Naturals, simple skin care routines, and smashing stereotypes: the leading trends from in-cosmetics

By Imogen Matthews

- Last updated on GMT

Naturals, simple skin care routines, and smashing stereotypes: the leading trends from in-cosmetics
In this guest piece, beauty industry commentator Imogen Matthews analyses the big themes emerging from this year’s in-cosmetics Global Marketing Trends presentations.

Matthews is a market researcher, journalist and strategic communications consultant​, and here, she gives her scoops on the trends topping the bill at the recent trade event.

Smashing stereotypes, blurring boundaries

Profound changes in societal norms are influencing consumers’ perception of beauty. A striking change is the dismantling of beauty ideals, driven by social media and its a role in democratising beauty.

According to Lia Neophytou, analyst, GlobalData, millennials are driving the backlash against brands portraying unrealistic images.

Indeed, 44% of global millennials do not want to conform to traditional gender stereotypes, creating opportunities for brands to cross the gender divide with meaningful product concepts and products. eg US Fluide Beauty make-up is designed for all skin tones and gender expressions.

Sam Farmer, founder of the eponymous teen toiletries brand, has been campaigning since 2011 to change the beauty industry’s innately sexist messaging.

“Sex sells, pink and blue has worked, but there is an opportunity to change how it’s done,” he argues, warning that the industry is in danger of being left behind as global brands take too long to address societal changes.

“There’s been a change in how young people identify with gender and equality. Gender targeting is seen as old fashioned. Marketing departments need to understand the emotional changes teens go through and the ‘teen brain’”.

Farmer concluded his presentation by stating that brands should stop and consider the true meaning of the term “personal care”. Check out our full video interview with the brand owner here​.

The end of the 10-step skincare routine?

According to Emmanuelle Bassman, founder, In-Trends Ltd, a shift is taking place in the way that consumers use skincare.

The multi-step skincare routine appears to falling out of favour as consumers turn back to universal products that are capable of fulfilling multiple functions.

For example, Carter + Jane’s The Everything Oil replaces the need for separate day, night, neck and eye creams, as well as serum, lip balm or even cleanser.

Another variation of this trend is for products to straddle more than one category, such as Sknhead Game Changer, a men’s skin moisturiser that can also be used to style and control the hair and on tattoos to help maintain colour intensity.

What is different to earlier iterations of these types of multi-functional products is their efficacy claims.

However, Bassmann believes they should come with a warning: “Don’t add a benefit to a product unless it really performs.”

Challenging assumptions of what is natural

Natural is one of the fastest-growing trends in beauty today, yet consumers are often alarmed by the pseudo science and outlandish claims that are spread on the internet.

Lorraine Dallmeier, director, Formula Botanica, highlighted some common assumptions about naturals that are creating heated debate between the “toxin fighters” and “chemistry police”. Assumptions include “naturals don’t work” and “preservatives don’t work”.

On investigating the assumption that “all cosmetics absorb into the body”, she could find no scientific reference apart from a small mention in the introductory paragraph of a so-called skincare bible.

Pointing out that EU brands cannot put something onto the market unless it’s safe, she said: “We encourage the beauty industry to go green and move beyond this debate by working together.”

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