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Has Covid revolutionized consumers’ relation to beauty?

Alissa Demorest

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Has Covid revolutionized consumers’ relation to beauty?

The health pandemic has operated a sea change on the make-up and skincare markets. From individualism and inclusiveness to unbridled creativity, the color cosmetics playing field for brands is wide open. These are just a few of the learnings from the opening conference of this week’s MakeUp in Paris show presented by Leila Rochet, Founder of market consultancy Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation.

“Covid has had a profound impact on the make-up market resulting in a new kind of experimentation and novel consumer habits. In terms of demand, in the US, we’re seeing veritable thirst for cosmetics products, with 40% of consumers saying they are more open to newness in their color products than they were pre-crisis,” noted Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation Founder Leila Rochet at the opening conference of the MakeUp in Paris show. “Beauty has changed faces, pushed by social networks and young Gen Z consumers with a model that is more authentic. Brands need to target their message not simply to ‘consumers’ as they would have pre-crisis, but to ‘individuals’.” And this individualism is being expressed in a rich streak of creativity.

To better understand the changing demands of today’s beauty consumers, Rochet highlighted four major trends to watch.

  1. Radical Traceability

While pre-pandemic consumers were already concerned with traceability in their products, the health crisis has accelerated this with traceability now an essential part of a brand’s proposition. This concerns not just ingredients, but also packaging. “The make-up consumer wants to see what’s happening behind the scenes; they are seeking more honesty from brands. Transparency is now preliminary to mindful consumption,” explains Rochet.

  1. From Skinification to Healthification

The health crisis has made preventative care paramount in the consumers’ beauty routine. For skincare brands this means referring to the skin as a ‘preventive’ organism. “The market is seeing significant growth in skincare items that preserve and protect the skin, as illustrated by those said to protect the microbiome and promote it as a safeguard from the adverse effects of stress and other factors.”

  1. From Sustainability to Eco-celebration

Sustainability needs to be made more “desirable”. Eco-designed packaging, such as refills or the way in which retailers are merchandising bulk products in-store, should be thought out to appeal to the sensorial and aesthetic senses. Brands can no longer rely on their ecological claims to attract the consumer. How, for example, can brands make buying in bulk a truly luxurious experience? There is ample work to be done here.

  1. From Lockdown Beauty to Unleashing Freedom

During the successive lockdowns, consumers let their imaginations run wild and broadcast the results on social media. Wildly experimental looks and colors never seen before (it’s easier to take risks from the safety of one’s home!) were spotted online in the make-up realm, but there was also much creativity in skincare and even improbable sectors like pastry. “We’ve seen a veritable ‘tik-tokization’ of the beauty industry, a blend of digital and reality: colors that pop, textures that invite one to film or even taste them. Brands need to get involved with this explosion of creativity!” enthuses Rochet.

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