In the last five years, the mention of ‘clean beauty’ on social media has risen by an astonishing 29,000%. This is, arguably, a symptom of enhanced consumer sophistication; consumers seek natural products but are wise to the notion that natural always means safe or effective. Instead, consumers will demand that a beauty chemist uses ingredients that are eco-friendly and scientifically-proven: currently, 33% of millennials think it is important that beauty and grooming brands have a scientific basis (Mintel 2020). Looking to the future, this tendency is set to become even more pronounced.
Over the next decade, consumers will be scrutinizing ingredients lists more than ever before. Corporate responsibility and ethical practices will also be critical to attracting customers, as the demand for sustainable products increases. However, consumers are beginning to recognize that the most sustainable, natural choices may originate in the laboratory. Looking to the future, lab-grown could be the new organic, and biotechnology the new ethical beauty. Here, we explore these intriguing trend forecasts.
Hacking vegan beauty
In 2019, 46% of all BPC products launched in the UK carried ethical and environmental claims, up from 27% in 2015 (Mintel, 2020). Certainly, consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their beauty and grooming routines – however, their understanding of sustainability is becoming more sophisticated. Consumers understand that just because an ingredient is derived from nature, doesn’t always mean the supply chain is environmentally sound. Currently, 22% of adults think eco-friendly beauty and grooming product claims are not always trustworthy (Mintel, 2020).
As a result, the concepts of ‘vegan’, ‘organic’, or ‘natural’ are evolving. According to Mintel’s 2030 Trend Report, lab-grown will become the new organic or cruelty-free. To respond to consumers’ demand for beauty products that are natural, sustainable, and safe, beauty brands should elevate engineered natural ingredients. Through bio-engineering techniques, BPC brands can fine-tune natural formulas to enhance efficacy, safety, and sustainability.
Parallel projects are already emerging in the food and beverage space. Seed-breeding firms are using DNA sequencing and custom algorithms to enhance the resilience of seeds and the nutrition of the fruit they produce. By building an extensive database, companies can create non-GMO plants with specific nutritional makeup. Clearly, this is an equally exciting possibility for natural or organic beauty brands.
Quantifying care with machine learning
There aren’t only data-driven opportunities in ingredient development; there is also a host of marketing possibilities. With data, machine learning, and neuromarketing techniques, brands can accurately measure the reception of their products. With new, advanced pools of data, brands can feel confident in the marketability of their products while laser-targeting consumer preferences. This will enable brands to develop campaigns that are broadly appealing while responding to the demand for greater personalization.
One of the most exciting approaches to this is brain-reading technology. In trials, a beauty chemist can measure the emotional reaction of a participant, thus quantifying the non-conscious aspect of their decision making. Early adopters in industries like gaming and healthcare are already leveraging these technologies, fine-tuning their product launches to maximize success.
The beauty chemist of the future, now
Provital is committed to staying ahead of the curve. To develop the active ingredient Wonderage™, Provital partnered with external neuro-studies specialists Kernel. By combining their expertise, Provital and Kernel developed AI technology that used digital imaging and genetic databases to allow a beauty chemist to accurately measure the emotional reaction of test participants.
With this technology, Provital could quantify trial participants’ feelings of well-being, and thus, fine-tune the product to enhance these effects. During a double-blind study, Provital compared the reactions of 47 volunteers who used either Wonderage™ 2% or a placebo. According to the study’s findings, 67% of participants who used Wonderage™ felt enhanced well-being and positivity. This AI-driven approach to human reaction was key to ingredient development.
Consumers are becoming more and more sophisticated. Over the next decade, their perceptions and attitudes to natural beauty will evolve and the BPC industry needs to evolve with them. Wonderage™ and the AI technology are but one example – and there is certainly space for many more exciting biotech beauty innovations.