As we head into a new decade, the over-arching trend for the 2010s was that health, beauty and wellness converged further and became inseparable. We decided that being fit was not enough, and looking good and feeling well at the same time were equally important. We challenged conventions, broke taboos and demanded more transparency. Beauty without health started to look like a compromise and neither of the two worked without wellness.
But which wide-reaching trends best reflect the journey of the last decade? These top ten have certainly made their mark, and show no signs of fading away any time soon.
Veganism first came into recognition when Donald Watson coined the term in 1944. However, the vegan diet (or meat-less diet or plant-based diet) became increasingly mainstream in the 2010s. In 2013, the Oktoberfest in Munich offered vegan dishes for the first time in its 200-year history. The Economist declared 2019 “the year of the vegan”. Restaurants began highlighting vegan items on their menus and supermarkets improved their selection of vegan processed food. Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Ellen DeGeneres declared that they didn’t eat animal products. Superfoods such as quinoa, kale and avocado became a craze. And the term “veganism” reached a peak popularity score (as measured by Google searches) of 100 by the end of the decade, from just 33 at the start.
Who would have thought that something so rooted in science, the base of our being, our DNA code sequence, commonly known as ‘Genes’, will become so common and commercial! Well, the last decade did just that – for the first time in human history, people had the opportunity of sequencing their Genes, to learn more about their family traits, know what diseases they might be susceptible to, or to just help with medical diagnosis. In the last five years, supermarkets started selling Genome sequencing kits. These kits could even be ordered online with the results available in less than a week. Compare this with the first ever human genome sequencing project which was completed 15 years ago after 13 years of rigorous efforts! If the science journals are to be believed, they have only managed to scrape the tip of the iceberg. Personalised medicines are just the start – the possible uses of Genomics are truly endless.
Its no surprise that meditation has become the number one go to tool when it comes to health and wellness. GPs, therapists, healers, physical trainers, everyone, have started prescribing or advising meditation for relieving problems as varied as pain, anxiety, depression, weight loss…you name it! Although its been around for thousands of years meditation has now been firmly installed—along with a healthy diet and exercise—as one of the three pillars of wellbeing. There is evidence that just a few minutes of meditation everyday, even as little as ten, can have far reaching benefits. We’ve all seen the magazine covers announcing how meditation has become the anxiety-attacking and focus-restoring choice of everyone. And reflecting this hype is how meditation is increasingly becoming part of our lives. From kids having meditation sessions at school to corporates arranging meditation workshops for their employees, more and more people are resorting to it. In 2009, the “meditation” had a peak popularity score (as measured by Google searches) of 33 but it had increased to 100 by early 2019.
Our physical health affects our mental state, and our mental health affects our physical state, only more so! A healthy mind can help and accelerate healing, enhance physical health even improve the overall life experience. Our mental health affects our relationships, careers, every aspect of our lives! When it comes to wellness, the normalisation of conversations around mental health has been one of the biggest cultural phenomena of the last decade. More and more celebrities have talked in recent years about their struggles with depression, as they try and lift the stigma that exists about people with mental health issues. Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Adel, Ellen DeGeneres and Dwayne Johnson all came forward during the last decade to share their experiences with mental health issues. After years of denying that he was struggling with grief, Prince Harry talked about the “complete chaos” he experienced two decades after his mother’s death, in an interview in 2017.
Instead of chasing immortality, the last decade showed us that what matters is healthy ageing. Living your best life possible, staying healthy and fit is all there is to ageing. It became a trend to look how you felt inside rather than dictated by any number. And it was all made possible by improved healthcare, healthy eating, moderate exercise and balanced lifestyle, and of course some revolutionary skincare innovations. Demonstrating that the older generation was becoming increasingly financially powerful, large beauty brands started to take a more age inclusive approach that saw those such as 70+ years old Helen Mirren modelling for L’Oreal. Last decade saw Senior George Bush breathtakingly skydive on his 90th birthday, while James Corden finding the same rather uncomfortable at the age of 40. Age has truly become just a number, not an indicator of potential or performance.
One of the key cultural changes of the last decade was how everybody got hooked on to the Kardashians. The always looking nice family brought with them their influences. One of the more important being contouring and/or enhancing their body through cosmetic procedures. Kim had emerged as a poster child for cosmetic surgery be it breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, butt lift or body and face contouring. The popularity of cosmetic treatments surged and the treatments, once exclusive to the yesteryear equivalents of the Kardashians, Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, became more mainstream. While around 7 million cosmetic surgeries were undertaken at the beginning of the decade, the number had increased to 11 million by the end.
Though over 5000 years old, Yoga became one of the trendiest buzzword in exercise and health routines during the last decade. The globalized version of practicing yoga in fancy yoga studios often bears little resemblance to the centuries-old original version, a mystic and ascetic Hindu discipline with strong spiritual element. However, the boomers and millennials are now united in extolling its virtues as a holistic method of achieving overall health. With over 10,000 yoga teachers and around half a million Brits taking yoga classes each week, yoga has become a c.£1bn market in the UK. It’s been climbing the health charts steadily and is expected to continue its upward trend in the new decade.
While Kim Kardashian showed the world the transformation one can achieve with contouring, Kylie Jenner became the face of tweakments — well, the non-surgical treatments. When you want to get a fresher, more natural look without going under the knife or committing to long recovery time, tweakments are just the answer. Usually done within the space of your doctor’s clinic, tweakments often help you enhance your look with non or minimally invasive procedures. The best thing is, they are so subtle that they are often called the ‘secret treatments’! They are a rage with savvy consumers celebrities all over the world. In the tweakments world, fillers became a sensation – from fuller cheeks, bigger lips to even nose jobs, fillers were the port of call for one and all. At the beginning of 2010, they had a peak popularity score (as measured by Google searches) of 25 but it had increased to 100 by the end of the decade.
The last decade saw an explosion in awareness and appreciation of natural beauty products. Instead of being blinded by the glittery and often false or inaccurate promises of various chemically derived ingredients, we learnt to understand their harmful effects. We learnt that our body is one single unit, where what enters one part affects the others – the stomach is not the only organ which ingests, we also take in elements and substances through our skin, hair, nose, ears, eyes, everywhere! So, it’s fair to say the what touches our skin has the potential to touch our heart, our brain, in fact our entire nervous system! Fortunately, more and more companies are now coming out with products which are made of natural ingredients, in an ever increasing proportion. Similarly, savvy consumers are now willing to spend more time and money in sourcing the same.
We have always known the importance of a good sleep, and we have all experienced how the lack of it affects our bodies, mood and productivity, in a negative way. But years of industrial and digital revolution, with 24/7 access to information and entertainment, and the need to always stay connected, resulted in us taking our sleep for granted, even believing falsely that we can always do with less! But the last decade showed us that less is not enough. In 2017, Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young won the Nobel Prize for their work on circadian rhythms. The Laureates were able to “peek inside” the biological clocks of living organisms to better understand how life responds to the Earth’s rotation. The trio showed the world that sleep quality and quantity is most critical in regulating our circadian rhythms.
The above trends have had wide reaching implication on society over the last decade and will continue to hog limelight in the current decade. They have redefined consumer choices and changed business models. Let us know which trends you think have impacted you the most.