Le Mill’s Glossary of Beauty Buzzwords Worth Knowing in 2021

2021 was the year we multimasked while multi-tasking a work-from-home, party-at-home, work-out-at-home reality. Skincare became the new self care, and our greatest flex was a shelf installed with Niacinamide, Caffeine Solution, AHA/BHA… anything that said serum or active acid, really. It can be hard to keep track of the new beauty terms and phrases popping up ever so quickly across our social media. TikTok is a hotbed for new ways to go skin deep (quite literally!). From cloud skin to cloudless skin, and even ‘maskne’, a portmanteau masks and acne, here is our mini glossary of 7 beauty buzzwords that are currently having a moment. We break them down and decode their meanings so you can incorporate it into your daily skincare vocabulary.

Biotech Beauty

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Science meets skincare in this term coined for beauty brands that are melding science and lab-created technology within their products. The technology allows brands to recreate powerful natural ingredients without negatively impacting our planet and oceans, offering a more sustainable alternative to substances derived from nature. For example, instead of using squalene, an organic compound primarily obtained from shark liver oil, Biossance’s plant based alternative uses small-batch renewable Brazilian sugarcane that’s then bio-fermented using its own yeast.


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This term was coined late last year after fashion’s Spring/Summer 2021 shows swapped contoured, structured looks, for naturally glowy and luminous skin. Think barely there textures, minimal to zero makeup and the less is more philosophy. The Pinterest Predicts 2021 report called it ‘the end of the caked-on makeup look’. It’s all about letting your real skin with all its imperfections shine through. Clean out your makeup bag and skincare shelf to make room for only the it-products that work best for your skin.

Maskne Treatments

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This is one trend to come out of 2020 that nobody asked for. Maskne refers to skin irritation and breakouts caused by wearing masks, which became a trending search term on Google with a spike of 811% last year. Skincare brands have come up with kits, products and treatments to specifically deal with maskne, to cater to the growing demand.


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Like multitasking, multimasking is using more than one mask simultaneously when you can’t decide which one to go for and the best way to give yourself a facial at home. For instance, if you have an oily T-zone, dry cheeks and eyebags after a night out, you could apply three different masks suited to each zone. A charcoal mask on your nose, a hydrating mask on dry patches and an eye sheet mask under your eyes.

Dolphin Skin

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You’ve heard of dewy skin and glass skin. Along similar lines, dolphin skin is a look that makes you look like you just emerged from the crystal clear ocean, still glistening with a layer of the water. Coined by celebrity makeup artist Mary Phillips who first test drove the look on Hailey Bieber, the look is all about getting a wet, glassy look (you know, like a dolphin’s) by layering up a series of highlighters and dewy products minus all the glitter.

Cloud Skin

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This trend will make you look like you live in a Rococo painting. All about achieving an ethereal, hazy glow, cloud skin eases up on the highlighter and works with a mix of pearlescent and matte products to give you a radiant, cherubic look. Coined by Dominic Skinner, a senior artist from M.A.C Cosmetics, it’s a perfect balance of dewy, glowing and matte finishes that’ll make you feel like you live among the clouds.

Cloudless Skin

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Not to be confused with the glowy makeup look, cloudless skin is not a trend but more like an ultimate skin ideal that many Korean women aspire to achieve. Put simply, it can refer to skin that is completely clear with a flawless complexion that is brought about by an inner, healthy radiance. A glow from within - like people say you glow when you’re in love. It’s all about the vibes, and by vibes we mean coupling living habits with a shelf of top-notch skincare products.