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Home News The Cycle of a Beauty Trend

The Cycle of a Beauty Trend

by maria

By: Safiye Aytek, Beauty Expert at Note Cosmetics

SIt’s fair to say that the last couple of years have changed many people’s lifestyles and daily habits so naturally our favourite beauty trends will have evolved too. With many of us having been working from home, we haven’t seen our friends and family nearly as much as we’d like, our faces have been hidden behind masks in public, and the dating scene has been virtually non-existent.

One habit that all of these factors have influenced is our beauty routine. Should you wear lipstick when you’re wearing a mask? Is it worth a trip to the nail salon if no-one’s going to see your new set? How can you revive your skin after hibernating for a year?

Well, here at Note Cosmetics we were interested to find out just how much these quandaries have impacted our beauty routines and makeup habits. Having looked at some of the most popular beauty trends of the last 100 years, we’ve discovered which trends boomed during lockdown, which have become popular since, and which trends are making the biggest comeback.

We’ll also reveal the most popular decades right now for beauty trends and styles, as well as which trends from these eras we can expect to see make a return in the near future. So, read on and discover the beauty trends that have made the biggest comebacks.

Beauty by the decade

First of all, we wanted to see which decades have been the most popular when it comes to makeup trends. To do this we found out which decades received the highest number of Google searches for makeup trends from that era. Check out the results below!

The most popular decade for makeup

The most popular decade for makeup in 2021 is the 1920s, having received almost twice as many searches as any other decade. Bright red lipsticks and heavy blush are just two trends from this decade that appear to be rising in popularity, and we could see more following suit.

1960s makeup trends were also particularly popular where soft blush and popping eye looks made their way onto the scene, while other decades such as the ‘40s and ‘50s also received a considerable volume of searches. Beauty trends are constantly evolving but it’s interesting to see how our passion for nostalgia isn’t limited to any one time period. With influences from all different eras making their way into the trends of today, let’s see exactly which trends from the past have seen a resurgence.

The most popular makeup trends of 2020

Next, we took a closer look at recent makeup trends, seeing which were the most popular in 2020. Many of us had to adapt our beauty routines to accommodate the “new normal” of wearing face masks in public, as well as adapting our beauty choices to working from home and not being able to socialise in the same ways as before.

With such huge changes to our daily lives, it’s only natural that our beauty preferences would change too. With that in mind, here are the top makeup trends of 2020. How many of these match up with your 2020 makeup choices?

Contouring 2020 Searches: 116,700

The most popular makeup trend of 2020 was contouring, with 116,700 searches in the first 5 months alone. Clever contour techniques are great fun and can be used to define just about any feature on your body. Remember, in order to achieve subtle definition with contouring, only use tones that are one or two shades darker than your natural skin colour. You should also be careful not to apply too much, and to blending is essential so that the definition looks natural.

Smokey eyes 2020 Searches: 72,500

Smokey eyes were the second most popular beauty trend, receiving an impressive 72,500 searches. The mysterious and alluring effect that perfectly blended eyeshadow brings to your look makes it a well-deserved second place. This look involves blending different shades of eyeshadow, starting with darker tones closer to the eye, with lighter tones towards the brow. Two or three tones are usually sufficient to achieve this look, though make sure to practice smudging the edges of your eyeshadow with a good quality blending brush to achieve a flawless smokey style.

Natural makeup 2020 Searches: 45,900

Looking natural and understated was also big in 2020, as natural makeup placed third with 45,900 searches. Natural makeup embraces the beauty of all skin tones and types, which reflects Note Cosmetics’ work towards promoting diversity and equality through makeup, as well as our embracing of paraben-free beauty products. By making use of lighter touch makeup, such as utilising a BB cream as an alternative to foundation, you can achieve a look that allows your own natural beauty to shine through and take centre stage.

The most popular beauty trends of 2020

Having looked initially at makeup trends, we also wanted to find out which other beauty trends were all the rage in 2020. We’ve taken a look at which eyebrow, nail, and skincare trends were the most popular last year when it came to completing your beauty regime.

