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2020’s Personal Care Trends for Product Innovation

Today’s personal care industry is in the midst of a modern day renaissance. From sourcing to formulation, manufacturing to consumer use, new innovations in beauty care are hitting the market every single day.

Some of this innovation comes from societal concerns — sustainability, social welfare, resource management. Some of it comes from imagination — approaching a familiar habit with new ideas. Some of it even comes as a result of a changing regulatory environment (think CBD, baby).

Whatever the source, innovation helps drive our industry forward. There are some impressive innovation trends to watch for in 2020:

Innovating Personal Care for the Soul

We’ve moved beyond the Me Generation and into to the Generations of Me. Across all demographics, consumers are approaching personal care as more than just the habits we have and the products we use.

Personal care is becoming a holistic concept, blending together our mindfulness, what we eat, and how we conduct ourselves, with the ingredients that go into the brands we consume.

For more and more people, personal care is just as much about appearance as it is about forgiving life’s stresses and creating time for oneself

Companies that are successfully connecting with today’s customers are addressing epigenetics, sleep rhythms, and other wellness perspectives into the products they make. They are formulating a connection that compliments our genomic makeup with the goal of supporting or enhancing our bodies natural abilities to heal and repair.

Skin care can expect to see the most revolution, having been a segment of the industry that has already started moving beyond traditional glamour. Dove made a name for itself emphasizing beauty that reflects our chi and how we can start to drop external stigmas and pressure.

Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder, it’s also in how we behold ourselves.

Innovating an Industry of Clean Beauty

As consumers become more woke, they are paying as much attention to the products they use as they are to the ingredients in them. This growing scrutiny has defined a clean movement and what it means to be toxic.

This trend of course has been on the rise for years, but what’s shifting today is how we define the standard. The challenge is a lack of across-the-board definitions. Up until now, brands have been creating their own to suit their needs, but we expect a shift towards the adoption of industry-wide standards.

This shift also includes a focus on natural, green, and cruelty-free products. Consumers are savvy about the make up of their makeup, and how a product can have an impact the environment in which we live.

Acure’s ultra-hydrating shampoo openly promotes internal data on water consumption, where their ingredients are farmed, and how they are made vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

Science is continuing to make advancements towards this cause. We will see a greater push for natural and environmentally-friendly extraction processes like Sederma’s use of super critical CO2 (versus traditional harsh solvents) to obtain apium graveolens for their Apiscalp ingredient (designed to provide scalp comforting benefits).

Brands focused on green principles will expand their influence on the industry — and in the next decade — bring a standard of green that operates on all levels.

Innovating Nutraceuticals into Our Topicals

Formulations that meet these eco objectives have the added benefit of providing a connection between the health and wellness outside and inside our bodies.

The use of nutraceuticals and superfoods in personal care and beauty products will continue to grow, mimicking the rise we’ve seen in the food industry. This year will bring ingredients like seaweed, kelp, jackfruit, and vegetable waters to the forefront of product formulation.

Innovating our Connection with Microbiomes

As we continue to learn about the strong correlation between our skin bacteria and our overall topical health, personal care products that promote a balanced microbiome will be on the uptrend. Scientists have been studying this field for decades, but we are only beginning to understand the diversity of our microbiota, and how it affects our overall wellness.

Brands are recognizing that our skin has a deep connection to the wellness inside our bodies

Innovating a New Regulatory Affair

In the beauty space, brands are used to competing against a landscape of disruptors, and we often find ourselves with ingredients that disrupt as well. Formulators in every segment of personal care have been working to understand and capitalize on the benefits of a specific extract, cannabidiol.

CBD, hemp, and other cannabis related ingredients have experienced exponential growth just over the past few years. Federal laws have been changed to allow for non-psychoactive components to be used in research and product development, adding to a whole new segment in health and wellness.

What we have still, are regulatory challenges and a lack of published data on the science behind the topical benefits of CBD. We have some understanding of the benefits, but still have much more work to do in the next decade on understanding the full impact of these new ingredients. Expect CBD to be a topic of conversation at every formulation seminar this year.

Cannuka’s product line touts the calming benefits of CBD with the humectant properties of manuka honey

Innovating Personalization with Technology

Since today’s consumers are entrenched in their personal genomics, companies have a great interest in showing products that are individually tailored. Customers can now pick and choose solutions-based kits or receive formulations tailored from data-based platforms. We can even chose our packaging or have products branded with customized labels.

This tailorization not only matches customers with more appropriate products, but builds brand loyalty, increases customer satisfaction, and enables a powerful data collection apparatus.

Atolla is an MIT-born machine-learning algorithm that translates data into customized skin care. Starting with an analysis kit, serums are developed based on a person’s unique oil, pH, and moisture levels.

The subscription-based segment has been particularly quick to adapt to this mindset, offering kits for a completely unique personal care routine. Some brands have begun to offer customers the ability to purchase added ampoules with tailored additives for extra efficacy.

Advanced technology has brought the science lab to our bathrooms, allowing for scans of a person’s face to determine moisture levels or DNA characteristics. L’Oréal has developed Perso, a three-in-one device that uses a camera, breezometer, and personal preferences to formulate a one-of-a-kind, single-dose application right in front of you.

This trend will continue to expand as companies that are matching technology with formulation tend to outperform those that have not yet adapted.

Perso, by L’Oréal

Innovating in the Age of Conscious Beauty

About more than just the environment, our collective shift towards a more sustainable future has influenced every part of how we act as consumers.

We are more passionate about our footprint and are concerned with how today’s actions can affect the ecology, social welfare, and economics across the globe. This passion has led to a worldwide Conscious Beauty movement.

Formulating and manufacturing from a sustainability perspective is not new, but is growing at the fastest rate we’ve ever seen. Companies have made big commitments to reducing their footprint and contributing to the greater good.

Seed Phytonutrients offer the first-ever shower-friendly paper bottle, made out of 100% post-consumer materials

We will see innovations that continue this movement — waterless products, upcycled packaging, energy-efficient manufacturing, and waste reduction programs. Clariant, a Swiss-based chemical company is touting the upcycling of a citrus extract from unripe green citrus unshiu. Normally harvested only to boost tree growth, this fruit is instead collected and processed into an extract rich in synephrine and hesperidin.1

Brands are also finding value in the marketing and notoriety of these programs, and are establishing foundations to further their cause. Sustainability is no longer an afterthought, it’s a priority.

It’s easy to highlight the amazing innovations expected this year, but harder to predict their exact impact on our industry. Yes, sustainable manufacturing is expected to grow, but it’s impossible to see exactly how that will affect corollary practices ten, twenty, or even fifty years from now.

With more being given back to the communities in which a product is sourced, advancements in chemical manufacturing focusing more on natural than synthetic, and imagining the impossible in what we can do in the digital age, we can certainly say personal care is moving in an upward direction.

We are embarking on an exciting new era of discovery, and one that will forever change the way we see ourselves, access the beauty within us, and cement our contribution in a world more connected than ever.

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