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Wellbeing

Sleep affirmations, toothpaste tablets and opal mushrooms; what are the biggest wellness trends for 2021?

January 8th 2021 / Melanie Macleod / 0 comment

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Want to feel good in 2021? These are the wellness trends to tap into

With more time on our hands than ever before, wellness really came into its own in 2020 and that's continuing into 2021, with a stronger focus on both our mental and physical health – self-care continues to reign supreme in the world of wellbeing, as shown by the surge of interest in at-home sauna blankets. From the growing trend for multi-step sleep routines to supremely-soothing hobbies and the latest innovations when it comes to sex toys, here are the 2021 wellness trends guaranteed to make you feel good this year.

Sticky vitamins

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We don’t mean gummy vitamins (though we do love them), instead liposomal gel sachet vitamins. Liposomal is the most bioavailable form of supplements meaning that is delivered to your cells readily so your body can use it more easily. Liposomal means that the vitamins are housed inside very tiny fat-like particles, making them easier to absorb as they're not destroyed by the digestive process, allowing them to target where needed.

Taking these sticky vitamins does feel a bit like a bushtucker trial (they don't dissolve like powder sachets and instead float unappealingly in your drink) but they’re easily washed down with water. We recommended Altrient’s Liposomal Vitamin C, £39.99 for 30 sachets with 1000mg of vit C in each, which was a sell-out in the first lockdown and the brand’s newest launch, Liposomal Glutathione, £79.99 for 30 sachets. Glutathione is known as the body's master antioxidant thanks to its ability to support the immune system. It's been said to help ease a hangover too as it assists the liver in processing toxins, but we'll leave that for you to try for yourself.

MORE GLOSS: 5 simple things an immune doctor wants you to do now

Toothpaste tablets: the eco swap to try this year

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In all our years of using toothpaste, it really hasn’t changed much (the standard tube of Colgate is always a bathroom staple) but with a move towards more sustainable bathroom swaps, this will be the year we see a change.

“We are noticing more and more people showing interest in toothpaste tablets and making the switch,” says eco dental hygiene brand Brushd. “As people are becoming more eco-conscious they are looking at ways of reducing their waste and plastic footprint and one of the best places to start is by looking at oral care products. We throw 275m plastic toothpaste tubes in the bin every year and that’s in the UK alone. Toothpaste tablets provide a great way to reduce plastic waste, and they’re great for travelling and brushing your teeth on the go.”

They're made from a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, foaming agent sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, xanthan gum to hold them together and peppermint oil powder for the minty taste. They're very salty so are an acquired taste. To use you just put them in your mouth, chew and then brush with a wet toothbrush. They don't leave such a minty taste as traditional toothpaste but our teeth felt clean and if you follow with the brand's mouthwash tablets, £5.49, you're good to go. Brushd also sell recyclable electric toothbrush heads, £5.99 for two and dental floss made from corn, £4.49, for a fully eco dental experience.

MORE GLOSS: Why dental hygiene products suddenly became cool

The warming way to take collagen: Collagen tea

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Davina McCall told us back in November that she starts every day with a cup of collagen tea, an increasingly popular way to take the supplement. Now we don't have to rush out the door of a morning there’s more time to sit with a hot drink rather than quickly swallowing down a capsule so 2021 is set to be the year of drinkable collagen. Plus, powder form is the only way you can get the 10g clinical does of collagen that is proven to make a difference.

We rate Ancient and Brave’s True Collagen Powder, £29.99, which is tasteless and odourless so makes no difference to your morning tea. What it does make a difference to though, is the elasticity and strength of your skin and bones. Collagen powder is available in both bovine and marine formulas to suit your lifestyle.

MORE GLOSS: Why should I be taking a collagen supplement?

We’ll all be drinking ‘functional’ drinks

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On the subject of drinking, functional drinks are taking centre stage – Sainsburys has even devoted a section for them in their chiller aisle which includes everything from gut-supporting kombucha and kefir, stress-busting adaptogen drinks and bone broth too for achieving gorgeous, glowing skin.

While 'functional' makes the drinks sound boring, in this context it simply means drinks with health benefits. Functional drinks might not be as tempting as a sparkling bottle of coke or a pink smoothie, but they pack a serious health punch. If 2021 is your first foray into this type of beverage, we'd like to point you in the direction of Glow Bar's Moon Milk, £32.50, which includes stress-soothing adaptogen ashwagandha and Agua De Madre's Water Kefir, £5.50, a gut-supporting sparkling thirst-quencher packed with live cultures.

