While we haven’t stumbled onto the fountain of youth quite yet (we’ll get back to you on that one), 2018’s skincare trends have put in the effort to make sure you’re looking your best. From transparency in active ingredient concentrations, to crystal-powered creams (yes, really), this year’s best skincare trends cover the full spectrum of complexion concerns

Next gen sheet masks

While 2017 may have been the year of the sheet mask, with the Korean-born beauty staple released by everyone from luxe brands to drugstore lines, this year, the easy-to-use beauty buy will see an even bigger push in popularity thanks to brands racing to outclass their competition with new application options and smart formulas, moving on from the classic serum-soaked cotton fibres to more exotic materials.

Skin Republic has launched a collection of eye-catching and skin-smoothing masks, with its Youthfoil silver foil mask in particular as striking as it is effective. The brand claims that the innovative foil coating prevents the anti-aging collagen and elastin formula from evaporating, delivering a more concentrated dose of serum directly to your skin beneath the silver layer.

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Starskin, another sheet mask specialist, has developed a two-step mask that imitates the effects of micro-needling, the facialist-only technique that creates teeny holes in the complexion to aid product absorption. The Micro-Filler Mask Pack uses a cream concentrate that contains ‘micro-pyramids’ of hydration powerhouse ingredient hyaluronic acid which “painlessly create tiny punctures on the skin,” kick-starting the skin’s cell regeneration activity.

Followed by a melting bio-cellulose sheet mask, the hyaluronic acid structures are dissolved and soak into the micro-tunnels. Sounds scary, but this technique is being hailed as the easier way to achieve the bouncy and plump micro-needling effect at home.

Skin-smoothing pink clay

Currently flooding Instagram and Facebook feeds, pink clay masks are shaping up to be as unavoidable as coffee body scrubs were in 2017. Aside from its made-for-selfies pastel hue, what makes pink clay different from your usual run-of-the-mill off-white clays? Pink clay gets its natural colour from its high silica content, containing more of this trace mineral compared to white, green or grey clays.

Also found in fruit and veg cells, silica helps repair connective tissue and collagen when ingested and is a crucial component when it comes to having healthy and strong hair, skin and nails. While the jury’s still out on whether topical application has the same effect, clay alone does have a detoxing and deep-cleansing effect on skin, working particularly well on sensitive and oily skin types.

Herbivore Pink Clay
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The influencer-backed brand, Sand&Sky, may be the most visible of all the brands using pink clay, selling over 50,000 jars of its Brilliant Skin Pink Clay mask in its first eight weeks, but other niche brands have their own versions hitting the market, with plants-based brand Herbivore launching several of their own pink clay-based products for all skin types.

Work-out ready ranges

Do cross-fitters, yogis and marathoners really need their own specialized skincare products? Clinique is betting on it, with the launch of CliniqueFit, a range that claims to both address issues faced by athletic sorts and to help the more lazy amongst us to at least fake that post-exercise glow. The range includes sweat-proof mascaras, mattifying moisturisers and refreshing sprays for pre-, during, and post-activity, with the promise that they will keep up with an active lifestyle.

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The launch follows hot on the heels of make-up brand Tarte’s own fitness-focused line, albeit one that seemed tailored to cool girl work-outs such as pilates and paddle-boarding, rather than sweating out at Body Pump. We’ll be putting these ‘active’ skincare care lines to the test to see if its performance is worth the dirhams, or if this newly-launched trend will throw in the towel.

DNA-derived complexion solutions

The days of knowing your skin type – oily, dry, or combination – and being completely confident with whatever the beauty world had to offer you are on their way out. This year ushers in the era of truly tailored-to-you beauty, with up-and-coming niche brands determining your perfect moisturizer formulas as dictated by your own DNA.

In Selfridges London, the concept of DNA-determined beauty has already proven to be popular with the Geneu genetic analysis counter claiming a here-to-stay space in the department store’s beauty hall after a trial run. Here, customers are prescribed a series of serums after being checked for compatibility with two different genetic strands related to dermal aging.

