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Home>Blog>The Top Skincare Ingredients of 2020

The Top Skincare Ingredients of 2020

MIRA BEAUTY • updated Dec 31, 2020
The Top Skincare Ingredients of 2020

Go into 2021 with these incredible skincare ingredients

2020 wasn’t just the year of Netflix, Zoom calls, and bedazzled PPE masks, it was also the year of skincare. Months of quarantine inspired us to be more experimental with our beauty lineup - whether that meant finally incorporating Retinol creams into our skincare routines, trying every sheet mask in the K-Beauty world, or using quirky ingredients to find our new beauty bestie. We’re talking about you, donkey milk and snail mucin. The extra time at home was the perfect excuse to experiment, and you may be surprised by the skincare ingredients with the most Google searches in 2020. Some are classics that you couldn’t live without, and others made their debut in this weird year and made you wonder how you went this long without them. Like the best stressed skin saviors to prevent and treat Maskne! Shop the best skincare ingredients of 2020 below and incorporate them into your 2021 routine for a skinsational year.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C Serum by Mario Badescu
Source: Mario Badescu

The most Googled skincare ingredient in 2020 isn’t exactly a surprise, as when has Vitamin C ever not been iconic in the beauty world? This powerful antioxidant can do anything - including diminish fine lines and wrinkles, fade dark spots and treat hyperpigmentation, protect the skin against environmental stress and boost collagen production for an early start on your 20's anti-aging routine. Regardless of your age, lifestyle, or skin type, the best Vitamin C skincare products have something for everybody. Especially in 2020, when there’s no greater accessory than a bright and beautiful complexion on your Zoom call. If you’re still wondering how to get glowing skin, so are about a million other people. Literally. Harper’s BAZAAR reports that Vitamin C had over one million hits on Google in 2020, with a massive 204% increase from 2019. Goodbye dullness, hello dreamy skin. If you’re looking to incorporate this top skincare ingredient into your 2021 beauty lineup, just try the Vitamin C Serum by Mario Badescu! A few drops a day keeps the complexion issues away… treating everything from dullness and dryness to under eye puffiness and breakouts. 97% of MIRA BEAUTY guests say that this Mario Badescu serum is brightening and anti-aging, while 94% agree that it evens out skin tone.  

Salicylic Acid

Clear Complexion Foaming Salicylic Acid Cleanser by Aveeno
Source: Aveeno

Acne has made a very unfortunate appearance all throughout 2020, whether in the form of “Maskne,” stress from the state of the world, or any other troublesome factors. Even those who never get zits were waking up with a cluster of them on their face, which is why we all needed Salicylic Acid by our side all through the year! This ultra-strong BHA (beta hydroxy acid) deeply penetrates the pores to exfoliate and remove oil, dirt, and dead skin - unclogging them and treating your breakouts. Not only will your existing pimples disappear basically overnight with the right skincare products, you’ll also notice a reduction in sebum production and inflammation… as they’re definitely not cute on Zoom calls. There are countless Salicylic Acid cleansers, toners, and serums to choose from, but one of our personal favorites? Clear Complexion Foaming Salicylic Acid Cleanser by Aveeno. This face wash uses the acne-fighting ingredient to balance tone and texture while eliminating blemishes, and the MIRA reviews love this under $10 skincare product. 95% of the community says that Clear Complexion is pore-minimizing and brightening, while 92% say that it evens out skin tone.


Moisturizing Cream by CeraVe
Source: CeraVe

Did you know that high levels of cholesterol could actually be a good thing? You do now. Just like you load up your toast with avocado and snack on nuts for the “good” kind of fat, you should also incorporate them into your beauty routine for a boost of hydration and skin health. Cholesterol plays a huge role in supporting and boosting the skin’s natural moisture barrier, as your skin’s lipid production decreases as you age (just like collagen and cell turnover) and leads to dryness and dullness. Similar to Ceramides, this moisturizing substance is a game-changer in your anti-aging routine, and keeps your complexion looking plump, bouncy, and fresh. In fact, this is one of the most underrated skincare ingredient duos for a divine complexion. “Together, Ceramides and Cholesterol help hydrate the skin, smooth the outer layer, optimize the epidermis’ protective barrier, and improve elasticity.” plastic surgeon Manish Shah, MD told Byrdie. What more could you ask for in a year like 2020, and now 2021? Moisturizing Cream by CeraVe features the divine duo of Cholesterol and Ceramides to restore and maintain the skin’s moisture barrier - helping to seal in hydration (97% of MIRA guests agree!) and prevent skin aging.

