The Beauty Trends, Ingredients & Treatments Set To Dominate In 2024

By Ashleigh Cometti
Viva
Drink up! Martini makeup sees shimmering shades of golden and green come to the fore. Photo / @Matamarozzi

This year’s answer to retinol, the hottest hair hues to try now, martini makeup and more.

There’s the faint sniff of reinvention in the air as we step eagerly into 2024, and if this year’s top beauty trends are anything to go by, now is an excellent time to try

Inspiration abounds with the newest flurry of ingredients, trends and treatments to try — so whether you want to refresh your hair colour or switch up your skincare regime — this year, there’s something for everyone.

The “clean girl” aesthetic that reigned in late 2022 and permeated much of 2023 will make way for punchy pops of colours in 2024, a sure sign of the growing appetite for whimsical, playful makeup in Covid-19’s wake. Similarly, hair trends step boldly into colourful new territory, with every shade on the spectrum tailored to suit a multitude of cuts and hair types.

New developments are set to shake up skincare, from buzzworthy new ingredients to more inclusive products that take skin tone into consideration.

Of course, there’s plenty worth noting from the neck down — with fresh innovation in body care elevating the category to new heights, molten metal manicures, and wellness trends that call for calm.

Appealing to discerning consumers is no longer a trend worth charting. In 2024 and beyond, it’s essential. Big claims bring big questions, and brands should ready themselves with receipts as consumers engage with customer service teams, in-store brand representatives and even founders themselves (if accessible) like never before.

Authenticity, reliability and transparency enable shoppers to make informed decisions on what is (and isn’t) required in their routines. Values-based buying is expanding at a rapid rate — with shoppers looking to align with brands who are vocal about their environmental, social and political stance.

Not limited to luxury alone, experts predict technology-driven and science-backed innovation will filter through mass and masstige beauty brands — especially when it comes to scientifically-validated ingredients like stem cells, or the development of skincare devices. Makeup goes digital with the furthering of AR applications intertwined in the shopping experience, as does virtual try-ons if shopping online.

And that’s just the tip of the proverbial. Below, we chart the biggest developments in the beauty world in 2024.

Skincare

Anti-stress skincare

We wrote about skincare products touted to alleviate the symptoms of stress back in 2021, but this year consumers are more conscious than ever about de-stressing both internally and externally.

When it comes to skincare, this looks like wellness-centric products that promise to strengthen and restore a compromised skin barrier, as well as heal skin sensitivity. Think overnight masks and skin salves, along with an emphasis on layering products in a stress-relieving nighttime skincare regime. Try Synergie Skin De-Stress, $139.

Next-gen retinol

Retinol, retinal, retinaldehyde, bakuchiol ... there’s a whole host of vitamin A derivates and plant-based alternatives touted to work miracles on acne-prone, ageing or discoloured skin, but now there’s a new kid on the block that’s said to work faster and with fewer side effects (read: flaking or irritation).

Hydroxypinacolone retinoate (or HCP for short) is said to be far more potent than retinol, regulating sebum production, minimising the appearance of pores, preventing breakouts and firming skin, but minus the nasty side effects. Try The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, $25.

Enter exosomes

What they lack in lack size, they make up for in efficacy, and exosomes, or an extract from plant stem cells, are predicted to explode in 2024. Think of these tiny molecules as carrier pigeons of sorts, delivering messages to other cells on the best way in which to work.

Traditionally speaking, exosomes also contain peptides and growth factors (other buzzy skincare ingredients best loved for their ability to boost collagen and elastin stores in skin). In addition, exosomes can boost skin firmness and smooth uneven texture, all while minimising pore size.

Although many clinics have been quick to adopt exosome therapy to their treatment menus, there are currently only a handful of products on the market to include these small-but-mighty molecules in their formulas, including the Dr Barbara Sturm Exoso-Metic Face Serum, approx $814. Sadly this isn’t available on our shores yet, but we’re hopeful more products will follow suit.

Skin tone-specific skincare

While brands like Fenty Beauty have been propelling the industry forward with more diverse and inclusive makeup shade ranges, the blanket approach to skincare being suited to all skin tones has remained — until now.

Skincare concerns for those with deeper skin tones range from surface-level dryness or skin irritation to hyperpigmentation and scarring. This year, brands are likely to respond with skin tone-specific formulas that offer deep hydration and reduce inflammation, all without triggering sensitivity or irritation. Dark skin tones are more prone to transepidermal water loss, which is where ingredients like ceramides can be especially helpful.

Products that contain alcohol, essential oils or fragrances can be particularly problematic for people of colour, as they can lead to contact dermatitis and result in hard-to-shift hyperpigmentation. Watch this space.

Makeup

In 2023, we wholeheartedly embraced what Jessica DeFino termed “food face” — including strawberry girl makeup, latte makeup, tomato girl makeup, glazed doughnut skin, blueberry milk nails ... the list goes on. Thankfully this year, there’s not a piece of fruit, sweet treat or iced coffee in sight as we pull the curtain back on the makeup trends set to go mainstream.

Geometry class

Abstract makeup first appeared on our radars last year, and this year’s take will see shape, placement and colour embraced with reckless abandon. Whether brushed, swirled or stamped, the only rule when it comes to stylised eye makeup is that there are no rules.

There’s no level of makeup artistry required when it comes to playing around with a palette, the key here is to have fun. Let your imagination run wild in every shade under the sun — from power-bright neons and chalky pastels through to rich jewel tones or always-classic black.

The return of 90s grunge

What goes around comes around, and while Y2K beauty reigned in 2023, this year we’re looking to the 90s grunge a la Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. It’s another trend that calls for little makeup mastery, instead the look capitalises on a minimal makeup base with smudged-out eyeliner.

If drawing on black eyeliner feels intimidating, consider a smoky brown or taupe. For extra impact, go heavy on mascara, especially on your lower lash line.

Into the blue

Dive into the full spectrum of blue beauty — with shades of aquamarine, cerulean, cornflower and royal blue set to rule when it comes to eyeshadow. Whether a subtle blue wing or a full beat of blue glam, the 1960s staple shade gets a decidedly modern update when applied in geometric patterns like curves, dots or horizontal lines over eyelids.

Shaken not stirred

Alongside wading into blue, take your cues from your favourite cocktail with martini makeup. Characterised by the two (or three) olives plonked into your favourite savoury sip, olive-green makeup is taking over TikTok and it’s easy to see why. This new neutral encompasses shades of green, gold, emerald and olive for a shimmering eye look that’s all the more impactful when paired with a juicy plum or burnished brown lip.

Hair

Scalp health will be HUGE

The discourse around the importance of scalp health was just getting started in 2023, and now its snowball effect is sure to see a flurry of brands responding with new product developments sure to show scalps the TLC they deserve. It makes sense, considering the skin from our forehead doesn’t all-of-a-sudden change at our hairline, and should be treated accordingly.

An uptick in ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and niacinamide is said to be cropping up in scalp-specific formulations overseas, while other brands are releasing complete lines to build a complete scalp care routine. Try Ouai Scalp Serum, $90.

Expect to see scalp services hit their peak in-salon, with the likes of scalp facials or massages cropping up everywhere. On TikTok, a new beauty service known as a head spa is proliferating the platform, with the trend receiving more than 80,000 views per month.

With relaxation at its core, the experience couples massage techniques with plant-based ingredients in a specialised scalp treatment that removes dandruff, balances sebum production and nourishes hair at the root.

Bigger is better

Good news, maximalists! According to Pinterest Predicts 2024, beauty is set to get “bigger, bolder and bouncier” this year. Voluminous blowouts are set to compete with structural earrings and larger-than-life accessories in line with the oversized opulence aesthetic. “Big braid hairstyles” were up 30 per cent in Pinterest search engines, as were “big buns” by a whopping 230 per cent.

Meanwhile, wavy men’s perms were up by 50 per cent, often paired with short back and sides, a sure nod to the 1980 style’s imminent return.

Are you ready for this jelly?

We’ve had wolf cuts, butterfly cuts and octopus cuts, but 2024′s animal-inspired haircut of choice isn’t really an animal at all. The jellyfish cut, inspired by the gelatinous invertebrate’s bubble-shaped membrane and flowing tentacles, is an experimental evolution of the shag and the mullet. It features two different disconnected sections, the top portion which sits on the outermost layer of the hair is cut short and blunt (like a bowl cut or bob), while the portion underneath sits long and textured. The style is not dissimilar from traditional Japanese Hime cuts and is suitable for all hair types including fine hair thanks to its blunt ends.

Colour me pretty

This year’s take on copper is a burnished, apricot hue which marries apricot, strawberry and peach into one. Whether worn as balayage, universal colour or as highlights, the rainbow-bright shade suits a multitude of skin tones. For a low-maintenance take on the trend, consider balayage — where the colour is painted by hand on mid-lengths to ends — which won’t require as much upkeep after the colour has lifted.

Along a similar vein is caramelised peach, which isn’t quite blonde, brunette or copper, but rather a mash-up of the three. In the chair, ask for a blend of caramel tones with light pink hues over the mid-lengths and ends, and looks especially striking on an ultra-layered haircut.

