Beauty Ingredient Innovations and Trends

  • Trends that were hot in beauty in 2013—multifunctionality, anti-aging and natural ingredients—are continuing their influence into 2014 with new tweaks.
  • For 2014, some of the top beauty trends include hydrating ingredients in products for skin and hair, as well as vivid colors in cosmetics and more options for men’s personal care products.
  • Products that combine these trends, as well as feed consumer demand in multiple innovative ways, continue to push the envelope in beauty product development, encouraging brands and product developers to always seek the next big thing.

Worldwide, consumers spend more than $120 billion per year on household and personal care products1, and these numbers are growing. In fact, in November 2013, Lucintel estimated the beauty and personal care industry will reach $630 billion by 2017. With this level of projected growth, it’s no surprise beauty brands, manufacturers and suppliers are closely monitoring consumer trends for a piece of the market.

Of course, there is a constantly changing landscape of consumer preferences in the beauty industry, and consequently, brands continually have to track shifting targets in order to meet demand. During 2013, multifunctional products offering UV protection and anti-aging benefits were in, as were products featuring natural ingredients. And while these trends will continue to evolve in 2014, also expect to see increased demand for hydrating ingredients, new vibrant makeup colors, and men’s personal care products.

Tried and True: 2013 Trends

For the past two years, beauty products offering multiple benefits have been in high demand, with busy, cash-strapped consumers looking for streamlined solutions. As a result, there has been an increased focus on creating products that perform at least two functions—if not three or four. The rapid growth in the popularity of BB and CC creams are just one example of this trend in action.

UV protection is one of the key benefits consumers often look for in multifunctional products, with 46% of consumers in 2013 asking for makeup that provides all-day sun protection.2 For a population increasingly concerned with skin cancer and preventing signs of aging, the incorporation of UV absorbers has grown from just typical sunscreens to a wide variety of sprays, lotions, makeups, serums, creams and gels—even into hair products.

To bring UV protection to a variety of products, product developers and formulators are challenged to blend water resistance, texture, absorption and long-lasting protection while increasing SPF, and new, innovative ingredients have been critical in this challenge. For example, certain SPF enhancers like Dow Corning (DC) FA 4002 ID Silicone Acrylate are film formers that are compatible with organic UV absorbers and pigments, which significantly increases the base SPF in consumer products. It is likely we’ll see continued demand for UV absorbers and SPF protection in a range of products.

A more youthful appearance is another thing consumers today are actively seeking, with a preference for beauty products that address multiple signs of aging—from wrinkles to hyperpigmentation, dryness and sun damage.

Thus, beauty brands are looking for ingredients to make anti-aging products that address a wide range of concerns, including moisturization and hydration, as well as incorporating antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. To address these demands, supplier companies have focused on developing innovative, multifunctional anti-aging product solutions. Among the new formulation offerings from Univar, for example, is a rejuvenating eye cream that incorporates multiple skin nourishing and moisturizing ingredients and features, including Aquamax LM to retain the endogenous hyaluronic acid—a natural moisturizer in the skin—while decreasing redness from UV exposure.

To also address the rapidly growing anti-aging market, new areas of interest, such as anti-aging hair care, have emerged. Lately, the hair care industry has been taking a cue from skin care, offering specialized products like CC and BB creams, hydrating lotions and serums to prevent signs of aging such as dull color, brittleness, dryness and frizz. And although the broader market for anti-aging has become increasingly competitive and saturated, innovation in this space is continuing. Some of the new products emerging in hair care include milder cleansing through sulfate-free systems, robust conditioning focused around newer silicone conditioning technology, UV-enhanced leave-in conditioners, and multifunctional styling aides such as anti-frizz and shine enhancing products.

Another trend, consumer demand for natural products continues to grow, challenging product developers to keep pace and find new ingredients that are natural while still providing the same results consumers expect from synthetic ingredients. To meet this demand, manufacturers are innovating with vegetable oils and butters like sunflower and shea, and natural gums for rheology modifiers—xanthan, carrageenan and gellan gum, as examples. Active ingredients from corn or beets also are being used to derive lactic acid for beauty products.

Univar engineers also have been seeking out natural ingredients for multifunctional products. For example, CP Kelco’s natural polymer AquaMax LM is used to help retain the body’s natural hyaluronic acid, enhance the structural integrity of skin and moderate undesirable immune effects associated with photoaging. Meanwhile, Purasal MoistXS from Purac is an example of a newer natural ingredient blend that moisturizes effectively.3 This leave-on moisturizing ingredient improves transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin elasticity while also improving the sensory experience with a less tacky after-feel.

