Sustainable beauty has been hot for years, but 2022 is set to be its biggest year yet with a return to basics, more men getting in on the action, and a farewell party for plastic.
Beauty is such a personal thing. We come to identify with makeup, fragrances, and skin care products like they were made for us personally. This makes loyalty a legitimate character in the ongoing saga of our beauty industry’s shift to becoming more sustainable. Change is hard, granted, but most of know by now that not changing is even harder over time.
And, so, like so many other trends, the beauty industry has set itself on a collision course with destiny in 2022. Progress may have been the mantra for 2021, but for 2022, the mantra is Better: from better self images allowing us to wear less makeup and let our greys grow out to better ways of tacking the climate crisis, our plastic problem, and how we handle diversity and inclusivity.
Here are the top sustainable beauty trends you’ll be seeing all over 2022.
1. Easy beauty
If we can go two years with minimal makeup daily, we can call easy beauty the new normal. Healthy skin—not the stuff covering it up—is going to shine in 2022. This means fewer chemicals on our bodies and on the planet, and fewer empty bottles clogging up landfills and draining our monthly budgets. Why do we call the biggest beauty trend for 2022 easy? Because that’s exactly what it is.
2. The grey way
The sustainable and cruelty-free beauty industry is booming, thanks in no small part to Gen-Z and Millennials. But Gen-X and Boomers are all in, too. They’re leading the charge in one key area: embracing grey hair—a trend we saw a lot of in 2021 thanks to celebs like Andie McDowell and Jamie Lee Curtis. Just like letting your pit hair grow out, greys are in and they are gorgeous. Save a load too when you skip the salon or at-home dye jobs and let those silver, grey, and white strands shine like the rewards for a life well-lived they most certainly are.
3. Big beauty’s big shift
It has taken a while, but big beauty brands like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder are really beginning to walk the talk, with commitments to plant-forward, cruelty-free formulations to bold sustainability commitments and research efforts. With the launch of the first big eco beauty SPAC in 2021, we can expect to see more effort by big beauty brands to embrace the simplest and best ethos when it comes to beauty and being stewards of the earth: take only what you need and leave no trace.
4. Bars are better
Ditch the plastic and over-priced liquid soaps, shampoos, and all the rest of it in 2022. The bar is back in a big, big way. This isn’t your supermarket bar soap, though. Brands are pouring luxe, all-natural ingredients into incredibly effective and long-lasting bar bases. Yes, you can wash your hair with bar shampoos, and yes, they work. The new year will see consumers ditching shower gel and liquid skin cleansers for targeted bars that deliver effective benefits without the immense plastic waste.
5. Plastic-free packaging
Speaking of plastic, while the best of the best in sustainable luxury skincare already eschew plastic, expect to see more brands making the shift in 2022. From fully recyclable glass bottles and metal lids to aluminum tubes, cardboard deodorant containers and more. As laws in New York and California ban travel-sized plastic bottles from hotels, you can expect to see more innovations in travel beauty, too, like Palette’s High Fiver pour-and-travel kit that makes plastic waste a thing of the past.
6. Mission-driven beauty
Planting a tree with purchase, supporting a school, community garden, or empowering women around the world are just some of the causes leading the mission-driven beauty movement. Already, trends like Fair Trade beauty are taking up more real estate at your favorite beauty shops. Expect to see this trend explode in 2022 as consumers seek out mission-driven brands in every area of their lives, especially the daily-use products.
7. More men
Men embraced beauty and skin care in a big way over the last year, and it’s set the wheels in motion for a bona fide boom as celebs like Harry Styles and Pharrell champion the movement. But don’t let the gender pronouns fool you—this isn’t a boy’s club; this is beauty for every body, just made by men. And with clean and non-toxic formulas at the top of the list, the boys are helping to bring sustainability to the beauty industry in a meaningful way.