While we're still recovering from pandemic whiplash, emerging beauty standards are reimagining how we define, source, and buy beauty. Uncertainty will continue to be felt across the industry at large, but transparency has become the antidote as it reshapes the brand and consumer relationship. Savvy consumers will seek out brands that champion diversity, sustainability, and utility. Our team of scientists, sustainable packaging experts, as well as our community of brands, contract manufacturers, and suppliers, weigh in on trends that will most impact beauty in the near term and shape the future of the industry.
Inventory and orders kept flowing thanks to stop-gap measures, but disruptions will continue to affect supply chains well into 2023. With lead times reaching 12-18 months, efficiency is the name of the game as brands invest in applications that embed, augment, or apply artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics tools. These tools better assess risks and constraints because they effectively connect and manage every aspect of the supply chain, which is why supply chain organizations are also investing.
Brands can’t guarantee stock or restock dates, but subscription services can remedy the pressure felt by consumers refreshing product pages, and by customer service being inundated with requests. This automated process informs consumers when to expect their next shipment, and to change the frequency if stock allows, empowering them in their interaction with a brand.
Consumers crave products and experiences specific to their needs. Product lines that fall short of the expanding definition of beauty will leave brands struggling to connect with consumers.
The definition of diversity and inclusion is broadening as more diverse faces, ages, genders, and abled bodies grace beauty campaigns. Videos trending across social media reveal and celebrate skin texture by showcasing real people, with real, untouched skin. Brands are responding by moving away from the “flawless” youth marketing and are embracing “healthy” faces that better represent the growing spectrum of beauty.
Brands can further champion diversity and inclusion by using universal design principles in their product design. Beauty is still largely inaccessible to people with disabilities: palettes that don’t accommodate braille or textured stickers, caps without knobs or handles, and so much more. Brands that make beauty more accessible will become trailblazers in this valued space, and further expand the market for their products.
“Edutainment” videos delivering quick, informative content on skin health have soared in popularity. This hunger set the stage for microbiome skincare: focusing on building a healthy skin barrier by working with your skin, instead of fighting it.
Your microbiome is an ecosystem of microorganisms on the skin that protect against pollution, stress, and more. Traditionally, skincare is a combative process of cleansing, exfoliating, and treating the skin until it’s “squeaky clean.” Microbiome skincare takes the approach of working with your skin, and that healthy skin doesn’t look model-perfect all the time. While it’s still in its research infancy, microbiome skincare reflects a larger social question: will we collectively work with our environment or continue to fight or control it?
Sustainability is now industry standard as consumers weigh impact before they spend. One such example: waterless products. In formulation, a base makes up roughly 70% of a product. Water is often the base of choice, as it’s cheap and thus maximizes profitability—despite the fact that water is a finite resource. Instead, brands are now choosing alternative bases that are more sustainably produced and harvested.
Additionally, biosynthetics are gaining traction as savvy consumers realize synthetics are not “bad” ingredients. “Organic” or “raw” does not mean “sustainable.” Lab-produced versions are more sustainable because they are less resource-intensive. They are more consistent because conditions are better controlled. In fact, ingredients like vitamin c and rose oil are more sustainably produced when biosynthetic.
Brands can meet these growing demands for sustainability standards and trends by exploring Novi’s marketplace of innovative ingredients.
Impact matters just as much as a product’s efficacy for consumers now. They want to see brands divest from single-use plastics and thoughtfully design around waste. The classic ‘up-cycle your glass jar’ model simply won’t do as design embraces bioplastics, recycling programs, and refillable options.
Bioplastics are replacing the standard plastic squeeze tube because making them requires less water and fossil fuels. For example, a sugarcane tube is made from a bio-resin that uses sugarcane waste, and it mimics a polyethylene tube.
Recycling programs to mail-in “empties” make it easy to recycle correctly. Consumers can feel confident their packaging is actually recycled, and manufacturers can more easily recycle known materials. Some brands even offer rewards like credits and discounts for participating.
Refillable options reduce single-use plastic by designing a smaller part or pod that can be removed and replaced. Limiting waste to a removable part or pod takes the burden off of consumers to correctly recycle a product’s entire packaging system. Discover how your brand can reduce its impact by exploring sustainable packaging directly on Novi Connect.
Streamlined, personalized shopping and self care routines have taken center-stage. The emergence of AI and other technologies are transforming shopping into a seamlessly virtual retail experience. Here, consumers try on shades and styles or receive product recommendations all from their phone’s front-facing camera. Some brands are harnessing tech to develop personalized products like hair care systems and foundations. It’s a novel way to interact with brands consumers know, as well as discover new brands. Virtual try-ons also mitigate waste by reducing in-store product sampling and shipping-related emissions from returns and exchanges. These virtual spaces deliver the personalized experience and products that consumers are after but are not possible in physical retail spaces.
Once-popular “shelfies” with a sea of products are a thing of the past. Consumers crave minimalist routines, or “skinimalism,” using products that pack serious utility. These quality products are versatile and boast multiple benefits, such as a lip balm or multi-stick containing SPF. Partly driven by sustainability and partly due to economic uncertainty, consumers want to buy fewer, better quality products.
Sustainability matters to consumers, but transparency matters more. It’s not enough to build a quality product - consumers want to know how it’s made and how a brand is committed to making it better. They seek out brands openly educating on why they use - and don’t use - certain ingredients, design choices, and more. From sourcing ingredients to packaging, each stage of a product’s creation is a marketing opportunity to connect with consumers. And brands will distinguish themselves as trusted opinions by regularly reporting their progress on values like sustainability and diverse hiring practices.