The Biggest Health And Beauty Trends Of The Decade

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As we slide into 2020 we wanted to take a look back over the trends and movements that have shaped the Twenty-Tens. Over the past 10 years, wellness has come into its own with more of us becoming increasingly conscious of what we’re putting on and in our bodies. Kale has become a mainstream vegetable that’s boiled, steamed, fried and dished up in restaurants across the country, while our skincare routines have become more robust thanks to the rise of serums and masks. 

Of course, there have been plenty of micro trends and fads that have failed to breakthrough, but what are the biggest innovations and movements that have changed our approach to health and beauty?

Gut health

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you would have been hard-pressed to have missed the flurry of headlines flagging up gut health. Studies have continued to highlight the link between our gut and our overall health. Earlier this year, a review of recent studies was published in the journal General Psychiatry found  that anxiety could be alleviated by regulating intestinal microbiota via food and supplements. 

Scientists have also linked the bacteria balance in our gut to the strength of our immune system. Research by Brown University in the US just last year concluded that gut microbiota could regulate our immune system. Shabir, who has been championing gut health for years, has written countless articles on the importance of taking a good quality probiotic, including What Can’t Probiotics Do?.

#SelfcareSundays

The phenomenal rise of ‘self-care’ is showing no sign of slowing as we move into the new decade. For the past three years, everything from taking a rooftop yoga class and guzzling green juice to booking a massage and enjoying a glass of wine has fallen under the realms of self-care. It’s about taking time out – be it 10 minutes or an entire day, to focus on yourself. Unsurprisingly, in an era where the tagline ‘did it even happen if it’s not on Instagram’ is said all too often, self-care even has its own hashtag: #selfcaresunday. Considering the versatility of this all-encompassing trend, we’re predicting that self-care will be something we’ll be seeing a lot more too. 

K Beauty & Sheet Masks

Following on nicely from self-care, is the incredible rise of K Beauty (Korean inspired beauty) and most notably the sheet mask. What started as K Beauty has evolved into an appreciation of J Beauty (Japanese) and C Beauty (Chinese) skincare rituals over the years with the help of Instagram and YouTube. While few of us have incorporated all 14 steps into our skincare routine, we have moved on from the traditional three-step approach. 

Serums and sheet masks have become staples in our routines. The latter have evolved as well with technology paving the way for dry textures to replace gloppy wet ones. We might not have the time or patience for too many steps, but the Asian influence is showing no sign of waning and you can expect to see plenty of brands introducing lighter lotions and essences into their ranges in the next year or so.

Skincare Ingredients

K Beauty might have ignited a love for skincare, but the rise of single ingredient formulas has also helped expand our understanding of what products can do for our skin and perhaps most importantly, what our skin needs. The likes of vitamin C, retinol and salicylic acid no longer baffle us and instead we’re mixing and matching depending on what our skin needs on a week-by-week, month-by-month basis. 

Facebook groups, Reddit forums and Instagram accounts have helped spread the word about which ingredients to use depending on your skin type or concern – Shabir has also written a comprehensive guide, here.

While we’re predicting that single ingredient formulations will evolve and become more sophisticated, the days of lotions and potions being jam-packed with endless ‘fillers’ and unnecessary ingredients is long gone. Customers are savvier than ever and want hard-working, effective products that deliver the promises on their packaging.

Liquid vs tablets

The popularity of tinctures may have dwindled since the Victorian times in favour of capsules and pills, but recent technical advances have put liquids back on top. Liposomal vitamins have become increasingly popular due to their higher absorption ability. What are liposomal vitamins? ‘Liposomal Encapsulation Technology consists of microscopic healthy fat particles called phospholipids along with vitamins. This technology has been used for many years to deliver certain drugs to specific tissues within the body without affecting the other parts of the body,’ Shabir writes. You call read his full paper, here

The stress epidemic 

Smartphones can’t be blamed solely for the ongoing stress epidemic that has taken hold in the Twenty-Tens, but they have ensured that we are continuously connected to newsfeeds and emails. So much so, it’s thought we check our phones on average every 12 minutes. 

