The future of cosmetics
A modern expectation of almost all industries is to listen to feedback, and make changes accordingly. This is especially true for the beauty industry which manufactures products for all kinds of skin types, hair types and expectations. In fact, the buyers hold a lot of power when it comes to fashions. It may often seem the other way around (with the pressure of advertising and celebrity endorsements), but without the products selling, then the whole cosmetic industry would cease to exist. Or to put it more realistically, the industry follows the purse more than you think.
So what are the expectations of the cosmetics industry leading to? What trends are emerging?
Many people throughout the world have been exposed to what our culture of manufacturing has done to the earth, with air pollution affecting most cities worldwide and an island of trash forming in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The response to this has been that both the consumer and the producer need to take more responsibility in making sure they are minimizing waste through using biodegradable, compostable or highly recyclable and reusable materials. This has sparked an intriguing response within the beauty industry and given birth to green chemistry cosmetics, these are materials which are partially or completely plant derived and replace the production of highly synthetic materials which leads to huge amounts of toxic waste.
We can also expect to see a lot more partnership between farms and labs, with many of the exciting new superfoods being long-used in the beauty world (e.g. turmeric, moringa, coconut oil), the trends of farm-to-table are beginning to become farm-to-face. The integration of farms will also allow cosmetic companies to be more transparent in their creation and modification of ingredients, and even lead to an interesting increase in agro-tourism.
We have seen a huge rise in smart devices which can be easily connected to our smartphones or laptops to give us detailed information about our daily lives. One example that springs to mind is the smart watch which can record heart activity and help promote a healthier lifestyle, a fantastic aid in the health rehabilitation world. In the beauty industry we have seen some of the top cosmetic manufacturers showcase their savvy new tech innovations with devices that can track sun damage and skin pH levels.
What I believe we can expect to develop from this is a finely tuned cosmetics experience that is perfectly suited to extremely personal skin and environmental conditions. Of course with all these developments I believe we can also expect the price of such items to increase substantially, making the future of skincare an investment in the self.
An industry buzz term since 2017, “inclusive beauty” encompasses the widening to other less considered demographics in the beauty world, while maintaining the fine balance between ‘niche’ and ‘underserved’ markets.
A huge market that has always been considered in cosmetics throughout history, but may have lost traction since the industrial revolution, is the male personal care and beauty routines. More so in recent years we are seeing more targeted male face care advertisements, and refreshed packaging to identify male beauty and skin care as its own entity. This culture shift has also forced major competitors in the beauty world to produce more gender-neutral products, and even begin to hire male brand ambassadors to support this movement.
Where this will end, we do not know yet, but given the insatiable appetite for new markets (from the cosmetic industry) and the obvious ‘need’ for some male cosmetic help, this will go far indeed. All it needs are some of the biggest influencers to be bold and proud (and of course a share of the market) and peer pressure will do to males what has consistently been done to females throughout history. Of course, there is a caveat. Anybody remember the male dress? Even a hunky young and cool Mel Gibson could not get men to follow suit. Has the male population grown at all in the last 30 years? Are they ready to ignore jokes, laughter and at times violence to wear makeup? Only time will tell.
We are also seeing a lot more catering towards people of colour, with their beauty expectations being quite different from the industry standard. There is a lot of exciting education occurring to ensure that products can be made for different demographics without oversimplifying the nuanced dynamics within these communities.
Another trend on the rise is based around the accessibility of cosmetics and beauty products, gone are the days of high-end beauty products only being available at department stores. An obvious collaboration that’s building momentum is between fashion and beauty, with some fashion retailers offering beauty products which can complement their goods.
Another exciting idea that is coming to fruition is the next-gen of offline distribution, namely automated makeup booths and vending machines. China is leading the game in human-free retail options, and has produced fully equipped makeup booths with facial recognition software to advise and suggest which products could be more suitable. These booths also offer not only top brands but also up-and-coming brands, allowing fair market competition and exploration of new brands while on-the-go.
Worth a Mention
A few other innovations I believe are worth looking into are the developments in sustainable packaging and how that will further enforce the green chemistry of tomorrow. Also the connections being made between beauty and wellness, with cosmetics developed for post-workouts with moisturizers and dry shampoos by both leading and indie companies.
Tip of the Iceberg
I hope this has been an exciting insight into the future of customer curated cosmetics, of course there are many things happening in the beauty industry that I missed here but these were the most exhilarating innovations for me.
What do you think is the future of the cosmetics industry? Please do share any insights in the comments below, we will reply or even mention the best in our next blog post.