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The Biggest Trending Skincare Ingredients Of 2020

The Biggest Trending Skincare Ingredients Of 2020
3 years ago
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Here at LOOKFANTASTIC, we’ve curated the biggest trending skincare ingredients of 2020. Using data from Google, we’ve taken a deep dive into which beauty buzzwords everyone’s been searching for in what could be described as the most interesting year ever.  

We all know how different 2020 has been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with multiple lockdowns meaning more time for self-care, many of us have turned to a skincare-first approach by choosing to amp up our daily skincare rituals in place of wearing our usual makeup look.  

And with more time to focus on our wellbeing, it’s no wonder 2020 has seen somewhat of a skincare revolution. There couldn’t be a better time for it either, as innovation within skincare has evolved dramatically over the last decade. The accessibility of beneficial skincare ingredients that would normally be reserved for premium skincare, or specialist skincare treatments, are now more readily accessible to all.  

Which are the biggest trending skincare ingredients of 2020? 

We are well versed in skincare ingredients, with plenty of knowledge on which skin complaints they can help with and how to use them correctly to get the very best results. We were curious to find out exactly which skincare ingredients have risen up the ranks in popularity this year, so keep reading for a comprehensive list of the biggest trending skincare ingredients of 2020. 

  1. Salicylic acid
  2. Hyaluronic acid
  3. Niacinamide
  4. Retinol
  5. Azelaic acid
  6. Glycolic acid
  7. Rosehip oil
  8. Shea butter
  9. Bakuchiol
  10. Vitamin C
  11. Lactic Acid

The most popular skincare ingredients of 2020 

Keen to learn more about 2020’s skincare heroes? Want to learn your Ninacinamide from your Bakuchiol? Swot up on your skincare below... 

Salicylic acid 

Estimated google searches: 710K  

Estimated 2020 growth: 46% 

Best suited to oily and acne-prone skin 

Salicylic acid is a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) that derives from aspirin. In its natural form, salicylic acid and its derivatives are also found in berries and vegetables. Salicylic acid is an exfoliator that is best used to unclog pores and reduce blackheads and breakouts all thanks to its fantastic antibacterial properties. The key benefits of salicylic acid include its ability to fight acne, reduce redness, remove dead skin cells and decrease oil secretion.  

Why is salicylic acid good for the skin? 


Hyaluronic acid 

Estimated google searches: 672K 

Estimated 2020 growth: 37% 

Best suited to all skin types 

Hyaluronic acid or HA helps you to retain moisture in your face, leaving you with healthy and hydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring sugar found in our skin but did you know that hyaluronic acid can hold a thousand times its weight in water? As we get older the natural amount of hyaluronic acid in our skin decreases, therefore using hyaluronic acid skincare can be extremely beneficial in improving the plumpness of your skin whilst reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid can also be paired well with other skincare ingredients such as vitamins and retinol.  



Estimated google searches: 435K  

Estimated 2020 growth: 221% 

Best suited to all skin types 

Niacinamide is Vitamin B3 which is naturally found in foods such as kale and almonds and has many anti-inflammatory properties. Niacinamide penetrates deep into the skin to boost hydration and protect the skin from environmental damage. The main benefits of niacinamide include maintaining hydration, reducing the size of pores and helping with hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide is the perfect ingredient to help you achieve a smooth, even complexion and should be a staple in any skincare routine.  

How to add Niacinamide into your skincare routine 



Estimated google searches: 408K  

Estimated 2020 growth: 29% 

Best suited to acne-prone skin 

There are many different types of retinoids all derived from Vitamin A and with differing concentrations. Retinoic acid is the strongest, prescription level retinoid that’s often used to treat acne and anti-ageing. All other retinoids from the very strongest to the weakest include retinaldehyde, retinol andretinol esters. Retinoid products need to be used with care and consideration, to build up a tolerance make sure you gradually add it into your skincare routine. When using retinoids, ensure to use broad-spectrum SPF as the increase in cell turn over can make your skin more fragile and vulnerable to sun exposure. 

What is retinol? 


