Here at The/Thirty HQ, we operate under the MO that wellness is a mindset that transcends passing fads. While we totally stand by this, it would also be disingenuous to suggest that industry trends aren't an important part of the equation. We can't be mad that mindfulness has hit the mass market over the past few years, for example, because it means so many more people have been able to reap its benefits. (The same can be said for cannabis, adaptogens, and probiotics.)
So what does 2019 hold for the wellness sphere? We went straight to the sources to find out, asking experts spanning different corners of the industry for their takes. Find their trend predictions below.
1. Gut health becomes even more of a priority
This past year, we started to make connections between the gut and female health specifically—seen with the rise of science-driven brands like Seed, whose probiotic is designed to address the vaginal biome and different phases of the female reproductive cycle. Suzie Welsh, the founder of female health startup Binto, sees this becoming even more nuanced in 2019. "Continuing research keeps confirming how critical the microbiome is to our health system," she says.
2. CBD continues to take off
As science continues to emerge around the non-psychoactive cannabis compound, you can expect the market to get ever-more crowded: Look for crossover in skincare and reproductive health specifically.
"I think CBD and hemp skincare is going to really take off in 2019," says Tara Foley, founder and CEO of Follain. "We're seeing more and more products featuring this powerhouse ingredient hit the clean-beauty market—from serums to moisturizers and balms. Part of what makes CBD so appealing for this use is its incredible antioxidant properties. In addition to that, our skin absorbs CBD oil really well, making for a beautiful skincare product."
3. Birth control gets a much-needed makeover
Say it with us: It's about fucking time. Revolutionary brands like Hers are paving the way for a birth control makeover, making the pill more affordable, widely accessible, and—just for good measure—aesthetically pleasing. (There's also a related men's health brand, Hims, as well.)
If you've been thinking about stepping away from hormonal birth control altogether, Welsh predicts that there will be more options in that category, too. "I truly believe we’re going to see a trend toward alternatives to the hormonal birth control pills that have been ruling the market for the past few decades," she says. "Birth control is critical for providing women with family planning options, but we need to continue innovating in the space, providing women with more options that do not necessarily throw off their body or cause them to suffer negative side effects."
4. Doctors go digital
The traditional doctor visit just doesn't jibe with our convenience-obsessed culture—which might be why the vast majority of millennials don't have a regular GP. Telehealth promises to change all of this, taking visits (and prescriptions) online.
"I think we’ve really just begun the journey toward personalized medicine and telehealth, and in 2019 we will see a ton of activity in the space," says Welsh. "We’re finally seeing that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare and that we need to look at patients as individuals. Along with that comes providing people with convenient access to a healthcare provider. The solution to this problem is through digital and telehealth capabilities like we offer at Binto."
5. Skincare and wellness become one and the same
We've said time and again that skincare should be seen as a vital part of your self-care routine—not only is it your body's largest organ, but it's also a key marker when something is off-kilter with your health or nutrition. To this end, Foley predicts that skincare tools and devices will become ever more popular in 2019 as consumers focus on attaining professional-worthy results at home.
"People are becoming more proactive about taking care of their skin, instead of treating it poorly and turning to spas to fix it," she says. "To help this, I predict tools that were before only found in professional settings—from rollers to light devices—are going to be more prevalent additions to your bathroom."
6. "Nootropic" is the new buzzword
If 2018 was all about adaptogens—that is, herbs that are shown to balance hormone levels—next year will take a broader view of nootropics. "Nootropics, or smart drugs, are compounds that enhance brain function and they are becoming an increasingly popular way to give your mind an extra boost," says Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof Coffee and biohacking gym Upgrade Labs.
One particularly compelling example is Kin, which utilizes herbal compounds to offer a buzz-like mood boost.
7. Workout classes focus on more than just breaking a sweat
Gone are the days of fitness being seen as a sole marker of health, and studios in the know are starting to adjust their offerings accordingly. "The fitness industry isn't about purely physical activity anymore," says Kait Hurley, creator of the Move + Meditate Method, who recently launched an eponymous app that combines challenging workouts and guided meditation. "As more research emerges suggesting sleep, meditation, hydration, and flexibility are all equally as indicative of a high quality of life, new business models are emerging to address these concerns, offering a more holistic, integrative approach to wellness."
Next up: nine nice things to do for your body in 2019 (that have nothing to do with dieting).