We’ve lived through mask wearing, staying indoors and government mandates since the pandemic hit in March 2020. Most COVID restrictions have now been lifted, but what impact has a year of lockdowns taken on UK consumers and their skin habits?

We’ve ranked the biggest skin trends, tweakments and skinfluencers, analysing data from Google searches, Google trends, consumer surveys, news stories, professional industry bodies and social media trends to create the ultimate analysis of Britain’s post pandemic beautification landscape.

The UK Skincare Boom

The UK Skincare Boom

In a pandemic ridden world, the UK embraced beauty with searches for products, treatments, and industry influencers all on the rise.

Google search volume data shows:


increase in search for ‘Tweakments’


increase in search for ‘Aesthetic treatments’


increase in searches for ‘Skin care’


increase in searches for ‘Best skin care’

All of this has had an impact on the way we see ourselves, with research by Uvence finding that over 6 million people in the UK believe COVID-19-related stress had caused them to visibly age by at least five years.



Tweakments Time

Our appetite for ‘tweakments’ has grown dramatically during the pandemic, with clinics booked up months in advance. The trend for tweakments is not necessarily about making noticeable changes to the face, but utilising non-surgical aesthetic procedures to create an aura of radiance with minimal downtime.

1 in 4

would now consider an aesthetic treatment (e.g. Botox) to give skin a boost


UK non-surgical market is set to be worth £3 billion by 2024
(* Cosmetic Surgery UK Market Report, LaingBuisson, September 2019.)


of respondents wanted a non-surgical procedure when restrictions lifted (* Save Face)


Zoom Boom

The UK beauty industry is experiencing a “Zoom Boom”. After many months of lockdown measures, UK aesthetic doctors and professional bodies are reporting significant increases in demand for both surgical and non-surgical procedures; especially Botox, fillers, skin resurfacing, neck rejuvenation and jawline contouring. As people spend more time looking down into their computer’s camera, they have come to focus on these areas of their face and body. This has created a whole new vernacular to describe these perceived accentuated flaws. HoverTouch a word for search volume data:

Tech Neck
Skin Anxiety
Lockdown Face
Pandemic Droop
Zoom Face

Resting Stress Face

12 months + spent feeling stressed is now written all over our faces. Despite there being less pollution and less need for make-up, the stress of living through three lockdowns, alongside squinting at screens and disrupted sleep patterns have resulted in Resting Stress Face (RSF).


Desperately Seeking Glow

From dolphin skin to cloud skin; from TikTok’s ‘Glow look’ filter to cosmetics products that reflect our desire for a filtered appearance such as HUDA Beauty’s top-selling #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Liquid Foundation – the first half of 2021 has been dominated by the quest for glow. The goal being to achieve the ultimate glowy finish, with fresh and radiant skin that is as shiny and smooth as possible.

Pinterest has seen searches for how to get glowing skin increase four times year on year and highlights it as a trending topic in the UK in it’s 2021 Pinterest Predicts Report. Beauty e-tailer Cult Beauty sold one bottle of HUDA Beauty’s #FauxFilter Luminous Matte Liquid Foundation – a full-coverage, matte base designed for the Instagram generation – every minute in 2020. This and Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter foundation were among the site’s top five makeup products in the first two months of 2021. Zoom even has a “touch up my appearance” feature - a beautifying style filter that can help smooth out the skin tone on your face. Searches for glow-related terms reveal:

Glow up
Dolphin skin
Cloud skin
TikTok glow filter

Glow up
Dolphin skin
1,000+ posts
Cloud skin
500 posts
TikTok glow filter
100 posts

According to Dr Yusra, there has been a rise in requests for skin booster injections such as Profhilo - often referred to as injectable moisturiser - and Belotero Revive. These are dermal fillers but made different: instead of volumising the face, the hyaluronic acid is injected into the superficial dermis to rehydrate and smooth skin texture, address fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage and result in a noticeable luminosity, tightening and radiance to the skin.


The End of Instagram Face

From Molly Mae Hague to Chloe Sims, Courtney Cox and Kylie Jenner, influencers and celebs have been ditching their overdone face fillers and having their overly plump lip fillers dissolved. In the first half of 2021 there has been a clear shift away from the overdone Kardashian look or ‘Instagram Face’, which often involves full lips, raised brows and a chiseled face, with hundreds of thousands of search results thrown up when you google videos around the removal of fillers. This suggests that the public has realised that ‘more’ is not necessarily more.

The Dr Yursra Clinic is seeing an increasing number of women booking in for appointments to get this look reduced, or reversed - as they move away from the fake, overdone, unnatural look and towards more subtle, elegant tweakments that leave people guessing. Google search results show:


YouTube lip filler removal video results


YouTube chin filler removal search results


YouTube cheek filler removal search results

Whilst consumers are dissolving volumising fillers and moving away from those that change the shape of the face; Dr Yusra says she has seen a concomitant rise in people seeking hyaluronic skinbooster injections to improve laxity and glow to the skin. The resultant effect is a fresher faced, natural radiance.


No Make-Up Selfies

JLo, Gigi Hadid, Beyoncé, Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria, Huda Beauty, Drew Barrymore and Adele have all adopted the "no makeup selfie", a celebrity trend that gathered momentum in 2021 then echoed across the influencer-sphere. The movement is rooted in loving yourself the way you are, natural and pared down.

However, there has been some backlash against this movement. One influencer @ScouseBirdBlog makes clear in this post, no-make-up selfies aren’t a standard women should be holding themselves to, outlining in her caption “NO MAKEUP / NO FILTER / STILL NOT NATURAL”. She then goes on to outline that how, despite her having no-make-up on and appearing ‘natural’, she has had her fair share of non-surgical work to look this good, including radio frequency and microneedling treatments to resurface her skin, tattooed brows, botox and lip blush SPMU.

Dr Yusra says that this movement towards tweakments that create a natural look is on the rise. The launch of Merz Aesthetics' Belotero Revive was accompanied by the campaign No Filter Just You. The new hyaluronic acid (HA) filler works beneath the skin to improve skin hydration, reduce redness, sun damage and roughness and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Merz says: "modern consumers are especially focused on skin quality and on minimizing early signs of aging, and they value skincare and aesthetic solutions that deliver natural-looking results – the so-called “no-filter” look."


Hybrid Treatment Models

Beauty is moving towards a more hybrid way of operating, primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gone are the days of a trip to a clinic for a consultation prior to booking in for skincare treatments, now these can be done online via video call. As can post-treatment check-ins and follow-ups. As society starts to open up again in 2021, clinics are starting to move towards a more virtual way of working with virtual consultations driving the way forward.

The National Hair and Beauty Federation’s (NHBF) 2020 Aesthetics Survey, which questioned those working in the aesthetics industry, found that microneedling and chemical peels are the most commonly provided non-invasive aesthetics treatments and the most popular invasive treatments are dermal fillers and botulinum toxin (botox).

1 in 5

consumers moved online for virtual hair or beauty consultations during the pandemic
(*Accenture Report)


of patients would prefer a virtual consultation to reduce contact time as a result of Covid
(*According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons - BAAPS)


increase in requests for virtual consultations (*The Save Face Campaign)



survey respondents perform microneedling treatments on average 1-5 times p/week, highlighting the popularity of this skin rejuvenation service


said they conduct the service six to 10 times, on average, per week.

Chemical Peels


survey respondents said they perform chemical peels on average 1-5 times per week.


Tech As The New Skincare Frontier

At home and in-clinic beauty tech is booming and is set to be the new frontier in the advancement of beauty. The United Kingdom (UK) Aesthetic Devices Market is set to grow at a CAGR of 7.5% over the next 5 years. The pandemic has accelerated a boom in beauty gadgets that can offer a spa-level experience at home.

Big in-clinic launches this year have included devices such as the Endolift Laser, an invasive fibre optic laser that heats fatty tissues and causes contraction, tightening and lifting; Cutera Secret Pro, a grid fractional radio frequency microneedling device combined with a CO₂ laser that is great for textural issues on the skin and Coolsculpting Elite, the latest generation in Coolsculpting treatments, utilising a larger applicator so that more surface area can be treated at any one time.



It is predicted by Pinterest that this year will become the year of skinimalism as consumers simplify their skincare routines. This is further supported by a Euromonitor International spokesperson who comments: "Consumers are increasingly self educating on active ingredients and will constitute their quest for ‘skinimalism’ happening in the form of simplified brand messaging, formulations and routines."

Skinimalism brings together makeup and skincare for a natural, minimal look where real skin shines through - celebrating pores, hyperpigmentation and spots.






Skin-Psyche Connection

Following a sustained period of living with stress due to the pandemic, the connection between how our skin behaves and how we feel emotionally has become an emerging conversation around the brain-skin connection. It is well known that many dermatological problems can be made worse by stress but the pandemic has accelerated the links being made between stress and how it disturbs the equilibrium in the body and skin, with conditions such as Pandemic Droop being identified.

