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Beauty is in the Eye of the Trendsetter

Marie Ollagnier and Juliana Feitosa
  • Major trends in today’s world are impacting the global marketplace and consumers’ preferences in their quest for beauty.
  • Consumers are balancing a more urban lifestyle with a desire for time savings and nature-based solutions.
  • Sacrificing performance is not an option. Cutting-edge technology ensures high-quality results with formulas free from potentially harmful ingredients.
  • Customized solutions address consumers’ desire to find what’s best for them.

As marketers, our job is to know what the consumer wants. But in a world where popular tastes can change in less time than it takes to download the latest digital video, staying connected with all of the current trends can be a daunting task. Adding to the challenge is the time-consuming process of developing, manufacturing and promoting a product to respond to an emerging need, and then getting that product to market as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, some trends are more than just passing fads. These are the trends that are truly revolutionizing the world and permanently changing our lives. The Internet, social media networks and mobile technology are a few examples. Connecting, sharing and posting online is now an integral part of who we are, and virtual interaction is becoming just as prevalent as personal interaction. We would never go back to the way things were just a few years ago.

The key to successful marketing is to understand how these major changes are affecting consumer demands and decisions now and over the long run. Certain global macrotrends, all related to the electronic revolution, are leaving their mark on the beauty industry, and the following is a discussion of three of the most important trends and their impact on global markets.

The Citysumer

Cities are growing in all parts of the world as individuals flock to them seeking better jobs and greater income. Along with this change in lifestyle comes increasing exposure to enhanced products and services. Rural areas also are becoming more urbanized, as social media, mass production and the expansion of distribution channels are bringing rural residents many of the same opportunities as their urban compatriots.

Today’s “citysumers” have a dynamic lifestyle. They are surrounded by an endless variety of entertainment options such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, concerts and exhibitions. Constantly connected to their smartphones, they are influenced greatly by what is said by their friends and those they follow on social networks. Upcoming technologies, such as digital walls and screens enabling on-the-go virtual shopping, will put even more innovation at their fingertips.

This trend is affecting both the developed and developing regions of the world. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 86.7% of people worldwide had a mobile phone subscription in 2011, for a total of about 6 billion subscriptions globally, including 4.5 billion subscriptions in the developing world.

But people are paying a price for their hectic urban lifestyle. Citysumers can spend hours each day stuck in traffic or squeezed into public transportation. They have to deal with noise, pollution and stress, and they seem to never have enough time to devote to their work, home, family and themselves. They value anything that helps them save time, so they seek multifunctional products and convenient packaging. Citysumers demand efficiency and performance with instant gratification. They desire visible results at a faster rate, and those results must last longer.

In addition, the city is a very harsh environment. Residents must protect themselves from harmful conditions, which can cause damage to hair and skin. Stress, both physical and emotional, can result in hormonal and emotional imbalances, premature aging and a weakened immune system. Therefore, products tailored for the urban lifestyle should enhance the natural defenses of the hair and skin while soothing frayed nerves after a stressful day.

As a result of the harsh conditions and hectic lifestyle, citysumers desire products that bring comfort and allow them to experience sensations outside of their daily routine. They enjoy relaxing and enhancing their moods with products that deliver psychological benefits and sensations of peace.


As a side effect of the influx of people to urban environments, consumers are seeking to escape the breakneck pace of the cities whenever they can. This trend manifests itself in the desire to maintain close contact with nature and health, and to pursue ethical and responsible care. Consumers are stating their preference for companies that care about others, act in socially responsible ways, and minimize the negative impact of their products and services on the environment.

According to a survey conducted by StrategyOne, about 80% of consumers in emerging markets expect brands to support a cause. In China and India specifically, 79% think brands should be socially responsible.

Many beauty product manufacturers are placing ethical and environmental credentials high on their list of priorities. Brands are communicating increasingly about their programs and implementing campaigns to educate consumers about environmental considerations.

Beauty brands and suppliers also continue to seek creative new ways to merge science, nature and sustainability for eco-friendly formulas, packaging and energy efficiency. This altruistic marketing supports human and environmental causes, and attracts the attention of avid bloggers and consumers who are concerned about how corporations use the world’s limited resources and what those organizations are doing in return to help the planet.

Social media, Internet forums and online word-of-mouth have restored the popularity of basic and traditional ingredients that remind us of the simplicity of the past. Traditional medicines developed from local herbs and botanicals, fruits and other natural products have found renewed success with nostalgic consumers, and products that combine beauty with physical and psychological wellness are also popular.

Increasingly, popular brands are developing safe and effective formulas that are free of potentially harmful ingredients without requiring consumers to sacrifice results in their search for well-being. These cosmetics use materials that are derived from or inspired by nature, but also are  backed by science to ensure quality results.


Influenced by the digital world where customization is simple and effortless, individuals now increasingly look to tailor everything to their own preferences. With the wide variety of cosmetic, beauty and personal care products available, as well as varying definitions of beauty in different markets, consumers must ask, “What’s best for me?” Social networks and smartphones allow consumers to research solutions online and ask their friends or favorite forums for instant information and advice.

Cosmetic manufacturers and beauty brands are responding to these questions by increasing segmentation and offering larger, more complex product portfolios. Increasingly sophisticated, new genomic and other high-tech cosmetics tend to be active at the level of the epidermis, cells and even DNA to restore and repair skin to its original form. In addition, new made-to-measure products empower individuals to select the composition, type and amount of actives that can be personalized to address their specific needs.

The Internet has become a kingdom for cosmetic alchemists looking to achieve ultimate customization. Do-it-yourself beauty products and homemade cosmetics for skin and hair care lead to an enjoyable, personal experience. The ability to select the appropriate actives, fragrance and texture reassures consumers that they are using something unique while controlling the ingredients that are combined and formulated specifically for their needs.

Notions of beauty have always been swayed by local preferences and traditions, but now those traditions are being influenced more than ever by the exchange and fusion of global interaction. The combination of global urbanization, the desire for greater sustainability and the quest for individuality all factor into the ever-changing definition of beauty. In other words, beauty can be sophisticated yet simple, multicultural yet unique. And the most successful brands in the beauty industry will be able to respond to these trends to help consumers achieve their own personal ideal of beauty.

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Marie Ollagnier is the global strategic marketing manager in skin care for Lubrizol Personal Care. She is a graduate of ESCOM, a French chemical engineering university, and she began her career as a formulation chemist working in the innovation laboratories at Symrise before joining Lubrizol in 2005, where she has held various marketing roles.

Juliana Feitosa is the marketing coordinator for Lubrizol Personal Care in the South Latin America market. A graduate of Universidade Nove de Julho in São Paulo, Brazil, Feitosa has nearly a decade of experience in marketing in the personal care industry. She joined Lubrizol in 2008.

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