In Exclusives, Insight, Trend

For every trend, there is a counter-trend, meaning that there is constant jostling for a clear message. Many brands are desperately hoping that if they say a thing is a trend long enough and hard enough, it will become one! Who knows, maybe that’s how they happen. Ultimately, brands are still gripping beauty consumers like a vice—they’re not letting go of you til they’ve tipped you upside down and shaken you so that every last penny falls from your pockets. So, here we go: my trend roundup—it’s not exhaustive, but it takes into account the industry buzz and whispers with a few helpful tip-offs.

GADGETS & APPS

Mintel always has its finger on the pulse of trends—in terms of beauty gadgets, they predict such innovations as hair grips that measure hydration and virtual mirrors. The Nail Printer (a device that paints your nails for you via an in-store machine) is still being hailed as a forthcoming trend, but it has been for several years now. Maybe 2017 will finally be the year! Gadgets for tooth whitening and hair removal are still being improved and refined as people become shorter on time to get professional treatments. What’s clear from all the tech predictions is that apps and gadgets are aiming to replace people interactions, which is entirely at odds with the “slow” retail (see Shopping below) experience being heavily invested in. Gadgets become ever more effective and affordable as the market hots up competitively to the detriment of services, again, completely at odds with the heavy investment in services apps. Apps such as Modiface let you see your hair or eyes a different color, how you’d look with whiter teeth, and so on, allowing you to try before you buy while avoiding “human” contact. Look out for beauty ingredient checker apps that let you thoroughly investigate a product before you buy it, and audio beauty tutorials for the visually impaired, currently trialed in Brazil by Maybelline.

STILL KOREA

The Korean beauty floodgates are beginning to open thanks to better distribution channels becoming available for e.g., Tony Moly (just opened a US freestanding store), and where one goes, others will follow. Korean beauty isn’t new news but it’s far from mainstream in the UK. What we’ve seen so far has been only the tip of the iceberg, and the K trend is forging on. Selfridges is investing in K Beauty (currently Tony Moly, Too Cool For School, home-grown Oh K) expanding mid-2017 with many more brands still to come, and we can’t forget about Sephora’s UK launch in the New Year. Sephora was an early adopter of K Beauty, stocking brands such as Son & Park, Touch In Sol, and Chosungah 22. In terms of formulation, if you’re still reeling over the advent of sheet masks, brace yourself! “Morning” cleansers, specially adapted to wake up sleepy skin, all-in-one double cleansers, and skin sticker mask patches to spot-hydrate are all in the cards. Keep your eyes on Soko Glam, a US online K Beauty retailer making all the cool discoveries, and cult product 24/7 Touch Up—nobody can quite explain what it does but everyone wants it anyway. Also note Maybelline’s ColorBlur by Lip Studio (not yet in the UK)—a lip product that lets you easily create the ombre Japanese Korean lip look with a central blushed core that gets paler towards the edge of the lip.

INCLUSIVE BEAUTY

You might have spotted Gary (aka Plastic Boy) in the L’Oréal True Match campaign and noticed the significant amount of men who are entrancing the beauty—not grooming—market. Manny MUA is another example, as is Jeffree Star, and they’re all at the forefront of creating a fluidity in attitude about who and what makeup is for. Embracing all cultures is another inclusive trend—the beauty world has woken up to the fact that you don’t have to neutralize your culture, diversity, or sexuality for beauty looks; brands are starting to embrace and accommodate. So, the overall trend is inclusivism, acceptance, and perception challenging. In the US, Covergirl featured its first Coverboy, James Charles, while True Match featured a woman in a hajib.

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