More Connection, Less Cliché: Authenticity is Driving Trends in the Beauty Sector

Interview with Karine Lages, Micaela Perlada, and Caroline de Roaldes
regional marketing managers at Givaudan Active Beauty

In conversation: Karine Lages, Micaela Perlada, and Caroline de Roaldes, regional marketing managers from Givaudan Active Beauty provide an insider take on the trends to watch in beauty and personal care for 2023. Discover the four emerging themes.

What are the key trends shaping the beauty industry for 2023?

Caroline de Roaldes: This year’s trend report painted a compelling picture of what consumers around the world are looking for and the influence of broader societal considerations, such as mental health, inclusivity and representation. We saw four key themes which are driving some exciting beauty innovations. Very broadly, these can be summed up as trends around Sustainability, Inclusivity, Longevity and Authenticity, although there are many sub-themes informing these trends. The notion of ‘sustainability’ has evolved, and being green is now a baseline for many brands. We see this in a stronger commitment to making real change and using technological and creative breakthroughs for innovation. Consumers are driving this trend, for example, 67% of GenZ American women check the labels for green credentials before purchasing.

Karine Lages: Yes, the concept of sustainability has become more refined: it’s more nurturing and regenerative, with a focus on eco-consciousness and giving back. We’re witnessing a positive trend emerging at the nexus of technology, creativity and environmental consciousness, and it’s driving novel solutions for complex sustainability challenges. We see this in innovations around plant culture, alternative packaging, refillables and solid formats. Brands are also substituting natural materials with lab-grown alternatives or using upcycled ingredients. Consumers are responding well: our studies show that 92% of Chinese women prefer bio-tech ingredients to purely synthetic ones. In fact, biotechnology will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the beauty industry, and consumers are on board: 85% of Brazilian consumers say they would buy lab-grown ingredients over natural ones if they had a better carbon imprint. 

Our society has drastically changed in recent years: have these societal changes influenced our wellness, health or beauty trends?

Caroline de Roaldes: Yes – the new planetary awareness and a general awakening to our collective need to care for our planet and take a more future-forward attitude is reflected in general society too. It’s expressed in themes of inclusivity and openness. There’s a desire to be ‘real’ and break away from clichés: consumers want authentic products for real-life issues; they also want to see representation, diversity and intergenerational connection. This is especially true in the anti-aging category where consumers want efficient solutions but are also asking for much broader, interesting perspectives and proper conversations around health and wellness. Concretely, for the beauty sector, this means focussing on true efficacy claims rather than generic benefits, breaking taboos around different life stages and embracing them, and a move towards age-agnostic products that focus on results.  

Globally, we’re seeing a new focus on mental and physical wellness; how does this translate to the beauty industry category? 

Micaela Perlada:Underpinning many of the trends was a strong focus on nurturing physical and mental health for the long term and being kinder to oneself. We noticed a core trend, that of longevity, seen in a desire to embrace a preventative lifestyle, coupled with a focus on health. Beauty and aging gracefully becomes an expression of this inner health and wellness. To achieve this, consumers want efficient solutions that augment their lifestyle and build immunity. Specific trends are surfacing in this field such as hyper-personalization, biohacking, an interest in inside-out cellular beauty and the notion of ‘skinspan’ – the length of time our skin can remain healthy and functional. There’s a real interest in science-backed approaches and highly-personalised solutions, which include products emerging from DNA-based innovations. For example, 90% of French women are interested in epigenetics, and 89% of Brazilian women are interested in personalized beauty based on their DNA. In terms of technology, there are opportunities for the beauty industry to explore highly personalised solutions, such as cosmetics based on the microbiome, or neurocosmetics, which explores the gut-brain-skin axis. 

Caroline de Roaldes: The trend of taking things into our own hands also spills over to mental health, with people embracing a new-found awareness of themselves and their needs. Everyone is searching for ways to feel better consistently, and to do this they are listening to themselves more, taking time off and attending to their sleep schedules. In beauty, this need for reassurance, simplicity and a back-to-basics approach is manifesting as products with tried and trusted appeal. This opens up room for new ‘hero’ products to come to the forefront and an opportunity to define the hero-molecules of tomorrow: what will be the new hyaluronic acid or retinol, for example.  

What was the process in identifying these trends? 

Caroline de Roaldes: It is the result of an annual partnership between Givaudan Active Beauty, Givaudan Fragrances and global trend forecasting company, WGSN. We study overarching macro trends, that stay mostly stable over several years, and examine how they translate into the world of beauty and personal care in the shorter term. Our global analysis also encompasses regional perspectives, for a full picture of consumer wants and needs across communities and cultures. We do this research every year as part of Givaudan’s global innovation program, called BEYOND. Givaudan has a long unique history of conducting global trends research and of feeling the pulse of consumers through in-house and collaborative global consumer studies. We have finished our 2023 trends study and are already looking at the 2024 edition. This will illuminate even more emerging perspectives and indicate how trends are evolving.

Pocture Cretits: OneClic, AdobeStock

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