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18 DEC. 2018

Beauty Trends You Need To Know For 2019

Nicole Tan

Brand Strategy Team, Singapore

Beauty is not only skin-deep.

We live in the day and age where the meaning of ‘beauty’ is increasingly personalized to each individual, leaving an array of possibilities of what the standard of beauty could be and look like. As consumers continue to seek out interesting trends, the beauty industry is evolving with new innovations to define beauty in a different perspective. Moving in tandem with other industries like fashion and food & beverage, beauty brands are building on trends that consumers are coming to know. This article explores the increasingly popular types of beauty in Asia and how gaining an understanding of these trends would help boost your beauty brand in 2019. 

Clean Beauty: Minimally Processed Ingredients to Retain Au Naturel Formulas

Clean Beauty embodies the idea of ‘less is more’, awakening an inner spirit of natural newness and freshness. Based on social listening, Clean Beauty are associated with words such as “cruelty-free”, “natural”, “non-toxic” and “green beauty”. The appeal of clean beauty speaks best to consumer groups like expecting mothers, groups with chronic skin conditions and allergies who struggle to find the best skincare for their needs that are also safe to use. Setting aside other convenient over-the-counter brands, brands that fall under this ‘less is more’ trend are products that are truly minimally processed and use toxin-free ingredients, unaltered from their natural form. 

Ao Skincare that engages in cold-pressed technology for their entire line of products.

In addition, some brands adopt technological innovation in the manufacturing process to ensure that essential nutrients from the ingredients are extracted in their undisturbed form. Ao Skincare elevates the concept of “au naturel” to a new level using the not yet widely known cold-press technology. Headquartered in the USA, Ao Skincare is founded on the idea of having products preserving their raw and novelty ingredients, like totora heartwood and red algae. The brand uses cold-processed technology to ship its raw ingredients from New Zealand. This is to ensure that products don’t lose their active nutrients in the manufacturing process and are at its maximum purity, potency and freshness. As a result, consumers are able to experience the ideal balance of natural ingredients and product efficacy. 

Aromatica’s LIVELY Collection.

As another example, Korean-based beauty brand Aromatica believes in the notion that “Green is the safest beauty”. Certified under the EWG VERIFIED™ program for their safe and organic formulas, all of their products are made with formulas that are toxin-free, naturally sourced ingredients and without animal-derived ingredients. The company aims to go on an organic movement with their consumers, promoting cleaner ingredients and emphasizing the use of active ingredients instead of synthetic or harmful toxic compounds to achieve the natural beauty they desire.

As Clean Beauty takes shape in the industry, there is an opportunity for beauty brands to provide safe and toxin-free products that speaks of the same au naturel quality. In other categories like baby care, Belly Buttons & Babies has adopted the same practice in having botanically-based formulas in their 100% natural and non-toxic products that are safe for babies and toddlers. 

Athleisure Beauty: Look Fresh While Breaking a Sweat

With athleisure taking flight in the fashion industry with big brands like Nike and Lululemon driving the trend, it comes with no surprise that consumers are looking at their beauty products to match this lifestyle. From social listening, athleisure beauty is commonly associated with words such as “workout”, “activewear” and “athletic”. As wearing makeup is commonly known to harm the skin when exercising, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to create a new series of products formulized to solve this problem. Consumers would still be able to look good and express themselves without the effects of clogged skin during exercise. Moreover, these products are also enhanced with nutrients or benefits to target specific post-exercising skin problems faced by consumers.

(From L to R) Tarte’s Hustle & Glow Athleisure Line, Clinique’s CliniqueFit Series for Workout and Mio’s Gym Kit

Some of the reputable brands who have adopted this strategy are Tarte Cosmetics and Clinique. Tarte Cosmetics created their new line, Hustle and Glow, that is dedicated specifically for athletic consumers who value convenience and appropriate skincare that aligns with their active lifestyle. CliniqueFit has makeup products meant to be worn during workout that is said to be “Endurance Tested”, which channels into the long-lasting effect of the products without causing breakouts or clogging pores. Beauty brands like Mio, who targets body care, curated a gym kit, unlike an entire line of products, to solve consumers’ body-related issues during post workout. The kit includes products such as “Muscle Motivating Gel” and “Clean Slate Workout Swipes”. Aligned with the trend, the industry is observing beauty brands exploring the different aspects of beauty and introducing new athleisure beauty lines to allow consumers the chance to put on makeup even during workouts.

Gender Neutral Beauty: Supporting Inclusivity Through Products that Shows No Disparity Between Genders

As majority of brands in the beauty market have specific target gender audiences towards the beauty lines they carry, it is uncommon to see a brand that has one product line that caters to both. With the rise of awareness about diversity, fashion retailers are paving the way to address the gap in their own industries – H&M having unisex collections and Abercombie announcing its gender-neutral line for kids to educate them in the crucial stage of self-development. Beauty brand like Glamglow has also increase their inclusivity with their marketing campaign #menwhomask. There is a rise in consumer demands for more gender neutrality in brands, as consumers are becoming more aware and open to more inclusivity for all types of people. This does not just extend out to both men and women, but also to a niche crowd of consumers who may not feel tied to either genders stereotypes. 

Gender Neutral Beauty Brand Context & their monochrome packaging; Pantene and their #StrongerNow campaign featuring transgender beauty queen Kevin Balot, the face of Pantene Philippines.

Context Skincare drives a minimalist approach in its brand appeal - creating products that are not necessarily geared towards only male or female. The combination of ingredients that are used in their products are found to help combat skin conditions that both sexes face – repair, hydration, restorative etc. Moreover, the packaging only uses two colors - black and white - to reflect the simplicity and non-stereotypical colors perceived by the public to retain the neutrality of their brand image. Pantene, on the other hand, has refined beauty and reached a new crowd with their existing products –transgender consumers who struggle to find their footing in society. With the #StrongerNow campaign, the ad featured the brand’s first transgender woman, Kevin Balot, to represent the brand. Pantene wanted their products to help any individual to build confidence and be comfortable in their own skin, expelling any gender restrictions or stereotypes that may make them feel marginalized by typical social standards.

Gender-neutrality is taking over the beauty industry with more brands coming up with new innovations beyond skincare and makeup. The body care category sees brands like Everyday Oil market its product as an all-in-one oil suitable for everyone and for every occasion - it could be used as a face oil, cuticle oil or even a deep conditioner.

Consumers’ Preference for Beauty Products Depends on Shared Values

Beauty is not only skin deep. At least the market has proved that it is starting to embrace the changing consumer perceptions. Brands are becoming more attuned with the consumer insights associated to macro beauty trends that in turn drive purchases. Behind these trends, sustainability, comfort and gender equality, are all very real issues that are forging relevance in not just the beauty scene, but society at large. Brands that have achieved realization of these underlying shared values and pain points are able to channel and align these values into their offerings to deliver something that the consumers believe in. Isn’t it better to not have to convince the consumers of what they need, but to have them be drawn to the brand with the same shared belief?

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