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How Innovative Brands Are Making a Case for Inclusive Beauty

Published April 25, 2024
Published April 25, 2024
Kohl Kreatives

When Trishna Daswaney, Director of the nonprofit brand Kohl Kreatives, founded her brand seventeen years ago, she thought to create something that catered to a specific audience. The innovative beauty brand wanted to be one of the major brands that turned the wheels of inclusivity from a gender and ability standpoint. “The whole idea behind our brand is we create products to sell to people to then fund workshops to empower those who are unable to empower themselves independently through makeup,” Daswaney tells BeautyMatter. “Whether that means it's somebody going through cancer, gender transition, or a certain disability,” she continues. In doing this, Kohl Kreatives has organized up to 44 workshops, and included big retail markets like Asia, Europe, and the United States in its portfolio.

As with many other launches in the beauty ecosystem, many niche beauty brands are founded based on certain pain points. “I launched TONAL Cosmetics as a result of a pain point from traveling between the Carribbeans, Europe, Canada, and so on, and finding that the products I had on would melt due to the harsh climate and tropical weather of some of the countries,” Christal Alert, cosmetic scientist and founder of TONAL Cosmetics, says to BeautyMatter. “So, drawing from my experience, I wanted to create a product that catered to a specific need and specific group of people,” Alert continues. Both Alert's and Daswaney’s reasons for building their brands is proof that in the ever-evolving realm of the beauty industry, there’s a notable shift underway, with consumers gravitating towards niche products tailored to their specific needs and preferences. TONAL Cosmetics for example, has recorded a sales growth of 59.4% YoY and a 32% repeat purchase rate. From gender-specific formulations to skin-condition-targeted solutions, the rise of the niche beauty market is reflecting a growing demand for personalized experiences and inclusivity.

The allure of niche beauty lies in its ability to address the unique concerns and desires of consumers, offering a more targeted and personalized approach to skincare, cosmetics, and wellness. With the increasing awareness of ingredients, sustainability, and inclusivity, consumers are seeking products that align with their values and resonate with their individual identities. This has led to the emergence of a diverse array of niche beauty brands catering to specific demographics, skin types, and cultural preferences. In today's market, consumers are seeking products that speak to their unique identities and address their specific needs, and niche beauty brands are seizing the opportunity to carve out a distinct identity and build loyal communities around their offerings, especially as in 2021 alone, the personalized beauty start-up space raised up to $1.08 billion.

Indeed, successful niche beauty brands across the globe exemplify the power of catering to specific consumer segments and embracing diversity. Hygiene Hero, a wellness brand founded by Michelle Yeh, is revolutionizing the industry by prioritizing women’s health and self-care, by building a wide range of products that cater to a specific, yet wide range of needs, like anti-aging, menopause, and many more. By creating a brand that champions the needs and wellness of women, Hygiene Hero is not only capturing a loyal customer base, but also joining in sparking a broader conversation about building products that are of specific need and importance in the beauty industry, like intimacy and menopause.

“As I turn 57 in two months, I have found that a lot of my generation are usually forgotten, as brands turn to younger Gen Z customers,” Yeh tells BeautyMatter, “so I wanted to use Hygiene Hero to provide a healthy range of intimate care line for women,” she continues. Right now, products range from Perfect Pause Bar, V.V. Oil and Vipstick Serum which utilize 3xP bio-complex, a proprietary blend containing ingredients such as peptides, postbiotics and antioxidant plant extracts like While Mulberry Root Extract, Camu Camu Fruit Extract, and many more, that help in balancing microbiomes and reducing hyperpigmentation.

Furthermore, the rise of gender, climate, and ability-specific products, has reshaped the beauty landscape, reflecting evolving attitudes towards the different kinds of identity. Brands like Kohl Kreatives, for example, have gained traction by offering gender-neutral products, challenging traditional notions of beauty and allowing consumers to use them with ease. For example, it creates ready-made makeup looks in sticker forms, targeting people with no makeup experience or who are differently abled, to use without stress. “The idea is to teach people who are at their most vulnerable to be able to use beauty as a form of empowerment,” Daswaney says. By acknowledging and embracing the fluidity of expression, these brands have garnered praise for their inclusive approach and empowered individuals to express themselves authentically through beauty.

Moreover, the proliferation of skin-type-specific and skin-condition- targeted products underscore the growing demand for solutions tailored to individual skincare concerns. Beauty brands, especially those enabled through tech like Revieve, Atolla, and many others, are gaining a cult following by offering science-backed formulations targeting specific skin issues such as acne, aging, and hyperpigmentation, or even maneuvering through certain harsh climate and weather conditions. With a different range of foundation products as its hero product, TONAL Cosmetics is focused on providing a product for melanin-rich skin, rich in SPF 50, and suitable for use in many tropical countries.

“Many women wear makeup every day, but forget to wear sunscreen. With our foundations, which are rich in SPF 50, it becomes a cheat code,” Alert says, “and we also added five different kinds of hyaluronic acids to hydrate the skin and increase skin hydration by 40%. Similarly, we've got another patented ingredient called SEPICONTROL A5, which reduces sebum regulation by 20%, combating the shine and the grease, maintaining skin hydration, and also giving you that skin protection,” Alert adds. By prioritizing efficacy, it has resonated with consumers seeking results-driven makeup solutions across the Carribbeans and the US, priding itself as a niche beauty brand that sits at the center of skincare-meets-sun-protection.

This paradigm shift, though, presents both challenges and opportunities for beauty brands as they navigate the complexities of catering to diverse consumer segments while capitalizing on the burgeoning niche beauty landscape. However, navigating the niche beauty market presents its own set of challenges for brands, including market saturation, competition, and the need for differentiation. As the market becomes increasingly crowded, standing out amid the noise requires a strategic approach and a deep understanding of consumer preferences and trends. Successful niche beauty brands excel in storytelling, community building, and fostering meaningful connections with their target audience. As the market continues to evolve, brands that embrace innovation, adaptability, and consumer centricity will thrive in the dynamic world of niche beauty, capturing the essence of individuality and empowerment.


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