MakeUp in New York’s 12th annual event at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City on September 14-15 was another success with over 3,400 attendees and over 100 makeup and skincare vendors taking the floor from the showroom.
The attendance not only confirmed the beauty industry’s recovery from Covid-19, but the pandemic gave birth to the current clean beauty movement. Conscious consumption and a broader focus on wellness as it relates to the safety of people and the planet during the covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a so-called “boom” in the clean beauty market.
This new ecosystem is reshaping innovation and propelling brands to stay ahead of the game when it comes to being the most appealing to Gen Z consumers and above.
“The growth of clean, sustainable products has outpaced total beauty,” said Leila Rochet, director of inspiration at Cosmetics Inspiration and Creation, a Paris-based forecasting consultancy. “We see that consumers are increasingly looking for products that are better for me, but also better for all products.”
According to Spate, a data-driven New York-based company that tracks the latest beauty trends of what consumers search for on Google, clean beauty is currently seeing an increase in searches, with consumers entering specific keywords such as “circular economy” . (+12.2%) and “ethical” (+11.4%) and “biodegradable” (+21.3%) to make more informed purchasing decisions. In fact, consumer interest in clean and sustainable outweighs quality and cost. Up to 65% of Gen Z consumers are likely to buy a product described as “clean,” Rochet said.
Four themes inspired by the clean beauty market are waste efficiency, man-made nature, open origin and the beauty of biodiversity. Waste efficiency includes leveraging a regenerative culture, ingredient recycling, manufacturing waste, and optimal water formulations.
“We’ve seen a lot of products using recycled ingredients, especially in skincare in the food industry,” Rochet said. “What’s important is that when you recycle a product, you don’t use too much energy to make it. This remains a very big challenge for some ingredient suppliers.
Engineered nature includes biotechnology or modern agriculture, dye colors, and ingredient preservation solutions (i.e. freeze-drying). Open origin implies full transparency and the change from “Made In” to “From”. The beauty of biodiversity involves ensuring the longevity of nature and fostering community development.
Cultural Differences in Clean Beauty
France is rooted in nature, Rochet said, and that’s why ingredient transparency is paramount for consumers. According to her, 30% of French people believe that the beauty industry guarantees that cosmetic products can be used without risk. Applications in which consumers trace formulations are also proving successful, with some 21 million users in France. Driving the so-called “deep green revolution” to develop radically clean solutions that benefit people and the planet are eco-native brands. This new beauty ecosystem will therefore go through ultra-transparent sourcing, new upcycled ingredients, regenerating packaging and dynamic net zero products that proactively give back to the planet.
In a separate presentation later today, Alexander Kwapis, Vice President of Product Design and Development, FusionPKG, said the pillars of its products are reduce, refill and recycle. The brand’s packaging is made from recycled plastic waste and 100% PP polyolefin PCR mono-material airless packaging, and meets the preferred guidelines of the Association of Plastic Recyclers.
Clean beauty is also gaining ground in Korea.
“There’s a lot going on in Korea around local upcycling, using specific ingredients from traditional Korean medicine,” Rochet said. “Also worth noting is that they use EWG [Environmental Working Group] and announce it on their packaging.
Simplicity, refinement, spontaneity and originality are values of Japanese culture with transparency in cosmetics a strong trend alongside recyclability as evidenced by brands as popular as Shiseido.
“In Japan, there was heavy makeup and layers,” Rochet said, adding that skincare is taking precedence over color cosmetics, with models wearing minimal makeup to embody this trend.
“We are seeing a very strong skintification of the category while moving towards clean,” she added. “Things are changing and it’s really important to see that eco-native brands are really driving a deep green revolution, and it’s important that companies keep up with what’s happening as they push boundaries and develop radically clean solutions that benefit both people and the planet.It’s a new way of doing business.
In China, 54% of people are interested in sustainable development; 42% say manufacturers should take more responsibility for environmental protection, according to Rochet.