In clinics this has gone one step further. The National Federation of Hair and Beauty noticed a trend for therapists as substitute counsellors as the UK emerged out of the 2020 lockdowns and customers returned to the salon, and launched a course to help them cope. Aesthetics clinics, such as the Dr Yusra Clinic, are also adding mental health experts to their support staff rosters to support patients on their wellness journey.


Based on the number of monthly Google searches for procedures we have ranked the UK’s top tweakments for 2021:

Rank Search Term Monthly Google Searches Difference
Jan 2020 July 2021
1 Lip fillers 33.1k 40.5k 22%
2 Botox 27.1k 27.1k 0%
3 Microneedling 22.2k 27.1k 22%
4 Tear trough fillers 12.1k 18.1k 50%
5 Chemical peels 12.1k 14.8k 22%
6 Dermal fillers 8.1k 9.9k 22%
7 Baby botox 1k 1.6k 60%
8 Medical grade skincare 110 480 336%
9 Juvederm fillers 1k 1.6k 60%
10 Morpheus8 170 6.6k 3782%

Acne Scarring Tweakments

2021 also saw an increase in the number of searches around specific skin conditions, particularly those related to acne.

According to Dr. Yusra, this is no doubt related to the advent of “maskne”, a phrase coined at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to describe acne mechanica - a form of acne caused by friction and associated with wearing a PPE mask. This has been compounded by the “skin anxiety” that people have been experiencing after studying their own faces on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom.

Search Term Monthly Google Searches Difference
Jan 2020 July 2021
Acne scarring 9.9k 22.2k 124%
Mask acne 1.3k 5.4k 315%
Acne scars 9.9k 22.2k 124%
How to get rid of acne scars 8.1k 14.8k 83%

Rise of the Educated Skinsumer

Before the lockdown of March 2020, consumers were starting to become more aware of the ingredients that go into skincare products and the popularity of ingredient-focussed brands, such as The Ordinary, were already on the rise.

However, with more time on their hands during the lockdown and more time spent on camera, consumers appear to have become even more interested in skincare ingredients, with searches up significantly during that time period for products and ingredients associated with glowing, healthy skin, including Vitamin C, Face SPF, AHAs, Retinol, Salicylic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide.

16 Hottest Skincare Ingredients

Rank Ingredient Monthly Google Searches Difference
Jan 2020 July 2021
1 Vitamin C skincare 590 2.4k +306%
2 Face SPF 1.9 5.4k +184%
3 Niacinamide 9.9k 27.1k +173%
4 Vitamin C serum 14.5k 40.5k +179%
5 AHAs 12.1k 27.1k +123%
6 Retinol 22.2k 49.5k +122%
7 Glycolic Acid 12.1k 22.2k +83%
8 Hylauranic acid 33.1k 74k +123%
9 Collagen 27.1k 27.1k 0%
10 SPF 6.6k 12.1k +83%
11 Salicylic Acid 40.5k 74k +82%
12 Serum 9.9k 18.1k +82%
13 Micellar Water 14.8k 22.2k +50%
14 Peptides 5.4k 8.1k +50%
15 Collagen peptides 3.6k 5.4k +50%
16 BHAs 3.6k 4.4k +22%

Top Skincare Searches

This trend is also reflected globally, with similar patterns in the number of searches for these products seen in instagram search data:

Rank Ingredient Total use of Hashtags to date
1 Collagen 8.7m
2 Serum 8m
3 SPF 1.3m
4 Salicylic acid 99.9k
5 Vitamin C serum 538k
6 Retinol 471k
7 Micellar water 241k
8 Niacinamide 253k
9 Glycolic acid 125k
10 Collagen supplement 87.3k
11 Micellar 56k
12 Vitamin C skincare 53.1k
13 Micellar cleansing water 15.7k
14 SPF protection 14k

Rise of the Skinfluencer

The last 12-18 months has seen the rise of the skinfluencer on a global scale.

