The beauty consumer is one of the most socially targeted, digitally educated, and engaged in the world, so 2020 will need a new approach to cater to those becoming weary of the hard sell. The Beauty Conversation experts forecast the emergence of the post-shelfie consumer, new skincare networks, and the rise of hyper-real technologies.
The Post-Shelfie Consumer, by Jessica L. Yarbrough, skincare and wellness journalist. In 2020 I think the shelfie will become passé. Last year it was a status symbol, but now we’ve reached peak “shelfie” and this year it will come to stand for everything that’s wrong with how the beauty industry has traditionally operated. Customers are force-fed too many unnecessary products wrapped up in excessive packaging, a model that’s detrimental to our skin and the planet. Consumers are already becoming more aware of this, and in 2020 they will start to move away from over-the-top skincare routines towards more sustainable, eco-friendly options. Beauty brands will have to pivot to cater to customers who are buying less, buying better—and no longer buying the industry’s bullshit. Beauty brands like LESSE, One Love Organics, and Meow Meow Tweet are already leading the way with minimal, sustainable products.
The Year We Sort Our Lips Out, by Katie Service, Editorial Director at Harrods and TBC co-founder. For the last decade, “getting your lips done” has meant one thing—a fast track to a bee-stung pout and a considerable fillers bill at the aesthetics clinic. From Leslie Ash’s cautionary tale to Kylie Jenner’s accidental lip suction trend and Love Island’s lippy look, we haven’t seen many truly positive or even “natural” lip care examples. I am betting 2020 is going to see the start of a new attitude and a new aesthetic. Just look at Gucci Beauty’s campaign which featured gap-toothed and crooked smiles. There’s also been a wave of new brand launches in the UK such as La Bouche Rouge with its customizable, vegan, refillable lipstick, and Tinker Taylor a high-end 3-step collection including a lip scrub oil and balm founded by Chanel makeup artist Zoe Taylor. The focus for 2020 will surely be more about loving, glossing up, and taking the time to care for the lips as a new skincare zone. We’ll still venture into volume (after all, fillers show no sign they’re slowing down), but expect to see an overall effect that feels less one size fits all.
Entrepreneurial Beauty Ambitions, by Yolanda O’Leary, brand strategist and TBC co-founder. We will see a new generation of beauty brands imitating the success of disruptive start-ups from other sectors, such as Fintech start-up Monzo who actively listen to and include their customers as shareholders. Tapping into this model, MyBeautyBrand launched at the end of 2019 with a customer-curated collection and a peer-to-peer selling model, while Beauty Backer is the first crowdfunding platform set up to connect beauty entrepreneurs with investors and beauty enthusiasts. The beauty sector is also gaining attention from Silicon Valley with a wave of new VC funds also emerging to invest in beauty. Pitchbook reports that 2018 was a record-breaking year in the number of VC deals closed with beauty companies, and 2020 could get even more competitive as brands look to stand out from the crowd.
Answering the Everyday Man by Lucie Greene, founder of Light Years. In 2020, men’s cosmetics will adopt more subtle and inclusive tactics as the category evolves to target the everyday man. As definitions of masculinity broaden, the “no-makeup makeup” look will go mainstream. It’s an evolution from men’s cosmetics that currently focus on fluidity—aka expression, beauty, and female representative styles, and fairly Gen Z oriented in positioning—to men’s cosmetics that are more simple and subtle perfectors for daily, neutral enhancement. Tom Ford and UK brands WarPaint and Shake-Up are already offering under-eye correctors, gentle foundations, and tinted moisturizers, and they are positioned as daily tools for men to look their best naturally, rather than “made up,” or using cosmetics for creativity.
The Rise of Dirty Beauty, by Navaz Batliwalla, fashion editor and TBC co-founder. Now that we are learning more about the skin microbiome and adopting a mantra that “not all bacteria are bad,” will we see less emphasis on germ-phobic and clean-centric language, such as “detoxing” skin and “clearing out” pores? In 2019, we saw Gen Zers push back against antiperspirant and deodorant use, happy to celebrate a more natural state of being. Shaving brands like Flamingo and Oui The People (formerly Oui Shave), have also shifted the narrative around hair removal towards something more nuanced, that doesn’t pitch body hair as unclean. In 2020, I expect to see a shift to understanding our own individual skin needs and an awareness of the perils of over-cleansing and harsh exfoliating. This might feel counterintuitive, but it will lead us to a more balanced approach to skincare.
Greater Spotlight on the Things We Don’t Talk About, by Emily Singer, brand enthusiast and founder of Chips and Dips newsletter. In the last year or so, I’ve noticed a steady stream of brands launching with products geared toward perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. There’s Rory from the team at Ro; Kindra, which was incubated by P&G and M13; and Ritual’s 50+ multivitamin. In creating products that target a specific audience during a specific phase in their life, brands are facilitating education and destigmatization. And it’s not just happening around menopause—Bodily makes products that support postpartum recovery, and Thinx’s incontinence line, Speax, is popular among women recovering from childbirth. This uptick aligns with the shift toward reproductive curiosity among women—they’re tracking ovulation cycles, freezing their eggs, and destigmatizing menstruation by simply talking about it more openly.
New Skincare Networks Will Power Product Discovery, by Victoria Buchanan, futures analyst, The Future Laboratory. Community has become the number-one tactic for driving product discovery online, but with this shift, we’ve also seen a rise of conflicting advice and fake product reviews. 2020 will see new online beauty platforms cutting through this hyperbolic content with peer and expert advice designed to improve both personal routines and product development. We’ll see new membership models blending community and education with a dash of data-powered insight. New platforms like Mira, Baalm, and Cocoon are all launching skincare networks that combine tailored recommendations with product subscriptions that are designed to cut through advertising and paid-for blogger or influencer content. By the end of 2020, skincare memberships could even be as normal as a gym membership!
Hyper-Real Retail, by Karinna Nobbs, futurist and founder at HOT:SECOND. In 2020, hyper-reality and the sector of digital makeup will become certified as mainstream. In 2019 we saw breakthrough projects by digital artist Ines Alpha for Bimba and Lola, Selfridges, and Dior. These campaigns were significant because they attracted consumers with their own brand target audiences, and most importantly because it was hard (and also fun) to figure out which parts were digital and which parts were physical. This also materialized in print with the WSJ’s September cover pairing a full Celine look with artist Hungry’s signature trippy makeup. In 2020, more makeup brands and retailers will offer experiential AR photo booths in store as a way to attract and inspire consumers. I also believe we will see many more AR experiences activated through packaging as well as via social and more collaborations between 3D artists and luxury brands. My artist to watch for in 2020 is @paigepiskin.
Photo: Jess @ Harper Sunday via Unsplash