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Consumer trends in cosmetics
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Consumer trends in cosmetics

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As we welcome in a new year, and a more intense focus than ever on R&D at in-cosmetics Global 2018, what should you look out for and what are set to be the hot trends and topics in the industry and at the show? This summary is a guide to what will not only be hot property in the personal care market for 2018, but what to look out for at the show to help guide and speed your personal care developments over the coming year.

Trend 1: Seeing is believing

Consumer demand for rapid effects in personal care products has continued to increase over recent years; but it’s not enough to see rapid effects now – consumers want to be convinced of a product’s efficacy instantly or even before they’ve used it. Here are three ways companies are achieving this now – we’re bound to see even more ideas in this space by the end of the year. Try incorporating one or more of these into your next developments:

  • Incorporate materials a consumer can see, such as encapsulates, small cuttings of plant parts or provide your product as a ‘monster’ bead or water-activated sponge. If they can ‘see’ the product or active, the more inclined consumers will be to believe its efficacy.
  • Provide a YouTube demonstration video on how to apply the product or visual results of what it will do for the consumer instantly (in the case of make up or instant effects products) or over time (e.g. time lapse shots over 28 or 56 days through consumer trials) – it not only guides them on best use but visually promises them results beyond marketing words alone.
  • Give them a virtual reality: where a consumer can take a picture of their face and watch the virtual results of using your product – think of how online ageing simulators work, but in reverse.

Trend 2: It’s all about me

Customisation was a big trend of 2017 and it’s going to get even bigger in 2018. Customisation can be incorporated into new products easily, or an existing range, in one or more ways:

  • A ‘base’ product that consumers can add selected ‘active concentrates’ to, depending on their skin type needs.
  • Products that can be mixed and matched from within a brand’s range, with an accompanying online selection form that determines a total ‘package’ of products depending on their age, skin type and skin concerns.
  • Innovative formulation and dual packaging dispensers that can provide partial or complete concentrates or blends of product.

Look for functional materials that provide robust formulation solutions under varying stressful conditions, so they’ll accommodate just about any active concentrate – and then look for those innovative active launches to develop fantastic active concentrates and active products.

Trend 3: I care about the environment too

Natural and sustainable ingredients are ongoing consumer favourites. Demand for these types of materials continues to grow at a steady rate. Look for natural and/or sustainable active and functional materials at the show. Look also for materials that have a ‘give back to the community’ message or marine actives – ‘blue’ is the new ‘green’.

Trend 4: Feel good and look better

Products should feel great on application, giving the consumer instant sensory gratification. Not only should products be enjoyable to use, but incorporating epigenetic or neuro-cosmetic actives, for a ‘wholistic’ approach to their skincare, helps reinforce consumers’ growing need to feel like they’re taking control for one aspect of their life and wellbeing. There are also increasing numbers of functional and active materials that help provide ‘protection’: from UV, pollution, blue light, allergies and other sensitivities – it all adds that ‘wellbeing’ approach. 

When visiting the exhibition, look for materials that give instant sensory pleasures and/or a lasting wellbeing or protection message to fill this growing need.

Quick highlights

Now for some market segments that are on the up-and-up for 2018:

  • Male skincare​ – we’ll see growing diversity and offerings in this area – have you thought about your male consumer yet? Time now to look for materials that will fill this niche as part your product range.
  • Microbiome ​– we’ve seen materials aimed at balancing the microbiome to solve acne-prone issues; in 2018 we’ll see the microbiome do more for a mature market too.;
  • Mask it –​ think we’re done with mask innovations? Think again! I’ve already been told about some amazing mask technologies that will have companies rethink their mask development strategies. Attend in-cosmetics 2018 to see what lies beyond the mask…
  • Innovative product forms – ​materials you know and love – and some you may not know yet – put together in innovative ways to yield the WOW factor and grab consumer attention. Discover new forms and rethink skincare delivery at in-cosmetics…

Belinda is the Director of the Institute of Personal Care Science, the World’s leading on-line, internationally recognised training organisation in Cosmetic Science, Formulation, Brand Management and Regulatory Affairs. She is also the Official Technical Advisor to the in-cosmetics Group, ensuring innovation on the floor and in the Formulation labs. For more information, visit; or email vasb@crefbanypnerfpvrapr.pbz.nh

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