With stress and anxiety comes sleep issues, and sleep has become a multi-billion dollar business. In 2017, McKinsey predicted the sleep-health industry (including bedding, sleep consultants, sleeping pills et cetera) was worth between $30 and $40 billion. While smartphones might be part of the problem, there are plenty of apps on hand that promise to help reduce your stress levels, calm a whirling mind and help you sleep.

This is another topic that Shabir has covered extensively and if you have problems sleeping, it is worth checking out Herbal Sleep PM.

The Bar Of Soap Is Back, And Here’s Why

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Despite having been around for centuries, traditional bar soap has had a rough ride in recent years, continually slipping down the popularity scale in the cleansing world thanks to the introduction of its liquid, foam, gel and waterless counterparts. However, according to research by consumer insights company, Kantar Worldpanel, sales of classic bar soap rose for the first time in years in 2018, with a three per cent increase nationally since 2017. That’s right, the OG cleansing method has come back into the limelight and back into our bathrooms.

Fortunately bar soaps have become a little more sophisticated while we’ve had our eye on the sparklier alternatives. Forget the shrivelled, unloved husks of the past, or the retro, shell-shaped cakes that seem to reside in the home of every grandmother. The new school of soaps offer a fresh upgrade on the musty-smelling, pastel bars of old. It’s out with filler ingredients and overly drying chemicals, and in with skin-loving oils, clarifying muds and heavenly-scented natural extracts.

Take Dead Sea Spa Magik’s Black Mud Soap, which owes its inky hue to pH-balancing mud sourced from the Dead Sea, making it perfect for sensitised skin on both face and body. Or Soapsmith’s delicious-smelling bars, each hand-made in London and inspired by the city’s streets and boroughs (Baker Street, with its almond, honey and goat’s milk blend, is particularly addictive). The scents are modern and fresh, the packaging is chic and they make perfect gifts – ones that will actually get used, rather than languishing in the back of a drawer like the soaps your distant relatives used to give you for Christmas. There’s something undeniably satisfying about the unwrapping of a smooth, box-fresh bar, and the fragrant, deep-cleansing lather it creates when it comes into contact with water.

But the prettier upgrade is not the only reason soap is back in the spotlight. With many of us keen to cut back on excess packaging, bar soaps offer a much more eco-friendly route to keeping ourselves clean. Instead of the bulky bottles and unrecyclable pumps of liquid soaps, the best bar soaps are made from naturally-sourced ingredients and packaged in no more than a printed paper wrap, cutting out unnecessary waste almost completely. Market intelligence agency Mintel highlighted plastic-free packaging as one of the key packaging trends for 2019, giving bar soap the upper hand in the world of bubbles and lather. And whilst hand and body soaps are perhaps the most ubiquitous, effective bar cleansers for face and even hair look set to trend too as we all wake up to the endless bottles, jars and tubes involved in our everyday beauty routines and consider where it’s possible to cut back.

And that more conscious approach goes for the formulations too. Those keen to remove potentially worrying chemicals and preservatives from their beauty routines might find solace in bar soaps, which use fats such as olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil as their base. These fats have the added benefit of providing excellent nourishment for the skin, cleansing gently and effectively as well as supporting skin’s natural oil barrier.

Which brings us to the power of soap as the ultimate all-rounder. Take Dr. Bronner’s All-One Pure-Castile Bar Soap, which is formulated with organic oils and comes in natural scents such as Hemp Rose, Hemp Almond and Hemp Peppermint. Packaged in recycled paper packaging in all colours of the rainbow, it is designed for use on face, hair and body, and is completely vegan. And it costs £4.99. Do you need any more convincing?

7 Health And Beauty Lessons We Learnt This Year

7 health and beauty lessons

As the year draws to a close, it feels like the perfect time to look back over the biggest health and beauty stories and developments of 2018. While we don’t advocate the many fads that crop up throughout the year, there are definitely some health and beauty lessons to take into 2019. Read More…