Photography Campbell Addy. Hair Cyndia Harvey.

what are the big beauty trends for 2019?

We asked beauty trend forecasters for their big-picture predictions.

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20 December 2018, 8:30am

Photography Campbell Addy. Hair Cyndia Harvey.

The beauty industry is driven by newness. Every week there’s a new buzz ingredient promising to revolutionise our skincare routine, or a new celeb-endorsed make-up brand. And by the looks of things 2019 will be no different. I mean, there’s already talks of a Christina Aguilera X Lidl hair accessories line to look forward to! But beyond the daily product drops and weird insta-famous trends, there are bigger shifts and innovations switching up the entire beauty landscape -- quite often, for the better. To find out what 2019 has in store, we asked a line-up of trend forecasters (whose jobs require them to hunt out beauty’s ‘next big things’) to share their big-picture predictions for the coming year.

Photographing diversity
When it comes to diversity, the beauty industry has a troubled history of under representation and perpetuating westernised beauty ‘ideals’. In recent years, certain brands have made attempts to better cater for consumers who have long been ignored. But when brands are still producing foundations in 50 shades of beige, launching campaigns that feature solely Caucasian faces and magazines are still cropping the hair of black women on their covers, it’s evident there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done. As such, this year, experts expect pressure to fall on photographers and retouchers to play their part.

“Back in September The New York Times published a great story calling the role of the photographer in diversity into question,” Katie Service, co-founder of The Beauty Conversation explains, referencing a feature in which hairstylist Vernon Francois discussed the industry-wide lack of expertise in lighting and retouching dark skin and Afro hair. “Internet forums are more frequently calling out beauty brands’ quite frankly inexcusable laziness in using Photoshop to change skin tones digitally, as a way to avoid paying for multiple models of different skin tones or ethnicities,” she adds. With consumers ready to challenge these shocking misdemeanours through social media comments, or via beauty vigilantes like Estee Laundry, the offending brands are running out of places to hide. Either they sort out their shit (like hiring more creatives of colour) or risk being cancelled.

iMake-up
It’s depressing but it’s true; few gestures feel as intuitive as the thumb swipe you use to flick through Instagram. And according to a new report by JWT Intelligence, in 2019, we’ll be able to crack into our make-up products with the same passive bliss. Glossier and Lilah B’s already sell pebble-shaped products that can be opened with that right swipe perfected on Tinder, but packaging designer EmpireEmco has developed a new lipstick canister that takes only a scroll of a finger to release more of the bullet, rather than the usual two-handed twist mechanism. Manufacturer Albea has created a pan (for things like eye shadow and blusher) that you can flip open with the upwards slide of the thumb, too. Further evidence that Apple is taking over our brains? Perhaps, but there is a legit benefit, too. You can open these items with one hand, which’ll make things a lot easier if you do your make-up while clinging to the pole of a moving bus.

Sub-zero waste
We know mass consumption is causing irreversible damage to the environment, so more and more of us are looking for ways to cut back. It’s why self-confessed make-up addicts are checking themselves in to ‘make-up rehab’ and refillable beauty is on the rise. But to even make a dent, we’re going to need a more drastic solution. As such, consumer research analyst Mintel has highlighted sub-zero waste as one of its key trends for 2019. Beauty brands are finding increasingly inventive ways to strip back excess packaging -- like Lush’s practically packaging-less foundation and concealer -- while some are working on truly effective recycling innovations and according to Mintel, hoping to remove it entirely.

Injectables, without the needles
Injectables like Botox and fillers have been on the rise for the past few years, but for those of us not keen on sticking needles into our faces, but still want to get on that pro skincare hype, an alternative is in sight. “There’s a new genre of skincare designed to mimic dermatological and surgical results for those who want the smooth effect, without the syringe,” says Victoria Buchanan, senior strategic researcher at The Future Laboratory. She calls out no-needle microneedling patches like Starskin’s Micro-filler Mask Pack, while skincare guru Nannette De Gaspe is reportedly cooking up a sheet mask form of mesotherapy (vitamin skin injections) without the needles. Other brands like Patchology are borrowing the same transdermal drug delivery tech from big pharma companies to deliver skincare ingredients to the skin. Like nicotine patches, just with hyaluronic acid, these futuristic patches deliver a steady stream of the ingredients over time, and according to aesthetic doctor Dr Barbara Kubicka, “this method provides far superior absorption from traditional topical application, only usually achieved by injectables or pushing formulas into skin via devices.”

Facial fitbits
Whether it’s counting steps or screen time, tech has made us increasingly conscious of the factors affecting our health and provided the gear to track them. According to Theresa Yee, beauty editor at WGSN, this self-quantifying movement is about to intersect with beauty. “The spotlight will be on personalised digital devices that help users track their skin health, slow down skin ageing and offer long-term solutions to combat different concerns such as acne, dryness, eczema and pigmentation,” she says. She expects to see more innovations in this area, but highlights Skin Diary by YouCam. Already on the market, it’s an app that analyses skin condition periodically, so users can “check the efficacy of their skin products and regime over time, and it gives a detailed skin report”. Big (Beauty) Brother is watching.