Minimalism & Clean Beauty Shine

Consumers are embracing more holistic approaches to beauty, with organic, nourishing, and multitasking ingredients topping trends lists.

beauty products oils

Beauty buyers are getting the “feel-good” factor they’re after by embracing more holistic approaches, looking for topical products that are downright pampering and nutrients that nourish from within. According to research from Lycored, today’s consumers favor beauty products that make them feel good about themselves. “The new generation of skincare consumers is much more interested in holistic skin health than traditional cosmetic signs of beauty,” says Caroline Schroeder, Marketing Communications Manager at Lycored. “This focus on ‘from within’ factors has increased in recent years, especially during the pandemic, during which many consumers have valued overall health and self-care more than outward appearance.”

Consumers also are embracing more holistic and integrated approaches to skincare. “We continue to see a shift towards clean beauty products that prioritize natural and safe ingredients,” says William Levins, President, Reviva Labs. “Consumers are more educated and savvier than ever before, due to websites and apps offering a plethora of knowledge at their fingertips. The majority of consumers are demanding better quality products at affordable prices.”

Holistic Skincare on the Rise

The shift in how we think about beauty means we now want to approach it externally and internally. Lycored surveyed 490 consumers to better understand beauty beliefs and habits. The findings:

  • 70% of respondents use skincare products to keep their skin healthy.
  • 30% of respondents had purchased an ingestible skincare product over the past year (up from 14% in 2017).
  • 57% of 25 to 34 year olds have purchased nutri-beauty products (compared to 16% of those 55 to 64).
  • 69% use the products to feel good about themselves. This “feel-good factor” was widespread among consumers ages 18 to 24, 82% of whom reported using products to feel good.

Contrary to what many of the commercials we are used to seeing on TV may lead us to believe, only 14% of the consumers surveyed (and 6% of those 65 years or older) said looking young was important to them. And only 17% said they used skincare products to look attractive.

So, what are consumers interested in now? We asked the experts to give us a market update.

 5 Beauty Trends to Watch

1.Elevated Skin Care

2.Healthy Aging

3.Clean Beauty

4.Nourishing Oils

5.Integrated Approaches

1. Elevated Skin Care

There is a shift towards feeling good through skincare routines and rituals. “The feel-good factor is really what drove the massive increase in skincare during the pandemic,” explains Omayma Ramzy, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Founder of Omayma Skin. “With makeup being less relevant during the height of COVID, consumers still want to feel that they are doing something for themselves, taking time for themselves, and being able to put themselves first, even in the toughest of times. I predict a continuation of skincare-wellness hybrid products, like Pique beauty’s skincare supplement (a hyaluronic acid-electrolyte powder mix). However, now we are seeing that the world has gone back to work, so we don’t have time for 15-step routines. We need an ‘all in one’ minimalist approach.”

There is a current focus on minimalism that still feels luxurious, according to experts. Multi-functional products can lessen the hassle of complicated skin routines, while allowing consumers to indulge in necessary self-care. “I’m seeing more and more consumers wanting to shop from smaller indie brands that come from niche spaces,” Ramzy says. “There’s also a focus on the elevated skin care ritual, as consumers seem to want to indulge in a luxurious moment just for themselves at the end of the day.”

And the future looks bright. “There’s an unmistakable energy of optimism and consumers are genuinely excited about what’s next,” says Amber McKenna, Director of Brand Marketing, Better Being Wellness Brands, including Heritage Store. “Something as simple as an uber-hydrating moisturizer can bring a moment of happiness to someone’s busy day, and that has intrinsic value. Shoppers are primed and ready to seek out their next favorite product and are looking to brands to satisfy that curiosity.”

  1. Healthy Aging

This swing towards healthy aging in place of anti-aging is observed across the industry. Ramzy explains: “More and more consumers are opting for healthy aging, rather than looking eternally young.”

A glowing complexion is also attractive for healthy aging—and is an achievable skin goal. “Looking your best at your age naturally is a trend because you can have a healthy glowing complexion no matter how old you are,” maintains Elina Fedotova, Cosmetic Chemist & Celebrity Esthetician and founder of Elina Organics & Spas. “Sometimes when an older woman gets in the habit of fighting their aging and tries to look a few decades younger with the help of invasive procedures and injectables, it can create the opposite effect. This is because their face can look ‘unreal’ and distorted, which makes them less attractive than before. We have many examples and photos from our clients who have been with us for over 25 years and look amazing naturally. A healthy lifestyle, spirituality, a balanced diet, and an effective natural skincare routine can help people look very attractive at any time of their life.”

