Lately, it’s become hard to predict any trends. That’s because having any gauge on what will or won’t happen can change with a single push notification. I remember seeing the word “Omicron” on my phone a few weeks ago, while planning a trip to South Africa for January. Guess whose trip got postponed indefinitely?
So, how do we spot any kind of grooming or style trend amidst this chaos? I’ve combed through the last year of articles, pitches, product launches, marketing angles, and more, and the below five things feel all but certain to me. Who knows, maybe COVID will disappear in a snap and we’ll all be buzzing it off again. (Goodbye prediction number one—hey, at least it means no more man buns!)
If you’re curious for the year in grooming trends, then here are five predictions, backed by my 9 years on the beat.
1. We’ll all grow out our hair again
I’m not sure I would have said this with such confidence two months ago, but with the latest Omicron wave setting us back another year, we’re going to see a significant shift in how we handle our locked-in grooming. Whereas 2020’s initial onset brought at-home buzzcuts and sad DIY haircuts, we’ll ride this latest wave like a surfer would: by growing our hair out longer and more “carefree”—a mirror of the kind carefree that comes with a buzzcut.
We’ve gotten used to fewer and farther-between barbershop visits. And while a new year seems like a good time to buzz it all off again and start fresh, this time we’ll weather the awkward stages of hair growth with more aplomb than if we were forced out into public.
Who needs to wear a hat if you’re trapped inside? We know it’s a long road ahead, and we are willing to grow it out until we’re in the clear for good. At that point, don’t be shocked if everyone starts buzzing once more. Only then will we know that it’s time to start fresh, finally.
2. Ceramides and peptides will take skincare’s center stage
Every year, there’s a buzzy skincare ingredient that has likely always been present—it’s just the one that marketers and brands are choosing to pivot around lately. And the next in line are ceramides and peptides.
Ceramides are a building block of your skin’s moisture barrier functions and are naturally occurring in your body. This barrier is what keeps skin-aging toxins out of the body while also sealing off the moisture inside the skin. However, we lose over half of them by the time we’re 40, which means our skin quite easily shows signs of age and wear, like dryness, roughness, fine lines, redness, looseness, and so forth.
Peptides also help build up something that is lost over time. They are amino acids that comprise collagen and elastin in the skin, which themselves keep skin firm, resilient, and smooth. Our collagen and elastin production depletes over time, hence why peptides are such an obvious inclusion in many anti-aging skincare products—especially for eye creams.
While many brands already utilize these ingredients, look for them to be more prominent this year, similar to hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, Vitamin C, and niacinamide of late.
3. Safety razors will go front and center
It’s no secret that you can get an extremely close shave with a single safety razor blade—not to mention it’s the least likely to yield razor bumps and ingrown hairs. The safety razor was around for nearly a century before any cartridge blades showed up, which then took a “more is better” approach to shaving, and convinced everyone that you needed as many as 6 blades for a close shave. Wrong.
But everyone is catching on: some of the most popular razors lately are from startups (which are now well past that incubation stage) like Supply, Leaf, and Bevel. Now, King C. Gillette is on board (the big guys taking a heritage swing with the brand, which nods to one of the forefathers of safety razor shaves—and whose name is one of those synonymous with cartridges today).
My guess is that we’re going to see some other big cartridge names embrace the minimalism and increasing popularity of safety blades, and in turn make it a mainstream thing in due time.
4. Scalp care is a mainstay
Last year, we all got acquainted with trichology, or the correlation between scalp health and hair growth. Suddenly, we started seeing discussions of scalp care everywhere, from how it can prevent hair loss to how it can yield stronger, more lustrous hair (even if you weren’t prone to loss). And it makes sense, since the scalp is the literal root of each hair strand.
Look for hair care to take this ground-up approach moving forward. Hair care and scalp care are now one in the same, and in fact, it starts with the latter. If a product doesn’t suggest how its product impacts hair at the root, or how it preserves the harmony of your scalp itself (by toning sebum levels or neutralizing bacteria, for example), then move on to a product that does.
5. Full-body skincare is more than just lotion
When we talk about skincare of the face, we readily assume it means cleansers, serums, exfoliants, masks, peels, moisturizers, oils, night creams, and so forth. We have a preferred ingredient or two—see prediction #2 above; for me, it’s hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and niacinamide. And yet, when it comes to body care, we more or less just want to talk about lotion as a means for keeping skin soft and healthy.
That has been a huge industry oversight, and it’s finally coming to an end. Now we’re seeing more body serums (like Protéger, oils (like Jao) as well as peels (like Dr. Dennis Gross), all adding that much-needed complexity to full-body skincare.
If you’re reticent to add so many products to your regimen (it can add up fast, I know), at least do yourself a favor and wear SPF every day on any body parts that are exposed to the sun. You can get a lightweight facial SPF that won’t suffocate your pores like a full-body beach sunblock (I like Paula’s Choice), and will nourish your skin + protect against UV rays, moisture loss, and toxins all the while. Toxins and UV rays don’t just enter your body through the skin on your face. So make that one of your 2022 grooming resolutions.
For additional grooming tips, check out how to properly layer your skincare products and start 2022 off right.
Photo via Caliber Hair & Makeup Studio