10 Jun 2021 --- As facial skin care prepares for a plethora of opportunities for new product development (NPD), we explore the key areas that are set to influence innovative launches and reflect consumer demands.
New product development (NPD) in skin care was a stable trend from 2016 to 2020, Innova data from Skin Care Trends Analysis, published in March 2021, shows. With a market share of 47%, Europe was the biggest region for NPD in skin care in the second half (H2) of 2020.
However, with the demand for skin care and beauty products dwindling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of retail outlets and market saturation in the sector, skin care has shown slow NPD growth around the world. Brands are, therefore, even more eager to explore the big facial skin care trends to ensure they make the biggest impact.
1. Safe and hygienic skin
Click to EnlargeHygiene has gone from sought-after to essential during the pandemic.Throughout the pandemic, hygiene has moved from sought-after to essential. The connection between safety and hygiene has arguably never been stronger. But, now, as we look toward a post-COVID world, hygiene is also gathering pace as a driving force for creativity in conceptualizing formulations.
Pandemic pampering, bacteriophobia and neo-detox are just some of the micro-trends popping up amid the pandemic. While consumer behavior is ever-changing, the need for beauty, experiences and sensorial interactions are not going away.
When it comes to safe beauty and safe skin, we are seeing the collaboration of hygiene and skin care via skin sanitization. Previously considered a functional part of beauty routines, sanitization is now a core part of the facial skin care space and has firmly entered the premium beauty categories. Premium skin sanitizer with fragrance and essential oils are a popular positioning within the premium space. Sanitizer shoppers are also on the lookout for products they perceive are natural, ethical and sustainable.
However, greenwashing in the BPC industry—borne from the rise in duplicitous claims relating to the environmentally-friendly nature of a product and the vilification of synthetic ingredients—has led to a lack of confidence. Therefore, brands need to carefully consider regulations and communication strategies when considering using the term “safe beauty.”
But the safe skin beauty trend is not expected to disappear in a post-COVID environment. A focus on skin health has emerged in skin care to actively address the aggressive environment that consumers live in. Consumer urban lifestyles and the consequences of living them, such as the exposure to pollution, stress and UV, play a big role in facial skin care launches. The rise of urban lifestyles means consumers are searching for the safest products that seek to protect and look out for the fragility and sensitivity of their skin.
Innovation for brands in the hygiene sphere will revolve around cleansing and reassurance of the skin care item’s security and innocuity. With the onset of COVID-19 and hyper-hygiene coming into the fore through necessity, consumers are now actively seeking gentler formulations that build up the natural skin barrier.
With the current focus on pronounced hygiene, frequent mask-wearing and urban lifestyle aggressors, consumers are increasingly aware of skin concerns such as irritation, sensitivity, redness and dryness.
2. Health, wellness and nutrition
Click to EnlargeThe pandemic has elevated health concerns, which is being reflected in demands for skin care.With the elevated emphasis on self-care during COVID-19, health has gained traction in skin care. Consumers have sought to bring the sensorial experience and relaxation effect of the spa to their homes, with consumers turning to their skin care to provide self-care and ‘health-care.’ As awareness of the relationship between skin and the body’s overall functioning including our nervous, immune and endocrine systems and the connection between the body’s microbiome grows, brands are eyeing up a new wave of products to enter the market.
Hybrid products in innovative formats emerge that strive to look after the skin while involving other aspects of our overall health, such as genetics and nutrition. DNA analysis and skin care supplements, for example, are interesting segments, demonstrating their consumer appeal through connecting skin care with health. Increasingly in the skin care sphere, these combination products are entering the premium space with strategies, branding and communications that revolve around digestion, epigenetics, and the natural environment.
Skin care supplements are a significant part of the skin health and nutrition sphere. With the overlap between nutrition and cosmetics demonstrated by the emergence of ‘skin nutrition,’ the beauty from within space has catapulted the supplements arena. Skin care supplements strive to provide a connection between skin care and nutrition, with ingredients such as collagen bridging the gap between the two areas.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a burgeoning beauty market, especially in the US, with Prohibition Partners anticipating that the CBD skin care market will reach sales of $959 million by 2024, Innova reported in its Trends Insider: Top 10 Trends in Europe report. CBD’s anticipated growth is not only due to the fact that hemp-infused products are expanding in accessibility but that their ranges are also growing with more innovation and greater sophistication.
With self-care on the up, consumers are using tools, treats and techniques for their skin to augment their wellness routines. Ancient techniques including massaging tools are big, which consumers use to apply light pressure and manually morph the skin to release fascial and muscular tension and move lymph fluid. Merging ancient techniques with modern innovations is appealing and introduces interesting new tools to the skin market, in various shapes and materials. With self-care at-home becoming the everyday norm, the trend of cocooning has also seen the rise of innovative mask treatments.
Immunity is paramount in skin care today. Protecting the skin has become a key priority, with consumers looking for products that boost the skin’s immunity and defense to prevent skin concerns. Stress, blue light, fine dust, urban pollution and UV filters are a big influence on our skin’s health. Natural antioxidants are positioned to lift the skin’s immunity, amassing consumer appeal. Launching products that integrate wide protection is key in new lifestyle items.
As well as products that aim to alleviate the impact of our external environment, consumers are exploring product formulations that seek to care for their skin when they are indoors to protect skin and prevent a loss of moisture. The skin care space is seeing new sun care hybrids that combine skin care and sun care. These combination products aim to produce a safe and strong barrier to UV, fine dust (and ultra-fine dust), and blue light.
3. Natural everything: ingredients and look
In the age of lockdowns, non-existent social lives and Zoom meetings, essential skin care has reigned supreme. And the connection between the natural beauty space and the natural beauty look may well have been strengthened. Arguably, facial skin care has taken over from makeup as the big self-care beauty practice during COVID-19. Tinted moisturizers are a big success as they capture the need for subtle beauty, and often boast a range of "good for you" ingredients.
Skip-care, the art of skipping some steps in skin care, is appearing as a way to increase the self-care nature of the skin care routine. Far from the old multi-step procedure, the skip-care trend lowers certain components and removes unnecessary product use. To reach this minimal effort and maximum impact effect, brands are focusing on hero, multitasking products.
“The global skin care market has decidedly moved toward natural and organic,” the Innova Premium Skincare report states. Vegan, plant based and waterless are all popular.
There is still a hungry appetite for natural ingredients, with more than 80% of consumers considering natural ingredients either extremely, very or moderately important for their hand sanitization needs, the Innova Beauty and Personal Care Consumer Survey reveals.
In skin care, moisturizing and hydrating is the top positioning for launches. Brands are combining natural ingredients with moisturization properties to help create natural skin barriers. Increasingly, brands are launching natural-based lines of facial skin care products.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist