2 June 2021 --- As the natural trend moves into a new era, beauty and personal care (BPC) shoppers are wanting to see more consciousness, consideration and care in the brands and products they gravitate toward. Those BPC names that genuinely base their models, new product development (NPD), daily activities and communication on conscious beauty for all—people and the planet—will win the respect of consumers. BPC Insights delves into the latest evolution of the naturals trend: Conscious beauty.
The evolution of the natural and organic BPC trend has also spurred many of the other trends that are currently propelling the industry forward to meet today’s heightened awareness of injustices and to improve the impact on each other and the environment.
Advances in biotechnology ingredients, ethical claims, actions to promote and achieve inclusivity, product sustainability, local sourcing, green packaging, supply chain transparency, and beauty positivity campaigns are driving change to make the BPC industry a more conscious and caring space for all to enjoy and thrive in.
Click to EnlargeInnovation as well as environmental and ethical concerns has defined conscious beauty.Naturals evolves to conscious
As the natural, green and clean beauty trends aim to root themselves in our global efforts to protect and preserve our planet, brands that are proactive about current environmental concerns and prioritize clear sustainable progress resonate strongly. Subsequently, brands focus more of their efforts on using recyclable materials, refillable components, and biodegradable cartons.
Yet, sustainability—while an integral and arguably core element of the naturals trend in the green and clean beauty spheres—is not the only aspect of the conscious beauty movement. “Sustainability is just one facet of conscious beauty—but one that has had a head start and a path more and more brands are following,” says Ehrin Ziccardi, co-founder of online beauty portal, UNDRGRND Beauty.
As consumers carefully consider the impact of their actions, choices and purchases, along with the brands they support, BPC players are trying to tap into this greater consciousness. In the age of conscious beauty, it is easier for consumers to measure value, which may call for brands to pivot to meet changing consumer demands.
“This consciousness is leading to profound change, and today's beauty customers are being heard,” emphasizes Ziccardi.
Noting the potential pitfalls
While green beauty gets criticized for greenwashing and clean beauty receives scepticism for the negativity surrounding safe synthetic ingredients, conscious beauty is seen as a genuine opportunity to evolve the naturals trend and provide a fresh and clear approach.
However, achieving conscious beauty is not without its challenges industry insiders reveal, with the practicalities of meeting conscious goals throwing up obstacles. “Most brands, and suppliers too, are being challenged by minimum order quantities for sustainable, and sometimes recyclable packaging—which we believe is a key to creating a conscious brand,” shares Neil Petrocelli, co-founder of online beauty portal, UNDRGRND Beauty.
From the marketing perspective, communicating consciousness is also a big question for many brands emerging in the BPC market. “For smaller independent brands the challenges also include the dreaded: ‘How do I get my message out there?’,” says Ziccardi. “We believe the traditional reasons for being in beauty—[an] inspired product with a story to tell—is still the lead and retailers can communicate some of the conscious details to close the sale,” outlines Ziccardi on creating a winning conscious communication strategy.
Concentrating on the scientific obstacles BPC brands may face and need to avoid, Belinda Carli, Cosmetics Chemist and Founder of the Institute of Personal Care Science (IPCS) says: “If you’re trapped in the ‘green’ or ‘clean’ or even ‘free from’ mindset, you become obsessed with reading International Nomenclature of Cosmetics Ingredients names thinking you are making safer and better choices, when you may be missing out on some of the fantastic innovations out there that are providing the sustainable and truly earth-conscious choices you are looking for.”
“We really need to make sure that we move away from the ‘I’m making a conscious choice for my health’ because no permitted cosmetic ingredient, when used within regulatory limits and in the correct way, is going to cause you harm,” shares Carli.
“It would be terrible to see the toxic ingredient message of the past ‘free from,’ ‘green’ and ‘clean’ beauty movements morph into the conscious beauty space, when it should be about making choices to achieve that feeling of outer beauty, and the inner beauty that confidence creates,” adds Carli.
Click to EnlargeGetting across social consciousness
Transparency is a key driver behind conscious beauty, with BPC consumers wanting to know information about their supply chain, raw material selection, production processes, packaging choices and brand values.
Brands can highlight this transparency in several important ways:
Sharing recommendations for brands who want to convey their socially conscious nature, Petrocelli highlights two things: “Consistent messaging and simplicity.”
Consumers are calling for brands to be fully transparent and open about their processes, NPD and communication strategies.
Commenting on the importance of transparency in the conscious era, Carli notes: “If they are promoting ‘transparency’ along with their sustainable or eco-conscious message, and they can further support what their sustainability or eco-conscious steps are—in product formulation and packaging choices—then this is resonating with truly conscious beauty choices.”
2. Product selection and information
Helping consumers by offering a selection of products is also an important component of transparency. Those BPC names that “are supporting choice for their consumers—in product innovation, inclusivity and personalized beauty — then they too are successfully aligning with true conscious beauty,” Carli details.
“Where a brand is promoting ‘transparency’ along with a ‘safe/non-toxic’ message, then that brand should not be considered as supporting a true conscious beauty movement—because no approved cosmetic ingredients are toxic or unsafe,” highlights Carli.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist