Why ‘The Natural Look’ is Trending
The cosmetics market is undergoing a major change globally. The rise of healthier, less toxic, and more sustainable alternatives to conventional cosmetics is being driven by the trend towards a "natural" look in makeup. Natural and organic cosmetics are free of potentially harmful synthetic chemicals and ingredients, and instead contain natural and organic plant extracts, minerals, and microorganisms that protect, nourish, and hydrate the skin. As a result, consumers are increasingly turning to cosmetic products that offer rejuvenating solutions, disrupting the skincare and cosmetics industry.
The term "natural" in cosmetics labelling can be misleading because some natural ingredients do not always blend well in makeup and are difficult to evaluate for efficacy and potency. Consumers on the other hand are increasingly looking for safer alternatives to products containing petroleum-based ingredients, such as phthalates, oxybenzone, or parabens.
Consumers who want a "natural" look prefer products that are plant- or mineral-based, organic, and environmentally friendly. "Clean" brands often eliminate conventional cosmetic synthetics that can be harmful or harsh. Advances in research and technology are driving the development of new hair and skin products formulated with plant-based bioactive ingredients that have medical benefits. R&D is playing a crucial role in this transformation.
While the debate is still on, dermatologist Dr. Simal Soin says: “I’m a great proponent of having good skin without make-up and having that ‘natural’ look. For me, good skin looks great without make-up. And even for an evening out, it will look so much more elegant to wear make-up, which is minimalist.”
Elaborating on what we need to do to make our skin healthy and glow, she says: “That happens at many levels, I would say, right from inside out or outside in, in whatever way you prefer. Healthy skin is a function of using good skin care products with good moisturising and anti-oxidant properties.”
When we discuss the products for customers who prefer the ‘natural look’ she adds a new dynamic to the conversation. “When I talk about products I’m talking mainly about ‘cosmeceuticals’ which are the new skincare trend of the era, because they are a combination of the elegance of cosmetics and medicine. These are more effective than the medicines we had before and because of the better methods of making them due to the developments in technology,” she explains.
Cosmeceutical; a term coined in 1984 by dermatologist Doctor Albert Kligman is a portmanteau made by blending the words cosmetic and pharmaceutical. Cosmeceutical products combine therapeutic (medical/ drug-like) and cosmetic influences to enhance the well-being and appearance of the skin. These are applied directly as lotions or creams, similar to cosmetics, but comprise active ingredients that influence skin cells' function. According to the Strategic Market Research report on the global cosmeceuticals market, the market value was $45.56 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $95.75 billion by 2030.
New Frontiers in Cosmetics
In response to the growing demand for more user- friendly cosmetics, new frontiers are being explored by the world’s leading cosmetic companies with emerging technologies to script the future trends of the cosmetic industry.
R&D and technology are the leading drivers of innovation in cosmetic manufacturing processes and products. Rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) and the internet of things (IoT) are ushering in radical changes in the traditional skin and hair cosmetics space.
For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based solutions are speeding up the discovery of new cosmetic ingredients. Nanotechnology is assisting in improving the efficacy of cosmetic products. Nanomaterials, such as nanosomes, liposomes, fullerenes, and solid lipid nanoparticles, are featured in cosmetic production and can offer a long-lasting effect, enhanced colour, and finish quality to cosmetics. Advancements in microbiome research too are creating ripples in the cosmetic industry.
Sustainability Feeding Cosmeceutical Trend
The growing market for medical aesthetics, skin and hair health, and dermatology treatments has gathered momentum as consumers move away from harmful ingredients and their side effects in traditional skin and hair cosmetic products.
Dr. Soin, whose clinic also offers Semi-Permanent Make-up, HydraFacial, Glass Facials, and Dermalogica Facials, recommends a good ‘medical facial’ once a month, which goes a long way, because it hydrates, exfoliates, cleanses and keeps the skin looking clean. “Besides, what is also important is a well-groomed look with dark eyebrows, pink lips, shining white teeth and a good head of hair,” she points out.
Keeping in mind the needs of customers who have skin conditions, she says: “It is important to treat therapeutic concerns like acne, pigmentation and acne scars. But let me emphasise here the importance of dermatology guidance in all this.”
Dr Soin is quick to add that if one is really interested in the ‘natural’ look, one of the most important things to do is to apply sunscreen, because unprotected sun exposure is one of the most common causes of ageing, and which can also severely damage the skin. Also, if you play golf or swim frequently and have too much sun exposure, she recommends taking an antioxidant supplement which actually prevents damage from free radicals caused by the sun and other environmental pollutants.
Dr. Soin recommends using more natural, transparent make-up for evenings that require it—more to give it a glow. “So let the good skin shine through rather than use make-up as a cover up. There are so many excellent minimalistic products from well-known brands now to choose from.”
Dr. Soin emphasises the importance of good sleep, a healthy alkaline diet, and physical movement, whether through yoga or some other routine exercise. As the market demand continues to veer towards safe, effective and user-friendly make-up products, cosmetic companies will need to pay attention to the paradigm shift that is changing industry-consumer dynamics in the global cosmetic market.
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