  1. Clean Beauty

Cleaner, greener products allow consumers to further enjoy self-care without having to worry about toxins, such as parabens…and that adds to the feel-good effect. Minimalism here means consumers want to wear less, use less, and reduce waste, and there is growing demand for organic products. “You can see this trend reflected in the growing natural and organic sections appearing at major retailers,” Levins says. “From drug stores to mass market, the shift towards natural beauty is clearly accelerating. Sustainable and eco-friendly brands are also seeing peak demand from smart, contentious consumers.”

Consumers are doing their due diligence, too. “I believe that consumers practicing holistic living are intelligent and like to read labels,” says Fedotova. “Especially nowadays, if you do not know the word, you can easily ‘google’ it. That is why I do not think that products with flashy advertising and conventional synthetic additives on the label will be popular among holistic people.”

And these days, Fedotova says, formulators have more natural alternatives than ever because of this holistic and organic living movement worldwide. She points to extracts from flowers and acids extracted from fruits and other botanicals, which will help fight wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture. “It is now much easier to make healthy skincare formulas versus. how it was 25 years ago when I started. Skincare should be healthy food for your skin. Sophisticated and corrective formulations are made from natural food-grade ingredients preserved with fermented botanicals or vegetables.”

  1. Nourishing Oils

“Pairing ingestible beauty with a facial oil or serum can be the ultimate combination,” says McKenna. “Single origin oils are some of the hardest-working ingredients out there, and are often full of key naturally occurring vitamins. For example, using a topical Pure Rosehip Seed Oil, as well as an ingestible collagen, can be clutch to achieve a vibrant, firmer-looking complexion.”

Facial oils are among the top trends experts are observing. “As for topical skin care and products, facial oils are trending,” says Ramzy. “They are now explained as a ‘must’ in every skincare routine. Facial oils are now given the recognition that they have worked hard for over the last 10 years. Facial oils provide healthy skin barrier protection and enable skin barrier repair, while delivering cosmetic value to the consumer too. The Bedouin Elixir Facial Oil from omaymaskin.com delivers radiance and skin barrier protection while also being rich in antioxidants. This fights against environmental free radicals that break down collagen and elastin. Consumers really resonate with the small brand and insider knowledge from me as an expert in the space, and so I break down insider knowledge on our blog to drive this home further.”

Oils are a top trend this year, Levins agrees. “From oil cleansers to oil-based serums, it’s more about the effectiveness of the product and its function. While ingredients or product forms (i.e., oils) cycle in and out of favor, most consumers gravitate towards what works in the long run.”

  1. Integrated Approaches

“We’ve always been big proponents of beauty inside and outside,” Levins says. “The addition of supplements or healthy eating habits can certainly help keep skin looking its best.” He adds that skin is one of many organs so it will receive a portion of beneficial ingestible products.

Add in topicals, and skin is getting the care it needs. “The application of topical skincare is targeting the skin,” Levins says, “and when properly designed it is effective at delivering a functional treatment to the skin in an optimal manner.”

Fedotova also favors this holistic approach. “No matter how many supplements you take for your skin that help to prevent breakouts, your skin still needs to be cleansed, exfoliated, hydrated, and protected. You cannot do that by only taking supplements or eating healthy food. It is essential to physically take care of your skin by cleansing it with natural sulfate-free botanical cleansers and exfoliating excessive dead skin with fruit acids or botanical mineral masks. I also suggest applying treatment serums to reduce wrinkles, pigment spots, or excessive oil and hydrate and protect your skin from UV damage with moisturizers. I recommend avoiding hydrogenated oils and eating more antioxidants before going into the sun, but you also need to apply sunscreen for UV protection. The synergy of a whole food diet, natural supplementation, and beauty products made from natural and organic ingredients will work their magic!”