Icy grey tones like smoked lavender and sonic silver are further proof that grey hair is something to be desired (not covered up) but enhanced by the growing complementary hues that play nicely with the cool-toned colour family. A wash of subtle lavender gives depth and dimension, while silver-toned ash appears fresh and youthful — no matter your age. Midnight navy also plays within this grey palette and looks especially striking on coily hair (think hair types 4A, 4B or 4C) to add shine thanks to its slightly blue tinge.

Body

Build a body care routine

Body care’s boom continues in 2024, with in-home spa experiences and multi-step body care routines gaining major momentum.

The skinification of body care in 2023 saw ingredients traditionally reserved only for facial skincare cocktailed into all manner of body serums, lotions and masques, and the category is experiencing a meteoric rise on social media. So says Pinterest Predicts 2024, with searches for “body skincare routine” up by an incredible 1025 per cent, while body moisturiser aesthetic is up by 245 per cent, and body care itself up by 845 per cent.

While the importance of a basic skincare routine for the face has been drummed into us by now, this trend comes as a timely reminder to extend the same level of care to limbs, too. Expect to see a boom in products that are equally as efficacious when applied to cheekbones as they are collarbones or said to soften chins as well as they do shins.

Nails

Heavy metal

Molten metals are set to go mainstream in 2024, with icy silver tones and bold chrome hues taking over the makeup aesthetic — as driven by Gen Z and the Millennial set. While neutrals will always have their place, consider dipping your brush into melted metal shades of copper, silver, onyx and gold to dress digits in something a bit more hardcore.

For those of us who cannot commit to chrome, consider gilt accents or shimmering French tips instead, for a look that’s chic, not chi-chi. Try Sephora Collection Color Hit Nail Polish in the shade 72 Girls Night Out, $11.

Nail health

No matter your preference when it comes to shellac/polish/dip powder/builder-in-a-bottle, if there’s one thing we can all agree on — it’s that nail health is key.

This year, the focus on nail health will be greater than ever. And no, that doesn’t mean you need to break up with your go-to nail tech. Instead, it calls for a focus on strengthening nail serums, hydrating cuticle oils and cosseting hand creams to ensure your digits remain beautiful and healthy.

OPI’s Repair Mode Bond Building Nail Serum, $45, and OPI Nail & Cuticle Oil, $32, are excellent baseline products to start with. Not only will this power couple strengthen your nails and improve the appearance of your cuticles, but also they’ll extend the lifespan of your manicure (which can only be a good thing).

Barely there

With all the time and energy you’ve invested into caring for your natural nails, then understandably you’ll want to show them off. Which is precisely where sheer, nude manicures come in. Go back to basics with a sheer formula that you can wear as a single coat or build the opacity for better colour density. Try Essie Nail Polish in the shade Marshmallow 3, $10.

Wellness

Get grounded

Breathwork prevailed in 2023, with its benefits cited to improve everything from the appearance of skin to its ability to soothe a stressed parasympathetic nervous system. But in 2024, expect to see wellness practices go back to ground — literally.

While not new, the biohacking world is buzzing about grounding, or the practice in which you walk barefoot outdoors to enhance your connection with the Earth’s natural surfaces like grass, sand or soil.

It’s no secret that we spend less time outdoors than we did centuries ago, and grounding helps abate this. The theory behind grounding’s benefits points to the power of the earth’s electrons to eliminate free radicals from the body and combat the effects of oxidative stress — naturally.

Viva las vagus

Vagus nerve. We’ve all got one, but how well is yours working, and could optimising yours be the key to improving your overall health and wellbeing? Wellness experts say so, explaining that the proper function of the vagus nerve is to govern your parasympathetic nervous system, regulating your heart rate, digestive function and immunity.

You’ll know if your vagus nerve is in flux — the physical manifestations of which include headaches, feelings of stress or overwhelm, inflammation and an upset stomach. Thankfully, simple practices like deep breathing, laughing, humming or singing can activate and stimulate the vagus nerve, calming the body after its fight-or-flight response has been triggered.

Cycle syncing

Recognising that menstrual cycles aren’t limited to menstruation alone, cycle syncing calls for tailoring health and lifestyle habits according to its four phases – follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstruation. It points to a deeper understanding of the fluctuating moods, energy levels and appetites of menstruating people every month. As such, fitness routines can be tailored to tap into each phase — like swimming during the follicular phase, trying a HIIT class during ovulation, strength training in the luteal phase or going for a walk on your period. A number of apps offer this level of tracking, including Flo, Clue or Ovia, and provide deeper insight into balancing hormones, reducing the signs of PMS, boosting mood and reducing stress levels.

One such product which prioritises nutrition throughout this cycle is Seed Cycle Blend, two nutritional blends to support the follicular and luteal phase, helping to regulate hormones from days 1 to 14, then day 15 to 28 of each cycle. Seed Cycle Blend, $64 per month.

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