4 Skincare Trends That Will Be Everywhere This Year

Rachel Krause

Humans may not hibernate in the traditional sense, but what we do all winter long is the closest equivalent: a state of relative inactivity, but for one day — New Year's Eve! — where we come out and make all the noise, drop all the balls, drink all the Champagne, and crawl back under the weighted blankets from whence we came.

Then, suddenly, it's almost spring, and we open the curtains, shake the twigs from our hair, and reacquaint ourselves with the world around us. Hello, flower! Hello, tree. Less than three months into 2020, and we already have some catching up to do — namely, what's going on out there now that the weather forecast predicts something other than five degrees and cloudy? What do we wear, who do we owe a text back, what do we put on our faces instead of the thickest possible moisturiser and a layer of oil on top to seal it all in?

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves — spring isn't here quite yet, and that economy-sized jar of Vaseline still has its purpose. But with the rest of the year laid out ahead of us, there's a number of new skincare trends set to make their way into the 2020 canon. Soon enough, the nights will be shorter, the days will be longer, and these four trends will be fuelling your shopping decisions through Daylight Saving Time season and beyond.

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.

Stress Solutions

Long hours at the office, high costs of health care, rising sea levels, balancing our social lives with our work schedules, literally anything on the news: With so many stressors everywhere we turn, it's only natural that we're, well, stressed. That fraught state of being — and the flood of cortisol it produces — inevitably shows up on our skin.

"Stress promotes an increase in certain hormones that prepare the body for the stressful environment," dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, explains. "Those same hormones can have a negative impact on the skin."

If a daily gratitude practice isn't quite cutting it for you on a superficial level, then there's a whole emerging category of skincare products that promise to act as CBT for your epidermis. "These products that target the effects of stress aim to restore healthy skin function," Dr. Zeichner says. "They improve hydration, reduce inflammation, and promote collagen production." Of course, those benefits aren't limited to the skin of stressed-out people; a hydrating serum will still hydrate if you're the most blissed-out you've ever been. Just be sure you aren't expecting miracles when your money may be better spent on therapy.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide

Blend your ashwagandha, maitake mushroom, and maca root powders into your smoothie for the supposed adaptogenic benefits (or the placebo effect — your pick); use them on your face via this superfood-rich serum for skin-strengthening, barrier-restoring results.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare B3Adaptive Superfoods Stress Rescue Super Serum, $, available at Cult Beauty

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask

This creamy leave-on mask employs protective and ultra-nourishing oats as well as antioxidants to cocoon, protect and relieve sensitivity and irritation on the skin (because nothing says "stressed" quite like being sensitive and irritable).

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask, $, available at LookFantastic

Liz Earle CICA Restore Skin Paste

Think of this as the ultimate, nourishing night cream. Smoothed on before bed as the last step in your skincare routine, the soothing blend of centella asiatica (CICA), wild plum seed oil and bilberry seed oil provide healthier, plump, calm skin come morning.

Liz Earle CICA Restore Skin Paste, $, available at Liz Earle

Plant-Based Luxury

Clean beauty might have been considered a rising trend three years ago, but it's now become ubiquitous; the term "clean beauty" in and of itself is a matter of debate. This year, we'll continue to challenge the sheer definition of the category as it stands, looking deeper into the buzzwords, blacklisted ingredients, and hard science behind the movement — and, with that, the power it now holds over our wallets.

Plant-based beauty has come a long way, but true luxury, from packaging and ingredients to the actual research behind them, feels like a new innovation in the space. The tinted glass bottles are beautiful, the botanical extracts hand-harvested and cold-pressed — and the price point more Dior than Dr. Bronner's.

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

This is a plant-based powerhouse with nourishing and plumping natural oils such as avocado, rose, neroli and turmeric, as well as anti-inflammatory ingredients, like lavender and frankincense to quell redness. The aromatherapy benefits are the icing on the cake.

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum, $, available at Space NK

Votary Super Seed Serum - Broccoli Seed and Peptides

The term "serum" hardly does justice to this impossibly rich lotion; a powerhouse blend of plant oils and extracts that nourishes like your thickest moisturiser but sinks into skin like a dream. A high concentration of calming oat kernel flour means irritation is instantly quelled, and a laundry list of oils like broccoli seed, cloudberry, raspberry, and rosehip locks in moisture while hydrating from within.

Votary Super Seed Serum, $, available at Cult Beauty

Herbivore Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil

As nourishing as a cream but light as a serum, this facial oil is jam-packed with divine floral oils and plant-based squalane to moisturise dry, lacklustre skin on a deeper level. Team it with your moisturiser or apply alone after cleansing. You'll wake up to plump, pillowy skin.

