3 CPG Beauty Trends for 2021

Now that consumers have spent more than a year sheltering at home, many CPG industry leaders are wondering how shoppers’ relationship to beauty products will evolve in 2021. This transition period from pandemic to “new normal” is highlighting many new consumer needs and ways of thinking, and here are three emerging beauty trends that are poised to have a major impact on the category throughout this year.


Everything is Skincare

Much like food brands, beauty brands are finding that consumers want to get more benefits from their products. It’s not enough for a foundation or lip gloss to help consumers improve their looks – these products also need to act as a moisturizer, sunblock, etc. This is part of the overall trend of “beauty as wellness,” which aims to address consumers’ concerns about their appearance holistically rather than superficially. Instead of offering a band-aid remedy, more products are claiming to offer deeper, more scientific solutions to everything from chapped lips to discolored skin.


Hygiene as Beauty

When consumers imagine leading beauty brands, it’s unlikely that Colgate® comes to mind – at least for now. The company has just launched “Co.,” a line of “oral beauty products” designed to elevate tooth care from a hygienic chore to a part of a consumer’s overall beauty routine.

According to a company press release, this new line “transforms the simple act of brushing your teeth into a ritual for feeling good.” For now, the brand is premiering exclusively at Ulta, which highlights its distinct positioning relative to other leading toothpaste and oral health brands.


Brands Push Inclusivity Through Messaging

Unilever – which owns leading brands such as Dove®, Axe®, and Vaseline® – just announced last month that they would be reimagining their messaging standards across advertising and packaging to replace language that could be interpreted as exclusionary. For example, the company recently banned the word “normal” from all of its marketing materials, as it could inadvertently suggest that a specific size, skin tone, or other physical feature is the “default” and is more valuable than other variations of the trait.

More broadly, beauty messaging is also moving away from negative language to instead embrace more positive, encouraging language. Brands are ditching terms like “anti-ageing,” for example, because it’s increasingly being seen as an antiquated term that exploits consumers’ emotional vulnerabilities – even when these products’ formulas ultimately remain the same or similar.

2020 was a very interesting year for beauty brands, but 2021 is really the year to watch. As we’re coming out of the pandemic and short-term needs and considerations start to fall away, beauty trends that develop throughout 2021 will likely point to more long-term industry changes.



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