2020 was… well, let’s say that it was quite the year *takes a deep breath and screams into the void*. OK, the less said about 2020, the better, so let’s move onto something a little more exciting: 2021. Of course, the world doesn’t just reset at midnight on 31 December – all of our problems that exist now will still be there waiting for us after the clock strikes 00:00 however, we can always hope for better things in 2021. Yes, things will continue to be challenging in 2021, but truthfully, things can only get better.
At the start of each year, Escentual tasks me with predicting what the future may hold for perfume over the next 12 months (see my 2020 predictions). What trends will we see and how will the industry evolve? This year is no different, so, as is tradition, I have dusted off my crystal ball to peek into the fragrant future. What mysteries does 2021 hold? Let’s find out!
1. Clean Notes
The Covid-19 pandemic has us all washing our hands regularly and thinking more about hygiene in general. Ask yourself this: exactly how many bottles of hand sanitiser do you have on your person right now? The answer is at least 12! I think this thirst for cleanliness may be something that filters its way into the perfumes we wear, much as it did in the ’90s after all of the excessive Poisons of the 1980s. Also, the ’90s are big right now, in music, fashion and film, so maybe it’ll be big in fragrance too. I’m expecting more sparkling clean, abstract scents a la CK One in 2021, and I’m kind of here for it.
The way that we wear perfume is continually changing, and it also varies around the world. Today, we use various methods to scent ourselves; we dab and spritz perfume and use solid fragrances, scented gel pens, brushes and more. Perfume brands are always looking at new ways to innovate and historically, after large world events, innovation takes hold. I think brands will start to look at how they can revolutionise how we wear perfume in 2021; this has already begun. In fact, and we’ve seen intriguing gadgets in 2020, including perfume bottles that allow you to layer different scents together. I’m excited to see what scented innovations the next 12 months hold.
Sustainability was a big trend in 2020 across many aspects of the beauty industry, and it’s one that will continue for years to come. More and more, we’re thinking about our footprint on the planet and how the choices we make – the choices in our lifestyle and shopping habits – impact the earth. Increasingly, consumers are demanding more sustainability from their products. Whether that be about the materials (and how they’re sourced) or the packaging that the product comes with. We’ve seen this start to play out in the perfume industry, and whilst brands have always told stories about the origin of some of their materials, consumers are asking for more transparency.
This year, Acqua di Parma launched Colonia Futura, a fragrance that was 99% natural (note: natural does not always equal more sustainable, as it entirely depends whether a material, either natural or synthetic, comes from a sustainable source) and showcased several positive, recycled/recyclable packaging features. Colonia Futura was a good start, and I’m sure we will see more brands follow suit, and perhaps take the concept further, in 2021.
4. Home Fragrance
Home fragrance, especially scented candles, have been a massive segment of growth within beauty. With many of us working from home or spending a huge amount of time at home, we’re looking at ways to make our environment smell good. Scented candles are a great way to do this because you can regularly switch them out for something new, dressing the set that is your home with an intriguing ambience. Home fragrance is like the invisible decoration that completes your interior aesthetic, and it is going to continue to be more important as we all stay indoors more often. Expect lots of exciting and novel home fragrances in the coming year.