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Vitamin-infused makeup: A blooming path out of the COVID slump?

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Active ingredients can give makeup a 'skin care makeover' and tap into a range of important consumer trends [Getty Images]
Active ingredients can give makeup a 'skin care makeover' and tap into a range of important consumer trends [Getty Images]

Related tags vitamins botanicals active beauty active cosmetics Makeup Colour cosmetics hybrid products Innovation COVID-19 Skin care

Three years ago, the makeup category fell out of focus as consumers prioritised skin care during the COVID-19 pandemic – a shift that has largely stuck, offering clear opportunities for skincare-infused colour cosmetic innovation, says a trend expert.

In recent months, a plethora of colour cosmetic brands had vamped up formulas with active blends, from vitamin-C enriched tinted serums (Typology) and kombucha priming moisturisers (Elemis) to rose-infused hydrating concealers (e.l.f. Cosmetics) and vitamin E lipsticks (LuLu Cosmetics), to name just a few. But where exactly was this trend headed? How far could makeup push the active formula boundary? And could makeup offer the next big space for active ingredient beauty innovation?

The skin health spotlight during COVID

“Makeup fell out of focus amid the height of the pandemic and skin care took centre stage,” ​said Lia Neophytou, senior analyst for the consumer division at GlobalData.

“Almost three years on, consumers still recognise the importance of skin care as a means for improving skin quality overall, rather than using makeup to conceal any perceived flaws,” ​Neophytou told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

And spending patterns matched this, she said, with 64% of global consumers describing their spend on skin care as medium or high versus just 46% describing spend this way for makeup according to GlobalData’s Q4 2022 global consumer survey.

For industry, she said recognising the “continued usage and maintained importance”​ on skin care would be essential for successful innovation plans moving forward in makeup.

A hybrid skin care-makeup future

Neophytou said there were clear opportunities for the development of “skin care-infused makeup”​ – already an existing concept but one that would see significant uptake today as it tapped into two very current consumer desires: convenience and affordability.

“A hybrid makeup product that can cover imperfections while tackling skin care concerns allows consumers to save both time and money,”​ she said.

For industry, such a product also offered a means to inject life back into the makeup category, contributing to post-pandemic growth, she said.

“While new product development may not be a priority for brands experiencing a sales slump amid the ongoing pandemic, and now the cost-of-living crisis, there is an opportunity to promote existing makeup-skin care hybrid products and to reposition them as being not only convenient, but also affordable beauty-skin care solutions.”

Meanwhile, beauty brands with R&D budget ought to explore this hybrid category as a “potential route to the revival of their beauty portfolios​”, she said.

A case study – Makeup Revolution

A case study – Makeup Revolution

Image: Revolution Beauty
Image: Revolution Beauty

This month, UK beauty brand Revolution Beauty launched a vitamin-enriched primer under its Makeup Revolution brand. Available in Superdrug, Boots and online via various websites, the formula contained a blend of vitamins B, C and E, along with shea butter and hyaluronic acid to offer “glowing and hydrated skin” ​beyond basic primer functions.

Esme Morris, senior product manager at Makeup Revolution, said the launch aimed to tap into “huge demand” ​in this space.

“The high level of actives in the ‘Super Base’ vitamin-enriched primer is unlike any of our previous products, and this is a response to the consumer shift towards products that combine both makeup and the efficacy of skin care,”​ Morris said.

‘Skin care-infused makeup’ had been “one of the biggest trends”​ of 2022, she said, and was “only set to get bigger in 2023”​, driven by existing trends but also the newer cost-of-living crisis.

Consumers, overall, were still looking for “healthy-looking and glowing skin”, ​she said“…Over the past couple of years, we have seen a huge emphasis placed on wellness and skin care, with people wanting a health base to start from when they begin their makeup routine,” ​Morris said.

The movement had likely also gained momentum as more brands jumped aboard and “raw product innovation”​ efforts improved, she said.

And there were huge amounts of ingredient science the makeup category could tap into with innovation plans, with vitamin C renowned for bolstering skin health​; mushroom ingredients touted for anti-inflammatory action​; and Korean chilli pepper even linked to radiance​.

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