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  • How will beauty ideals transform in 2016?
  • How will beauty ideals transform in 2016?
    Aldo van Zeeland, Creative Commons (2014) ©

2016 Expert Outlook on health and beauty

How can the beauty world better cater to older women and men? Will social media ‘it girls’ continue maintain their influence over consumers? And are niche brands set to break into the mainstream? Three health and beauty experts give their views on where the sector is heading over the next year.

Location Global

For the health and beauty Expert Outlook 2016, Canvas8 speaks to Tracey McAlpine, editor of FightingFifty.co.uk, Stowaway founder Julie Fredrickson, and beauty writer Daniela Morosini.


Tracey McAlpine is the founder and editor of the women's health and beauty website FightingFifty. With a background in advertising and marketing, Tracey has a unique understanding of the over fifties market.

Personalisation is going to be big in 2016. There’s a great new tailor-made service launching from a company called Healthspan; you put in your age and any ailments you’ve got, and it produces a personalised sachet of supplements for each day. The same goes for exercise. There will be more personal tuition – things actually in tune with what your body really needs.

We’ll be able to tailor products more to ourselves too. The Body Shop is already making a drop that goes into a foundation so you can tweak the shade to exactly what you want. So whether you want to make it darker or lighter, you’ll just use these little drops to customise.

The beauty industry is just waking up to the fact that they don’t market well to older people. The thing they need to understand is that women aren't waiting for the industry to rescue them. We’ve had so many campaigns about anti-ageing, but we know we can’t go backwards, it's not possible to anti-age. So what they have to do is talk about how they can keep us looking and feeling healthy. It’s about being the best you can be at this time. People aren’t looking for a cure; ageing is not a disease. Ageing is a process we all have to go through, and we all just want to go through it looking and feeling the best we can. This will be a growth area for the beauty industry, and there have been some really good campaigns this year. SpaceNK did a brilliant campaign where it used models with a 30-year age difference. So you’ve got the younger and the older woman, and whether you're in your 30s or 60s, the brand’s got products for you.

Beauty brands have plenty to gain by catering to Boomers Beauty brands have plenty to gain by catering to Boomers
MsSaraKelly, Creative Commons (2013) ©

The fitness industry is also tailored towards 20- and 30-year-olds. Some of the large sports clothing manufacturers don't want to be associated with older people, but older people are actually wearing sportswear because it’s so comfortable. They’re buying and spending a lot of money on trainers because they're so comfy to walk around in. So there's this huge area and I can’t understand why Nike or Adidas don’t just bring out a sub-brand. They could so easily have a range that targets this demographic in a really cool way.

The Abnormal Beauty Company, which is based in Canada, is an exciting brand. It has a range of really targeted products under its Deciem label, which are all completely unisex – any guy would be happy to have them in their cupboard. The beauty industry often forgets how many men want to have great skin and look good. Men are spending the money, but they’re just doing it in a subtle way because nobody is actually addressing it. We need to make things more unisex. Men are looking for eye products, they're looking for skincare products, they're taking a huge amount of supplements.

People aren’t looking for a cure; ageing is not a disease. Ageing is a process we all have to go through, and we all just want to go through it looking and feeling the best we can

We’ll see more from some of the companies that we’ve grown up with and forgotten, such as The Body Shop, which hasn’t moved with the times. It’s not favoured by young women, and has been forgotten by older women. It’s just become a fixture on the high street that people tend to walk past. It’s got a very ‘70s and ’80s feel, but the company image is set to be modernised. The Body Shop is a brand to watch next year.

We’re incorporating the healthcare industry into our skincare products, putting vitamins and antioxidants into our beauty goods. There's this crossover where the antioxidants and vitamins are working so well preventing problems in your body, that they’re also preventing ageing of the skin. We’re also becoming more aware of different allergies. There's going to be growth in ‘free-from’ products (e.g. gluten-free) – products that people can easily obtain that aren't going to set off allergies or cause any health issues. We’re getting to the stage now where we’re really getting interested in disease prevention. We’re not only looking to cure things, but looking for supplements to protect us.

Beauty is being merged into the concept of wellness Beauty is being merged into the concept of wellness
Mainstream, Creative Commons (2013) ©

Julie Fredrickson is the co-founder and CEO of Stowaway Cosmetics. With a background in e-commerce and digital marketing, Julie has worked with clients including Ann Taylor, Gap, Equinox, Nike, and Coach. 

There’s going to be a lot more focus on lifestyle fits in 2016. It’s something that’s been happening slowly over the last couple of years and is accelerating in the beauty, skincare and fashion industry. There are a couple of interesting trends related to fitting into one's lifestyle, covering mobility, convenience, value and transparency.

Luxury is increasingly about time and not over-indulgent packaging or other traditional signifiers. As a result, more and more brands are asking ‘How can we give that to people? How can we fit into their lives? What kind of treatments are most effective? How can your cosmetics fit into your daily routine?’ There is a changing emphasis – it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how much you get back into your life.

Convenience will become a major factor in consumption. QVC used to be something for your grandmother, but now everyone really likes direct-to-consumer shopping. It’s just hitting beauty, which was previously wedded to this idea of having an in-store experience, but in reality I think consumers have way too little time of their hands for an hour-long trip to the store where you drop $200.

I hope we see some changes from the big conglomerates. I think one of the challenges is that they are very slow moving. The product development cycle is a couple of years, so they’re done with 2016 already. You go on Instagram and you see Bobbi Brown just shot her Fall 2016 campaign. With the rise of more independent brands, and the realisation that consumer lifestyles are changing so very fast, beauty isn’t changing quickly enough. Big brands will either have to learn to react more quickly, or they will lose market share. If they don't cut down their three year timeline, they’ll struggle to appeal to the younger generation. And it’s important to keep in mind that Millennials are in their 30s now and have children. They have disposable income and grew up with digital.

