Opinion

The beauty landscape explained

15 August, 2019 Share socially

Environmental sustainability is sweeping the cosmetics industry. Do you think brands need to take notice?

The beauty industry, like many others, did not pay attention to the environment for years, but it is becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. It is true to say that this has been driven largely by consumers. There have been numerous studies which show that people are prepared to pay more for their beauty products as long as they have a positive impact on the environment and on communities.

How does this trend translate for brands?

First of all, we see real progress being made with many brands adopting recyclable, reusable packaging. It is now so intrinsic to some brands that it makes you wonder how they ever succeeded without it.

What is especially interesting to see is that the majority of players in the sector are now interested in sustainability, whether they have a luxury positioning or not. However, communicating this differs across the sector, as more ‘mainstream’ brands tend to value the eco-responsibility of their packaging from their consumers, but premium brands less so.

Beyond that, beauty professionals are increasingly aware of the issue of recycling or recovery of waste. The luxury perfume brand Sana Jardin, which owns its own flower fields in Morocco, gives the local populations unused materials so that they can be turned into candles, for example, and can therefore be sold later. There are also some fantastic ‘water-free’ initiatives that aim to reduce the consumption of water in formulas.

The business model is changing and brands are wondering how to be more responsible right across the value chain.

The beauty landscape explained
Sana Jardin, which owns its own flower fields in Morocco, gives the local populations unused materials, so that they can be turned into products that can be sold

Do you think that, in the long term, brands will continue to communicate their actions in favour of nature and sustainability?

This answer is completely my opinion, but I think that over time, the issue of environmental commitment will become a prerequisite, so it will no longer be a differentiating element or a sales argument. Eco-responsibility is not a trend in itself, it is now a necessity.

What are the important factors that have brought this green revolution to the cosmetics sector?

In addition to the fact that environmental issues are increasingly important, it is obvious that the application of decryption formulas have pushed the industry towards a cosmetic products that are more ‘clean’ and more ‘natural’.

Young creators are also reshuffling the cards. In recent years, many niche brands have emerged, led by founders with strong convictions who operate in a cosmetics industry that now offers a wealth of innovations - allowing new talent to invent their own models and respond more directly to consumer expectations.

There is also a lot of talk in cosmetics at the moment about the fashion of customization?

What is interesting is to look across various trends and realize that they are sometimes related. The phenomenon of "beauty on demand" is related to the trend of naturalness. The combined offer of cosmetics made to order and made to the profile of the consumer allows brands to reach the individual more precisely, and it also prevents overproduction and therefore waste.

Is personalization here to stay or does it risk disappearing over time?

It's not an one-off. On the contrary, I think this trend will settle over time. When you think about it, it's intrinsically linked to a human need to feel unique. On the other hand, for this to work with the consumer, having a good marketing tool is not enough, you have to offer real expertise and efficiency. Today, the majority of personalization services are based on online declarative questionnaires, the results are therefore biased. But with scientific and technological advances, personalization will take leaps forward and has many good years ahead of it.

As a specialist, what advice would you give to a new brand that wants to go into cosmetics?

Although this is my job, the first recommendation I would give would not necessarily be branding or communication. I believe that to succeed today and win a place in the market, it is imperative to deliver real results and a superior quality of care. Consumers do not let themselves be fooled by well-crafted but inauthentic marketing. In my opinion, a brand that does not have extensive expertise has no chance to break through nowadays.

How do you see the beauty market today?

It's a market that is a little dizzy as it swarms with new ideas that hatch every day. But today, I see it mainly as a lever for societal change. It is a good thing that the sector has turned its focus towards ethics, responsibility, inclusivity ... it shows a conscience and demonstrates it is embracing real cultural issues.

Moreover, we can see changes in communication strategy as we move away from plastic and see trends that converge on simplicity and self-acceptance, such as the Beauty Rejecters in Asia (a concept where a complete detox of skincare is done for one week per month).

The beauty landscape explained

Do you think the world of beauty should be the bearer of any societal revolution?

It can and it should! From the moment where we have such an impact in society, we are obligated to convey ethical values. Some studies show that consumers trust brands more than policy makers to make real changes for the community. When we know that, I think we have no choice but to assume our role and to fully commit ourselves.

We will be publishing our report on The Future of Beauty by FutureBrand Paris in September.