Genderless, unisex, gender-neutral, inclusive beauty, beauty for all, are all popular descriptions in today’s product marketing. But what does this really mean for the future of inclusivity within beauty? Genderless does not equal erasing gender; it’s about opening the conversation and welcoming ALL who wish to participate. There needs to be a focus on inclusion overall. If you think about beauty products, efficacy has no gender, it’s all about product performance and associating benefits with a consumer need. In such, we need to start changing the dialogue of our conversations to reflect more inclusivity within beauty.
The beauty industry is just starting to change and shift towards a consumer driven universal approach to defining products, categories, how we market, who we market to, and everything else that previously had a rigid gender-bound approach. According to an NPD iGen Beauty Consumer Report, 40% of adults ages 18-22 show interest in gender neutral beauty products. Thanks to Gen Z, genderless beauty is shifting gears, moving towards gender freedom, a larger movement focused on authenticity and fluid identities. Euromonitor reports that they see beauty as a means to express one’s true self (as opposed to achieving industrialized perfection), and all iterations of the TRUE SELF are acceptable. Brands should consider a new approach, hyper-personalization as a way to really connect and understand the new generation of consumers that are demanding more targeted products.
Over the past ten years, Americans have spent more than $500bn on beauty products. By 2024, the Chinese are expected to splurge more than $100bn a year according to The Economist. The beauty landscape continues to rapidly change, with more digitally native, indie startup brands launching specialized, niche product ranges. It’s essential to have the right strategy and marketing in place to reach your target audience. Engagements with content mentioning non-binary, transgender, and gender-fluid beauty terms have increased by over 50% and with more than one third of Gen Zers saying they personally know someone who identifies with gender-neutral pronouns.
People like to feel pretty, PERIOD, and however you translate ‘pretty’ is up to you. The new generations (Gen Z and Gen Alpha), helped by the development of social media and some demographic changes are redefining the rules of society in the name of new values. The days of “For Her and For Him” are over. Everyone deserves representation and the future of beauty lies in diversity. Gender is not a skin type, and the reverse, genderless isn’t one either. Formulators should focus on creating products that solve a problem, respond to a need, spark joy and that works for all humans. The future is about efficacy, smart packaging that is functional for those with disabilities, ingredient transparency and safety.
Brands must embody inclusivity—not because it’s trendy, but because it’s necessary and champions the new era of beauty—skin care for eczema, thin hair, grey hair, etc. shouldn’t be considered atypical or abnormal, it’s just a specific need to address. The language used to describe these products needs an overhaul for inclusivity. A shopper shouldn’t feel that they are an exception, just because they need a more tailored skin care solution. Hair care brands, barbers, and salons are also joining the inclusive beauty movement, shifting towards more inclusive grooming products when it comes to salon services. Accessibility and products that reflect a lifestyle rather than a gender is the way forward.
The hair and grooming category is a prime space for innovation. And since 2017 when Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty broke records with a 40-shade foundation line, make-up has been a go-to category for inclusive examples, although inclusive in North America is very diversity & inclusion oriented whilst in EMEA it’s more focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR), both are important in the holistic approach to inclusive beauty. Inclusivity efforts should be genuine and authentic, resonating with customers. From the start, Fenty Beauty lived inclusivity principles of all genders, shapes, skin tones, and involved the community in the development/improvement of the products. Brands looking to revamp their approach should note that inclusivity starts at the beginning—the choice of ingredients (vegan, halal, upcycled etc.) and the marketing/language and product positioning for the target consumer.
Consumers increasingly have an appetite and experimental attitude towards beauty. Univar Solutions’ global Solution Centers formulated inspirational prototypes aimed to help our customers on their inclusivity journey. Our marketing campaign, No Boundaries, breaks down barriers and proposes formulas for ALL beauty lovers. Beauty knows no boundaries and these formula textures, colors and benefits are perfect for anyone looking to upgrade their beauty wardrobe. Be inspired and check out our campaign for interesting prototypes, unique textures and exciting marketing concepts that connect with inclusive beauty for all.
Learn more at: www.univarsolutions.com/genderless-beauty
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