Eye on the future: NPD highlights potential 2020 beauty trends

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Eye on the future: NPD highlights potential 2020 beauty trends


When it comes to predicting beauty trends, NPD Group has a pretty good track record. The company foresaw the past year’s slowdown in makeup sales, the rise of natural and the bounce in hair care sales. 

Now NPD vice president and industry adviser for beauty Larissa Jensen is gazing into her crystal ball to reveal the biggest trends for the next decade. 

Just as she foresaw a downturn a year ago looming in color makeup, Jensen thinks consumers are ready to cycle back. That’s good news for the mass market, which plays a dominant role in selling makeup.

“Makeup is expected to come back in 2021, based on historical cycles between the skin care and makeup categories, which typically last between four and five years,” Jensen said. “If history repeats itself, we are looking at a rebound in the category sometime around 2021, give or take a year.” Retailers also noticed that people are ready to refresh their supplies, as well as an influx of new colors this year — especially blue tones.

Skin care, the category that has been propelling overall beauty growth, might hit a bump in the road because the fast growing natural sector is becoming crowded. Natural has seen serious gains over the past year, with Nielsen data showing sales in mass stores growing at an 8.7% rate versus overall conventional health and beauty gains of 1.2%. Trend watcher Grand View Research estimated last April that clean beauty will generate nearly $25 billion in 2025.

Yet, Jensen foretells a slowdown in natural skin care caused by confusion in the market over such key words as natural, organic and clean. There also are so many brands with natural positionings. She also said there is lingering consumer disappointment in the payoff, especially with natural cosmetics brands. That said, however, she is banking on a consumer movement that will demand more sustainability from brands. Sustainability will be discussed at every top to top beauty meeting this year, experts said.

“Sustainability concerns are likely to run the gamut from packaging to ingredients,” Jensen said. “There are many ways to get tied up in it: You could have sustainable packaging, but an ingredient might not be sustainable.” 

Beauty routines, which have expanded with the growth of multistep regimens and facial masks, are creating more waste, Jensen said. And, experts said people are good about recycling kitchen products; not so much bathroom empties. The beauty industry is working to change that through educational efforts.

Already companies are looking to close the recycling loop, adding more refillable packages and glass containers, and partnering with companies like TerraCycle. Ingredient-wise, waterless formulas are emerging to lessen the use of water. For example, Procter & Gamble is making products intended to help cut out showers, especially since consumers are washing their hair less frequently. Target has its Spring & Vine lineup, which uses 98% less water than traditional shampoos.