Herbivore Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil, $, available at Cult Beauty

Menopause Goes Mainstream

Gen Z might be the future, but the 14-to-21 age range isn't the one skincare brands are scrambling to cater to right now: First, it's time for the 35-to-50 and beyond to get their due. Products marketed toward "mature skin" have historically focused on moisture and fine lines, never accounting for the realities of menopause — no doubt because of the residual taboo of discussing "the change" openly. "The concerns of women in this demographic tend to get overlooked in general. We call her 'the Invisible Woman,'" dermatologist Robin Schaffran, MD, says. "I think we are only now starting to talk about these issues and wake up to the needs of this group."

The average age of menopause in the United States is 51, but for some women, the hormonal changes begin to unfold as early as your mid-30s in a transitional phase called perimenopause. "During the perimenopausal period, estrogen (female-type hormones) decrease and the relative proportion of androgens (male-type hormones) increase," Dr. Schaffran says. When estrogen levels dip, the skin becomes thinner and drier; as androgen levels increase, so does oil production. "The pores don’t work as efficiently to eliminate this excess oil and dead skin," Dr. Schaffran explains, "ultimately resulting in clogged pores and new acne lesions."

Breaking out at the same time you're battling dullness and fine lines is beyond frustrating — but it's definitely not hopeless, especially not when a handful of new brands seeks to bring the skincare needs of the "invisible woman" into the light.

Emepelle Day Serum

The key ingredients here are par for the course in a good serum: niacinamide, ascorbic and ferulic acids, sodium hyaluronate, a handful of peptides. But what makes this particular formula remarkable is methyl estradiolpropanoate, or MEP, a non-hormonal topical that was shown in a recent double-blind randomised study to be safe and effective in treating skin that’s showing those signs of estrogen deficiency.

Emepelle Day Serum, $, available at Emepelle

COSRX PHA Moisture Renewal Power Cream

With niacinamide to calm redness and repair the skin barrier, as well as polyhydroxy acids (which exfoliate and unclog skin a little gentler than AHAs or BHAs), this helps smooths skin texture and tone, all while providing a surge of dewy moisture.

CosRx PHA Moisture Renewal Power Cream, $, available at LookFantastic

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

0.3% retinol in La Roche-Posay's expert-approved, gentle serum has the ability to increase cell turnover at lightening speed. In turn, this helps to unclog pores, smooth lines and wrinkles and boost collagen levels.

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum, $, available at Boots

Better Breakouts

For one reason or another, adult women are reporting more acne cases than ever — and the spot treatments that did the trick (and bleached our pillowcases) when we were 14 just don't hit the same.

"There’s been an assumption that the available products on the market are effective," Dr. Schaffran says. "Many of them are, but where innovation has been lacking is an understanding that for older women, issues like dryness, thinning of the skin, fine lines, and adult acne occur all at once. You can’t just tackle one in isolation."

Dr. Zeichner explains that familiar ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and adapalene still have their place in the category. But Dr. Schaffran argues that, while the more superficial acne you get when you're younger in the form of blackheads and pustules responds well to those actives, they're usually too drying for adult women, and don’t penetrate deeply enough to get to the root of adult acne.

For those who can't tolerate the over-the-counter standbys the way they did when they were 18, the new adult acne-fighting products are combining tried-and-true topical therapies with more modern formulas and ingredient innovations. They're revolutionising the way we treat our breakouts, and saving our pillowcases, too — nowadays, we spend good money on those.

Dr. Jart+ Teatreement Toner

This is not your local health-food store's tea tree spot treatment; rather, it's the perfect post-cleansing step for treating existing breakouts and preventing new ones from occurring, thanks to a calming complex of chamomile, green tea, and aloe leaf extracts that dilutes the tea tree enough that it won't cause irritation but leaves its antibacterial properties intact.

Dr. Jart+ Ctrl+A Teatreement Toner, $, available at YesStyle

Medik8 Blemish SOS

Experts agree, this is one of the best spot treatments around. It boasts salicylic acid to reduce angry redness, inflammation and to exfoliate deep inside the pore, as well as niacinamide to calm and repair skin. It brings down spots in next to no time at all.

Medik8 Blemish SOS, $, available at Medik8

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

If you're using acne ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, paired them with the right companion ingredients, like barrier-strengthening ceramides and hyaluronic acid, in a creamy, gentle sulfate-free cleansing formula, it can help treat breakouts without drying or compromising the skin's natural barrier.

CeraVe Foaming Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser, $, available at Boots

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

'Cream Skin' Is The New 'Glass Skin' In K Beauty

My Skincare Routine Costs £30 & My Skin Is Glowing

How To Shop Luxury Korean Skincare In The UK