12 Skincare Trends to Look Out for in 2020

As we fall into 2020, about to go headfirst into a brand-new year full of possibilities and opportunities, there’s no better way to plan the future than by identifying trends and areas where growth potential exists for the beauty service industry.

It’s an exciting time to be an esthetician, as the global beauty market continues to grow at a rapid rate. The consumer demand for clean products, results-driven ingredients, and a comprehensive approach continue to push innovation investments in product development. And antiaging continues to be a booming sector, as people are living longer across the globe. According to Reuters, the global cosmetic product market is projected to have a value of $805 billion by 2023.


As a front-runner to combating anti-aging, we’re going to see more bespoke anti-aging treatments and products. Bespoke beauty, meaning personalized treatments and products, is the future. For many years, custom blends and individualized products were reserved for the ultra-rich and out of reach for mainstream users. With this trend becoming more accessible, you’ll have the ability to fully customize and cater to a client’s needs. For years, your “blanket beauty” options have been categorized by broad skin types and conditions, leaving little room for tailored treatments. We know that adult acne and teenage acne require different defenses, as do oily aging skin and dry aging skin. We also know that seasonal, environmental, and lifestyle changes can also affect the skin. From blending serums to individual active ingredient selection, the possibilities of integration seem genuinely endless. You can expect to see more customization options coming from your professional product lines, as well as over-the-counter consumer lines.

In addition to skin care, the cosmetics market has already taken the plunge with releases of extensive shade ranges in foundations and custom-blended colors—finally acknowledging that fair, nude, warm, and brown are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

How to get ready: Brush up on ingredients and cosmetic chemistry. Know the heavy hitters, the gentle soothers, and everything in between so you can customize with confidence.


We are learning more and more about the skin and the aging process, with innovations happening every day. Harvard Medical School found a way to protect DNA from the aging process in mice in 2017, and the clinical trials continue to evolve in the race to prevent cells from getting older and damaged. The primary motivator for researchers is the damage caused by drugs used to fight cancer. Although the demand isn’t just for vanity, the skin care industry will benefit significantly from any advances in 2020.

Research continues to focus on unique DNA structures known as telomeres, which are directly linked to dictating cell longevity. Telomeres protect the information stored in DNA cells by acting as a defense mechanism in cell division. Each time the cell divides, a portion of the telomere deteriorates. When the telomere is no longer present to protect the information, degradation and disease occur. Knowing that telomeres are keystones in the aging process, Arizona State University pursued a deeper understanding and ultimately released findings in 2018 that showed a way to keep telomeres going by focusing on telomerase, the enzyme associated with telomeres. The study found it is possible to bring youth to aging cells. However, it also warns it must be done with precision, as there’s a “narrow line between cell rejuvenation and a heightened risk for cancer development.”

How to get ready: Read up on telomeres and download the studies so you can explain the benefits to your clients.


DNA testing used to be something just for criminal databases and research labs, but not anymore. Science has made testing your genetic makeup easily accessible— and the information obtained even more critical, as you can now learn more about your health and wellness at a cellular level. Findings include genetic predispositions and avoidable conditions.

Products entering the market include at-home DNA kits tailored to analyze skin care issues. One product, HomeDNA, available at CVS for $25, says it “examines 28 genetic markers in seven categories associated with skin aging, from collagen quality to pigmentation and skin sensitivity, and, based on results and recommended ingredients, helps customers discover the most effective products and treatments to help promote healthier, younger-looking skin.” Moreover, this revolutionary advancement holds a vital key to client satisfaction and results.

How to get ready: Order a skin care DNA kit and try it out. Consider how you can incorporate these kits and their results into your practice and/or how you can discuss them with your clients


Several years ago, we saw patented peptides fl ood the market, with the most notable ones including Matrixyl 3000, Argireline, and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5. You can expect to see the next generation of skin care include a boost of already-patented peptides, making the actives supercharged.

How to get ready: Make sure you understand how peptides work in the skin to learn all about them before the next generation hits the market.


A potential vaccine for acne vulgaris is also on the cusp of distribution. The vaccine targets the inflammation-triggering toxin in acne called CAMP, or Christie Atkins-Munch-Petersen factor. P. acne bacteria secretes CAMP.3 By applying specific antibodies (found in the vaccine), studies have shown that this toxin decreased and the inflammation subsided. Touted to effectively wipe out tough cases of acne, this could mean big changes for acne clients—and the acne industry.

How to get ready: Before you decide to ditch your extractor and take your acne facial off your menu, let’s wait to see what the side effects are and how (and if) it enters the market.


Innovative products and smart ingredients are just the beginning of what we can look forward to in 2020. As the market grows, so do distribution channels. Studies show that e-commerce will continue to trend in an upward direction, satisfying those who love instant gratification and the ease of oneclick order options. Consumers enjoy being able to order when it’s convenient for them, whether it’s on a smartphone while on the go or on the computer after midnight. Reuters also reports that “skin care, hair care, and fragrances are the most sold products online.” Also, we’ll see more direct selling (think multilevel marketing). Supermarkets are also expanding their offerings to adequately cater to the growing market. Competition may be increasing, but there’s plenty to bring to the fight in the professional arena.

How to get ready: If your business model hasn’t included online sales yet, 2020 looks to be an important year to make this addition.


Consumer interest in health and wellness is at a peak and being ecochic has never been more popular. Clients want a full 360-degree approach when taking care of themselves. From the things they eat to the products they buy, consumers want to know the environmental impact of these items—and are demanding clean, transparent, and responsibly sourced products.

