Trends in natural cosmetics: the personalisation of products is the future
What global cosmetic and personal care trends can we expect in 2024? And what do they mean for natural and organic cosmetics? A conversation with Susanne Krenz from market research company Mintel.
2023 was also a year of profound changes worldwide. Many consumers have been overwhelmed by economic instability, political unrest, and new forms of artificial intelligence. This has resulted in behavioural changes that has also affected the consumption of cosmetics and skin care products. In its trend forecast for 2024, market research company Mintel defined three global beauty and personal care trends1: NeuroGlow, Beaut-AI and Sophisticated Simplicity. These trends also offer companies in the natural and organic cosmetics sector opportunities to position themselves.
NeuroGlow – the connection between mind and body
Consumers have come to recognise that cosmetics and personal care products are not cure-alls. The NeuroGlow trend describes a holistic approach to beauty in which mental well-being and physical appearance go hand in hand. It’s not just about optimising your outward appearance but increasing your mental and emotional well-being. Mindfulness exercises, meditation, and stress management techniques, naturopathy and targeted nutritional supplements affect the physical appearance of skin and hair and support mental and physical health. “Cosmetics and skin care and emotional well-being are inextricably linked. Two-thirds of people in Germany who perform beauty and skin care routines see them as a key part of their self-care,” says Susanne Krenz, Principal Research Analyst – Beauty and Personal Care, German Reports, at Mintel. “Our data show a clear connection between the number of skin problems and the positive effect of a beauty/skin care routine on self-confidence. This is where brands can make inroads, by working with product textures that are pleasant to use and preferably as light as possible and by ensuring transparency and verifiability when it comes to active ingredients,” Krenz recommends. “The more skin problems someone has, the more willing they are to address the issue of ingredients, which almost inevitably leads to a holistic view of their own health."
Hairstyling too can have a positive impact on general well-being, says Krenz: “Hairstyling has a relaxing effect on a quarter of German users of hairstyling products. In this context, brands can help by ensuring that their products have a pleasant scent or contain soothing ingredients. In doing so, they give consumers the feeling that they are doing something good for their well-being as well as for their hair.
Beaut-AI – artificial intelligence in cosmetics
As in many other areas of our lives, artificial intelligence is also transforming the cosmetics sector. Already, AI is accelerating product development and fostering inclusivity. For AI systems to win the trust of consumers, they need to be transparent. The provenance of the data, and the way decision-making processes are managed, must be made clear. An ethical AI governance is crucial to prevent bias and ensure data privacy and the responsible use of data. “Especially in the case of natural and organic cosmetic brands, we recommend a cautious approach, so as not to scare off those consumers for whom technology and nature are hard to reconcile,” Krenz says.
At the same time, she stresses that new technologies also afford opportunities to natural and organic cosmetic brands: “By using biotechnology they can replace traditional ingredients with bio-based alternatives e.g. for ethanol or essential oils that have been the subject of criticism for some time now. Something else that has come out of technological innovation and that can be readily used for natural and organic cosmetic brands is the upcycling trend, which is also suitable for the mass market.” Examples of this are recovered fruit and food waste that can used as main active ingredients.
By analysing social media trends, customer feedback and market research, companies can identify the latest beauty trends or product gaps, and develop innovative products tailored to specific needs. “Artificial intelligence can in turn help identify new or up-and-coming natural ingredients, by analysing large volumes of data while at the same time evaluating consumer interest. In addition, natural and organic cosmetic brands, along with conventional brands, can use AI technology to analyse skin type and texture, provide product recommendations, or manufacture personalised cosmetics,” explains Krenz.
AI can also optimise sustainable practices for the procurement of ingredients, for packaging, and for avoiding waste.
Sophisticated Simplicity – effective, high-quality products
According to the “Sophisticated Simplicity” trend, the cosmetics industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, because consumers are attaching increasing importance to the quality of ingredients and the proven effectiveness of products. As a result, demand for effective, high-quality products is increasing. Fancy packaging and glitzy marketing campaigns are becoming less important.
Natural and organic cosmetic brands in particular can benefit from this trend, says Krenz: “The fact that consumers are increasingly focusing on the quality of the ingredients is good news for natural and organic cosmetic brands that adhere to strict standards in any case. The use of natural ingredients is associated with an increased sense of security and a gentler effect on skin and hair. Natural and organic cosmetic brands that contain natural alternatives to popular active ingredients therefore have immense potential – think about bachuki oil as an alternative to retinol, for example. In this context there is even potential for premiumisation, as 29 percent of Germans are interested in buying a premium or luxury product that contains natural ingredients.”
Consumers will focus on a carefully selected range of high-quality products that meet their individual needs, whose effectiveness is proven, whose ingredients are communicated transparently, and which offer long-term results.
Personalisation of products and beauty routines
The three global cosmetic trends defined by Mintel have one thing in common: a focus on the personalisation of products and (care) routines. “In the natural and organic cosmetic segment, the concept of personalisation, even at global level, tends to be a niche phenomenon,” says Krenz, summing up. Nevertheless, the Mintel trend report confirms that the natural and organic cosmetic sector can reap rewards in future, because environmentally conscious consumers will support companies that use eco-friendly practices and embrace ethical sourcing.
 MINTEL Group Ltd (2023): Global Beauty and Personal Care Trends 2024. What’s new and next in consumer behaviour and its impact on marketing and innovation. https://www.mintel.com/de/insights/downloads/globale-kosmetiktrends/