Skincare now goes well beyond the famous ‘cleanse, tone, moisturise’ template. Over the last several years, the industry has steadily upped the ante to meet demand from a growing base of skincare superfans. Ravenous for access to the latest science and the most effective formulas, these superfans can rattle off ingredient names like ‘bakuchiol’ and ‘niacinamide’ without missing a beat. This dedication to skincare, especially among Millennials and Gen Z, is so strong, it can nearly be considered a generational value—a hugely thriving subculture at the very least. Within this world, people take great pride in honing their daily routines and arranging their product collection for ‘shelfies.’ Whether its aging concerns or that much-desired ‘glow’, people today are more invested in the health and appearance of their skin than they ever have been. And, despite the unprecedented amount of information to sift through, many are more than willing to do their homework.
In one survey of Gen Z and Millenials, the majority reported they would prefer to spend their money on skincare over makeup. This ethos of putting your best skin forward, rather than feeling obligated to cover it up with makeup, has gained a lot of traction in recent years. It also changes the role of makeup for young people, making it more about self-expression. Beloved direct-to-consumer brand, Glossier, was entirely founded on this ‘skin first, make-up second’ principle and sells a paired back range of playful products. Younger people especially have become much more interested in nailing down the most potent skin care formulas, rather than trusting that the most expensive brands are best. Disruptor brands like The Ordinary, who describes its products as ‘clinical formulations with integrity’ has built its success by offering incredibly affordable products that lead with single reputable ingredients like hyaluronic acid or Vitamin C. Beauty Pie is ‘the first luxury beauty product buyers’ club’ where members gain access to what they deem comparably effective products, manufactured in the same labs, without the ‘staggering mark-ups.’ All this momentum around skincare has caused many beauty brands with an original focus on cosmetics, like e.l.f. to pivot towards skincare. Charlotte Tilbury, renowned for her work as a professional makeup artist originally, has had great success in skincare. This year, her Magic Serum Crystal Elixir won a Marie Claire Skin Award for best ‘day serum.’
Consumers have taken a greater interest in understanding, not just the general principles of skincare, but discovering what makes their skin unique. A study found that the global market for personalized beauty is projected to increase from $38 billion to $72 billion from 2019 to 2028. The Skin Nerd Network, founded in Ireland by Jennifer Rock, allows people to book one-to-one virtual skincare consultations with experts, who educate and advise on a personal routine. AI technology is also progressing to help people evaluate and monitor their skin from a smart device. Neutrogena’s Skin360 Face Scanner app scans, scores, and tracks a user’s skincare progress with coaching from a digital assistant. Atolla takes it a step further by blending custom serums for each of its customers. There has also been a rise, in what some are calling ‘DIY dermatology’, and a number of devices such as Facelite, Foreo UFO 2, GLOPRO, and NuFace Trinity which give people access to treatments such as phototherapy, microneedling, and microcurrent toning at home.
Even the most fervent skincare superfans still need guidance. Brands should be conscious that the role of credible influencers on social media is key. Authorities who span from beauty journalists, to estheticians, to licensed dermatologists, translate the jargon and review the latest launches. Brands should also take note that predictions for the future of skincare are trending towards simplification. However, while consumers may be finally moving away from an arduous 10-step skincare routine, their expectations are at an all-time high. They want fewer products without compromising results. Like what is currently afoot across a number of industries, they want less, but better.
Join us for the final in the series of Future of events on Tuesday, 1st December, at 12 noon, where we will discuss The Future of Beauty and Personal Care with a panel of industry experts. To register, click here.