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Naked Innovation

Contact Author Jamie Mills, Analyst at Canadean
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The increasing appearance consciousness of today’s consumers shows no signs of abating, and according to Canadean’s most recent consumer survey from Q4 2015, close to three-quarters of consumers globally believe that their general looks and appearance are important.

Unsurprisingly, women and young consumers—millennials—remain the most image-conscious and therefore, continue to remain key audiences to target.

The New Natural

Today’s visual culture increasingly manifests in a range of consumer trends and behaviors, which are in turn impacting the innovation landscape. One which continues to gain traction is the “no make-up” trend, wherein consumers are trying to achieve the appearance or illusion of having a naturally flawless appearance without visible or obvious signs of having used beauty products.

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According to Canadean’s Q4 2015 consumer survey, just over half of global consumers found beauty and grooming products that help them achieve a natural appearance (e.g., “no-makeup” look) to be appealing. This creates a positive innovation platform on which brands can capitalize.

Rather than concealing beauty flaws or delivering the illusion of being naturally flawless using cosmetics, many consumers are approaching beauty in a more holistic, proactive manner and investing more time and money in care-based products that can achieve optimum appearance-related health.

#IWokeUpLikeThis

It is important to understand why this trend is growing in popularity in order to best tailor innovation for today’s demanding consumers. Increasingly, society has become digitized, and as a result, image-based social media is playing an integral part in creating new beauty norms.

The visibility of users posting hashtags, such as #bareface and #iwokeuplikethis, which depict “perfect” selfies that employ little or no appearance-enhancing makeup or filters, places more pressure on consumers to look “naturally” flawless. 

Celebrities also play an important role in encouraging the adoption of this approach* given that many consumers perceive their consistently “perfect” images, shared both by themselves and the general media, as aspirational beauty standards. This adoption of a more minimalist look creates opportunities for cosmetic solutions that can enhance the appearance while maintaining the illusion of natural flawlessness.

“Undetectable” Beauty Products

Brands are capitalizing on this trend by offering solutions which perfect the appearance but offer an invisible finish. One such example is Maybelline’s Dream Wonder Fluid Touch foundation, launched in the United States, which is formulated using a texture that claims to fuse with the skin, resulting in an “undetectable” finish.

Brands are also capitalizing on the need for more effective products and consumers’ willingness to invest more time and money into a more complex, elaborate and, at least in their perception, more effective beauty regimens.

Cosmetics innovation is also taking inspiration from professional makeup approaches to building the illusion of “natural” perfection. Some popular products include contouring to better define the face and strobing, which creates the appearance of glowing and radiant skin. Launched in the United States, Hourglass’s Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder is designed to sculpt the facial area to create a “refined, natural-looking highlight.”

Active Beauty Innovations

The growing movement toward health is also having a marked impact on this trend. Rather than concealing beauty flaws or delivering the illusion of being naturally flawless using cosmetics, many consumers are approaching beauty in a more holistic, proactive manner and investing more time and money in care-based products that can achieve optimum appearance-related health. By combining a more effective care regimen and improved lifestyle/diet (e.g., juicing, antioxidant-rich diets and nutricosmetics), consumers are able to promote health both inside and out and reduce their dependency on conventional topical cosmetics.

Brands are addressing this consumer sentiment through active cosmetics which can improve the appearance and act as beauty “cures” for perceived flaws or concerns. One such product is Shiseido’s Bio-Performance Glow Revival Serum, which was launched in Spain and is designed to reduce redness, discoloration, dullness and alleviate signs of aging. 

Brands are also capitalizing on the need for more effective products and consumers’ willingness to invest more time and money into a more complex, elaborate and, at least in their perception, more effective beauty regimens. One such brand is Belif, from South Korea, which offers a range of beauty steps including essences, gels and daily masks to create the optimum skin care and health regime.

Saying Yes to No Makeup

The no-makeup trend continues to grow in popularity and is likely to continue as consumers try to achieve the perfect appearance in a society in which the importance of personal image becomes increasingly pervasive. By tapping into the different drivers and attitudes encouraging the trend’s development, brands create new avenues by which consumers can best achieve a naturally perfect appearance.

*For example, when she signed her contract with L’Oréal, Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet demanded that none of her Lancôme ads be retouched or otherwise digitally manipulated. Winslet’s request reflects both her own personal beliefs in creating realistic images for young women, as well as a broader cultural shift toward a more real, unfiltered and individualistic kind of beauty.

Bare Naked Brands

A range of brands have launched makeup innovations to capitalize on the minimalist, natural look so many consumers seek in social media postings and beyond. The leading “no-makeup” makeup tools include:

  • Contouring: Examples include tarte’s The Sculptor Contouring Face Slenderizer, Dr. Jart+ BB Mate Contouring 1.2.3 Kit and Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation.
  • Strobing: Examples include Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat Strobing Light Highlighter and Benefit Cosmetics High Beam Liquid Face Highlighter.
  • Naked/nude effects: Examples include Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Illuminating Powder, Black Up Perfect Nude Lip Balm and Dior Diorskin Nude Skin-Glowing Makeup SPF 15.

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