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From “The Wolf” Haircut to Retinol: 2021’s Most Searched Skincare, Hair and Makeup Trends


“The Wolf” haircut. Photo:

If 2020 was all about banana bread, Joe Exotic and working in pajamas, 2021 is the year of Bennifer and Y2K mania. As for beauty, in the past year, we’ve seen a wealth of trends come and go, from pixie cuts and curtain bangs to active ingredients and natural makeup. But which have been the most googled? Vogue investigates.


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The most searched hair trends

As people began to socialize again IRL, and, more importantly, salons began to open, 2021 was the year that people wanted to shake up their look. The easiest way to do that? A statement hair transformation.

Curtain Bangs

First up, is the curtain bangs; the official hairstyle of the summer. Taking cues from the ’70s, curtain bangs are much longer than a regular fringe, coming down to underneath the eye, usually parted down the middle. It’s a great style for those looking to grow out a fringe or for others wanting to revitalise their look but without having to commit to a full fringe. See Kaia Gerber, Goldie Hawn, and Jennifer Lopez for reference.

Pixie Cut

Coming in at number two is the pixie cut – a dramatic style for those looking to sharpen up their look, particularly in the wake of lacklustre lockdown locks. Pioneered in the ’50s, (think Audrey Hepburn: it speaks to the individuality and non-conformity the wearer.  As such, it was a big celeb hit this year, with the likes of Rihanna and Léa Seydoux paving the way.

The Wolf Cut

Arguably the coolest look of 2021, the wolf cut is somewhere between a mullet and a shag. All the layers of a shag but with an edgier twist, it instantly communicates effortless cool without compromising on sex appeal. See Billie Eilish and FKA Twigs for reference.


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The most search skincare trends


After a year or so spent looking into the Narcissian pool of Zoom, attention unsurprisingly turned to our skin. Which is why there was a big spike in searches for anti-aging powerhouse, retinol. A form of vitamin A, retinol works to reduce the appearance of fine lines for a more even complexion.


Much like retinol, niacinamide forms an integral part of any skincare routine. Part of the vitamin B3 compound, its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proteins are unmatched and as such it is ideal for calming redness and treating blemishes, slowing down the pigmentation process and bolstering the production of ceramides.



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With the world opening up again, it’s no wonder we saw a spike in searches for SPF, particularly during the summer months. The key to healthy skin, SPFs are essential for blocking the harmful effects of the sun as well as environmental aggressors, and in doing so protect the skin from fine lines, pigmentation, decreased collagen and elasticity and worst of all skin cancer.

The most searched makeup trends


With IRL events picking up throughout the year, so did the need for glam, and with that came contouring. That said, 2021 contouring was a more muted affair thanks to new soft sculpting techniques pioneered by master contourist Mario Dedivanovic.

Natural Makeup

While more of us were certainly reaching for our makeup bags in 2021, it was still very much about looking natural as we adjusted to life outside of Zoom. Think enhanced brows, tinted moisturizer, muted lips and a lick of mascara.

Nude Makeup

Somewhere between the natural look and soft glam, 2021 was all about nude makeup. Inspired by the natural color of your cheeks, eyelids and lips, nude makeup is about enhancing your natural beauty by matching the colors of your makeup to your skin for a flawless look. See Charlotte Tilbury for a nude makeup masterclass.

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