Six beauty and wellness trends retailers should consider this year

kellye whitney

In July, representatives from Advantage Solutions’ Beauty Center of Excellence sales team attended Cosmoprof North America, a leading B2B beauty trade show, in Las Vegas. Now in its 19th year, some 32,000 beauty retailers, investors, distributors and suppliers mingled with more than 1,100 brands exhibiting their products. The show offered a look at the best the beauty industry has in key segments from skin, hair and nail care to toiletries, organic beauty products, tools, accessories and professional retail and distribution.

The Beauty Center of Excellence team took note of new beauty brands on the market, some revolutionary technologies and product innovations, and examined new channels for manufacturing and packaging. Here are six trends they believe will shape the beauty and wellness market this year.

Hold the water: Removing water in beauty and wellness products is increasingly popular, and the focus has widened to address the water consumers use in the sink or shower. At the cross-section of health and beauty, water filters remove chemicals and contaminates from our water supply to create healthier skin and hair and promote holistic wellness. Brands are also adding skincare ingredients like vitamin C and aromatherapy scents to amplify positive outcomes and sensorial experiences.

Made for melanin: Melanin-rich solutions across all beauty categories were considered important enough for Cosmoprof exhibitors to create a ”Discover Black-Owned Beauty” section at the show. Some two dozen passionate brand founders tied personal experiences to expert-led formulas created to address the unique skin needs in this often-underserved consumer segment.

“It was really pleasant to see a lot of manufacturers think of the consumer base beyond the traditional European Caucasian,” says Tom Moran, vice president of beauty, health and wellness, Advantage Solutions. “But this isn’t multicultural. It’s polycultural. Don’t put people in buckets. Start thinking mainstream. Start talking about hair textures and skin types.

“Our vision at Advantage has been that regardless of hair texture or skin tone, beauty products should be incorporated by need state within a main set. In other words, if you have different pigment or skin texture, you shouldn’t have to go over to that 4-foot section between auto and hardware in a store to find your products.”

“Techspert” tools: Advancements in beauty technology mean there are more professional-grade solutions for at-home use. Driven by consumers increasing value on skin health and appearance, red light, wave frequency and temperature tools were show highlights. Instead of addressing a single concern, these versatile beauty tools have multiple attachments and modes to cater to users’ diverse needs.

Cosmetic procedure-lite: Alongside beauty tools, there was also a significant increase in cosmetic procedure-related products. These solutions addressed how to attain procedure-like results as well as the care needed after someone has a cosmetic procedure. Collagen production, peels, fine line reduction and plumping were also popular themes for at-home fixes.

“More products answer a specific need as brands drift toward beauty-health solutions, especially around dermatology,” says Moran. “Is it a pigmentation problem? Is it a scar? Is it aging, dryness, what is the need state? How do we make this more of a medical solution for you to enhance beauty? We’re seeing more and more brands ask consumers to ‘tell me what your problem is, and I’ve got an elixir for you.’”

Sensitive beauty: Thanks to the rising number of consumers who suffer from skin sensitivity and skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis, products with alternative active ingredients and gentler formulas are more popular and essential than ever. Solutions in this trend cover almost all beauty categories, including nail care, hair, cosmetics and skincare. For instance, how to repair and increase function for the microbiome is a popular theme for consumers who want to maintain optimal skin health.

“Our retailer and brand partners are looking for sustainable, clean products,” says Robin Wethli, director of Advantage Solutions’ Beauty Center of Excellence. “These days people don’t want to put a lot of chemicals on, or in, their bodies. They want to make sure that the products they’re using are pure.”

Joy and fun: Successful brands create powerful emotions in order to connect with consumers in more meaningful ways. In that vein, maximalism, play and joy are driving packaging trends and product innovation as consumers look for relief from a deluge of images associated with a minimalist perfectionist aesthetic that is waning in popularity. Gen Z in particular cares about self-expression and individuality, and brands are offering customization, bold brand colors and whimsical packaging to address consumers’ desires.