Skincare brand Allel has also launched its own individualization service, with clients completing a series of medical tests and an in-depth questionnaire to have a skin profile developed and skincare products prescribed. The service doesn’t come cheap and requires an in-person visit to one of its European clinics, but promises incredible results for aging skin.

SkinShift
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A more cost-effective option is SkinShift, which offers an at-home DNA swab kit option via 23AndMe. Once returned, customers are recommended an AM and PM routine from the 144 possible combinations on offer. Follow to the letter to get a complexion the rest of your family will envy.

Electrifying body treatments

We’ve previously used and loved electric pulse treatment on the face to tighten skin and attack pigment, so it’s no surprise that a full-body version is the next big thing in body care. Targeting cellulite and scarring, and improving elasticity and firmness, body treatments such as the BTL X-Wave use electric currents to stimulate soft tissue.

Created by Dr Rita Rakus, BTL X-Wave send acoustic shockwaves through the body, mechanically massaging soft tissue and lymph nodes, increasing the body’s natural collagen production. It’s a month-long commitment, with twice-weekly sessions to see the best results (Dh380 per session, Dh1,278 for a pack of four sessions, Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont the Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai).

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No-nonsense labels

Smoke and mirrors in beauty advertising are hopefully soon to be a thing of the past with consumers now wanting to know exactly what is in our skincare products – down to every last molecule.. After decades of moisturisers being marketed as if they were rather fancy desserts (‘dreamy cream’, ‘lightly whipped’, and ‘deliciously rich’ all come to mind), without any actual information about the concentration of their active ingredients, it’s a refreshingly honest take to see at the normally cut-throat beauty counters.

The Ordinary
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Leading the charge is The Ordinary, a brainwave by the Canadian founder of parent group, Deciem. Specialising in potent formulas in straight-forward packaging for a surprisingly low price, the brand aims for transparency with its customers. With decidedly unimaginative product names like Retinol 0.5% in Squalane, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, and Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, shoppers know exactly what they are getting and how much of it. While this kind of up-front information gives you more control over your skin, working with active ingredients in relatively high concentrations does come with its own issues.

Educating yourself on which combinations of product play nicely together is a must – slapping it all on and hoping for the best is playing with fire here – but the results are worth the extra groundwork to begin with.

Crystal-powered creams

It might seem a little New Age-y, but crystals are back in a big way for 2018. Spiritual enlightenment is touted as a major draw – something we admittedly scoffed at initially – but depending on the product, the effects can at least let you see your earth-grounded being in a new light. Glow by Dr. Brandt’s Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme is a part-cream, part-serum that claims to boost the skin’s outer glow by reflecting lights thanks to micronized ruby crystals, and helping refocusing your chakras to promote an inner glow of happiness.

Lancer The Method's Body Polish
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For a more practical application of your crystal collection, the Body Polish from Lancer The Method (a new launch for the region) uses finely ground quartz to buff away patchy and dry skin, while, as alleged by those au fait with their stones, improving focus, intention, and psychic ability.

Prismologie
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Far from a Western-led trend, the influence of gems inspired Prismologie, a skincare line by Kuwaiti royalty and mother-daughter duo, Shaikha Intisar Salem Al Ali Al Sabah and Shaikha Fatima Al Sabah, who based their range on the connection between crystals and gemstones, and colour therapy. Each ‘mood’ in the range pairs a mineral or stone with a corresponding hue and scent, with the implication that together they can alter the user’s emotions.

Rose Quartz
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Try Diamond & Neroli for mental clarity, or Rose Quartz for self-care and compassion. If you prefer applying your gemstones directly to the affected area, it may be time to invest in a slick facial roller.

Dubai-based brand Shiffa’s jade version ticks both the ‘looks good’ and ‘feels good’ boxes. The brand reports that jade is a cleansing stone which balances the fluid within the body, calms the nervous system, releases negative and attracts love and good luck.

Science is yet to confirm the aforementioned, but the gentle pressure of the rolling jade is indeed a known massage technique which stimulates blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, aiding the absorption of applied products. You may be an unlucky-in-love grouch, but 2018 could be your year of great skin.