Azelaic acid 

Estimated google searches: 257K 

Estimated 2020 growth: 120% 

Azelaic acid is taken from barley, wheat and rye before being formulated into skincare. Azelaic acid is an exfoliant that unclogs pores and also reduces pigmentation and the effects of scarring. Azelaic acid manipulates the most upper layers in the cells which results in a smooth and visibly healthier skin tone. If you’re looking for a brighter skin tone with visibly improved evenness, skincare including azelaic acid is a great choice. 


Glycolic acid 

Estimated google searches: 220K  

Estimated 2020 growth: 29% 

Best suited to oily skin 

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (or AHA) that's derived from sugar cane. Glycolic acid is an exfoliant that helps shed dead skin cells to reveal new beautifully brighter skin underneath. Glycolic Acid reduces fine lines and wrinkles, minimises the appearance of pores, combats breakouts and acne and evens out your skin tone. It really is a multi-tasker. As Glycolic acid is an exfoliant, it is best to start using it liberally this is especially the case if you have more sensitive skin. It is important to wear an SPF when you’ve used Glycolic Acid in the morning, this is because Glycolic Acid removes the top layer of your skin which puts it at risk of environmental damage from the sun. 

7 best glycolic acid toners 


Rosehip oil 

Estimated google searches: 184k  

Estimated 2020 growth: 10% 

Best suited to all skin types 

Rosehip Oil is extracted from the seeds of rose bushes and is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants and essential oils. Rosehip oil contains essential fatty acids and naturally occurring antioxidants which work hard to protect and brighten your complexion. Rosehip Oil is available as a neat oil or can be included in moisturiser to help improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and an uneven skin tone. 

The benefits of rosehip oil for skin 


Shea butter 

Estimated google searches: 181k  

Estimated 2020 growth: 11% 

Best suited to dry skin types 

Shea Butter is the fat that is extracted from the Shea Nut, which nourishes, softens and repairs the skin. Shea Butter is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E and is, as you can imagine packed with fatty acids and vitamins that will make your skin glow from within. Shea butter is ideal for dry complexions and is easy for your skin to fully absorb so it won’t make your skin look oily after application. 



Estimated google searches: 45k  

Estimated 2020 growth: 67% 

Best suited to sensitive skin 

Bakuchiol is found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea Corylifolia plant making it 100% vegan skincare. This powerful antioxidant stimulates the production of collagen to revitalise your skin whilst helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as pigmentation. Bakuchiol helps stabilise retinol which means you can use them together - the perfect multitasker! 


Vitamin C skincare 

Estimated google searches: 20k 

Estimated 2020 growth: 43% 

Vitamin C offers powerful protection against pollution, environmental damage, and even sun damage. Skincare containing vitamin C can help with anti-ageing, blemish control and pigmentation. It also increases the effectiveness of sunscreen and gives the skin better protection from UV rays. If you’re looking for glowing, radiant skin then you can trust skincare infused with Vitamin C will do the job. 

Why you should add Vitamin C to your beauty regime 


Ones to Watch 

And now time for the ones to watch. Whilst the following ingredients were not as popular in 2020 as those mentioned above, they have still seen amazing growth in popularity so far this year! 

  • Lactic acid skincare has seen 142% growth 

Lactic acid skincare is a gentle acid found in milk that is brilliant for beating pigmentation. Lactic acid also boosts natural hydration in your skin making it ideal for those with skin that sits on the drier end of the spectrum. If your skin is more sensitive, lactic acid is a brilliant introduction to using exfoliant acids on your skin. 

  • Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) has seen 58% growth 

One of the most popular BHAs is the aforementioned salicylic acid. Like AHAs, BHAs can even out your skin tone, improve the texture of your skin, unclog pores and decrease the appearance of surface level wrinkles. 

Other popular ingredients of 2020 

Some ingredients have been really popular in 2020 but are not limited to skincare, so have been left out of this report.  

These include: 

  • Cbd, Citric Acid, Aloe vera and Coconut oil.  

We hope that our top 10 trending skincare ingredients of 2020 has been helpful for you when it comes to creating your own skincare routine with finesse. 


I've been writing about hair and beauty for over 10 years. I am a collector of vintage perfume and my go-to look always includes a bold pink lip!