Rank Profile & Overview Instagram TikTok
Profile link Followers Profile link Followers Most liked post 2021
Make up and skincare
@ling.kt 1.4m @ling.kt 492.7k Most liked TikTok post
Make up and skincare
@nikkissecretx 800k @nikkissecretx 121k Most liked TikTok post
Caroline Hirons
@carolinehirons 649k @carolinehirons 988 No content posted yet
Skincare - also big on YouTube and Facebook
@james_s_welsh 340k @james_s_welsh 110k Most liked TikTok post
Make up, skincare and fashion
@uchjn 259k      
Dr Vanita Rattan
Pigmentation specialist for skin of colour
@drvanitarattan 235k      
Alessandra Steinherr
Make up, skincare and lifestyle
@alexsteinherr 222k      
Make up and skincare
@melachild 168k @melachild 2944 Most liked TikTok post
Dr Anjali Mahto
@anjalimahto 97k      
Alice Hart Davis
Skincare and tweakments
@alicehartdavis 31.8k      

Ones to watch

Science Becomes Her
@sciencebecomesher 87k      
Emma Hoareau
Skincare and lifestyle
@emmahoareau 82.2k      
Iona Francis
Beauty tips for glowing skin
@sparklesandskin 67.8k @sparklesandskin 16.6k  
Make up and skincare
@reallyree 52.9k @reallyree 20 Most liked TikTok post
British Beauty Blogger
Make up and skincare
@britbeautyblog 36.6k @britbeautyblog 11 Most liked TikTok post
The Sunday Girl
Make up and skincare
@thesundaygirluk 27.6k      
@jasminetalksbeauty 26.3k @jasminetalksbeauty 920 Most liked TikTok post
@annasbeautyworld_ 26.6k      
Make up and skincare
@onebeautifuljunkie 20.8k @onebeautifuljunkie 103 Most liked TikTok post
Make up and skincare
@my.skinology 13.2k @my.skinology 1 Most liked TikTok post


Male Grooming

Beards are still big business in the male grooming world with “how to grow a beard” the most popular search term in 2020. However, from skincare to haircare and selfcare, men are spending more on grooming than ever before and this is expected to continue over this next year. In fact the men’s personal care market is expected to reach $166b by 2022.


Male Face Care products market value in GB
(Dec 2019 Statista)


average monthly spend on male grooming products


of men have bought or have considered buying skincare products


use beard care products as part of their grooming routine


of men have bought or have considered buying male makeup products


is the most popular face creams and lotions for men in GB
(Dec 2019 Statista)

Most Popular Male
Grooming Search Term

Barriers have been broken down when it comes to men and grooming, with men looking after themselves now a norm. Looking presentable is no longer something you do occasionally, as the growth in searches around male grooming in 2020/21 demonstrate:

Search Jan 2020 July 2021 % change
Skincare for men 1600 8100 +406%
Men skincare 1300 2900 +238%

# Instagram hashtags #



total searches



total searches



total searches



total searches

Men are increasingly using skincare products, with celebs such a Frank Ocean talking about his use of retinol and night cream in a GQ interview and Pharrell Williams extolling the virtues of exfoliation and launching his inclusive Humanrace range to Dazed magazine to David Beckham’s grooming line that includes moisturisers and DJKhalid’s launch of BLESSWELL, a CBD skincare range, in May this year.

Many brands are trying their hand in the male skin market as well as a rise in all gender lines such as Good light which has the tagline ‘Beauty beyond the binary’.

Popular Treatments

More men are turning to ‘tweakments’ in a bid to age well, and according to Dr Yusra Clinic include those that focus on:


using injectable fillers to replace loss in bone volume due to aging and to enhance facial profile


using dermal fillers to fill out hollowed eyes and wrinkle-relaxing injections to combat crow’s feet


achieving instagram filter skin through skincare treatments and tweakments


fixing flaws and adding definition through tweakments, such as non-surgical nose jobs, jawline fillers and injectables


accentuating existing features, such as lips, with fillers

Make-up for Men

Make-up for men has been around since the Ancient Egyptians. Bowie, Prince and many other rock stars have been known to sport a face full of cosmetics and guyliner has been a thing for a while now. However, 2021 has been the year that make-up for men has gone mainstream. Estée Lauder is currently funding a make-up start up and Harry Styles is rumoured to be launching a make-up line. The UK is lagging behind countries such as South Korea and China but momentum is gathering with related Google searches up significantly year on year.


increase on searches for ‘Men’s makeup brands’


increase on searches around eye makeup for men


increase on the previous year on searches for ‘Makeup for men’


higher than expected demand for Trials of War Paint at John Lewis Oxford street. It has now been rolled out in stores across the country (The Times).

2021 Male Grooming Buzzwords

Buzzword Total Instagram views to date Total uses of Hashtag to date
Brotox 4.9m 89.6k
Power Profile 0 552
Superhero jawline 0 262
Instaman 217.3k 1.9m