And it’s that magic that will keep consumers coming back. “It really feels like skincare is at the forefront of the zeitgeist these days,” McKenna says, “and that beauty, skin, and wellness products are here to stay as a part of daily life.” WF

Plus! 3 More Trends

  1. Hemp and CBD
  2. Old as New
  3. Eco-Consciousness
  1.   Hemp and CBD

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention CBD and Hemp ingredients have received a disproportionate amount of research and hype,” Reviva’s Levins says. “The good news is the research supports the benefits of CBD and Hemp. The bad news is deciphering the hype from reality can be difficult. But it will get better.”

  1.   Old as New

“Some things that were ‘old’ are ‘new’ again, such as essential fatty acids (EFAs), Tranexamic Acid, or Azelaic Acid,” Levins says. “Then there’s Bakuchiol, a plant extract that is taking off as a natural, non-irritating retinol alternative.”

  1.   Eco-Consciousness

There is an increased focus on transparency and sustainability in the skincare space, following its interest across the food and supplement space. “Skincare consumers are looking for transparency in every aspect—from a brand’s values and environmental impact to ingredient sourcing and customer service practices,” says McKenna of Better Being Wellness Brands.

“Sustainability will dictate the future of packaging, ingredient sourcing, even application…watch this space. There have never been more products to choose from or ease of access for purchase. The brands that stand out are catering to their audience and customizing the experience. Listening to your consumers is the easiest place to start. One outstanding review can bring in hundreds of new customers, but one bad review can do the opposite. Ask them for their ideas and learn how you can best interact with them,” McKenna says.

“Consumers really care about sustainability and transparency,” Ramzy agrees. “Veering towards brands with transparent sourcing, INCI standard labeling, sustainability, small batch or small & local brands, are all things that will resonate with your consumer. Today’s customer really knows skincare. They aren’t interested in fear-driven marketing, which I think is brilliant! I would veer away from fear driven marketing techniques like ‘chemical free’ (as this is a fallacy… everything is a chemical, even water!), and rather focus on what is in the products and why.”

Innovation in Skincare

Technology plays a significant role in current trends, with consumers having more access to information about their own health. “The shift towards healthy aging is an outgrowth of the knowledge at the fingertips of today’s consumers,” Levins explains. “Old and younger generations are now embracing the concept of preventative skincare to delay skin damage associated with aging. Many are also starting skincare at an earlier age and avoiding environmental triggers that lead to older looking skin. For our audience, choosing good, clean ingredients is paramount. The list of ingredients that are deemed unacceptable is growing exponentially by the day. The E.U. is ahead in this area and as the distance between global markets shrink, consumers can demand better quality products. So, be educated and savvy on the ingredients in your products.”

Further, consumers have more access to various products through online shopping. “At the same time, ecommerce and online communities have expanded the reach of international brands – as K-beauty and J-Beauty introduces new, unique ingredients to local markets via web-based sales,” Levins says. “Understanding today’s market means keeping up-to-date on trends not only in one’s own country but worldwide too.” 

Due to this, markets have opened cross-culturally in the beauty world. “We’re also seeing a fusion of different cultures and traditions blending across continents,” Levins affirms. “For example, Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicinal ingredients are surfacing in European and U.S. based skin care. Again, this is driven by the younger shopper who is willing to experiment with newer, unknown ingredients that might be popular internationally – but they only learned of them via online channels.”

The means of marketing have shifted, too. “Channels like TikTok are shining a spotlight on brands and products that have previously lived under the radar,” McKenna says. “We’re seeing the convergence of clean beauty with ingredients that have been traditionally reserved for clinical skincare.

In addition, younger shoppers are more open to new experiences in their beauty and skincare regimens. “The influence of global trends and the reduced effort and costs to experiment with new brands and products means that younger shoppers are accustomed to trying new things,” Levins explains. “Eventually, everyone finds a basic brand or routine that works best for their skin, but FOMO keeps them experimenting, even after they find a brand they love.” 

Plus, the industry is ever-changing. “Every brand, supplier, and retailer must evolve and embrace change at a pace that would have seemed uncomfortable only a decade ago,” Levins says. “Each must deliver new, innovative products that will seduce a younger audience that is driven to experiment with new items and which is a bit more fickle with its brand loyalty. Natural and clean beauty will continue to grow and force even major brands to adapt or die. Brands that can offer true sustainability and help protect the planet while delivery great skincare that’s affordable will likely be big winners in the future. Consumers are growing more conscience of each product they use and they want them to be safe for their skin and safe for the planet. Cruelty-free and vegan brands that offer sustainable products are poised for growth.”