Brow lamination 2020 Searches: 334,700

Brow lamination was the biggest beauty trend outside of makeup, receiving 334,700 searches in the first 5 months of 2020. By applying a laminate coating to your eyebrows you can achieve shiny, smooth brows which will last. Brow lamination treatments tame unruly brows without needles or dye – and a similar look can be achieved at home with a simple brow gel to fix those fly-away brow hairs all day long.

Microblading 2020 Searches: 313,000

The second most popular beauty trend of 2020 was also an eyebrow makeup trend – Microblading, with a total of 313,000 searches. This eyebrow treatment has become very popular in recent years, and involves using tiny needles to add pigment to the skin underneath your eyebrows to create a fuller, more defined look. Big brows have made a huge comeback, and there is certainly a fuller brow look to suit everyone.

Nail art 2020 Searches: 280,200

Nail art was the third most popular beauty trend of 2020, being searched 280,200 times. Treating your nails like ten mini canvases is a great way to let your creativity run free, adding a very personal touch to your digits. While most of us spent 2020 at home, nail art was bound to be a fun way to while away the hours, unleashing your inner nail artist and combining nail polish colours to create more intricate designs.

The most popular makeup trends of 2021

Now we turn our attention to makeup trends that are currently making waves online right this moment! Firstly we look towards which trends have lasted through lockdown before looking toward which new makeup trends have emerged onto the scene in 2021.

Top makeup trends still popular in 2021

Contouring retains the top spot as the UK’s most popular makeup trend in 2021, receiving a total of 98,700 searches in the first 5 months of the year. Contouring allows you to highlight the high points of your face and define cheek bones in a way that is both impactful yet natural. A cream contour blends smoothly into skin and helps enhance the bone structure of your face, and even a light contour can be extremely effective. It’s no surprise that this trend remains popular.

Smokey eyes are also still amongst the most popular makeup trends in 2021, with 37,800 searches. Bring depth to any look with a dark statement shadow, and what’s great about a smokey eye look is how universally flattering well-blended eyeshadow can be. Let’s not stay limited to traditional charcoal tones either, explore brown tones, greens and what about even a purple eyeshadow look. The possibilities are limitless.

As the world starts to open back up again, we are seeing subtle changes in makeup trends and styles, with glam makeup looks being swapped out for bolder statement lips and daring eye looks.

Emerging makeup trends for 2021

Red lipstick, a makeup classic, is 2021’s second most popular makeup trend with 44,800 searches. A trend that was originally most popular in the 1940s, and its recent boom in interest shows that people are ready for some mid-20th-century nostalgia. This simple yet effective addition of colour to the face is a tried and tested trend that will make your pout pop, and could quickly become your go-to lip colour.

Winged eyeliner is another well-known beauty trend that is increased in popularity in 2021. Using eyeliner to accentuate your eyes is a natural choice for a year that has seen us covering most of our faces in protective masks. This trend is allows you to be creative as how you shape and style your winged eyeliner is completely up to you, allowing you to express yourself and let your imagination run wild.

Another makeup trend worth mentioning for 2021 is natural makeup, a simple yet effective style that has stood the test of time and embraces natural beauty. 2021 has seen natural makeup evolve, with skinimalism and dewy foundation looks rising in popularity, which benefit from moisturising foundation to both soothe and enhance your skin. At the same time, we have seen a resurgence in the popularity of combining a small amount of blush to your natural look, which can be used to subtly enhances your own natural beauty.

The most popular beauty trends of 2021

We also wanted to see which other beauty trends are the most popular in 2021. You might think to pair 2021’s popular makeup trends with some of these to create a new look and beauty regime for yourself that is sure to be on-trend.

The top beauty trends of 2021

The most popular beauty trend of 2021 is gua sha, which received 642,200 searches. Gua sha is a traditional Chinese health technique that involves scraping the skin to encourage better circulation, often using green jade or rose quartz. When used on the face, this technique can result in smoother, firmer skin with reduced wrinkles, blemishes and acne.

As it did in 2020, Microblading came second place having received 296,700 searches, while brow lamination has fallen in popularity from first place in 2020, to third place. Both eyebrow techniques remain popular and influential beauty trends, and so definitely consider revamping your eyebrow cosmetics to keep up.

