise in “hanbang” skincare, or skincare that uses traditional medicinal ingredients. Mugwort, ginseng, and fermented rice have been used for centuries to improve skin health, why stop a good thing?

Environmentally responsible skincare brands

Instead of just looking for an eco product, consumers are looking at a brand’s own mandate and entire skincare lineup. They want to know that brands are concerned about the sustainability and eco-friendliness in all their products, from the ingredients they are using, to the bottles in their packaging. Brands like Purito, Sioris, and Toun28 lead the way with seasonal ingredients, minimal packaging, and commitment to responsibly use natural resources.


No matter what skincare trends you decide to adopt (or not adopt) in 2022, one thing never changes - that skincare is for you, and the best product is always the one that works for your skin!