You’ve likely had ingredient hunter clients—those who know the dangers of parabens and share the same hate for phthalates as you. In 2020, you can expect to see more savvy clients who want to know what’s in your products and treatments and where it came from before they’ll even step foot into your studio.

As global warming and limited natural resources continue to make headlines, clients are also starting to ask what a company’s environmental footprint looks like to obtain the specialized ingredients found in their products. We may even see modifications in products where less water is used in the production of formulations, as water scarcity rises.

You’ll see product lines using fewer synthetic fragrances and fewer lab-made chemicals in 2020, along with a shift in packaging— using more recycled products and fewer materials to preserve carbon footprints. You’ll also see a change in marketing, where companies use greener verbiage and amplify their commitment to a cleaner product.

How to get ready: Be careful not to get “greenwashed” by reading only the first few words on a label before deciding whether a product is safe and a company is ecologically responsible. Ask your product companies what they mean by natural, organic, green, or pure, as there is no industry standard yet.


In the past, if a client didn’t like the way their skin looked, they had two options. They could use topical products and apply makeup. However, there’s a massive growth in the beauty and wellness industries—catering to the untapped market of specialized supplements for specific concerns.

The hard work has already long been done for supplementation, as clients know the benefits of taking a daily multivitamin, and it is a generally accepted practice to consume vitamins and minerals orally for overall health benefits. Some skin care companies have already started to dive into the lucrative supplements and ingestible market, and you can expect more to take the plunge.

Your millennial clients are more likely to embrace ingestible skin care, as there’s a generational shift in recognizing the benefits of specialized supplementation. Studies also show that although women have historically been the target market for topical skin care products, there’s a growing market for men, who are very receptive to skin care supplements.5 Products can range from capsules, tablets, and powders to drinkable elixirs.

It’s worth mentioning that scope of practice limits estheticians to focusing on only the skin and does not allow you to assume a nutritionist role as well. However, consumers are curious, and estheticians can enter this market if done carefully.

How to get ready: Know the difference between making nutritional recommendations, which is out of scope, and merely sharing information.


You might think you’d never find cannabidiol (CBD) in your mother’s skin care cabinet, but you may be surprised. The cannabis craze has taken the beauty industry by storm, and for a good reason. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and does not have any psychoactive effects. It was discovered in 1940, and its use has been shown to have significant benefits, including relief from inflammation, pain, and epilepsy.6 As more states legalize recreational marijuana, the use of CBD has become a lot more sophisticated. You can expect to see more skin care product lines emerge into the professional market, offering facial and body care products that help manage acne and other skin care issues associated with inflammation—all without the high from the active ingredient, THC. CBD also works to regulate sebum production, cell proliferation, and melanogenesis, making it a must-know ingredient for 2020.

How to get ready: Before you start searching for your gateway product, make sure you’re legally allowed to use these products in treatments per your state board. Several states have adopted regulations that require manufacturers to comply with state agencies, so make sure the company you’re buying from is fully compliant.


Gone are the days of light, unshapely, and lackluster brows, thanks to the skilled and meticulous microblading mavens who have blazed the trail of semipermanent cosmetics. Due in part to its popularity on Instagram, microblading has blown up and shows no sign of going anywhere soon. The subtle hair-like strokes done by feathering, and the background and depth coloring done by a technique called shadowing, all give way to a polished, natural look that many consumers desire but have not been able to achieve before microblading.

You can expect to see more professionals offering these services in addition to permanent makeup, and more companies providing products and tools. If you haven’t had your state board make a ruling on providing this service, you may get one in 2020, as this trend is here to stay.

How to get ready: Check with your state board to see if you can provide this service, and if you get the green light, be sure to obtain proper training and liability insurance. Did you know ASCP now offers coverage for advanced modalities, including microblading? Be sure to get trained by a reputable company, as contraindications and before/ after care are extremely important.


There’s no denying the benefits of body massage. We’ve seen megachains and boutiques pop up all over the map offering healing therapies for aching and sore muscles, and more recently in airports and department stores. However, there is a growing interest in “glow-and-go” facial massage treatments due to the relaxation and circulation benefits (read: nutrient distribution) that only an esthetician can perform. Estheticians will be able to take advantage and benefit from consumer interest because it introduces the client to skin care. Estheticians can include a nutrient-rich mask in addition to a relaxing facial massage for added benefit.

How to get ready: Consider incorporating a glow-and-go facial bar in your spa where you can offer express (and relaxing) massage and masking. If you are between jobs or looking for work, consider looking for a facial bar in your area.


The relationship you form with your client is the foundation of client loyalty. Do your clients love to talk? Maybe your clients need to chat. California-based esthetician Shawn Paris says, “Clients want a personal connection. They need a place to lay down and share their troubles, celebrations, and family issues.” Paris warns that it’s becoming more critical as many of her clients don’t have anywhere to take that energy, and in today’s technologically driven society, it’s become a release they need more than ever. But remember: it’s OK to be a great listener, but tread lightly in offering advice. If you feel a client is really struggling, it may be best to refer them to a mental health professional.

In addition to the connection, never underestimate the power of human touch. Many times you may be the only person in a client’s life to touch their face positively, and that, in itself, is a beautiful gift to offer your clients.

How to get ready: Be mentally present when seeing clients. Allow them space to re-energize and provide a comforting space while offering your gift of powerful, positive connection and touch.


The fast-paced skin care industry continues to trudge forward with innovation fueled by consumer demand. Whether it’s clean products, results-driven ingredients, or a comprehensive approach to skin care that excites you, you’re bound to find something electrifying that sets your beauty business soul on fire in 2020. May this year give you the opportunity to grow in your practice, fulfill your career goals, and change the lives of many beautiful faces.

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