The COVID-19 pandemic had undeniably changed beauty consumption. And experts also believed it would continue to define industry for years to come. But after 18-months of challenges and widespread adjustments, there were some important movements opening up plenty of opportunities for growth and success.
Our CosmeticsDesign global editors had already identified their 15 Global Beauty Trends to Watch in 2022 in our annual video, with back to science, skin 2.0 and upcycled ingredients just a taste of what had been forecast. But here, CosmeticsDesign-Europe caught up with Michelle Chavez, global trend expert and forecaster at Avon, to find out what it considered were the biggest trends to watch.
Beauty as therapy – self-care for the ‘sensorially starved’
“One of the biggest trends that we’ve seen from the beginning of the pandemic, and just continuing to evolve as we’ve been through it, is this idea of beauty as therapy,” Chavez said.
“Self-care became so important at the very beginning of the pandemic. It was so important at the very beginning because people underwent this immense pressure on their mental health and there was very little we could do externally to try and alleviate that pressure. We couldn’t go out with our friends, go have a drink, have dinner, go shopping, and so we had to look at what we could do in the four walls of our home, and beauty came to the rescue really.”
Consumer started to use beauty as a healthy coping mechanism to “stay present in the moment and not get too caught up with what was happening outside”, she said. Scented shower gels and time bathing took on new meanings for people looking to escape reality, she said, and the textures, fragrances and feelings beauty products gave took on new importance given everyone was so “sensorially starved”, she said.
Most importantly, Chavez said this happened on a “very global” scale, thrusting beauty as therapy into the spotlight in a phenomenal and mass-scale way.
“Beauty brought us together in a way that nothing really ever has in a time that we’ve never needed it as much,” she said.
Skin, bath and body care strong with fragrance to become ‘powerful’
So, had any specific segment of beauty taken on more importance in the self-care shift?
“So, we saw a surge in skin care for sure. People were really taking the time to take care of their skin (…) We also saw a surge in body products, as well as bath products. The bathroom really became our escape; it became the place we went to when we couldn’t go anywhere else,” she said.
Use of skin, bath and body products was providing consumers “physical respite” but also a “mental break”, she said.
Avon’s Planet Spa range tapped into this well, for example, with its collection of sensorial bath and body products to help consumers unwind and relax, she said. Its ‘sleep ritual’ range specifically aimed to create a “twilight ritual” that helped transitioned between awake and sleep – an increasingly important opportunity in the wider beauty space, she said.
And moving forward into 2022, Chavez said fragrance would also gain importance in the beauty as therapy trend because of the “power of scent” on people’s moods, focus and ability to relax. “I think we’ve really come to understand that fragrance is a powerful tool to help in this self-care movement.”
Avon’s first ever parfum launch this year made using upcycled vanilla bean, Far Away Beyond, was therefore an important launch for the brand, she said, as it played directly into self-care.
And this self-care movement was certainly set to stay for some time, she said. “Self-care will remain a priority because it’s so instrumental to the overall idea of health and wellbeing which we now understand to be very important. So, yes, I believe this is a trend that’s going to stick around.”
Skin health – a shift from anti-ageing to ‘authentic ageing’
Another “enormous” beauty trend that was set to continue to evolve, Chavez said, was the focus on skin health.
“We’ve really seen a pivot from the idea of anti-ageing into a more accepting conversation around authentic ageing. And rather than trying to undo and reverse the look of your skin or the impact of ageing on your skin, there’s been a much more positive conversation on the state of the health of your skin,” she said.
This trend was being fuelled by the increased focus on wider health and immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, as beauty consumers looked to nourish their skin.
Avon’s director of global skin care and trend innovation Anthony Gonzalez previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe the term ‘anti-ageing’ was set to disappear from beauty altogether within the next three years – a notion Chavez agreed with. “There will be a transition of language and claims language,” she said.
Addressing skin health was therefore a key priority for Avon, she said, and its new brand Nutra Effects had been designed to tap into this. The brand’s latest ‘oxypure’ range, for example, incorporated an ‘oxygenating complex’ made from a blend of sea algae and soybean that acted as an anti-pollution filer and aimed to “breath life back into your skin”, she said.
“The end benefits of healthy skin, radiant skin and clean skin I think are prominent, very important benefits to consumers right now.”
Return of colour – transfer-proof makeup that brings back joy
The final key beauty trend shaping today’s market, Chavez said, was the return of colour.
Whilst the colour cosmetics category had taken a significant hit early on during the pandemic, with travel bans, lockdowns and protective face mask coverings hitting sales hard, she said consumers were returning to this space, seeking out joy.
“We’re going to see this roaring 20s effect as colour and play return to cosmetics,” she said.
“…In one regard, it’s really because people are now starting to use beauty for themselves rather than others. Lipstick is one of those examples: you put on lipstick and it automatically makes you feel better, whether or not you are going to see other people.”
But there had also been a lot of recent innovation in the colour cosmetics space, she said, with long-wear and transfer-proof products being designed to be work with protective face masks and new ways of life post-pandemic. Avon, for example, had launched a Power Stay lip stain that was transfer-proof yet light, she said. “Being able to keep your mask on when you want to, and wear lipstick, really opens doors for people to enjoy lipstick again.”
And within the return of colour, Chavez said “conversations around diversity” were something industry ought to be increasingly focused on and get excited about.
“I think in the industry, it’s overdue. We’ve been working on skin care across a diverse number of tones and types for a very long time, but to see it really start to manifest in a wider way across industry is so exciting,” she said.
Lisa DiNatale, senior manager for clinical efficacy and claims at Avon, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that innovations around high-resolution 2D facial imaging for diverse skin tones was propelling NPD goals forward at Avon, and enabling it to advance faster with efficacy claims on products targeted a wider range of skin types and tones.
Reflecting on the three trends – beauty as therapy, skin health and the return of colour – Chavez said: “I think these things were bubbling ahead of the pandemic, but I think the pandemic accelerated and really cemented the need for these shifts in the industry.”