Rising awareness of unrealistic beauty standards has reshaped consumers’ perception of beauty. While the increase in digital access globally has shown there is more to beauty than a single concept, there is an even stronger current that pushes consumers to embrace diversity. Driven by social media influencers that shun photo editing and filters, and encourage images of imperfect bodies, consumers are feeling more empowered. This signals a step-change for cosmetics labs, who need to re-align their formulations and messaging to match this new wave of positivity.
This trail is being blazed by younger consumers. Right now, 65% of British Gen Zers define beauty as confidence (Mintel, 2019). However, there is still work to be done: despite this positivity, the dominant model is still that approval comes from outside. The link between youth, perfection, beauty, and happiness endures, and this inhibits the self-acceptance process. Still, 24% of American teenagers say that their appearance is a top stress factor for them (Mintel, 2019). So how can the industry navigate these contrasting tendencies?
Keeping it real
Although influencers have certainly played a role in the body-positive and inclusive beauty movement, one in four adults who follow influencers say they struggle to find influencers they trust. This demonstrates that consumers are wary of influencer content, especially as awareness around paid posts increases. In spite of a rising trend for more ‘authentic’ influencers, consumers are all-too-aware that Instagram and Snapchat are a “highlight reel” of someone’s life.
This has ushered in an interesting, if not somewhat paradoxical, shift. Mintel discovered in their Internet Influencers 2020 US report that 56% of adults that follow influencers said they prefer internet personalities that encourage them to take time away from social media. This further reinforces the consumer demand for transparency and authenticity: they prefer to be reminded to focus on the real world over the highlight reel.
Cosmetics labs should stay grounded
So where does this leave cosmetics labs and beauty brands? The fact remains that social media and influencer collaborations are some of their most powerful marketing channels. Currently, 70% of all beauty and grooming consumers that follow influencers have purchased a recommended product (Mintel/Lightspeed, 2019). Therefore, this isn’t to say that brands should abandon social media collaborations. Instead, it seems that the industry needs to take a grounded, realistic approach to influencer culture, that prioritizes real life over online ideals.
Successful cosmetics labs and brands will be those that double down on the consumer demand for authenticity. Partnerships with diverse influencers that look like real people will be a key strategy. Meanwhile, being upfront about practices and policies, from sustainable ingredients to realistic, raw advertising campaigns will cultivate a reputation of transparency and authenticity. Equally, getting back to nature is a good strategy: in a digital world, natural ingredients signal a grounded, caring approach.
Help consumers find their own way to express their beauty
Provital is committed to helping cosmetics labs create products that care. Because we care, Provital develops natural active ingredients that allow everyone to find their own way to express their beauty. This is because Provital recognizes that at the core of beauty is positivity; and when people feel positive, their natural beauty shines through. Today, cosmetics labs, brands, and influencers have an integral role to play in making the beauty industry more diverse, inclusive, and authentic, so we should work together to make this a reality.