Though it went by in a flash, 2021 is officially coming to a close—and it was an undeniably fun 12-month run for beauty. The year saw all sorts of colorful, interactive trends designed to demonstrate individuality and creativity. There were the inevitable ones—like the Y2K resurgence, which saw the biggest spike in body glitter and lip gloss consumption since The Simple Life originally aired. Then there was the necessary pendulum swing back to skinimalism and natural hair colors, born from the lack of professional access in 2020.
But as great as the year was for hair, skin, makeup, and nails, we're looking forward rather than back: If early expert predictions are any indication, 2022 is gearing up to be even more interesting for the beauty industry.
At Yelp, the internal team is privy to all sorts of stats regarding beauty trends, especially as they pertain to treatments and services (just think about all the people researching the best-reviewed places to get fillers or salons specializing in stylish new haircuts). To help us get a jump on the new year, Tara Lewis, Yelp's trend expert, is sharing her insight on what's sure to be 2022's biggest beauty treatment and procedure trends. Read on for an inside track into the future—even if it's only just a few days away.
Lips Are Getting Permanent Pigment
While the past few years have been all about lip volume, 2022's most major lip treatments will focus on the smaller details that make a big difference. Classic lip filler isn't going anywhere, but it's making room for two up-and-coming cousins: lip flips and lip blushing. Yelp reports that TikTok-driven lip flip procedures are up by 107% while lip blushing saw a 130% increase. With a lip flip, a doctor or other licensed provider injects a bit of Botox through the upper lip muscle. This forces it to relax, which quite literally flips the top of the lip to make upper lips appear larger and plumper without adding actual volume. The result is what many consider a more natural-looking boost, and it can also help obscure gum visibility.
If you're already familiar with microblading and nanoblading, two other semi-permanent and tattoo-like treatments, then you already understand the idea behind lip blushing. It's essentially a professionally-administered lip tattoo that adds natural-seeming pigment strategically through the lips for semi-permanent color. The idea is to get the look of your favorite tinted lip balm, but without applying anything at all. As a bonus, the placing of the lip blushing pigment can help make uneven lips look more symmetrical and full, too.
According to Lewis, many of the trends expected to blow up are more or less lingering effects of the pandemic and the lifestyle changes it brought—namely, Zoom. "Last year, Yelp saw an increase in review mentions of 'Zoom face' as consumers were searching for elective cosmetic procedures to treat issues like crow’s feet or forehead lines," Lewis explains to Byrdie. In 2022, she and her team anticipate "permanent enhancement options" like the lip blushing boom to take center stage as something of a continuance of that trend.
Treatments That Contour Without Makeup
In 2022, expect to see even more long-term contour procedures and treatments. For that coveted sculpted look, there's the more invasive (and controversial) buccal fat removal surgery, for which searches are up 16%. In buccal fat removal, a cosmetic surgeon will make an incision on the inside of the cheek and physically pop out the pads of fat—called buccal fat—that contribute to fuller-looking faces or "babyface." The result is a slimmer-looking face, often with contoured hollows like those seen on celebrities like Bella Hadid, for example.
Lewis says an increased curiosity about procedures like buccal fat removal can also be attributed to just how often we're forced to study our own faces—especially during the past two years of nonstop video calls. Plus, she says, "With the addition of improved technology and tools for beauty treatments and procedures, as well as videos on social media and customer reviews, those who are interested in trying out a change, like a lip flip or buccal fat removal, can see what to expect before they try for themselves." That's why people are on Yelp in the first place, to comb through reviews and results to gain confidence that they'll achieve their desired results before committing to a service.
Body contouring is rising in a major way, too—according to Yelp, searches for traditional body contouring are up 35%. Many times, the surgical route combines tummy tucks, arm lifts, breast lifts, and thigh lifts, and is a go-to option for some after significant weight loss. Because body contouring is major surgery, Lewis says its increased popularity could be due to remote work.
"From 2019, Yelp has seen an increase in searches for beauty treatments and procedures since those working from home had extra time to heal," she explains. "More permanent procedures, like PRF injections and body contouring, will continue to rise as those with the flexibility to work from home can still use the time to rest and heal after beauty touch-ups."
For those with more demanding or public-facing schedules, fear not—there are plenty of less-involved methods of body contouring also on the rise. Lewis notes that Emsculpt is a new Yelp favorite, up 24% from last year. In Emsculpting, a high-tech device uses intense (but not painful) electromagnetic force to essentially contract and manipulate muscles like exercise does, but in a significantly more powerful way. The result is more toning and definition on areas often resistant to traditional workout toning, like stomachs.
Meet the Newest Injectable
Finally, there's the new class of 2022 injectable trend. Platelet-rich fibrin injections, also called PRF injections, have been around for a while, but Yelp predicts a mainstream breakthrough in 2022 thanks to a 44% search increase. It's similar to pro-athlete-loved platelet-rich plasma injections, in which doctors extract your own plasma and readminister it to trigger the body's healing processes.
But in the case of PRF, the results are more cosmetic and less purely therapeutic. PRF draws your own blood and combines it with a protein blend that becomes a highly-concentrated mix of stem cells, white blood cells, and, of course, fibrin. It's then reinjected back into the individual and used to stimulate collagen, elastin, and even hair growth. Rising in popularity for its efficacy in slowing and reversing signs of aging, this treatment trend is definitely one to watch.
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