13 - 16 February 2024 // Nürnberg, Germany


The new normal

© Elfriede Dambacher

This summer is different. We’re seeing lower infection rates and are enjoying freedoms that we long had to do without. At the same time, extreme weather conditions, climate change, and worries about how the pandemic will continue to affect us this autumn are impacting all of our lives. What’s ahead? What’s important for the future?

One sign that gives me hope is the fact that this reflectiveness is also being expressed in consumer behaviour. If we look at the cosmetics market, and the natural cosmetics market in particular, the message is clear: There’s no going back, there’s only the “new normal”. The pandemic is shining a light on how this new normal is playing out in the cosmetics market. The cosmetics market is becoming greener than ever before.

In past times of crisis, people have always talked about the “lipstick effect”. No matter how badly the economy has collapsed, lipstick sales have always been good, even when fewer cosmetics have been purchased overall.

Today we’re seeing a different trend. In a crisis like the one we’re currently experiencing, beauty rituals are important, we’re spending more time in the bathroom, our cherished rituals bring stability. The sense of personal and emotional well-being that our personal care routines give us is now taking on social and ecological aspects that are reflected in our choice of products. Products also have to be environmentally friendly. Many shoppers today are demanding waste prevention, whether it’s a matter of plastic in the oceans or unnecessary packaging. The demand for sustainable products that are also properly produced is clearly growing, and not just in the area of cosmetics. People are looking for products that support their lifestyle while also protecting the planet – for example, products that don’t use water, known as solid cosmetics, or niche markets that address a particular aspect of sustainability without a moralising undertone. I believe that all this and more will remain in place after the pandemic. When even the world’s largest cosmetics manufacturer is saying that luxury without meaning or purpose will no longer satisfy, we can assume that there’s been a real paradigm shift in the cosmetics industry. The new era started long ago.

Elfriede Dambacher, owner of the Naturkosmetik Konzepte consultancy, is an international cosmetics industry expert and author.