Beauty Medic, Nomad and Gourmand: The Trends Impacting Beauty

According to ingredient supplier Gattefossé, staying on top of what consumers want and what they will want, even when they may not know it yet, is the lifeblood of the beauty industry. The company annually charges a dedicated team to identify global trends for the coming year and to create a package of presentations and prototypes that allow the trends to be shared with the industry to further efforts to create products that meet needs today and the demands of the consumer tomorrow. 

Continuing its look at the key market trends that it sees as playing a growing role in beauty over the next year and beyond, Gattefossé  developed three cosmetic market trends in 2012: Beauty Medic, Nomad and Gourmand.

Beauty Medic

As the quest for a younger look continues to drive American women, a growing number of products and services are catering to this market. What began as the dermatologists' domain has quickly spread to spas and beauty. In fact, today, there are roughly 26,000 medispas in the U.S., combining traditional spa wellness with anti-aging techniques and medicine.

But, with this drive for youth, there still lingers a fear of invasive procedures and a desire for cost-effective solutions. For this reason, consumers are seeking dramatic anti-aging results not just from cosmetic surgery but from cosmetic products as well. They are becoming more and more demanding, and want to see evidence that the products work.

The Beauty Medic trend is fueled by this consumer. It's a trend driven by brands capitalizing on advanced research in biochemistry and medicine to create higher-tech, highly innovative beauty products that push the efficacy of cosmetics further than ever before.

This trend features quasi medical results and "mix-it-yourself" solutions that offer alternatives to cosmetic surgery and other invasive procedures, and retailed products are increasingly using medical- or pharmaceutical-grade actives to deliver visible, measurable results. Products in this category often have simple and practical packaging, and use medical vocabulary and highly effective ingredients.

Gattefossé's market review of new product launches supports this claim, and identified a wave of new and innovative ways to approach technologically advanced cosmetic products with powerful claims.

The three distinct segments within this hi-tech beauty trend:

  • Surgery Like Treatments: These products are intended to have similar effects as cosmetic surgery. They often use vocabulary and packaging evocative of cosmetic surgery. Words like "lifting," "dermabrasion" and "plumping" are common, as is syringe-like packaging. Syringes commonly used the advertising for these products.
  • Ultra-High Efficacy Ingredients: This category is composed of products that utilize ultra-high tech ingredients that are often inspired by medical research. These ingredients are always highly substantiated, with proven efficacy. Serums are often seen in this segment.
  • Doctor Brands: The popularity of doctor brands continues to grow, with new lines being introduced to the market regularly. These brands are created by dermatologists or doctors and sold as "at home prescriptions." These brands tells consumers that it's possible to obtain the same treatment you would get in a dermatologist's office at home.


This category addresses a new generation of workers and travelers that readily transplant themselves to cities across the globe following the next big career opportunity and to a small but diverse section of society that lives and works in an urban area, yet does not rent, own or otherwise reside permanently in any one location.

More broadly, these urban nomads are a generation more open to travel for both work and play, looking to see the world and make their mark. Even when not traveling, urban nomads are busier than ever and always “on the go.”

A Google search of the phrase "urban nomad" brings up an astonishing number of results for products targeting this group—everything from wireless technology to flat pack furniture to boutique hotels. And, of course, since the urban nomad wants to look good while jetting from city to city or running from work to cocktails, a growing number of beauty companies are catering to this group, as well, making Nomad a key market trend.

The trend is strongly driven by packaging. We see a lot of products cleverly packaged to make them useful on the go. Examples include products packaged as easy travel bundles, new textures that can be applied without the use of an applicator, and products that come packaged with mirror and applicator all in one. We've also seen several large companies developing travel versions of their best selling products.

The trend has also manifested through beauty product vending machines, which are beginning to pop up in malls and airports. Sephora, The Body Shop and Proactiv are just a few of the companies taking advantage of this new channel of distribution.


Food continues to inspire beauty and links between food and beauty are numerous. Various references to the food industry by beauty products can be found, and three categories have emerged.

  • Gourmand Textures: Beauty products with textures that were previously only found on plates, with yogurt, soufflé, sorbet and jam found at the beauty counter. 
  • Gourmand Ingredients: Product developers incorporate traditional food ingredients as actives so they can bring the same benefits to the skin. There are numerous fruit and vegetable examples, and more luxurious lines are even using champagne and caviar.
  • Gourmand Treats: Inspired by process technology, there are many examples of products presented in siphons like whipped cream. There are also a number of products being served in retail locations in a manner to how products are served in delicatessens, with a large choice of products, and even a menu, to choose from.


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