Other beauty trends to watch in 2021

Soap brows are one of the bigger beauty trends of 2021, and are a low-cost, low-maintenance way of achieving fuller brows with minimal effort. Using a bar of soap, simply apply it directly to your eyebrows with the spoolie end of an eyebrow pencil in a motion that pushes your brows in the desired direction.

Nail art is another trend worth watching in 2021. The sheer variation in what can be achieved with a little bit of practice and a dash of creativity is mind-boggling, with style ranging from the sleek and seductive to outlandish abstract nail designs that could just as easily form a modern art exhibit. Get inspiration on how to make use of your own nail polish selection on social media sites like Instagram or TikTok, where creative nail enthusiasts display their latest creations.

The biggest up and coming makeup trends

Having looked at the most popular makeup trends of 2020 and 2021, we wanted to work out which trends have increased in popularity the most between the two years. We’ve done the maths and identified the top ten biggest up and coming makeup trends to keep an eye on. These rapidly growing trends need to be a part of your makeup routine asap!

Eyeliner on guys Increase in searches: 282.28%

The trend of guys wearing eyeliner, or ‘guyliner’, is regularly seen on celebrities such as Johnny Depp, and is now appearing more frequently on younger faces like that of Damiano David, lead vocalist of Italian band Måneskin. Searches for the trend have almost tripled in a single year, rising by 282.28%.

Violet mascara Increase in searches: 200.00%

Classic black mascara has always been a bold finishing touch to any look, but it’s not the only colour on the block. Violet mascara saw the second-largest increase in popularity from 2020, with searches increasing by 200%, while searches for blue mascara also experienced a big rise. Prepare to see a lot more strikingly colourful eyelashes in the months ahead.

Coral blush Increase in searches: 21.88%

Coral blush has experienced a smaller climb in popularity, having received a 21.88% increase in searches compared to 2020. But we anticipate that this could be just the beginning of a much larger trend, as we get more adventurous with our blush styles going beyond the traditional rouge.

In conclusion

The cycle of beauty trends circulating back into 2021 are varied across the board, reflecting a mixture of bold and subtle looks with a big focus on statement eyes, bigger brows and a ‘less is more’ attitude when it comes to base makeup – taking inspiration from previous years and pushing the limits for new ways to enhance your style.

Firstly, there is a big focus on natural beauty. Trends taking inspiration from the 60s with less foundation and subtle blush, our makeup routines are reflecting a rising interest in showing off healthy skin, rather than hiding it. Enhance your natural beauty with lighter makeup touches like a bb cream that blends seamlessly with your skin tone and enhance high points of the face with a subtle, soft highlighter.

Other popular makeup trends that are crossing the boundaries of trends gone by, include contouring, red lips and winged eyeliner. These bolder looks show that we’re ready to let our creative sides run wild with a pop of colour or a statement eye. Shape your face with cream contour to add depth to your look and accentuate eyes with a bold precision liner to explore new wing-styles.

There is also a consistent interest in well-defined eyebrows, as trends such as microblading and brow lamination continue to be amongst the most popular. Recreate these salon treatments at home, and explore more natural brow styles with brow gel for a laminate look, a soft eyebrow pencil for a fuller brow or even an eyebrow kit to completely reshape your look.

Discover our full range of makeup, nail enamels and helpful makeup techniques to stay on trend at Note Cosmetics.


We wanted to find out which beauty trends are the biggest in the UK. To do this, we looked at search data for almost 100 different trends across makeup and beauty which are or have been popular in the UK at some point in time.

For each trend, we looked at the number of Google searches in the UK for the first 5 of 2020 and 2021 months using Google Ads Keyword Planner. We used these months because search data for the rest of 2021 is not yet available. Next, we split the trends into makeup trends and “other beauty”, so that we could take a closer look at makeup as a category. We then calculated the percentage difference between the scores for the two years, which allowed us to rank the trends by how much more or less popular they had grown in the space of a year.

Lastly, we looked into how popular different decades have been for their beauty trends across makeup, hairstyles, and eyebrows. We used Google Ads Keyword Planner to collect search data for each category, combined with a decade (eg. 1920s makeup, 1930s makeup etc…). This allowed us to see which decades are the most influential in each beauty category, giving insight into which styles from those popular eras could make a comeback.