Heather Ibberson

July 2, 2021

Must-know beauty trends

A monthly briefing on the latest beauty trends and news across the industry from cosmetics, skincare and more.

What’s happened across the beauty industry last month? Get up to speed with the trends shaping this market.

A compilation on the latest trends in the beauty, skincare and color cosmetics market every month, along with news and other points of interest to keep your eyes on.

Looking to get more insights into the beauty market? Reach out to one of our retail specialists today.

The top trends

1. Clean beauty receives backlash

The declaration of a climate emergency has increased consumer awareness and grown demand for ethical and environmentally-friendly products. Infiltration of these products alongside wellness and self-care trends has increased the demand for clean beauty.

The movement evolved with growing consumer concerns over potentially toxic ingredients and is used to help the ever-increasing band of conscious customers identify which products are good for their skin and the environment. But with a lack of regulation, many larger retailers like Ulta Beauty and Sephora have taken to creating their own no-no ingredients lists. In fact, Sephora is tightening its clean beauty list with a new program called "Clean Plus" in a bid to compete with leaders in the space like Credo. A source told WWD that 30% of Sephora's sales growth comes from the 92 "Clean at Sephora" brands.

However, brands like Deciem and Youth To The People have made strong public declarations that "chemicals are your friends", with the former stating in its manifesto, "Everything is chemicals" that clean beauty fearmongering was being used as a form of marketing. Given the amount of conflicting information, it's no wonder that only 20% of millennials trust sustainability claims.

2. A return to makeup

With the loosening of lockdown restrictions, fast vaccination rollouts in both the US and UK and a return to normality on the horizon, has COVID-19 impacted consumers' spend? 46% of shoppers have said they plan to cut spending on makeup, opting to use up products they already own, of which, 19% plan to lower their spend by switching to lower-cost brands [4], as part of what the industry has coined a "trade down to mass" among the rise of value brands.

However, beauty enthusiasts are spending 60% more online, and those with incomes of $100,00 or higher are more likely to have increased their spending than their lower-income counterparts, according to WWD. In particular, 50% of consumers are actively seeking out products created by Black-owned businesses - this number is even higher among Gen Z and millennials.

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Image via Youth to the People

Headline highlights 

Zalando and Sephora to sell prestige beauty

The two retail giants have signed a long-term partnership to create the ultimate online prestige beauty destination, connecting Sephora's beauty assortment with Zalando's 42 million active customers.

Unilever acquire Paula's Choice

The brand has acquired the internet's favorite brand Paula's Choice from TA Associates, for a rumored $2bn. The brand is known for its popular products like 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant and recently launched with Sephora.

Scarlett Johansson to launch a beauty line

The actor is the latest in a string of celebrities diving into beauty, set to launch her first brand in early 2022, said to offer a "clean, accessible approach to beauty." The Najafi Companies fund the line, who are the same investors behind Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross and Florence by Mills.

H beauty opening three further stores in the UK

Over the next 12 months, Harrods plans to open more stores in Edinburgh, Bristol and Newcastle - the latter being home to H beauty's biggest store yet.

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Images via Instagram - Paula's Choice; The Gentlewoman; Harrods

Standout email communications


SPF is becoming a buzzword in beauty due to increased consumer concerns over the sun's damage to the skin. Dermstore sent an email highlighting its range of SPF products, including sticks and sprays that make re-application easy.

Festival beauty

With the majority of UK festivals still going ahead in August/September, Urban Outfitters promoted colorful beauty as part of its "festival checklist."

World Oceans Day

On June 8th, Selfridges honored the event by spotlighting its portfolio of plastic-conscious brands, from packaging right down to complex ingredients.

Pride month

This month, beauty brands celebrated Pride by releasing new makeup collections, making charitable donations and uplifting LGBTQIA+ voices in the community.

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Images via Dermstore Email US - Jun 26, 2021; Urban Outfitters Email UK - Jun 27, 2021; Morphe Email UK - Jun 2, 2021

Sustainability headlines

EWG releases new clean beauty certifications

The Environmental Working Group now offers ingredient certification under a new category called EWG Verified: For Your Health Ingredients, allowing cosmetic manufacturers to certify individual ingredients and ingredient compositions. Revlon's PhotoReady Prime Plus Perfecting Smoothing Primer has received the certification.

Unilever expands refillable packaging trails

Following the successful launch of its largest refill trial in Asda's Leeds sustainability store last year, the company has extended its partnership with Beauty Kitchen's Return•Refill•Repeat, which will maintain the refill stations across the UK.

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Image via Unilever

D&I headlines

Ulta Beauty joins 15 Percent Pledge

Building upon its existing work to double its stock of Black-owned brands by the end of 2021, the US retailer will dedicate 15% of its total assortment to Black-owned, Black-founded and Black-led brands. Additionally, the retailer also funds quarterly training for all in-store associates dedicated to unconscious bias and inclusivity and this year, committing $20mn in media investments to multicultural platforms.

Uoma by Sharon C. launches at Walmart

Uoma Beauty founder, Sharon Chuter, has launched a new "radically transparent and accessible beauty line" at Walmart stores. While the new line shares a similar DNA to the original brand, it has different branding, pricing and is focused on challenging the clean, inclusive and sustainable beauty movement.

Brands celebrated Pride 2021

With most Pride festivities canceled or postponed this year due to COVID-19, beauty brands hosted a slew of activations and product offerings to celebrate the occasion. The Estée Lauder Cos. hosted a roundtable discussion on genderless beauty, MAC Cosmetics gave 100% of the sales of its Pride & Joy Liquidlast Liner Vault to the Hetrick-Martin Institute and hair care brand John Frieda partnered with charity GLSEN.

Black beauty docuseries "The Hair Tales"

Tracee Ellis Ross and Michaela Angela Davis are collaborating on a new project that celebrates Black women through the relationship they have with their hair and how it relates to identity. Set to debut in 2022, the series comes from Disney's "Onyx Collective" a newly launched content platform focused on underrepresented voices and creatives of color.

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Image via Instagram - Tracee Ellis Ross

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