MORE GLOSS: Kombucha: the fermented food that's full of benefits

Dreamy beauty tools: Gua Sha opal mushrooms

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If you fell for the tension-relieving, circulation-boosting, sculpting powers of gua sha in 2020, we guarantee Glow Bar’s mushroom-shaped, pearlescent tool, £20, will soon become a staple of your beauty kit. As well as being the prettiest item on your bedside table, this opal tool, made from manmade opal, performs lymphatic drainage, boosts circulation, detoxifies, tones and sculpts improving your skin’s internal and external health.

It’s different from the traditional flattened shell-shaped gua sha tools in order to work perfectly over all contours of your face, even the eye areas. “It's also easy to hold, fitting perfectly in your fingertips for ease of use. It's particularly effective in releasing tension in the jaw and temples which is where most people hold stress. With the mushroom tool you can work deeper into the facial muscles without the pressure being too harsh," says Sasha Sabapathy, founder of Glow Bar.

Mindful needlepoint

We all got stuck into a slower pace of life in 2020 and this meant a whole host of new hobbies, including baking banana bread and attempting at-home facials . This year we’re turning our attention to embroidery. You’ve probably already seen a few kitsch stitches on your Insta feed and expect many more this year. There has been a 737 per cent increase in searches on Etsy for plant embroidery kits in the last six months (compared to the same time the previous year) and there are over 16 million Instagram posts with #embroidery. We love Cotton Clara's inspiring mottos and cute cat patterns. Check out her designs on Etsy to have a go yourself. Chilled vibes incoming.

The £150 planner

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More than £100 for a fancy diary? ‘No chance’ we hear you say. But let us explain… the Full Focus Planner is so much more than your usual week-to-view diary or even a bullet journal. With over 750,000 sold since it launched in 2017, it was created by a US business coach Michael Hyatt, with the promise to help banish procrastination and help you achieve your big life goals.

The planner is sorted into sections (we’re already feeling organised); the first 28 pages are for writing your annual goals and daily rituals, while each day in the year has a double-page spread and at the end of every week there are four pages vacant for an end of week summary.

Each day invites you to write down the three most important tasks you want to do that day – by prioritising three things you’re more likely to get them down rather than jotting down ten less important tasks. The idea is that by achieving those three things each day, you get closer to the end goal… with 2020 kind of a washout when it came to meeting goals, this diary might get us in gear for 2021.

Strength training and restorative exercise

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We’ve all heard the stories of people totally losing their fitness stamina after recovering from Covid and boosting our physical strength as a preventative measure is growing in popularity. “The popularity of strength training will continue to grow in 2021 as the importance of physical strength, at a time where mental health may be compromised, becomes more prominent,” says Samantha Stone, master trainer at fitness studio Barry’s.

“By switching to more strength-based workouts, clients have said they feel stronger, more energised and have noticed aesthetic changes in their bodies too. Many clients were reluctant to do more weights in past, but this unique period of time has changed the shift in their mindset and brought strength training to the forefront in 2021.”

At the other end of the spectrum, trainer Louisa Drake predicts that restorative movement will continue to rise in popularity this year. “These classes encourage clients to really reflect on how they feel, their mindset not just on aesthetics. Restorative movements classes include elements of yoga, meditation, stretch techniques with creative, mindful movement. They’re ideal to calm the parasympathetic nervous system.

“With the pandemic causing so much anxiety and pressure we’ve all been living in a state of stress. To balance out the dominance of living in a sympathetic state (stress) our restorative classes have been in high demand and I expect this to continue.”

Along the same lines in Hayo'uFit's Qigong classes, which are running online currently and combine movement with breathing and mental engagement encouraging restorative sleep, good digestion, better mood and vitality, all the while making you feel stronger.

Solutions for tired Zoom eyes

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Video calls can leave eyes feeling tired and dry and there’s a whole host of remedies coming our way in 2021. “The symptoms of Zoom eyes are redness, itchiness and a heavy, tired feeling,” says Natasha Sales, founder of eye care brand Peep Club. “You blink six to eight times less when you look at a screen, so your tears, which are like little sips of water for your eyes, are not replenished as often and your eyes become parched." This is worsened by the fact we now spend longer than ever before on screens – screen time has increased 135 per cent since lockdown. Try Peep Club's Eye Wand, £60, to help stimulate your eyes to produce better quality tears throughout the day.

Or you could try eye yoga – yes, it’s a thing! Eye yoga uses tiny movements to stretch, move and gently massage the eyes and surrounding muscles, helping to release tension. Chatty Dobson owner of London yoga studio Flex Chelsea says “Our eyes are always on the go though we never stretch out the muscles that do all the work as we would our quads after squats. It’s great to do after a long day spent looking at a screen.

Tiny movements such as looking up, down, left and right for ten seconds each, gently kneading the brow bone and “palming” (cupping your hands over your eyes) are all extremely effective, quick and easy to do to ease sore eyes. Chatty’s planning to host an IG Live to explain more about eye yoga – keep your eyes peeled!

