The ongoing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic had undeniably morphed the beauty category over the past two years, and it continued to alter shopping patterns, consumer needs and desires today. So, as industry edged deeper into 2022, there were some clear beauty trends emerging – many of which had been carved out or accelerated by the pandemic.
Beauty is ‘so much more than skin deep’
“There is no denying that the last few years have presented a huge challenge to industry,” Laura Ziv, executive editor of Beautystreams, told attendees at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna in Italy last month, during a dedicated Cosmotalks conference session.
“But likewise, the industry has overcome these challenges and come out stronger and more resilient than ever, despite a very changed and altered landscape,” Ziv said.
Importantly, what industry had learned over the past two years, she said, was that beauty was “so much more than skin deep” – it offered consumers “harmony”, could “elevate spirits” and create “deep-seated joy”.
“As we anticipate and plan for continued accelerated change in our post-pandemic world, beauty will continue to be our trusted friend and provide moments of both happiness and wellbeing.”
And this concept – coined ‘joyology’ by Beautystreams – was set to define future beauty trends over the next five years and spearhead five key themes: age of ethics; metaverse living; gender freedom; intersectional individuals; and holistic health.
So, where exactly was industry on this path to creating joy in 2022? And what sort of innovations and creativity were already hitting the market?
Functional and emotional beauty accelerated
Ziv said there were eight key trends in the market today, all of which had been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic: lash it up; derma nerd; beauty by numbers; no to H2O; tribute to ancestral; surprise me, delight me; mind body soul; and lab-born naturals.
She told CosmeticsDesign-Europe: “We don’t live in a box. We’re responding, living and breathing to what’s happening around us and we’re cognisant on the need to stay safe and well and healthy.”
Some of the eight beauty trends, she said, spoke more “on a benefit level” whilst others were “more emotional” but both had been accelerated by COVID-19.
Paulina Szmydke-Cacciapalle, editor in chief of Beautystreams, added: “In general, you can say that the pandemic has accelerated these trends. Some of them are not new, but they have definitely come out stronger following the pandemic. So, all the tendency towards sensorial textures, transformative textures, just really pampering yourself, promoting self-care rituals, all these things have come out a lot stronger following the pandemic. And certainly, the need to be more careful with the environment.”
Eight beauty movements to watch – an in-depth look
Lash it Up
Ziv said there had been a “surge” in creative lash cosmetics and enhanced cosmetology devices for eyelashes. Self-expression was a key driver behind this trend, as was the search for multi-tasking products that, for example, boosted lash growth or cared for lashes.
“’Lash it up’ is all about embracing fun and experimentation,” she said.
Companies to watch: South Korean Sonimedi with its Ovaco Egg Neural Cell Eylash Serum; Italian Kalentin Claster Sas di Curnis Luciana with its Vegan lash lift kit; and Estonian Glamlac OU with its LED eyelash extension system.
Szmydke-Cacciapalle said there was “a lot happening” in terms of intelligent delivery systems in this space, offering “a whole new opportunity in efficacy”. The need for better protection and elevated performance was driving this trend.
“Amongst those smart delivery systems, we see smart encapsulation, nanosome technology, micro-dosing, molecule penetration, and time-releasing technology,” she said.
Companies to watch: Moldavian Viorica-Cosmetic with its anti-age eye contour cream; South Korean Caregen Co. with its injection-free peptide toxin [PTx] offering; and Italian Bioline Jatò with its exfoliating and white spot correction cream with SPF 30 protection.
Beauty by Numbers
Ziv said this movement was all about the acceleration of tech and “delivering precision personalisation” via sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data mining. It was driven by a need to develop products that embraced diversity and inclusivity, and plug very specific beauty consumer needs.
“These innovations are empowering all of us with detailed diagnoses, tailored recommendations and solutions adapted to our daily skin and hair needs, as well as environmental concerns,” she said.
Companies to watch: South Korean Chowis Co. with its full-face skin analysing device MySkin F.A.I.N; Taiwanese Perfect Corp. with its Augmented Reality (AR) powered YouCam Tutorial providing digital makeup lessons; and Spanish Lesielle Adaptive Skincare with its personalised skin care device designed to adapt to skin needs in real time.
No to H2O
Szmydke-Cacciapalle said water-conscious beauty continued to “go strong”, though the term waterless beauty should be avoided as there was “really no such thing”. This movement continued to be driven by environmental concerns around global water shortages, and economic gains from an industry standpoint.
“Cutting down your water footprint is key. By 2025, some two-thirds of the world population might be affected by water shortages, and it is a real problem. But there is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution,” she said.
Companies to watch: French Oppidum SAS with its water-free face serum Vital Face Sap; South Korean Banobagi Co. with its undiluted, single-ingredient heart leaf essence; and Italian R&D Color with its water-free transparent cheek tint Dual Soul.
Tribute to Ancestral
Ziv said this trend was about “reconnecting to age-old rituals and ingredients” to honour cultures and values. The movement was being driven by the need for reassurance and stability during times of uncertainty, as well as rising curiosity amongst consumers and the “thrill of the unknown”.
“Even when they are unfamiliar remedies and routines, or unknown ingredients, they inspire curiosity. And that’s part of the journey of beauty,” she said.
Companies to watch: Italian ISHA Srl with its Ayurvedic restructuring mask for dry and damaged hair; South Korean BBH with its red propolis Amazon facial oil; and Polish Orientana with its reishi and rhodiola glow booster skin care product.
Surprise Me, Delight Me
Szmydke-Cacciapalle said this trend was all about “sensation and the pleasure of use”, across both physical and digital beauty worlds. The shift was being fuelled by consumer interest in tactile connections, but also a desire for products delivering high tech performance with a twist.
“Cosmetic products that deliver both high-tech performance and surprising sensorial benefits, such as creative formulations and transforming textures, can transform ordinary beauty routines into fun, indulgent moments of escape,” she said.
Companies to watch: Italian C&C HUB’s nail perfume Clarissa nail mist; South Korean Monoglot Holdings with its SPF50 compact with ‘sun cushion’ for application; and Italian Pharma Cos Srl with its private label solid serum offering.
Mind Body Soul
Ziv said this trend was about self-care that incorporated “holistic wellness” in a broader way. The movement was being driven by increased consumer demand for products that worked but also impacted mood and created “deep-seated holistic wellbeing”.
“More and more people are seeking these multifunctional health and wellbeing benefits, ranging from maintaining skin health (…) to managing pervasive mental health stresses and issues,” she said.
Companies to watch: Polish Optima Natura Sp. with its active fragrance N-Active Oil; Polish Bielenda Natural Cosmetics with its natural cream deodorant made from wild flowers; and UK Potter and Moore Innovations Ltd with its feather and down calming sleep mist.
Szmydke-Cacciapalle said this movement was about “reimagining natural ingredients via science”, with biotechnology emerging strong in this field. The trend was being driven by environmental concerns and the need to create a cleaner and more sustainable future.
“Brands here are replicating animal-sourced ingredients, for instance, such as collagen, in inherently cruelty-free and vegan conditions, while respecting the skin’s microflora and processes,” she said.
Companies to watch: Italian Vidapharma’s hyaluronic lift booster; UK’s RCI Hairscience’s professional treatment weekly boost hair serum; and Italian Eley Srl. with its revitalising face cream.