The cosmetics market is growing constantly year after year, driven by few big companies but featuring a constant increase of niche, local emerging brands. What is the cosmetics industry about? It promises a dream, creates an illusion, sells a mirage: eternal youth, time that stops, instant beauty. What is beauty? How personal and subjective is beauty, how many beauties exist? We are all different, but we are all beautiful in our way. If every brand offers you the same promise of beauty, who do you believe? how to choose? How can I choose between two products whose purpose and benefit are identical? That’s where brand design steps in, because it is the tool to give an identity to those brand promises, making them visible, different from each other and desirable for people. What is desirable and trending today?
The quest for healthy living and “green” consumption
One thing we all look for today is sustainability. Responsible consumption is no longer for a niche audience, today we all make sustainable choices. It’s true for the food we eat, but for fashion and cosmetics purchases as well. Purchasing decisions are increasingly motivated by the quest for healthy living and “green” consumption, where the “natural” is wider-encompassing to include products with eco-credentials, sustainable sourcing and clean labels. How this trend applies to the cosmetics industry?
Small, local brands
The cosmetics world sees a continuous rise of small brands focused on organic ingredients.Small, locally sourced, organic, super-ethic, natural hero ingredient based brands answer to this quest, talking to people looking for a more sustainable lifestyle. Their mantra is more or less on good sense, not asking for miracles but rather emphasizing nature’s power.
“Since broccoli is a cancer fighting super food we wanted to see how we could translate its positive properties beyond the kitchen and into the bathroom.” L:A BRUKET
“Every formula is made with fair trade and organic ingredients. Every package is created with sustainability in mind; using recycled paper,glass and metal.” Daughter of the Land
“Created with natural ingredients, plant-based food-grade cold-pressed oils, steam distilled therapeutic-grade essential oils, gmo free soy wax, recyclable and reusable packaging, many certified organic ingredients.” Herbivore
The need for sustainability is something not only small brands are responding to. Also big multinational companies are moving in this direction. After decades of greenish communication but practices that could be seen as contradictory, they all want to stand out by a better footprint, with some more or less nature based products and brands.
“At every step of development, each maker, farmer, botanist and chemist applies their passion and expertise to create high quality formulations free from silicones, parabens and colourants.” L'Oreal Botanicals
“We are always working to sustainably reduce the impact of our products on the environment.” Nivea Pure & Naturals
“We search the world for the finest ethically-sourced ingredients to create a range of naturally-inspired beauty products.” The Body Shop
Experiences over possessions
Another thing that is desirable today is to have an experience out of everything. We seek “experiences” over “possessions”, and so we consume less, but we reallocate income to premium products. This is happening in many areas of our lives, one of them is music. We used to collect compact discs, then we filled our iPods with tons of MP3s, now it’s Spotify's turn and we no longer possess music. But we spend more money for concerts, deluxe editions, expensive turntables and headphones.
How is the cosmetics industry answering to this trend?
The hi-end, uber luxury, heavy wealth signs, owning their resources, rare and expensive ingredients brands are answering to this trend. There’s a particular need for emergent markets – like China – to stand out by luxury items, especially linked to age signs fighting and eternal youth sourcing. It is all about exclusivity, with many fabulous products filled with rare and expensive ingredients.
“Platinum rare cellular night elixir offers the highest concentration of la prairie’s exclusive cellular complex, combined with the advanced platinum complex, a unique blend of rare, active ingredients.” La Prairie
“Dior researchers discovered a wild rose capable of withstanding the seaside climate while maintaining its beauty. A brilliant horticulturist tamed its wild nature and enhanced its regenerative potential. The Rose De Granville, specifically created for skincare, with 8 molecules that no other rose possesses.” Dior Prestige
“Shiseido combine dermatology and neuroscience at the very heart of its skincare. Thanks to a brand-new technology, reneura technology™, shiseido gives skin the energy it needs to better decipher the messages it receives, and therefore better defend itself.” Shiseido