We, the beauty team at Vogue India, were like starry eyed kids in a bright, colourful candy shop. Except the candy was beauty products from different parts of the world and shop was Cosmoprof 2019. Not even trying to contain our excitement while we tried and tested innovative formulas to add to our beauty routine—like an aqua gel moisturiser that turns into water droplets once massaged on skin—we also attended a talk by Jenni Middleton, director at WGSN, a global authority that predicts the future, quite literally. “We call it a mix of “maths and magic,” she says when I ask her to explain how they can foresee beyond the present. The company looks at all kinds of data—from demographic and retail analytics to catwalk research—and then the team looks at a range of things that would affect consumer drivers and buying patterns, and link them to product design. “This is politics, technology, art and culture, socio-economic changes. We have experts working across the globe in various sectors, looking at everything from fashion to interior design and beauty to food and tech. Because we have this 360-degree view of the world and in lots of sectors, we can see how the changes in one sector can impact on another,” Middleton explains. And here, she tells us everything that will be trending in the near future, backed by some bona fide research.
Your products will feature topical superfoods and natural derivatives
Food-based haircare and skincare ingredients are rising, because they can purify, boost and defend. Brands such as Wunder Workshop, Moodbeli and Four Sigmatic use mushrooms, while Moon Juice’s Super You features adaptogenic herbs like shatavari root extract, ashwagandha root and leaf extract, amla fruit extract and rhodiola root extract.
- Australian kakadu plum, one of the world’s richest sources of vitamin C, is another ingredient likely to flourish. It is already the mainstay of skincare ranges including Derma Doctor and Red Earth. It’s starting to appear on the haircare market too, with products such as Kevyn Murphy’s Hydrate-Me Masque using it to repair damaged hair and promote elasticity.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychedelic extract of the cannabis plant, prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. This could prove popular when treating irritated scalps. Ouai is among the early adopters, with its recently launched CBD oil-infused scalp scrub. We could see it emerging more and more in skincare and makeup, such as Milk Makeup’s Kush mascara.
- Natural and non-animal derivatives of popular ingredients are key. Haircare brand Virtue Labs is built around a fresh complex, Alpha Keratin 60ku. Keratin (usually an animal by-product) is extracted from ethically sourced human hair from China, and processed and purified at low temperatures. As it is extracted from human hair, the user’s own hair ‘recognises’ and absorbs it more readily, repairing cuticle damage more effectively. Gattefossé has designed a natural substitute for silicones called Definicire, using extracts from sunflower and jojoba seeds. With a chemical structure close to natural sebum, it has higher carbon chain lengths to optimise performance without greasiness.
You’ll be tempted to try this cooling colour (and you’ll have fun with newer textures)
When it comes to a colour for 2020, Neo Mint is an oxygenating, fresh tone that harmonises science and technology with nature. It has a cool, futuristic tech feel but also connects with plant life and nature. We will see transformative textures (like jelly) bring out the fun of beauty and the playfulness of beauty products.
You’ll be mindful about how your product is packaged
It’s all about sustainability. We’ve been tracking refillable pots, where you buy a pot with your skincare in and slot it into your double-walled moisturiser jar. You keep that jar, but just replace the pot with the product in to slot into the jar again. We’ve seen this at Cosmoprof Bologna this and last year, and Olay has started trialling it in the last couple of weeks in the US and UK, and we expect more brands to follow this trend. We are also starting to see mono-materials coming through in packaging—beauty waste is very difficult to recycle because of the many components involved, but brands are looking into redesigning bottles, jars, tubes and even lipstick casing using just one material to make recycling easier.
Modern medicine will be overpowered by nature
This trend is seen as a solution to our growing resistance to antibiotics. Years of pill popping means our bodies are becoming immune to the effects of medication. Today, over 700,000 people die each year due to infections caused by resistant bacteria, and experts say that by 2050 that number could rise to 10 million. Emerging research indicates that the solution lies in ethnobotany—a practice dedicated to the ways indigenous people use plants to treat and heal. Dr Cassandra Quave is a leading researcher in this field, with her discoveries including immature green walnut, which can treat fungal infections, and sweet chestnut, which blocks the effects of MRSA.
t’s already having an impact, with China pledging to integrate more plant-based medicine into its healthcare system by 2020. For beauty, this move away from prescribed treatments represents an opportunity to further penetrate the health market, offering over-the-counter holistic solutions for ailments traditionally treated by the doctor.
Emotional wellness will continue to move to the forefront (with tech to fortify it)
AI (artificial intelligence) and EI (emotional intelligence) will join forces as consumers look for products that do more than provide an experience, but also tap into emotional health and wellbeing. MOODY-U App empowers women to track and take control of their hormonal and emotional selves by measuring their monthly moods and menstrual cycles.
Developers are working on advancing AI to not only create systems that think and act like humans, but can detect and react to emotions. However, human professionals will still be important and will work alongside AI. Beauty start-up Prose uses machine learning to create bespoke products, pairing it with human expertise to refine the process for a more compelling experience. By 2020, the artificial intelligence market will surpass $40bn and will exceed $100bn by 2025. Combining AI and EI will open up new creative opportunities that will elevate the consumer beauty experience to another level.
The ‘Buddha phase’ will be the new frontier of wellness
Called ‘Fo xi’ or ‘Buddha-like’, the term first went viral in December last year on Chinese social media and describes the post-90s “Buddha-like” youth, born between 1990 and 1992, who are embracing a more “casual and calm mindset towards life and work”, in a backlash against societal expectations and pressures in China. These consumers adopt a neutral and peaceful outlook in every aspect of their lives, for example doing what they like or think is right and not caring about how others judge them. “The Buddha-like mindset helps keep today’s young people calm and flexible, which better prepares them to take more responsibilities in the future,” says professor Xu Hua from Anhui University’s School of Sociology and Political Science.