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Where do beauty and wellness converge this year? On values and value

Personalisation, reducing waste and inclusivity are priorities for the industries in 2023, writes Aisling Keenan

In 2023 personalisation, multi-use products and wellbeing-focused tech are at the fore of a significant priority shift within the beauty and health industries. Ethical expectations are also evolving – with the economy in flux and the environment top of many people’s consciousness, the industries are of necessity becoming more transparent.

Purposeful purchasing

People want to make purchasing decisions that match their values. The cost-of-living crisis and the environmental emergency spill into every facet of our lives, not least regarding decisions on where we spend what little disposable income we have. With that in mind, multi-use products are likely to dominate beauty and wellness for 2023. Irish brand Sculpted by Aimee produces several multi-use products and, as part of its ReSculpted environmental initiative, partners with Terracycle and Hometree to make sure customers’ beauty recycling winds up in the right places.

This year will see an increase in skincare-make-up hybrid products too, with functional fragrances (scents that alter your mood) getting a boost from a strong wellness influence.

A Harvard Business Review report indicated that companies prioritising a sense of purpose were more successful, innovative and transformative. Company leaders who treated purpose as a core driver of strategy “reported greater ability to deliver consistent revenue growth”, it stated, so beauty and health businesses that combine commerce and purpose will likely fare better in the long term. Expect bands to launch fewer products, up their transparency game and prioritise evidence-backed product development.


Tech talk

From Oura rings to LED face masks, beauty and tech will continue to be inextricably linked – particularly where inclusivity is concerned. Barbara Lavernos, deputy CEO in charge of research, innovation and technology at L’Oréal, says: “Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty-tech strategy.” So, thanks to ongoing research and innovation, access to beauty products is being opened up to more people by devices such as the L’Oréal-developed HAPTA, a hand-held smart make-up applicator that helps users with limited hand and arm mobility to apply beauty products.

Speakers at this month’s Beauty Tech and Innovation Summit in San Francisco suggested the hot topics of the year included the biome and hormonal skincare, while in terms of health, muscle-compression-therapy devices and smart weighted vests will be 2023′s answer to the Whoop. Light therapy skincare shows no signs of fading in popularity (although many thought it would be a fad), with products like the CurrentBody Skin Face & Neck kit still selling well despite its €608 price tag.

The individual

Beyond ‘tailored just for you’ marketing speak, consumers are leading the charge on social media when it comes to demanding a personal touch in beauty purchases. Make-up brand Il Makiage is now internet-famous for its interactive shade quiz, which is almost constantly advertised on Instagram by increasingly A-list celebrities. Oddity, the consumer-tech company which owns Il Makiage, continues to experience industry-leading growth and has surpassed $260m (€244m) in revenue for 2021, showing the huge consumer appetite for personalisation.

Niche brands that appeal on a seemingly personal level, or those with a wellness-first manifesto, are also seeing a boost, particularly online. Online stores made up 29 per cent of total 2021 sales, a 2 per cent increase from 2020, with the growth driven by indie brands with one or two products that go viral on social media. Instagram and TikTok will not only reflect what’s available in terms of health and wellness for 2023 but will drive what is produced, chinks in the armour of the ‘top down’ brand approach.