Welcome to our first newsletter of 2019. 

We’re continuing our tradition of kicking off the year with a predictions special from our beauty industry friends and experts. Read on for the insider beauty futures perspective from The Future Laboratory, JWT, VICE India and more. We will be publishing additional guest forecasts on Instagram, so please follow us to join the beauty conversation with your own predictions.

Lucie Greene, worldwide director, The Innovation Group at JWT Intelligence
How to bring genuine newness to beauty packaging? For plenty of brands, the answer lies in taking their cues from tech, employing swiping and scrolling gestures to make their products stand out. The Glossier You fragrance is designed to ‘fit the curve of your palm and thumb’ and open and close ‘with an addictively flippable hinged swivel.’ Similarly Albéa, a Spanish packaging company, has introduced the Quartz Slide compact with a sliding mechanism accessible via an ergonomic finger indent, so the user can lock or unlock the compact with a seamless swipe that pushes the lid back and up. By looking to tech to offer packaging newness, these brands are illustrating to young consumers that they understand their clients are constantly connected to smartphones—and that a packaging gesture can contribute to a product’s covetability.

Yolanda O’Leary, brand consultant
Photographing diversity:
When it comes to diversity, the beauty industry has a troubled history of under representation and perpetuating westernised beauty ‘ideals’. In recent years, certain brands have made attempts to better cater for consumers who have long been ignored. But when brands are still producing foundations in 50 shades of beige, launching campaigns that feature solely Caucasian faces and magazines are still cropping the hair of black women on their covers, it’s evident there’s a hell of a lot of work to be done. Back in September, The New York Times published a great story calling the role of the photographer in diversity into question, while Internet forums are more frequently calling out beauty brands’ quite frankly inexcusable laziness in using Photoshop to change skin tones digitally, as a way to avoid paying for multiple models of different skin tones or ethnicities. 

Jenny Gyllander, founder, @Thingtesting 
Purposeful branding: If 2018 was the peak year for shelfies, 2019 will be about long-term brand defensibility. Brands will be taking one step back from cliche millennial colour palettes, sans serifs and paid influencer marketing, to actually reflect on their purpose and core brand values. We already saw this in 2018, with a massive movement around ocean plastics and a continued female empowerment rise – in beauty and elsewhere. Consumers today demand to know how and where their products are made, and want brands to take an actual stand for political, environmental and social topics in society. Values to me mean that your company is ready to hire and fire by them and take a financial hit to uphold the integrity of your values.

Navaz Batliwalla, editorial consultant, editor of Disneyrollergirl
Plant power: Don’t be surprised to see your usual beauty YouTubers and skintellectual influencers usurped by plant evangelists in your social media feeds. Thanks to a growing awareness of the benefits of indoor plants for everything from mental wellbeing to skin health, the houseplant economy will be one to watch. In demand houseplants including peace lily and ivy have been found to have skin quenching benefits for dry skin sufferers, according to a recent study by the Royal Horticultural Society and the University of Reading (tip: ‘evapotransporation’ is the buzzword to know.) And helping to spread those mental and physical benefits to the general public are a raft of start-up plant purveyors and Instagram ‘plantfluencers’, including Patch, Leon & George and The Sill (aka ‘the Glossier of plants’, according to founder Eliza Blank).

Victoria Buchanan, futures analyst, The Future Laboratory
The need for speed in skincare: With non-invasive procedures becoming routine, there is a new genre of skincare products designed to mimic dermatological and surgical results for those who want the smooth effect without the syringe. South Korean beauty brand Starskin’s Micro-filler Mask Pack mimics the effect of micro-needling, while Patchology utilises a new patch technology used by big pharma for transdermal drug delivery to apply skin care with a no-needles approach to beauty. Non-invasive aesthetic procedures are becoming part of a new beauty routine offering the longevity and potency that a clinical procedure offers without the same pain or luxury price point.

Rituparna Som, editor-in-chief, VICE India
Asian beauty boom: 2019 looks set to access the healthiest versions of our skin with a renewed focus from South-East Asia. India has seen an explosion of ‘Ayurvedic’ beauty products, but because there isn’t a standardised safety or authenticity certificate, most of these are best avoided. You can’t be sure where the ‘natural’ ingredients have been sourced from, what they’ve been mixed with, and – most importantly – just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean they’re going to be beneficial (perfumed essential oils on your face for example). However, Purearth and Forest Essentials are both excellent. We aren’t an experimental nation when it comes to make-up, since most of the country is still hankering after foundation shades that are multiple shades lighter in the aim of looking ‘fairer’. But 2019 will hopefully push the educative nature of social media further – if only to advise people on how to shop for their shade. 

Alison Farrington, features & retail experience editor, Duty Free News International 
In transit retail:
In 2019, the beauty industry will increasingly target the travel retail and duty-free market with exclusive products unavailable in other channels. As price differentials at the airport become less important thanks to online shopping behaviours, beauty brands will leverage their presence in travel retail to appeal to the growing number of international travellers, especially Chinese. Here they can offer a compelling brand experience through digital touch points that also facilitate passenger data capture. We’ll see more emphasis placed on exclusive brand activations or experiential pop-ups at travel retail locations; for example, Jo Malone London’s immersive ‘travelling townhouse’ at London’s Heathrow, and Dior’s VR-enabled Joy fragrance activation at Shilla’s Beauty&You destination at Hong Kong Airport. As brands offer more personalised experiences, travellers will seek out these destination-driven products for their emotional connections. 

Lee Pycroft, make-up artist and Psychotherapist (HG Dip) 
Emotional wellbeing
: 2018 saw a rise in health and wellbeing-consciousness, from ethical beauty, veganism and sustainability, to people opening up about mental health, social media overuse and the need for self care. According to Mind Body Green, a further boom in wellness and regard for our mental health are on target for 2019, in particular, the realisation that how we feel impacts how we look and the behaviours we adopt as a consequence. A report from Centre for Mental Health highlights social media as the latest focus for concern. A more conservative approach to usage and a more conscious decision in who we allow to ‘influence’ us will put the viewer more in control of their own mental wellbeing. This amplified 360 approach to beauty in 2019 will increase awareness around how we can connect to our best selves inside and out, calling for us to be accountable for our own choices and wellbeing. 

Katie Service, editorial beauty director, Harrods
The age of Imagination:
 While last year saw the return of the creative reference both backstage and on Instagram (with Gucci Beauty’s visual feast of an Instagram account leading the charge), could 2019 be the year that we move further into the sphere of the imagination? After all, when human roles are being replaced left right and centre by machines, what could be more valuable than the human mind? Look out for make-up brands that tap into consumer creativity by encouraging Nike ID-style product customisation, brands that work with animated characters as spokespeople and fragrance brands blending in order to walk you into fantasy realms. Retail environments are changing too; they will become environments for shoppers to stretch their creative imaginations, becoming digital and physical playgrounds for nurturing grassroots makeup artistry talent. 

(Image credit: Llilah beauty eyeshadow palette, photography @gelcream)

We look forward to hearing from you this year and finally hosting our first event! Get in touch if you’d like to collaborate with us in 2019.

The Beauty Conversation is brought to you by

Katie @katieservicebeauty

Navaz @Disneyrollergirl

Yolanda @Yolanda_scopic

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