3 trends in beauty

The role of beauty (brands) as people become more meaningful and self-aware.

A person putting on earrings
A person putting on earrings

Delphine Vantomme

10 March 2023

5 min read

We are all impacted by the flux of permacrisis – the extended period of instability following the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, recession, climate change, war in mainland Europe, polarizing political debates , distressing news cycles –  we live in. It makes us reflect on what is really important for us as a person, the communities we belong to and how we envision the world for the future. We seek meaning in what we do and expect from brands close to our heart to help us navigate this period of transition.

In this article we explore 3 (emerging) beauty trends addressing the above challenge. The trends are extracted from the 2023 What Matters for Beauty report guiding beauty brands in how to become relevant and meaningful for consumers that are increasingly more self-aware and more engaged with their inside and outside world.


1. Sensory Intensity

After being confined to our houses and living our lives largely behind screens, we want to break free and embrace life to the fullest. As an antidote to digital, we’re refocusing on the physical, embodied experience of life.​ We’re looking to experience the world in more dynamic sensory ways, using sound, smell, touch and taste in increasingly creative ways. We’re going beyond the flat visual to unlock delight, wonder and intensity.​

This is exactly what Tatcha, the luxury J-beauty skincare brand aimed for when launching The House of Tatcha in Spring 2022, its first pop-up in the UK to drive awareness of the brand.  It was the first opportunity for customers to try the products in real life and get advice on a personalised routine from expert beauty advisors. Tatcha also wanted to create the perfect Tatcha Experience that included meditation sessions in a tea house, workshops to learn about Japanese well-being rituals, and live demonstrations from ikebana flower arranging and origami experts.


A selection of Tatcha products


Meanwhile, the Kuwait brand Prismologie, offers a unique range of natural mood-enhancing body care inspiring people to harness the benefits of colour therapy in everyday routines. Six vibrant hues each with a bespoke blend of gemstones, enriching fragrances and scientifically researched actives are put forward to reflect the effects of the colour on mood while benefiting our bodies and skin.

Ask yourself: How is your brand embodied across multiple senses?​ How can your brand go ‘next level’ here?


2. Into the Nuance

In an information-rich world and a state of increased self-awareness, we’re exploring, learning and communicating more about how we feel, think and function, and why.​ By viewing ourselves through a neuro-, hormonal, bio-, emotional and cultural lens, we’re trying to get to a more nuanced sense of what our experience of life is. In this search for self-understanding, there is a need for brands to empower people through expert opinion, information and personalization.

A good example here is  STRAAND the science-based Australian start-up that challenges the global haircare industry by offering skincare for the scalp. The haircare infused with prebiotic ingredients is designed to improve the scalp microbiome.

The Swedish skincare brand Allél goes even further down the customization route. According to the brand, the first step in a skincare routine isn’t a cleanser but a high-tech online test which gathers information about your genetic makeup. It analyses 16 variations in your DNA including collagen breakdown, irritation and pigmentation via questions based on genetics, as well as overall lifestyle. An algorithm then translates the data into a personalized skincare regime.

Straand Australian scalp care


Finally, the CES® 2023 Innovation Award-winning L’Oréal Brow Magic, an electronic home brow make-up applicator, taps into a need for hyper–personalized beauty solutions. Brow Magic is designed to achieve perfect eyebrows at home without the need for multiple products, time, or more extreme techniques. Brow magic allows you to ‘print’ perfect eyebrows based on your natural eyebrows and facial features using augmented reality.

Ask yourself: How can your brand add value to this journey of self-exploration and growing understanding of what people need without bombarding them with even more information? 


3. Local Flourishing

Crisis after crisis, we’re becoming more aware of the flaws and weaknesses in our systems and the pressure that puts on people and planet. Having experienced the limitations of globalization, we’re realizing the need to become more self-sufficient.​ At the same time, we revalue heritage, localism and cultural complexities.

One brand that combines the latter three in a unique value proposition is Green Bar, known as Bahrain’s best-kept beauty secret. The brand offers a variety of face, body, and home items – all locally designed and produced – and influenced by the traditional healing practices of the Arabs. By rediscovering the use of long-forgotten ingredients, the company hopes to improve the way people relate to the environment and raise awareness of the medicinal potential of the local plants.


Green bar products


Similarly, Nunaia Beauty,  a regenerative skincare brand based in Ireland and Peru, nurtures people and planet with its “from soil to skin” philosophy. The brand pushes for more organic farming practices and has a goal of empowering local communities to preserve their cultural traditions.

This trend is not about Indie brands only. World-leading beauty brands also have a role to play here.  In partnership with India’s biggest beauty e-commerce platform Nykaa, the Estée Lauder Companies launched BEAUTY&YOU India to nurture local Indian beauty entrepreneurs. The program looks to discover, spotlight, and propel the next generation of Indian beauty brands. BEAUTY&YOU offers financial support and guidance in product development, distribution and marketing.

Ask yourself: How can your brand support local collaborations and partnerships in a way that truly fits your brand DNA? 

Curious for more trends shaping people and brands? Download your free copy of our ‘What Matters 2023’ trend report

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