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Industry • Best Practice

4 Consumer Behavior Trends the Beauty Industry Should Watch in 2021

Follow these tips to ensure your business is keeping pace with the evolving definition of beauty.

Consumers look to businesses for help braving new beauty and fashion frontiers and finding the cutting edge of self-care, so it’s up to industry leaders to guide them in the right direction. That’s why regardless of your business focus, beauty professionals should brush up on the latest trends in order to stay at the cutting edge of the $500+ billion industry.

Here are four trends to brush up on so you can keep your clients in the know:

Beauty Industry Trend #1: Sustainability & Ethics

Today’s consumers vote with their dollars, and they’re more likely to open their wallets for beauty businesses that align with their values. Sustainability and ethics factor into virtually every aspect of the beauty industry, so they’re #1 on our list. From packaging to product ingredients and manufacturing systems to business principles, there are countless ways for beauty companies to introduce sustainability and ethics into their processes: 

  • Good for people: Focus on natural, plant-based ingredients that are organic and free of harmful chemicals wherever possible

  • Good for the planet: Pay attention to eco-friendly packaging, reducing water consumption, and limiting or counteracting carbon emissions

  • Responsibly made: Introduce responsibility at every stage, from ethically sourcing ingredients to eliminating animal testing and ensuring all employees are respected

  • Transparent: Be specific in defining your business: clean, green, natural, slow, and blue beauty trends all mean different things and imply different principles.

Our Tip: Stock your shelves with natural products to put sustainability front and center!

Beauty Industry Trend #2: Inclusivity

To be on-trend in 2021, beauty businesses should work to make beauty accessible, inviting, and enjoyable for all kinds of people. Consumers want to see real-life beauty captured in all its forms, with cellulite and stretch marks, scars and blemishes, gray hair, and wrinkles. Gone are the days of serving only one kind of woman; people of all genders are turning to the beauty industry for opportunities to pamper and adorn themselves in ways that align with their self-expression. In addition to gender-neutral beauty businesses, those that cater specifically to men are on the rise.

In this way, consumers are demanding an expansion of the fundamental definition of beauty, and businesses need to evolve to keep up. Fenty Beauty has been credited widely with pushing the industry toward inclusivity, for example. Whereas businesses once limited their products and services to lighter shades, reflecting a broad range of skin tones and hairstyles is the way forward for beauty brands in 2021

Our Tip: Have you thought about offering gender-neutral pricing for beauty services?

Beauty Industry Trend #3: Hyper-personalization

Direct-to-consumer DNA testing has been around for years, but it can tell a lot more about a person than their genealogy. Hyper-personalization uses science to make self-care much more than skin-deep. Businesses that go this route will be able to create custom beauty products and services designed specifically for an individual customer’s unique genetic makeup.

Other tech-enabled personalization opportunities rely on less futuristic techniques. Smart mirrors, for example, can offer consumers personalized product recommendations based on the specifics of their skin or scalp health. At the same time, awareness of the microbiome will turn bacteria into a beauty buzzword as businesses treat the microorganisms that appear both in and on consumers’ bodies.

Our Tip: Help customers create completely unique interactions and experiences.

Beauty Industry Trend #4: Minimalism

Where once the gold standard of skincare involved complicated 10-step regimens, the prevailing trend today is that simpler is better. Ever since skip-care emerged as a popular K-beauty trend in 2019, minimalism has been catching on in the United States and around the world. The basic idea of this trend is to use fewer products to achieve the same goal of glowing, healthy, protected skin, hair, and nails.

Beauty businesses that adopt this minimalist approach to beauty should focus on multi-purpose products that can help consumers complete their beauty routines in fewer steps. Instead of mandating complex step-by-step processes, businesses need to support consumers in developing the simplified and personalized regimens that work for them as individuals. 

Bonus Points: Minimalism cuts down on excess, so this trend boosts sustainability too.

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