In its annual report, Wunderman Thompson reveals the trends to watch in the beauty space this year.
As part of it’s the Future 100 trends report, consultancy and creative agency Wunderman Thompson has laid out 10 beauty trends set to be big in 2023. We take a closer look.
Fragrance is being redefined for the metaverse, banking on emotions or experiences rather than smell. Fragrance brand Altra launched virtual scentscapes (pictured below) as a way for the consumer to experience scent differently. Alphameta, the virtual fragrance from Byredo and digital artefacts creator RTFKT, interprets fragrance as a wearable aura. With a different emotion associated with each of the 26 auras, users can combine several emotions for a personalized result. The Gucci Flora virtual fragrance launched on video game platform Roblox promises not a smell, but rather a range of experiences like games and challenges.
In 2023, Three New Ingredients are set to take center stage: hinoki, Rambutan and plant-based milks. Coconut, rice and nut-based milks are proving popular in skincare (pictured below) and haircare, due to their exfoliating and moisturizing properties. Dermalogica’s Daily Milkfoliant, Fresh’s Milk Body Collection and Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Joia Milky Leave-In Conditioner are some examples of products featuring plant-based milks. Tropical Southeast Asian fruit Rambutan is a forest-derived alternative to retinol, while Japanese beauty brand Tatcha uses Hinoki for its relaxation properties.
With skincare regimens that harness the body’s circadian rhythm, beauty sleep is taking on a whole new meaning. Mutha’s Cream Extreme formulated with botanicals is designed to repair and stimulate the skin at night, while Noble Panacea’s Chronobiology Sleep Mask says it delivers active ingredients at different stages (Detox, Repair and Nourish) in the night. La Prairie and 4AM Skincare have also launched products claimed to leverage the skin’s natural circadian rhythm.
Minimizing products and alternating application days is the idea behind the Skin Cycling trend, demonstrating that ‘rest days’ are not just for exercise. The trend is big on TikTok, and brands are coming out with skincare cycling kits for a routine reset (pictured below). By Beauty Bay’s The Skin Cycling Kit contains four serums to be rotated nightly. From Nip & Fab is a skin cycling kit with hydrating creams, retinol and glycolic acid together with a four-day usage guide.
Ingredients that 'feed' both mind and skin are booming in beauty, with a string of brands offering products designed to tackle stress. Psychodermatology and emotional wellbeing are at the heart of start-up beauty brand Selfmade (pictured below), which in 2022 launched its Corrective Experience Comfort Cream. The product contains Cortinib G, said to lower cortisol and provide stress relief. In addition to hinoki oil for relaxation, Tatcha uses sweet fennel to boost focus.
Make-up is being elevated into an act of self-affirmation. Make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench’s eponymous make-up line consists of two drops to date, each with a singular identity. Piercings, leather and latex inspired Industrial, while Wild Star is said to "pay homage to our inner cowgirl". Digital-only fashion house The Fabricant launched Xxories, a line of virtual facial accessories.
This trend is a focus on bringing back forgotten or extinct ingredients and tapping into nostalgia while helping to preserve nature. Research project Odeuropa hopes to highlight Europe’s olfactory heritage by using AI to recreate scents from the past. UK-based natural skincare brand Haeckels recently partnered with Central Saint Martins Material Futures graduate Tetsuo Lin to revive lost scents by growing them in a lab.
Leveraging biotech for new ingredient formulations is said to help improve product functionality, sustainability and production time. US-based biotech company Geno, Unilever and Kao have jointly invested $120M+ in its venture to scale and commercialize plant-based alternatives to palm kernel oil across beauty, personal and home care. Biotech beauty brand Ourself’s biotechnologically created beauty ingredients aim to mimic in-office procedures, while UK-based brand Cellular Goods offers lab-made cannabinoid skincare.
Skincare brands are shifting to the health and wellness sector with formulas said to help the body resist stressors. Adaptogenic beauty brand Herbar’s inaugural Face Oil has three adaptogenic ingredients: tremella, reishi, and da zao (Chinese jujube date), respectively targeting skin inflammation, dehydration and blemishes among other concerns. The Advanced Brightening Serum from Allies of Skin aims to strengthen and hydrate the skin with its blend of reishi and shiitake mushrooms. And a fermented adaptogenic blend features in a booster launched by Hydrafacial x JLo Beauty last winter.
Supercharging Hair Health
This trend illustrates how prevention is moving beyond skincare and bodycare into the haircare space. Ouai launched a scalp serum and vegan supplement capsules for thinning hair, while Nue Co is also tackling hair growth and density with its Growth Phase oral supplement and Supa Thick topical pre-wash product. Oribe’s Hair Alchemy range targets hair breakage.