Dec 8, 2020
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John Lewis predicts more natural beauty, experimentation and simplification

Dec 8, 2020

John Lewis has issued a beauty forecast for 2021 based on detailed customer insight and the opinions of its beauty buying team. And it’s expecting wellbeing to be ever more important, while consumers will edit-down, embrace imperfections and get serious about skincare.

John Lewis

It has come up with a top 10 trends list and the first one is ‘beauty going 360’. It said that “beauty will become a totally holistic experience as wellbeing becomes permanently part of the beauty journey. Products that promote and support inner beauty, sleep and relaxation will be key”.

Next up, make-up bags will get smaller as overly complex make-up fades. It said: “Cosmetic bags will contain smart kits featuring hardworking essentials: a light base or tinted moisturiser, lip balm or tint (which are already soaring at 122%), a glow-giving cheek product, lengthening, natural-look mascara”. It expects brands to launch an expanded offering of multi-purpose products to aid customers in their quest for a more streamlined approach that cuts down on packing wastage and encourages healthy skin. That means multifunctional serums (already up 168%), moisturisers that also prime and offer SPF, bases with key ingredients such as Vitamin C, lip/skincare hybrids and two-in-one eyeshadow/ highlighting sticks.

And it predicts the menopause will become mainstream as conversation around it significantly increases and negative connotations are shaken off. “A key concern within our beauty customers, this will be an area of focus for John Lewis as we make our beauty offering a place of positive community and conversation,” it said.


It’s also forecasting a bigger focus on hair wellness. Launched into John Lewis in August, it said salon-led brand Olaplex, has been “a runaway success with over 4,000 bottles sold to date”. As part of this movement “we will also see scalp scrubs, serums and deep cleansers, which shift product build-up and promote stronger and healthy looking hair become integral to our weekly haircare routine. These will include ingredients typically used in skincare, such as hyaluronic acid, as we begin to consider the scalp as an extension of our face”.

Trend number five is all about the unfiltered face as the retailer sees 2021 moving towards a more natural look. This means skincare takes centre stage as make-up declines. And make-up itself will be more about looking natural. Having seen strong sales since launch, it’s backing Benefit Brow Microfiling Pen – which mimics natural hair growth to create the illusion of full, natural brows.

It also expects home fragrance sales to boom as this year’s lockdowns have made us focus more on our homes. John Lewis has seen online searches for candles up 182% year-on-year and reed diffusers up a huge 1,017%.


Experimentation should also be big news as customers have developed an experimentation habit this year and that should continue as they return to stores but also try out new testing methods. That means beauty boxes, discovery sets, travel miniatures and virtual eventing.

It thinks consumers will buy fewer-but-better too, opting for higher price points while buying fewer products overall. In 2020, John Lewis saw customers spending an average of 6.2% more per beauty item, with visit value also increasing by 6.6% as customers invested in more premium products. 

And over the next 12 months, it said “we will see powerful and proven performative skincare dominate as customers increasingly reach for high-performing products from both heritage and discovery brands that offer visible results”. Ingredients will be at the forefront “as customers become experts - Vitamin A and C will be on their minds and they will expect results”. This is partly due to customers being unable to visit beauty therapists this year.

Finally, the “rise of the everyday ritual” sees everyday products being “made extra-special over the next 12 months, as bath – and shower – time is transformed into a pampering self-care ritual”.

It thinks luxe soaps, shower creams, scrubs and lotions will replace basics “as customers look for achievable ways to indulge and unwind”.

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