Traditional beauty brands are struggling to match the pace of modern consumers Traditional beauty brands are struggling to match the pace of modern consumers
Aveda Corporation, Creative Commons (2015) ©

Replenishment is really easy, but quite a few beauty brands have that ‘set it and forget it’ reorder. Maybe not in colour cosmetics, but most women finish their facial creams or eye creams and it’s very challenging to get simple auto-replenishment.

Retailers, such as Sephora, are putting out their own in-house lines. The sampling boxes combined with in-house lines are very interesting. I actually think it shows something different than the sampling box clubs realise. Obviously everyone loves free make-up and it’s always a delight to get something in the mail, but I think it may actually show more about modern lifestyle trends. Consumers prefer something that fits into their purse and makes them more mobile.

I’m interested to see where the sampling box battle goes considering that Birchbox is increasingly losing ground to Ipsy. Birchbox is the original, while Ipsy is new and has a $100 million venture route. The former started with sampling, and so getting people to transition and commit to the brand is challenging. If Sephora’s sample-based offering takes off, it has a much better chance of converting people in a way that I don’t think any other box ever could. But it would require the brand to be very nimble and to invest a lot of capital that it may not be willing to do because it’s not an immediate profit centre. Sephora has the potential to disrupt, and it could be very interesting if the company does a good job with its sampling society.

We’re seeing some new, original players in the general space of convenience. Stiks Cosmetiks has been a very interesting to watch; it creates portable lipsticks that can be applied with one hand in under five seconds thanks to its packaging. A similar brand is Trèstique, which offers all cosmetics, including foundation and eyeshadow, in an easy-to-transport stick-like form. This idea of portability and products designed to go with you seems to be circulating across all different types of brands.

Box services give subscribers a chance to experiment regularly Box services give subscribers a chance to experiment regularly
EventPhotosNYC, Creative Commons (2014) ©

Daniela Morosini is a beauty writer who has written for a number of fashion and lifestyle brands.

The shift we have seen towards wellness is going to continue. Even though people are still buying make-up, they want to buy into wellness and the associated lifestyle. They want to buy a skincare product or a green juice that's going to give them the effects of looking well.

Thanks to people posting ‘shelfies’ on Instagram and Pinterest – pictures of bathroom shelves, cabinets or dressing tables – products themselves are increasingly in the limelight. These photos show how they’re concerned with how a product actually looks, and they want it to look really beautiful. Even though having a product in jar isn't good for its longevity, people love it because it looks luxurious.

Beyond shelfies, selfies aren't going anywhere. People are likely to be wearing more make-up than ever to ensure that they’re camera-ready, but they want absolutely no traceability of that.

The shift we have seen towards wellness is going to continue. Even though people are still buying make-up, they want to buy into wellness and the associated lifestyle

People's behaviour will change in terms of where they're taking advice from. Millennials arguably shop in a completely different way to generations before them. ‘It girls’ on social media are going to be more influential, and people will increasingly be looking to them for advice. I would put YouTube vloggers under that umbrella, but also more industry influencers. For example, highlighters (used for strobing) were the biggest selling products of 2015, and that's something that's come from these influencers.

I think online shopping for beauty is going to change. At the moment, people like to see the quality of it, and experience the smell and overall feel of the product. A great site called My Beauty Matches has just launched. You fill in a questionnaire about your preferences and skin type and it matches you to beauty products. And that's not something that's really happened before. It helps connect consumers with products without going in-store. I expect universal carts to be available by the end of the year, making people more willing to shop online for beauty.

Niche brands will become more mainstream. Byredo used to be a small brand – hard to find and not readily available – but it just exploded in 2015. You can buy its products in lots of different places and people know the brand who wouldn't maybe consider themselves to be that into beauty.

The demand for ‘natural’ products looks set to grow The demand for ‘natural’ products looks set to grow
Frank Body (2015) ©

In terms of hair, Sachajuan has done really well this year. It's gone from being a brand you would only find at your hairdresser’s to becoming more mainstream. Also going from strength-to-strength, but still on the rise, is Charlotte Tilbury, who’s just launched her own make-up and skincare lines.

Glossier will be disruptive next year. It emerged from the blog Into The Gloss, which is a few years old now and has instigated quite a following. They have a feature called ‘The Top Shelf’, where they interviews influencers and really cool industry insiders. They photograph them in their homes, talking about their beauty products and what they use on an everyday basis. Launched at the end of last year, Glossier has been a huge success in the States and has just started to be stocked on Net-a-Porter in the UK. It's very much aimed at Millennials. All the products have very cool, tongue-in-cheek packaging and come with emoji stickers so you can personalise them. Again, it's all about this really natural look. They don't do a foundation, instead the only thing they do is what they call a 'skin tint', which is similar to a BB cream.

There's also an Australian brand called Frank. It’s most famous for its body scrubs, which are brown paper bags full of coffee grounds mixed with things like cold pressed almond oil. The brand has now started to go international and it has a huge social media following. For nails, Smith and Cult is going to be huge. It's an American brand, and it’s putting a luxury edge on nails which hasn't really existed before. It’s made the bottle so luxurious and so beautiful to look at – they are real statement pieces.

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Rebecca Smith is a Canvas8 behavioural analyst. She has worked with a number of global brands to help them better understand the mindsets of their audiences, from what people want from fake tan to how they feel about technology. Outside of work, you’ll find her binge watching anime or with her nose stuck in a fantasy novel.