Farewell, cosmetic boom; it’s all about skincare

Hand touching lotion container.

In the early 2000s, when trends of heavy liquid eyeliner and emphasized cheek blush filled magazine pages, the cosmetic industry seemed to be “top of the line.” For Canadians, keeping on track with the quality of their daily beauty routines is a must— or should I say, was.  Rather than continuing their focus on overlined lips and bronzed cheekbones, consumers have gravitated towards a simpler, craftier market-the realm of skincare. Five years ago, it has been apparent that  consumers used to spend significantly more time and money on cosmetics than they do now. 

No, I’m not kidding. The beauty industry reduced their growth in 2017 while makeup production took new products and innovative sales by storm. Can you really blame them? Makeup trends have sadly fallen out of date. The oversaturated market is filled with hyped-up reviews for La Mer face cream and Drunk Elephant jelly cleanser. There’s no longer any talk about Too Faced, Nars Cosmetics or the third, possibly even the fifth, Urban Decay eyeshadow palette. 

Leading beauty brands like Revlon and Kylie Cosmetics have been knocked off their golden pillars due to a recent and unanticipated sales drop. According to a study by The Business of Fashion, Benefit Cosmetics has been the only large US-based company that has successfully avoided a sales dip as skin care has begun to make its mark in the public eye. Why? Benefit has been able to keep in touch with their audience, successfully keeping afloat while other beauty companies have lost their flow. 

Consumers are starting to pay more attention to what they’re putting on their skin, and with the sudden interest of a simpler look, makeup is no longer cutting it. Skincare and maintaining the appearance of healthier skin has influenced how people are doing their makeup, with beauty bloggers offering their take on their “no-makeup” or Korea’s infamous glass-skin look. 

So ditch the foundation and kiss that brow tint goodbye! Cosmetic companies have been hit with difficulties while skincare companies are shining bright as ever. So what comes next?

As cosmetic sales have fluctuated over time, it is important to understand what has changed. Beneath all marketing strategies, the skincare industry has surpassed the cosmetic industry in more ways than one. 

According to a recent study, the consumer’s love for beauty and personal care products has doubled since 2017, with 65 per cent of shoppers in the market usually seeking reassurance from skin care specialists and sustainable products. This attempt of providing the consumer with an eco-friendly skincare option proves that taking younger eco-friendly cues is often times a benefit. 

Another positive aspect of the rise of skincare is the constant promotion via the internet. Being a millenial, I for one gravitate towards online shopping and e-commerce. The rise of digital shopping experiences has made for a more convenient lifestyle for those in need. As millenials are seen as tech-savvy, skincare companies can use that to their advantage when it comes to maximizing their audiences. According to an article by Digiday, GlamGlow has reached the #1 spot for “most buzz on social media”. 

In the year of 2019, skincare brands have become strategic; they rely on targeting refined segments of consumers to grow their success and fanbase, while 41 per cent of consumers are likely to discover new products and businesses via social media. Influencers and celebrities are still used as a marketing medium to push consumers to branch out and try new things that may be outside of their comfort zone, while promising great results. This in turn allows for Instagram influencers to take to their pages to test out the new and hyped-up skincare products that everyone craves. 

Caucasian female sitting in a coffee shop cupping her face.
Isabella Francella, founder of @skinblogbybella on Instagram (Madison Dolman/Ryerson Folio).

Isabella Francella is a second-year new media student with a passion for skincare. Upon starting her own skincare blog via Instagram, Francella is one of many influencers who finds importance in taking care of herself and her skin. “Over time, we have discovered that specific ingredients that were being used to create these [skincare] products were causing more long term damage–until more natural ingredients came into play,” she explained. Francella too notices the drastic changes being made within the beauty industry. “I believe the makeup industry needs to reconsider the way that they test their products; people no longer want to support [makeup] products that have been tested on animals … drifting away from alcohol and chemical-based products and cleaning up the products they use; that is the first step of a long process.” 

Francella isn’t the only one who’s watched the skincare industry slowly dominate.  Krista Dolman, my mother and co-founder of the medical spa, Skin Studio Toronto shares her thoughts on the current skincare industry. “I personally don’t believe that skincare is just a trend,” she said. “As we are now more educated on the importance of skin than we used to be, so we are more likely to invest in it, which is why I think people are more keen on skin spas.” Founded one year ago, Skin Studio Toronto offers an array of facials, laser and medical drips. “Being confident in your skin is important; I often see more and more people trying to take better care of their skin.” 

As time goes on, consumers are becoming more aware of the efforts being made to promote sustainability within the skincare line. “I only use natural ingredients on my face- it might be more expensive but I’d rather pay for quality.” student Bianca Sikowski says. 

25 per cent of beauty buyers want their products to be eco-friendly and would be more inclined to purchase online if they were made aware [on the website] that the product is natural and healthy. New products launching at a dizzying pace cater to the demand seen behind the doors of the skincare industry. There are many med-spas, wellness retreats and even monthly subscription skincare boxes that promise a brighter face for our up-and-coming generation. 

The skincare industry is constantly working to stay on trend and cater to as many different audiences as possible. As we continue to watch and react as makeup brands slowly shrink away into nothingness, it is important to be aware of the fact that change can occur at any moment in time. Although relying on the doctrine that skincare is here to stay may not be far from the truth, it’s important to keep a close eye on this sales-driving industry for as long as possible. 

Dr Rocio Rivera, Vice President of L’Oréal Canada believes that the only option left is keeping the skincare market at a top priority, accounting for originality and inspiration. “Brands that are transparent, authentic and honest will continue to rise through the waves.”

Feature photo by Toa Heftiba/Unsplash.