2023: Cosmetic trends in review

2023: Cosmetic trends in review

2023 has been an economically and logistically challenging year for most industries, yet the personal care market continues to grow in revenue and exciting product launches. As 2023 draws to a close, what exciting innovations and trends did we see in the personal care and cosmetics industry that have kept it so resilient and strong? Read on to find out!

Buzzword for 2023: Sustainability.

Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of newly launched cosmetic ingredients and products in 2023 was to have a strong sustainability message. Cosmetic regulators are watching brands more vigilantly than ever for acts of greenwashing consumers, and now require brands to make clear messages about their sustainability.

Cosmetic brands will soon have an eco-scoring system on which to base their eco-conscious activities for even greater consumer transparency; in the meantime, cosmetic products with marketing messages of how they are sustainable, with input rates, are leading the way. If your brand has not responded with their own sustainability concepts, its time to move on this trend now – its only going to be more in demand in 2024.

Inclusivity now more popular than customization.

In recent years, we saw a growing trend toward giving consumers customizable, personalized products; however, 2023 saw a trend that shifts away from the individualization concept to one of inclusivity. Gender neutral cosmetic products and fragrances, formulas to address blended ethnicity and even marketing concepts to attract specific generations increased significantly, particularly in the Gen-Y demographic. If your brand was supplying customised cosmetic products never fear: think of how you can shift that individualised approach to be more inclusive and it will still be well received by your target market. If your cosmetic product range is very target market specific, now is a great time to broaden your appeal and make your newer formulas more inclusive to a larger audience.

Keep it simple.

There will always be a place for advanced formulations needing a variety of ingredients to achieve the best results; however 2023 was a year where keeping it simple appealed to a lot of consumers. Minimalist formulations have been used as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of multiple ingredient sourcing; while cold processing has increased in popularity as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing. Sourcing local ingredients and supporting local or remote communities also increased. All of these approaches helped make sourcing and logistics easier, whilst also boosting a brand’s message of sustainable practices and reinforcing their eco-conscious message.

Cosmetics for mental wellbeing.

Social media’s impact on the well being of an individual has been well documented. The personal care industry addressed this in 2023 with various launches to combat common ‘screen time’ phenomena:

  • selfie-ready and instant blur functional ingredients are now more present in make-up;
  • actives with clinically proven blue light protection;
  • actives to help improve sensations of comfort on the skin and reduce the appearance of redness;
  • actives to support healthy sleep patterns (and/or aromatic principles to do the same).

While the clinical evidence behind how these actives benefit the mind-skin connection, just remember to be careful what advertising claims you intend to make about mental well-being messages.

Ancient plants for today’s concerns.

Using natural extracts and oils in cosmetic formulas is nothing new; however 2023 saw a big increase in the promotion and launch of exotic, ancient and traditional medicine plant materials. Whilst these materials may have been around for thousands of years, the search for interesting product stories combined with the ongoing trend for all things natural, has meant incorporating these ingredients into personal care was an easy product story to communicate. The areas with the biggest appeal included Asia, the Amazon, and Australia; all regions with significant traditional uses and unique flora.

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp.

The mask-wearing days of COVID resulted in a lot of consumers paying more attention to their hair for self-expression. The link between maintaining good scalp health, and healthy hair, was an easy connection for consumers to understand. This has no doubt led to the large increase in scalp health products throughout 2023, to ensure nutrients get delivered directly to the root of any problems for the best visible hair results.

Stem cells and senescence.

Where proteins, collagen and peptides were the trending actives of 2022, 2023 saw a resurgence of interest in stem cells and an even newer approach to defy ageing: combating cell senescence.

While plant stem cell cultures in personal care formulas help restore the activity of epidermal cells to a more youthful state, certain other actives have clinically proven results to delay and even halt skin cell senescence (the rate of ageing).

Proteins, collagen and peptides continue to be favoured for a considerable improvement to the anti-ageing appearance of the skin, however the 2023 interest in stem cells and cosmetic ingredients to combat cell senescence are definitely the hot and trending actives to investigate.

Microbiome makes it big.

Scientists continue to release new findings – and active ingredients – to support a healthy microbiome. This sector of cosmetic ingredients became even more diverse during 2023: incorporating actives to deal with acne, scalp health, various aspects of skin health, body odour, oral care and mouth odour, and even feminine hygiene.

How did your brand score?

How many of these trends did your cosmetic brand implement during 2023? Remember, some of the best sources to keep abreast of the latest cosmetic trends are to subscribe to cosmetic journals and e-news, attend your nearest in-cosmetic events, and speak with your cosmetic ingredient suppliers about any new launches.

Stay tuned as we get ready to share hints about what’s instore for 2024…

Happy formulating!

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Belinda is the Director of Institute of Personal Care Science, leaders in on-line Internationally Recognised Training for Cosmetic Formulation and Regulatory Affairs. She holds a Bachelor of Natural Therapies, Diploma of Cosmetic Science and Certificate in Training and Assessment. She has written 5 books on Cosmetic Formulation from Beginners through to Advanced levels as well as Organic and Colour Cosmetic Formulations and Brand Management. Belinda provides training to all levels of industry, from Beginners through to Advanced Diplomas both on-site and via distance. She has also developed thousands of personal care formulations and document dossiers over the years. She specialises in training on innovative and compliant product developments.

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