Reinventing the universal

Reinventing the universal

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In the era of Instagram, where appearance is passed through the anti-natural filter before being exposed to reality, where millions of followers follow the standardization of perfection, voices have risen to break the codes of a normative ideal, to return to pride in oneself and in one's body. Inspired by this new state of mind, strong brands have decided to redefine the notion of beauty according to cultures, needs, the times ... to preach universal plurality that is inclusive, benevolent and respectful of everyone.

In 2018, it was Rihanna with Fenty Beauty, her brand, offering 90 shades of foundation, who opened the debate on diversity by placing the need for inclusivity in the limelight. Beyond skin color, she set the tone for cosmetics brands to celebrate and promote uniqueness, leading to total tolerance in ideals of beauty. Dior, with its Skin Glow Forever line, has clearly put color on display by offering no fewer than 69 shades, followed by Estée Lauder with 49, Mac and Lancôme with around forty... Most brands have come to understand the need to respond to a market that, because of the increase in couples of mixed ethnic origin, will lead to the emergence of new skin tones. More recently, encouraged by generations y and z, make-up that was previously almost exclusively reserved for women has now become inclusive by addressing men. After Chanel with Boy, its first line for Men, it was then Givenchy, where one prefers to talk about mixing genders, that relaunched its line, Misters, instant correctors with intuitive textures to reveal beauty henceforth accepted as universal.

While representations and needs reveal a desire to break free from the diktats of beauty imposed by society, the cosmetics industry must now rethink its standards to reach new segments: targets freed from the constraints of gender, age, and far from adhering to aesthetic perfection in digitized version. Faced with these new powers of influence, retailers are forced to leave the beaten path to eliminate all identity stereotypes.

Doing away with differences is not enough anymore. Today, the market must adapt to the lifestyles of the selfies and “young seniors” generations, who are anxious to show their best profile, ultra-glowing. This is particularly true since the desire to look good is a general expectation, regardless of gender or age. With brands like Orveda, skincare literally becomes genderless and ageless because, as its founder says: “The glow that comes from within is our primary.” NGS (No Gender Specific) understood this well by proposing an anti-fatigue and luminosity booster serum intended for “all humans without exception”. Interested in addressing couples, the creators of Malin+Goetz have launched a neutral line to be exchanged or shared by those who use the same products in their respective care rituals. Their ambition: to contribute to individual and collective fulfillment without distinction. Like Emily Weiss, pioneer and founder of Glossier whose recipe for success is expressed in a few phrases: “Our products are intended for everyone, we spread a universal message: everyone is his own expert, we are here to offer freedom and power. »

To refute norms, to turn towards simpler, more complete, purer ways of self-care, respectful of oneself, of others and of the planet ... Such seem to be the new codes which are upending those in place for more than 50 years in the cosmetics industry. The “last generation” brands are no longer afraid to shake up the market to respond to a growing and urgent desire to return to the essentials.

Young but nimble, Thomsen, Typology and Necessary Body Care have designed tighter, multifunctional skincare lines with basic, “clean” ingredients that focus on content to lighten routines, using only products that skin needs. Neutrals, textures, active ingredients, scents and packaging are suitable for everyone, regardless of age, gender or skin color. Lixir, from Korea, goes even further with the “less is more” concept with its facial treatment (Universal Emulsion), inspired by the universal multi-purpose cream Oh My Cream, to propose a three-in-one formula, unique and suited to everyone. This minimalism that advocates the essential is not limited to reducing beauty rituals, but fits into the broader context of clean beauty. So, the door is now opened to clean, shorter formulas, respectful of the “no list” that does away with ingredients that are harmful to health or skin, while meeting the need for transparency and effectiveness. Tata Harper, Goop, Youth to the people, Balance Me... for treatments, RMS Beauty... for make-up, are positioned on ultra-healthy compositions, 100% clean formulas based on the purest ingredients. Bolstered by their success, they are now closely followed by big distributors like Sephora and its display area dedicated to clean beauty. In the near future, more and more stores will focus on the essentials of care, reconciling natural ingredients with reassurance, simplicity with performance, transparency with the right price.  Reinventing the essentials to create the classics of tomorrow.

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