The beauty industry has made great strides in natural products, but there still is opportunity for innovation here. The cost of natural ingredients often exceeds synthetics, creating challenges for product developers tasked with keeping costs down. Natural products also can be very chemically complex, and extensive testing must be done to determine any toxicological issues and to identify allergens. Achieving the same functionality, feel and aesthetic as products with synthetic ingredients often requires a combination of natural ingredients, further challenging formulators and product developers.

On the Horizon: 2014 Trends

While trends for multifunctional, anti-aging and natural products seem poised to continue, there are a few new trends on the horizon that are likely to emerge in 2014, including hydration, vibrant lip color and men’s personal care.

Increasingly, beauty brands are asking for ingredients to develop lotions, soaps, creams and serums that boast hydrating effects. The primary challenge in finding the right hydrating ingredients is creating an appealing texture in the final product. For skin care in particular, it is important to offer hydration benefits in products without creating a mask-like feel.

For instance, product developers are adding hyaluronic acid and rich pigments to formulations to create a hydrated, healthy look, combined with primers that are breathable and moisture-locking. Silicones also are incorporated to help make skin feel hydrated by decreasing water loss, a feature that is often included in anti-aging products. Silicone emulsifiers, elastomers and fluids are extremely important ingredients for skin feel, hydrating effects and overall pleasing aesthetics.

For example, the Dow Corning HMW 2220 non-ionic emulsion imparts a rich after-feel when used in skin cleansers and body washes. Its combined film barrier and wash-off properties make it a good choice to impart the feeling of moisturization with a rich texture. Or, for a smooth luxurious feel, Dow Corning EP 9801 hydro cosmetic powder offers the powdery texture without the formulation challenges of a traditional elastomer powder.

Another trend emerging in 2014 is a fresh approach to color in cosmetics. Beauty brands are turning to new and unique colors to create vibrant lipsticks and lip glosses. Brighter colors like blaze orange and neon pink are an easy, inexpensive way for consumers to make a bold statement with their look.

To meet this trend, suppliers have been creating formulations devised to highlight the bright hues. For example, Univar developed a non-tacky, neon-colored lip gloss that provides shear lip color that hair won’t stick to—a common problem among focus groups. The lip gloss boasts a base combination that provides more shine than traditional polyisobutylene-based lip gloss and longer-wear properties. The formulation also achieves lip conditioning and plumping effects with a non-tacky base. And in utilizing synthetic-based mica pigments, the number of bright, exciting colors becomes nearly endless for lipsticks and glosses.

Moving on to men, demand for men’s personal care has also increased. (Read more about this in “It’s a Man’s World: Men’s Grooming Breaks New Ground” in the March 2014 issue of GCI magazine.) Mintel projects the men’s grooming personal care market will see a 13% increase from 2013–2018 to reach $4.4 billion, with sales driven by antiperspirants, shaving products and body care products.4

For older men, brands are creating more options for men’s beard and hair dye, along with conditioners to make hair feel less wiry. To combat the signs of aging hair, product developers are incorporating conditioners that contain repairing characteristics to reduce and eliminate brittleness. Dow Corning CE 8411 Smooth Plus Emulsion is one example of an ingredient that provides moisture to the hair shaft without leaving buildup.

Male consumers also are looking for skin products that offer a dry, silky feel. To achieve this, formulators are turning to ingredients such as Dow Corning FZ 3196 when working with natural oils to achieve a non-greasy after-feel. Because oils tend to be very moisturizing but have a tacky feel on the skin, these kind of ingredients are a great addition.

Innovation Always

The constant demand for new beauty, grooming and personal care product options is leading formulators, product developers, brands and manufacturers into new territory across product categories, making 2014 an exciting time for the industry. Brands are looking to meet these trends—integrating multiple benefits in beauty, grooming and personal care products while also developing new solutions for anti-aging, natural ingredients, bright makeup colors and men’s care.

Understanding how to incorporate these trends in beauty products can be a daunting process, as brands must prioritize what changes to make while also considering logistics such as production times and cost efficiencies. The good news is that these challenges are driving innovation in the industry and giving consumers more options than ever before.


  1. Personal Care & Household Cleaning Products Industry Profile, Yahoo! Finance, (Accessed Feb 5, 2014)
  2. Color Cosmetics – US report, Mintel, July 2013
  3. M Takahashi, M Yamada and Y Machida, A new method to evaluate the softening effect of cosmetic ingredients on the skin, J Soc Cosmet Chem 35, 171-181 (1984)
  4. Men’s Personal Care – US report, Mintel, October 2013

Joshua Hashim is a business manager in the personal care division of Univar, a global chemical distribution company. Hashim has nine years of experience in the beauty and personal care industry, and holds a bachelor of science degree in marketing from California State University, Fresno and an MBA from the University of La Verne.

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