As one season ends and another begins, a host of new skincare trends arrive with it. Here, Vogue speaks to the experts to get the lowdown on the products, tools, ingredients, and treatments to look out for this autumn.
Post-summer skin rehab
Even if you spent your summer in the UK, chances are your skin will have been exposed to some pretty extreme sunshine this year, thanks to the prolonged heatwave. So with autumn rolling around, many of us will be looking to undo the damage that those UV rays have wrought.
“In my clinic, patients have already pre-booked their autumn laser facials, designed to repair the damaging impact of UV rays on our skin,” says Dr. Anita Sturnham, a doctor specializing in skincare, and the founder of beauty brand Decree. “The unprecedented warmer weather has caused havoc on people’s skin this summer.”
Consultant dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto is experiencing the same rush of bookings, with clients keen to use the cooler months to restore sun-frazzled skin via professional treatments.
Consumers have become a lot more demanding when it comes to the eco credentials of their favorite beauty products, but much of the focus in recent years has been on the packaging. Now, though, a host of environmentally-conscious brands have begun incorporating upcycled ingredients into their formulations, reducing pressure on the earth’s natural resources, and minimizing landfill waste, too.
Pai’s C-2 Believe Vitamin C Brightening Moisturiser, which launches 1 September, uses upcycled bilberry seeds, plum seeds, and apricot kernels – byproducts of the food and juice industries that would otherwise go to waste, but have instead been cold-pressed or CO2-extracted to create nutrient-rich skincare ingredients.
“While upcycling has been happening in the fashion industry for some time now, upcycled and zero-waste ingredients are still an emerging trend for the beauty industry,” Pai founder Sarah Brown tells us. Farmacy has also recently launched its Peaches ’N Clean Cleansing Balm with upcycled peach kernel oil, while Ren’s Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream uses elderberry flower extract, a byproduct of the perfume industry.
“As more of these ingredients come to the market, I hope we’ll start to see more brands following suit,” Brown says. “However, those ingredients still need to be selected for their benefits, rather than for a chance to jump on a trend. It’s also important for consumers to continue to check ingredient lists and labels for kitemarks of authenticity before making purchases, to ensure they are buying what they think they are.”
In the US, many people have their dermatologist on speed dial for ongoing skincare assistance. In the UK, however, we only tend to pay them a visit when we’re suffering from a more serious skin concern. That’s about to change, though.
“With the plethora of information available online, skincare routines have become increasingly confusing, and it can be hard to know which active ingredients may benefit your skin,” says Dr. Anjali Mahto. “Is it mandelic, glycolic, lactic or kojic acid you need? Should everyone use vitamin C or niacinamide for creating an even skin tone? Choices very much depend on the underlying skin type of the individual, and increasingly people are realizing that speaking to a consultant cosmetic dermatologist to receive personalized advice – taking into account individual lifestyle factors and previous medical history – is far more cost- and time-effective than traditional ‘trial and error’.”
Thanks to the pandemic – this is a rare silver lining – it could become much easier to make a dermatologist your personal skin specialist, calling upon them whenever you need skincare advice, rather than waiting until a problem becomes more advanced.
“With the difficulty in seeing doctors and dermatologists face-to-face, I feel that online bespoke skincare and prescription treatments for skin conditions will become more popular,” predicts Dr. Justine Hextall, consultant dermatologist for La Roche-Posay. “Individuals are looking for the most effective, accessible treatments, tailored to their specific dermatological concerns.”
Adaptogens aren’t new in themselves – they’ve been used within Chinese traditional medicine for years. But what is new about these non-toxic plant-derived compounds is the rate at which they’re popping up in our skincare formulations. Beloved for their ability to help the body resist physical, chemical, or biological stressors, they are also known for their healing, anti-inflammatory properties.
Herbar is a new brand based entirely on adaptogenic skincare, with a special focus on mushrooms. The first product from the brand is a face oil featuring three different adaptogen sources – tremella and reishi mushrooms, and da zao dates – alongside retinol alternative bakuchiol, vitamin E, and rosehip.
“We wholeheartedly believe in the time-proven superpowers of adaptogenic mushrooms, herbs, and plants to work their magic inwards and outwards,” says co-founder Catarina Oliveira. “We believe that one has to go through their own journey of experimentation to find out what actually works for them – in health and beauty. More often than not, what works is what was there all along: the foundational healing strategies that have been used for centuries.”
Another fan of mushrooms is Susanne Kaufmann. “They work incredibly well to help balance formulas with potent ingredients that deliver strong and instant results for the skin, but can sometimes be too irritating for sensitive, stressed skin types,” she explains. “Look to our new Vitamin C Complex, formulated with an innovative trio of mushroom extracts with anti-aging, moisturizing, and anti-irritating properties.”
Adaptogens also pop up in Youth To The People’s Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream and Ranavat’s Imperial Glow Facial Polish, while Herbar will add more products to its line-up in the coming months.
There was a moment, around the 2019 mark, when it seemed as though all anybody wanted in beauty was “clean” or “natural” products. A “back-to-basics” mood pervaded, in which some consumers shunned sciencey-sounding product names and long ingredient lists in favor of more pared-down formulations. That evolved into “clean clinical”, in which skincare combined the very best ingredients nature has to offer with lab-made synthetic ingredients that are just as safe and effective as their natural counterparts.
The latest iteration of this trend has been termed “tech-ceptance”, by trend forecasting agency WGSN. With consumers increasingly understanding the ways in which technological advances can enhance their skincare routines, they’re looking to clever new application methods, lab-made ingredients (many of which are believed to be more sustainable than naturally derived ingredients), and innovative formulations with renewed interest.
Take Face Gym’s Hydrating Active Roller Skincare Microneedling Tool, which features crystallized hyaluronic acid, peptides, and cica formed into microneedles that dissolve rapidly into the skin for targeted treatment and instant results.
“Beauty consumers’ newfound tech-ceptance will create ‘beauty moonshots’ in product design,” confirms a WGSN report on upcoming beauty trends. “Advances will focus on new bio-engineered ingredients and enhanced potency and delivery methods.”
Build up your barrier
The all-important skin barrier has become one of beauty’s biggest talking points during 2022, and that conversation is only going to ramp up further come autumn. For anyone who has used a few too many exfoliating acids, or overdone it with the retinol treatments, the wealth of new barrier-focused skincare products will help to restore, rebalance and reinforce compromised skin.
“Stripping cleansing regimens will be replaced with a gentler micellar water cleanse followed by cream- or gel-based cleansers that are free from foaming sulfates and barrier-aggravating exfoliating beads and grains,” predicts Dr. Anita Sturnham. “Ceramides, fatty acids, cholesterol, and squalane are barrier-boosting heroes to look for in your serum and moisturizer steps, alongside firming peptides that provide the building blocks for healthy skin structure.”
And, though we hate to say it, there could be another reason to make barrier-building skincare a priority this autumn.
“With Covid levels appearing seasonal and already higher than last summer, we may be back to masks this autumn,” warns Dr. Justine Hextall. “The combination of drier skin and masks, which leave the skin damp, can disrupt the skin barrier, causing all manner of skin issues. I feel we are now more aware of the skin barrier and also the microbiome, and as such will be seeking barrier creams to pre-empt this potential issue. I would recommend the new La Roche Posay Cicaplast B5+, which has tried and tested soothing ingredients including madecassoside, panthenol, shea butter, and glycerin, alongside anti-bacterial copper and zinc manganese.”