1. MYSTIC BEAUTY
Reflecting a rising emphasis on spiritualism among consumers, a new wave of beauty products is set to tap into crystals, gemology and the language of magic. (Victoria Beckham is said to keep crystals in her pockets - so there's definitely something in it!) "It’s not at all a hippie approach. Most previous incarnations of gemstones used in beauty have tended towards the spiritual, but in this instance I think the approach is modern and technical," says Anna-Marie Solowij co-founder of BeautyMART. Newly launched skincare brand Prismologie and KITA both tap into the benefits of gem stones, including them not just for a marketing story but for the benefits they bring to healthy and glowing skin. It seems that magic, spiritualism and astrology are undergoing a renaissance; new brands are repackaging the cues of mysticism and gems, connecting them to wellbeing products for a millennial audience.
2. BEAUTY FOODS
The lines between beauty and food continue will continue to blur next year. New boutique brands are turning to ingredients that are usually eaten as superfoods, using them to create beauty products that sit within the holistic way consumers now see wellbeing. According to JWT, 82% of UK consumers admit they think that what you put into your body has a greater effect on beauty than what you put on your skin; we're increasingly recognizing the connection between what we eat and how we look. Food trends will continue to influence the beauty sector, from ingredients to terminology - Nip & Fab's 'Kale Fix' and Nails Inc's 'NailKale' ranges this year were the first of many! I've no doubt we'll see 'superfoods' popping up all over the beauty industry in an aspirational and innovative way.
3. SINGLE INGREDIENTS
Beauty brands are now taking the concept of purity to extremes, using a single ingredient in many products. RMS Beauty’s UnPowder consists of 100% pure silica, while Pestle & Mortar have launched a 100% hyaluronic acid serum. The organic cosmetic market will be valued at $66.1 billion by 2020, as consumers are choosing natural products over those that are chemically enhanced; brands are going the extra step by stripping down to a single active and natural ingredient that will provide the same beauty benefits as a product containing multiple ingredients. Although this isn't possible for every product, I'm already seeing brands adopt this 'back to basics' mantra.
Part of fashion’s general celebration of all things redheaded, in 2016 freckles will be a must-have and can be added if they don’t appear naturally. If you were in any doubt, Somerset House recently staged a photographic exhibition by Brock Elbank dedicated to the freckle, featuring close-up pictures of models in full freckled glory; during the SS15 shows Preen and Topshop featured freckles applied by renowned make-up artist Val Garland, while at Rag & Bone and Edun’s SS16 shows, Gucci Westman and Charlotte Tilbury added freckles to models’ faces. A surprise to us all, Topshop Beauty’s freckle pencil was a 2015 best-seller, so it's no wonder famed tanning artist James Read is apparently launching a freckle pen in time for next summer. Social media is empowering young consumers to celebrate their individualism, and freckles is just one part of this positive movement.
5. METABOLISM BOOSTERS
Ingestibles have been popular for some time (superfoods have never been bigger, while smoothies just facilitate our desire to eat our way to great skin,) but in 2016 we're going to see this progress one step further. A new range of products are on the horizon that promise to simultaneously boost metabolism, wellness, vitality. Supplements, teas, powders and pro-biotic drinks will only continue to be a big part of our routine as food products are crossing into the beauty and medicinal territories, optimizing the function, health and appearance of the body.
6. INCLUSIVE BEAUTY
Echoing ethnic and cultural diversity, beauty companies are finally offering broader ranges and dedicated products for hair and skin tones of all kinds. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Makeup To Go compact is now available in 18 shades, while Laura Mercier’s Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide can now be bought in 24 shades; L’Oréal has even set up a Multicultural Beauty Division. Although it may have taken years to get to this stage, finally we're making progress and providing products that suit every need.
7. NEW NATURAL
There's heightened interest in natural products and messaging among consumers, as we're collectively seeking out product information online and becoming increasingly skeptical about mainstream brands. New boutique brands are already tapping into naturalism, but this will only increase in 2016 as we turn to 'secret saviours' instead of relying on products we can just walk into Boots and pick up off the shelf. Beauty brand Liha makes products based on African recipes in small batches; Haeckels, based in Margate, makes products with local natural ingredients (such as seaweed,) using pre-industrial techniques; Mother Dirt offers a range of cleansers, shampoos and mists that contain beneficial bacteria. This shift in attitude points to a self-confident, engaged and sophisticated consumer who is questioning the norm and scrutinizing the messaging presented by mainstream brands; bloggers facilitate this in the most appropriate way.
8. SOLID BEAUTY
A wave of solid beauty items and waterless products have already appeared on our high streets, thanks to their convenience and practicality, but this is only set to get bigger. Solid fragrance, stick format makeup and blocks of shampoo provide a playful alternative that's also great for traveling. "It ties into the waterless trend, which appeared with waterless shampoos. This is about convenience, as many of these products provide multiple functions in one streamlined product. They’re also quite playful—like crayons. There’s a kidult feeling to them," explains Anna-Marie Solowij from BeautyMART. Available in SpaceNK, Nudestix provide pencils for eyes, face and lips, while Su:m37° has introduced its Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick - a solid balm which includes fermented damask rose extract and natural oils.
9. SMALL BATCH BEAUTY
Batch-made beauty products, formulated in small runs and with limited shelf life, are apparently on the rise. The companies behind them are celebrating the variation between collections, tapping into consumer desire to move away from mass production. British organic brand Skin & Tonic sources its ingredients from diverse locations including Sussex, the south of France and Sri Lanka; its products are crafted in Hackney, east London, in numbered batches of 50 to 100. "No two production batches are identical because each ingredient differs on a molecular level depending on that year’s harvest, the soil, the air quality and the weather. These all have an effect. Customers email us comparing the same product from different batches, but not to complain; they know that the differences are to be celebrated," says founder Sarah Hancock. In all other industries (from fashion to food,) low output and handmade are deemed desirable; the beauty industry is just catching up.
10. HALAL BEAUTY
Muslim consumers are increasingly interested in halal beauty products (those that are acceptable under Islam). Currently dominated by niche players such as Halal Beauty Box, the category offers an opportunity for multinational brands to reach a huge number of potential customers. "In Indonesia, a halal label has been required for every product marketed to the Muslim community since 2009. Local brands clearly communicate the level of halal certification to reassure the 90% of the population who are Muslim," says Lan Vu, founder of Paris-based beauty trends consultancy Beautystreams. Cosmoprof (a major international beauty trade exhibition,) will also introduce its first dedicated halal cosmetics platform at its 2016 show - providing that this is set to be big news in the coming months. (FYI, halal products don't contain alcohol, pig-derived collagen, gelatin or fat.)
What trends are you most looking forward to seeing in 2016? What have the most exciting trends and launches been for you in the last twelve months?