Remember when beauty experts and the media said naturals were just a passing fad? Well, no one thinks that anymore.
In fact, natural beauty products are no longer considered a niche market, but part of the mega-trend of conscious, healthy living, according to Jasper van Brakel, CEO of Weleda North America. Consumer demand and increasing efficacy of natural personal care products are making naturals one of the fastest growing categories in cosmetics. “Natural beauty has solidified its position as a mainstay in the industry and is much more than a passing fad,” according to market researcher Kline & Company. And according to Cosmetics Design, the natural and organic market posted double digit growth for the sixth consecutive year.
Let’s look at what’s driving naturals for 2016. There are a few trends that stand out such as Farm to Face, sustainability, and 360 beauty. As one trend creates the next, micro trends emerge and overlap the major themes—among them are waterless washing, beauty kitchen and small-batch beauty, and me-cosystems.
Farm to Face
This trend started in 2014, but is gaining popularity in 2016. It’s comforting to think that the ingredients you’re massaging into your face and body come from a farm. Shoppers are looking for an escape from constant digital stimulation and fast-paced lifestyles, so they appreciate products that feel pure and lend a sense of old-fashioned values. “[Consumers] are turning to nature for comfort and escapism, and discovering a newfound appreciation for processes once forgotten or devalued,” states the JWT Intelligence report.
Consider Tata Harper, a pioneer brand in Farm-to-Face skincare. All of their products are made on a 1,200-acre farm near Middlebury, Vermont. In addition, the farm produces about 10 percent of the plants used in the line and the remainder comes from farms around the globe.
Consumers are also looking for transparency in their products. Shoppers seek out locally sourced, minimally processed, and simply manufactured products. Farm-to-Face products are traceable and pure because they are rooted in farming, sustainability, land conservation, and clean manufacturing. Farm-to-Face brands often own the entire supply chain, or a large percentage of each product will come from their farms. What’s more is that they have transparency and share the whole process—from ingredient farming to packaging—with their patrons.
Overlapping this trend are two smaller trends: beauty kitchen and small-batch beauty. Brands often encompass several of the micro trends but one star will stand out and, in this case, it’s small-batch beauty.
Small-batch beauty brands make their cosmetics in small quantities using unsophisticated equipment. Containers provide batch number and expiration or manufacturing dates. Lily Farm Fresh Organics is a line of small batch products that embodies the philosophy that cosmetics should be traceable—from ingredients to manufacturing. Their handcrafted products, lab, and farm in Colorado are all USDA-certified organic.
An example of the beauty kitchen trend is Farmaesthetics. Founder Brenda Brock calls herself a ruralist. “It means that I unearth disciplines, philosophies, and practices found in rural kitchen cultures specifically American for their logic and methodology,” she said in an interview with the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. The ingredients are sourced from organic American farms.
The newest natural and organic cosmetics are focusing on how their products are manufactured and the footprint they make on the planet. Michael Braungart, PhD, cofounder of McDonough Braungart Design, calls it “the Cradle-To-Cradle Design Approach to create ‘closed loop systems’ for cosmetic ingredients and finished products.” These brands are committed to ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability. At In-Cosmetics, Amarjit Sahota, director of Organic Monitor, maintains more companies are making the shift from petrochemicals to natural ingredients, and using more sustainable production methods and sourcing due to a variety of factors from sustainability reporting to ethical consumerism.
Consumers are buying organics more and more as their concerns about the environment grow. They want products with a low environmental impact. Organic and natural products are more sustainable because they don’t rely on petrochemicals or unsustainable botanical ingredients. One strong micro trend in sustainability is water. As water has become a scarce commodity, companies are figuring out ways to use less of it. They are doing this in two ways. First, by using less water in the process, and second, by creating products that do not utilize water such as waterless face wash and dry shampoo. Two stellar examples of this trend are Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion, which is removed with a toner and a cotton pad or cloth instead of water, and Naked Bee Tissue-Off Facial Cleanser, with which the name says it all.
Beauty and health have always gone hand in hand, but the latest trend takes it to the next level. This is a complete look at the individual’s environment and how it impacts their looks. Each product, food, and activity is being measured for what it can do for their appearance. It’s an all-encompassing “360 Beauty” approach like never seen before. Beauty, healthcare, and wellness work together in “a consumer movement that blurs the lines between categories and includes every facet of the industry, from ingredient sourcing and supply chain practices to packaging and product use and beyond, as well as how beauty companies treat employees and partners,” states Lucie Greene, worldwide director of JWT Intelligence, in their latest research report. Holistic beauty consumers are paying attention to their “me-cosystem.”
By Paige Padgett, a celebrity makeup artist and the author of The Green Beauty Rules: The Essential Guide to Toxic-Free Beauty, Green Glamour, and Glowing Skin. // paigepadgett.com