The beauty industry has seen massive growth over the last few years - with fresh new players entering the scene, well-established brands reinventing themselves, and plenty of exciting new trends on the horizon.
We sat down with BeautyMatter to discuss the state of the category, the booming skincare market and the biggest brand movements.
First, let's talk about BeautyMatter
Before launching BeautyMatter, founders, Kelly Kovack and John Cafarelli, were key players in the beauty industry - founding their own brands and working alongside big names, like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare and Banana Republic.
BeautyMatter began as a blog and newsletter. In four short years, it has made its mark, gaining a global following and becoming one of the most influential voices covering the beauty space.
Kelly and John's passion for the industry is evident– and they explain their ambition for the company is to become ‘the first thing people in the beauty and wellness category read, every morning.”
What makes BeautyMatter different?
What makes the organization unique is their data. Historically, data on trends has solely come from expensive subscriptions and reports, but BeautyMatter are creating a movement, where data is accessible for all. Their focus is on providing relevant and actionable information that will actually help people in the community.
“We are inundated with data every day. But it’s often difficult to understand. What we do is synthesize multiple data sources, add context, and make it accessible, so it can be actioned in useful ways.”
While they report on sales and trends, BeautyMatter also don’t hold back on what they think, “We’re not afraid to have an opinion or to disagree.”
How BeautyMatter see the skincare category
Clean beauty is a sub-category that BeautyMatter are incredibly interested in. It’s been gaining steady traction over the last few years, having emerged out of the ‘natural’ category. Yet, ‘clean beauty’ as a concept, is still nebulous. There’s no clear definition of it, and because of this, Credo Beauty has become the defacto standard of clean beauty, having stepped up and grabbed the opportunity space, early on.
The concept of clean beauty has been written about in hundreds of publications, from the NY Times to the Wall Street Journal, and Vogue. But are we any closer to understanding it?
The confusion surrounding this trend is summarized well by John, who explains “any time a category grows quickly, there are people within the movement that pioneer the category, with groundbreaking ideas and a lot of passion. But there are also plenty of brands that arrive to take advantage of the trend.” When brands that are less committed to the cause tap into these opportunity spaces, that’s when the message of the movement starts to become diluted.
Either way you define it, there’s no denying that clean beauty and the skincare movement are gaining popularity. BeautyMatter partly attributes this surge to COVID-19 and the rise of clinical skincare. With so much uncertainty surrounding consumers at this time, it made sense that many found solace in products that were backed by concrete science and established doctors.
Kelly remarks how, “overnight, the category lost its glamor – ‘beauty’ was out, skincare was in – and insta-perfect influencers were replaced by real-life experts in the skincare industry”.
Clearly, being stuck at home made consumers re-evaluate their priorities. And this includes the products on their shelves.
The future of the skincare category
Over the last three months, BeautyMatter has noticed consumers demanding to know more about the products they buy. From the claims on front of pack, to the ingredients used in these products, there’s a definite move towards transparency. It’s not enough for brands to say they are ‘clean’ anymore. This must be proven through open communication and actions that marry up to their words.
Sustainability is also hot on consumers’ lips. As John puts it, “Beauty has been a long-term offender to the environment. And we’re finally at a point where we’re moving to fix this.” He loves the fact that we can finally have an open conversation about beauty and its impact on the environment and is eagerly waiting for sustainability standards to be set in the industry.
BeautyMatter are seeing customers favor more sustainable brands. They’ve noticed customers routines change since the pandemic - using fewer products and spending more on businesses that live up to their existing values.
As Kelly puts it, “If the product lives up to a customer’s values and says something about their lifestyle, they’ll see it as an extension of who they are. And there’s no more irresistible pull than that.”
The brands to watch
Opulus Labs – a brand launched by Clarisonic founder, Dr. Robb Akridge.
“This brand has a unique approach to how products are formulated. Their hero product is inspired by chocolate truffles - containing a hard outer shell and ingredients within that are melted and blended for peak potency. This brand is pure innovation, from how the product is manufactured through to the consumer experience.”
Veracity – a new brand that has made a commitment to educating consumers on the connection between hormonal health and skincare.
“They have created a range of science-backed skincare formulas - delivering personalization though a simple saliva test to identify the root cause of skin issues rather than simply creating products to address the symptoms. Founder and CEO, Allie Egan, has serious business chops and has assembled an impressive medical advisory board to power the brand’s goal of delivering a holistic medical approach to beauty and wellness.”
Revea - a newly launched brand with technology, data, and biological expertise at its core.
“This brand is delivering personalized products by measuring over 100M data points of skin health to determine an individual's skin needs. They then optimize individual treatments based on skin physiology and can make over 3,000 unique formulations. While there is no shortage of personalized skincare brands, this founding team can deliver true personalization from concept through to the vertically integrated production. The team consists of industry veterans who have scaled personalized concept before.”
We asked John and Kelly for some final thoughts on the industry and if they had any advice to give brands in this space.
Of course, they didn’t disappoint. Here’s what they had to say:
“In this new world, science and the substantiation of claims, matters. It’s non-negotiable. We advise brands to use technology platforms to embed transparency throughout their supply chain. Certifications like B Corp, will separate out the brands that are walking the walk from the brands that are simply greenwashing.”