Castor oil

Castor Oil Eyelash Serum by Majestic Pure
Source: Majestic Pure

Oils are your friend, and you’ve definitely used a bit of castor oil in your skincare routine throughout 2020 - even if you don’t know it. Known for its ability to hydrate, soothe, and detoxify the skin, this oil is thicker than other plant oils like argan or coconut. Why? Because it’s that much richer in fatty acids, Vitamin E, and other nutrients to take your complexion up a notch. There are countless ways to use Castor Oil across your entire body, making it one of the top skincare ingredients you need for 2021. It’s believed to speed up the body’s production of collagen and elastin to prevent wrinkles and signs of aging, along with antibacterial properties to hydrate and treat inflamed areas. Sayonara, stressed skin. And you don’t even have to limit Castor Oil to your skincare routine, either, as it’s also incredible for your hair and makeup! Add a few drops to your mane to speed up hair growth and say goodbye to split ends, or try a lash conditioner enriched with Castor Oil to lock lashes in place all day. Like the Castor Oil Eyelash Serum by Majestic Pure!

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream by COSRX
Source: COSRX

Hyaluronic Acid is the hydration hero that everybody needs, as it’s able to carry 1,000 times its own weight in water for a major moisture surge. Not to mention the smoothing of fine lines and majorly glowing skin that’s Instagram filter worthy. This substance is naturally produced by the body, and therefore safe to use on all skin types. There’s basically zero risk of irritation, even on those with skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, and a guarantee of glowing and gorgeous skin. What more could you ask for in a year like 2020, when you’ve experimented with about a million moisturizers that made you break out? Hyaluronic Acid is frequently used in the most hydrating beauty products designed for all skin types - including moisturizers, serums, toners, and cleansers - and you’ll love the Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream by COSRX. This silky cream replenishes the moisture you may have lost in your skin due to aging or genetics - sealing in hydration to give your complexion that K-Beauty glow. 95% of MIRA guests say that Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream is hydrating and 100% believe it provides redness relief, and there’s no limit to the things that Hyaluronic Acid can do in 2021.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Daily Deep Cleanser by Differin
Source: Differin

You already know about the beauty of Salicylic Acid, which is often the go-to ingredient for an acne-fighting skincare routine. However, it sometimes just wasn’t enough in 2020. Our skin was breaking out due to various factors, and we needed an ingredient that’s a bit stronger to deal with dreaded Maskne. Enter… Benzoyl Peroxide. This maximum strength substance is meant for those with severe, chronic, or cystic acne, as it contains antibacterial properties that eliminate the deepest of pimples and prevent future breakouts… and you’ll get the ideal amount of this acne-fighting ingredient with the Daily Deep Cleanser by Differin. This product features 5% Benzoyl Peroxide to penetrate the pores and absorb excess sebum, confronting the direct causes of severe acne, while releasing a gentle moisturizer that keeps the breakouts away and seals moisture into the skin. Sounds like a win-win, right? Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t have a soft side, and you’re about to discover all the acne-fighting power and gentle hydration of Benzoyl Peroxide in 2021.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner by belif
Source: belif

This botanical extract has been used in skincare and medicine for ages, and it’s definitely come in use all throughout 2020. As it turns out, the skincare ingredient with the witchy name also has a magical ability to zap zits and reduce inflammation from chronic Maskne. Pretty cool. As an oil-banisher, antioxidant, and antibacterial skincare ingredient that can be found in plenty of toners, you should definitely add Witch Hazel to your 2021 beauty lineup. A MIRA top pick? Witch Hazel Herbal Extract Toner by belif, which clears and calms your complexion while providing an extreme moisture surge. You don’t need to dry out your skin to banish every last blemish, and this K-Beauty favorite provides all the hydration, clarity, and cooling vibes you need in 2021.


Overnight Retinol Repair by Dermalogica
Source: Dermalogica

What more could we say about Retinol that your favorite celebrities and beauty influencers haven’t already? This Vitamin A derivative is an anti-aging powerhouse that exfoliates, smooths wrinkles, increases collagen, treats acne and keeps you looking young forever. It’s not an exaggeration. These incredible benefits are partly why Retinol had double the number of Google searches than it did in 2019, but it’s not the only reason. Despite all the beauty of this ingredient, it can also be harsh on certain individuals. Those with sensitive skin types, or who are prone to skin conditions like eczema, may experience irritation or redness upon trying their first Retinol serum. It’s recommended that you incorporate the ingredient very slowly into your routine, and avoid sun exposure to achieve the best results with the least risk of irritation. Basically, staying inside all year in quarantine without the sun’s rays is the perfect opportunity to experiment with Retinol… and many people in 2020 discovered their love for this anti-aging hero. Overnight Retinol Repair by Dermalogica is made with active 0.5% microencapsulated Retinol to increase cell turnover - producing a smoother, softer, and younger appearance - without the irritation. And if your skin is still too sensitive for pure Retinol, don’t worry… there are still ways to get all the benefits of this skincare ingredient without the flakiness and redness. Jonathan Van Ness’s beauty routine involves Bakuchiol, a natural and plant-based Retinol alternative that makes his skin look younger and fresher, without causing flare-ups with his psoriasis. And don’t you trust Queer Eye’s grooming expert?

Shop all the best skincare ingredients and products on MIRA.