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The 5 Clean Beauty Trends Of 2021, According To Whole Foods Market

Jamie Schneider
March 3, 2021
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
By Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
skin care products on bathroom sink
Image by Whole Foods Market
March 3, 2021
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This year's clean beauty trends from Whole Foods Market portray an overarching theme: simplicity. We don't need to tell you that the pandemic has dramatically altered our beauty routines, with many pumping the brakes on their regimens, editing down steps to what's truly considered essential. 

And in 2021? The global retailer bets we'll continue to streamline our beauty regimens, seeking out the brands that do more with less: from multitasking balms to upcycled formulas to the ingredients that battle maskne (and fast!), here are the trends to watch:    


Stressed skin, meet ramped-up remedies.  

It's no secret that all the uncertainty of this year has ramped up stress and anxiety. We also know that your mental health has a close relationship with your skin health: Not only does stress lead to inflammation (hello, stress acne...), but a constant kick in cortisol can dial down your skin's production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and lipids to harbor energy for that fight-or-flight response.  

Taming inflammation has always been top of mind for brands, but this year we're especially seeing a focus on soothing, antioxidant-rich ingredients (like biome-friendly actives, chamomile, CoQ10, and vitamin C) to manage oxidative stress and baby your skin smooth.  

Whole Foods Market buys: Try Pacifica's Glow Baby Super Lit Booster Serum or FACETORY's Soothe Me Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mask for a hit of antioxidants. And if a string of stress acne shows up? Alba Botanica's Acnedote Pimple Patches have you covered. 


Beauty goes waterless.

Waterless formulas continue to take the industry by storm, with new skin care, hair care, and even oral care innovations. And we salute these innovations thanks to their sustainability-minded values: Waterless formulas usually require less packaging and, obviously, don't use up water as a resource. They also typically last longer on the shelf, which means less repurchasing. 

But just because you have a water-free formula doesn't mean it won't effectively hydrate your skin and hair. No, waterless skin care features buttery, rich ingredients that melt into your skin. As for hair? Work shampoo and conditioner bars into your damp palms, and they'll emulsify like a dream.  

Whole Foods Market buys: Transform your shower with HiBAR's Moisturizing Shampoo & Conditioner or Nude & Crude's Shower Powder, and try hello's Antiplaque + Whitening Toothpaste Tablets to update your oral care. 


Multitasking balms.

Ah, the power of an almighty multiple. The moisturizing balm, in particular, has exploded in popularity this year: When you find a product that works just as well for your chapped lips as it does for cracked cuticles, well, you keep it close by. Instead of slathering on a separate lip balm, body lotion, and hand cream with overlapping ingredients (like shea butter, coconut oil, and the like), you can moisturize in one go. One and done, as they say.

Whole Foods Market buys: evanhealy's Face Balms glide across your skin with ease (the Blue Cactus balm feels especially cooling), and Earth Tu Face's Geranium + Vetiver Skin Stick doubles as a dewy highlighter. 


Juiced-up skin care.

Your favorite fruits and veggies boast tons of antioxidants and phytochemicals—so why not include them in your favorite skin care products? What you consume totally shows up on your skin (that's why water-dense, high-fat, antioxidant-rich foods are renowned for their glow-inducing properties), but applying these powerful extracts topically, too, doesn't hurt. 

Some potent ingredients of note? Celery, mushrooms, blueberries, and watermelon—you know, all the pickings on your favorite superfood smoothies or salads. 

Whole Foods Market buys: cocokind uses celery in their Pore Refining Concentrate, while ACURE's Seriously Soothing Blue Tansy Jelly Mask features blueberry extract to help brighten up your complexion. DERMA E's Ultra Hydrating Alkaline Cloud Cleanser also contains tremella mushroom to condition the skin.


Upcycled beauty.

On a similar note, we're seeing the beauty industry repurpose food waste to create those antioxidant-rich, superfood-inspired products. Read: Instead of extracting fresh blueberries for a polyphenol-rich serum, why not just take the leftover pulp from the juicing industry? Or use discarded coffee grounds to create a caffeine-laced eye cream? 

By giving food waste new life, brands can minimize their carbon footprint—and the products are just as potent. 

Whole Foods buys: Try UpCircle's line of upcycled skin care, like their eye cream featuring repurposed coffee and maple bark extract, and their moisturizer made with repurposed argan shell powder.

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Jamie Schneider author page.
Jamie Schneider
Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.