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Must-know beauty trends

A monthly briefing on the latest beauty trends and news across the industry including across cosmetics, skincare and more.
Must-know beauty trends | EDITED

What’s happened across the beauty industry last month? Get up to speed with the trends shaping this market.

A compilation on the latest trends in the beauty, skincare and color cosmetics market every month, along with news and other points of interest to keep your eyes on.

Looking to get more insights into the beauty market? Reach out to one of our retail specialists today.

The top trends

1. Haircare is top of consumers’ minds (and searches)

Haircare and styling related queries dominated fashion and beauty US Google searches in 2020. The top three searches related to beauty how-tos included: how to cut men’s hair at home, how to plop hair and how to color your hair at home.

We identified low-maintenance and at-home haircare to be a major trend for 2021. With the UK in its third lockdown and growing restrictions in the US, consumer interest in DIY tips, tricks and treatments is likely to spike again. Retailers would be wise to promote treatment products such as Olaplex and create their own how-to content for customers to follow on socials.

A more niche area for brands and retailers to consider is the scalp, which will be brought into the spotlight this year. Clean haircare brand Briogeo recently tapped into this growing market with the launch of a Scalp Therapy Essentials Kit at the end of December.

2. The fragrance category sees unexpected takeoff

The pandemic’s unexpected star, Selfridges revealed online fragrance sales saw triple-digit YoY growth in 2020 and Coty announced sales are up by 43% YoY in China.

Many brands found success by creating stories that speak to Gen-Z through influencer partnerships and making playful digital campaigns. Examples include Marc Jacobs’ fun campaign video for Perfect and Escada’s branded island in Animal Crossing. A focus on clean, natural ingredients has also been vital for smaller brands looking for a stand out positioning in the saturated market.

Celebrity fragrance collaborations are also on the rise. Byredo’s and Travis Scott’s Space Rage candle and Eau de Parfum, which launched at the end of November, has sold out completely.

3. Is workout beauty the next big thing?

As the athleisure category continues to grow in demand and consumers’ obsession with wellness and fitness heightens, sportswear brands are now releasing their own lines of skincare products.

In December, Alo Yoga launched a clean beauty skincare line, Glow System, and is planning to add ingestibles to its product list in 2021. Former Philosophy Executive Marie-Pierre Stark-Flora recently launched Herb +Flora in the New Year, a skincare brand based on exercise science. Although not a fitness brand, Stark-Flora said the products are formulated through studies on how exercise impacts the skin.

With the wellness, clean and gender-neutral beauty movement only set to grow in 2021, we’re likely to see more fitness brands join the likes of Lululemon and others in the launch of skin, body and personal care products.

Headline highlights

Pat McGrath named a Dame

The legendary beauty entrepreneur has become the first makeup artist to receive a Damehood – recognized for contributions to fashion, beauty and diversity. Her eponymous makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, was recently valued at $1 billion.

THG acquires Dermstore

UK e-commerce company, The Hut Group, has acquired online beauty and skincare retailer Dermstore from Target Corp. THG said the acquisition would enhance its “relationships with key global beauty brands,” particularly in the US, and help them become the “global digital partner of choice.”

Aveda products are now 100% vegan

The global brand has revealed that all of its products are now vegan. Plant-based butter and waxes have now replaced beeswax, which was commonly used in its lip formulas. The company also announced its first sustainability advocate as Arizona Muse.

L’Oréal invests in social commerce startup

Seeking to crack social commerce, L’Oréal’s corporate venture fund has taken a minority stake in social selling platform, Replica Software. With e-commerce currently making up 25% of L’Oréal’s revenues, the company sees social commerce reinventing the consumer beauty experience.

Standout email communications

DIY nails: Fun and crazy nail art trends are still searched for by consumers, with Pinterest noting a 21x YoY increase in searches for indie nails. Urban Outfitters sent an email to its customers showing how they can do their nails by partnering with nail artist Marina Lopez.

Niacinamide: One of the most searched skincare ingredients according to Google’s Year in Search 2020, Beauty Bay sent an email highlighting its benefits and recommended products from its own line.

Men’s gift list: Chanel sent out a gift list for men that featured moisturizers and serums.

App discounts: Beauty retailers like Look Fantastic and Beauty Bay utilized unique discounts to drive customers to make purchases on their apps, both offering 20% off their next order.

Sustainability and clean updates

• Unilever is seeking shareholder approval on new sustainability initiatives, seeking to half the environmental impact of its products by 2030. The consumer packaged goods company will share its plan ahead of the annual meeting on May 5th.

• An EU study by EDQM found that 7.7% of products labeled perfume-free contained large volumes of potentially allergenic fragrance.

• Bleach London has launched a plastic-free hair dye option in the form of a Rosé colored shampoo bar. The brand also released a set of crocodile clips to help customers doing DIY hair dye at home.

Diversity & inclusivity updates

• Social media users in South Korea have called for a boycott of Japanese beauty company DHC Corp after its CEO made racist remarks about Koreans.

• L’Oreal and the Makeup Museum are publishing a book about BIPOC beauty, highlighting beauty traditions and trends from 34 countries.

• Fluide honored Black trans women and femmes in its holiday campaign. Titled Radical Rest, 20% of all sales from the limited edition collection went to mutual aid organization For The Gworls.

• Newly launched FOLX is the first digital healthcare platform specifically designed for LGBTQIA+ communities.

• WWP Beauty and Mented Cosmetics earned the best New Inclusive Makeup Award for its Mented Foundation Sticks at the 2020 Pure Beauty Awards.

• The Halo Collective has launched the Halo Code, asking workplaces and schools to embrace afro hairstyles. Unilever, the parent company of Dove, is the first company to implement the Halo Code.

• Vaseline partnered with three Black women on the curation of its Illuminate Me collection including influencer Shalom Blac, tennis player Sloane Stephens and artist Cristina Marinez.

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