Body gua sha

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Facial gua sha took off in a big way in recent years but body gua she has been bubbling away quietly in the background; we're finally seeing it come to the forefront this year while we're all looking for at-home, DIY ways to maximise our health. Body gua sha uses a metal tool and relieves pain, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, clears coughs and reduces fever. Testament to growing interest in the practice, Katie Brindle, founder of the Hayo’u Method has seen her Instagram following grow by over 27,000 in a matter of months, such is the hunger for gua sha.

How do you do body gua sha? Similarly to facial gua sha; simply apply oil to your body sweep the tool then press-stroke the tool from the centre of your chest outwards towards your shoulders, down from the nape of your neck to your shoulders and from the centre of your back to your waist, about eight sweeps in each area, focusing on areas of pain or tension. You can perform it over your clothes during the day too. Don't be tempted to use your body gua sha tool on your face. "It is the same press-stroke technique, but you have to use a different material on your face," says Katie. "We are often asked, 'can I use my Body Restorer on my face?' and our answer is always a resounding no! Metal has a strong effect on the body and will achieve the desired effect quickly, but we wouldn’t recommend it for the delicate skin of the face."

Nighttime affirmations for restful sleep

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If you’re anything like us you’ll have a multiple-step nighttime routine in place, complete with soothing pillow mist and maybe a white noise machine. This year sees another bedtime ritual arrive in the form of nighttime affirmations – brief, soothing statements to read before bedtime to calm a busy mind and get you in the mood for slumber such as “all is well and I am supported” or “I am safe right now”, or “it feels good to be still.” Pinterest reports a 100 per cent rise in searches of nighttime affirmations for sleep.

“Affirmations are an incredible tool when it comes to slowing down our thoughts and bringing calm and positivity into our daily routine. They are particularly helpful for our nighttime rituals as they allow us to wind down from busy days to bring a more peaceful night's sleep,” says Monique Brown, founder of wellbeing brand Affirmation Culture. “2021 sees a surge in the use of affirmations in our nighttime routines as we shift more focus to looking after our mental health due to the stresses of the pandemic and continued lockdowns.”

If you prefer your sleep rituals to be a bit more passive, you might be more interested in the trend for sleep blends for diffusers, which has seen an 80 per cent rise in Pinterest searches. All you need to do is add a few drops of a sleepy scent to your diffuser and voila, blissful bedtime.

“We’ve all become more aware of self-care rituals that help support our wellbeing recently and because essential oils are a natural option they have become much more widely used,” says Kerry Moore, co-founder of botanical skincare brand Amly. “Spending so much time at home has expanded our self care into our living environment and diffusers are the perfect way to create what we have termed a ‘sanctuary in scent’. Depending on the mood or action we want to create there is an essential oil blend to help.”

We love Amly’s Restore blend, £40; a few drops added to their crystal diffuser helps to prepare the mind and body for sleep with a calming blend of valerian, clary sage and ylang ylang. Neom's Scent to Sleep, £20, is another favourite when added to their Essential Oil Diffuser, £89.95.

Lunchtime workouts

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Hands up who used to work out after work, or squeeze in a session first thing in the morning? This is set a thing of the past, with lunchtime workouts becoming the norm in 2021. In November fitness booking app ClassPass reported that lunchtime workouts saw a 67 per cent boost in popularity. “This shift can largely be attributed to a rise in remote work and the ease of no-shower required virtual meetings. Even when people returned to studios, the 12pm weekday time slot for in-person classes is more popular now than it was before lockdown,” says ClassPass. Yoga has been the most popular lunchtime live stream workout since lockdown and in the brief period we were able to attend studio classes, it was HIIT classes we all booked in for during our hour-long break.

Celebrity sex toys

Forget celebrity fragrances; anyone who’s anyone is launching their own range of sex toys – and it’s just the right time to take a step into the market, given that demand for self-love toys peaked during the first lockdown; vibrator brand Smile Makers noticed a global spike in sales – daily revenue doubled and they saw a 50 per cent increase in website traffic between March vs Feb 2020.

Lily Allen has collaboration with German sex-toy company Womanizer (they launched Liberty, an oral sex simulating toy with Lily as ambassador). Actress Dakota Johnson has revealed her role as investor and co-creative director of gender-neutral sexual wellness brand Maude which sells organic lubricant and discreet vibrators, while Cara Delevingne has joined sexual wellness and tech company Lora DiCarlo as co-owner and creative adviser. The brand aims to open up discussion of sexuality and sells a range of vibrators included a dual stimulator which looks rather intriguing...

MORE GLOSS: The sex toys we happily display on our bedside tables

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