1. Cannabis Usage Trends

With growing global leniency on this once highly regulated and stigmatized substance, a change in perspective is having a profound effect on its use in cosmetics and other forms of personal care. Big companies like Estee Lauder are starting to cash in on cannabis ingredient trends. As part of their brand Origins, they will be releasing a calming face mask with the inclusion of cannabis sativa seed oil. The first Estee Lauder Company owned product to be released with cannabis-based ingredients, it comes as no surprise that in a time of social change that brands will capitalize on the beneficial aspects of this once controversial ingredient. More than smoke and mirrors, cannabis derivatives like CBD have been shown to provide valuable benefits for skin care.

2. Use of Nutraceuticals and Nutricosmetics

Now more than ever, health is becoming an ever-growing concern. Nutricosmetics, a definition not recognized by the FDA or Health Canada includes natural products with the goal of the promotion of healthy hair and skin. The concept of beauty from within is an ever-growing phenomenon. Far from a new concept, trends in supplements to aid in one’s outer beauty is growing. Popular brands like Centrum are releasing beauty supplements aimed at promoting the beauty of the skin, hair and nails. A staple in the beauty community and promoted by so-called Instagram influencers and celebrities at every turn, Sugar Bear Hair vitamins go hand in hand with anyone successful on Instagram. The company has come under media scrutiny on several occasions relative to their effectiveness. A seemingly easy fix for ones inner and outer beauty, these colourful sugary teddy bears have the masses flocking to them like seagulls on a single French fry in a parking lot.  Perhaps some of the charm of these in-demand style vitamin enriched supplements is their alluring colours and endorsements. Whether it’s a trend that’s here to stay or passing fad, its undeniable that consumers are driven to pursue all things natural for the betterment of their health.

3. Free-From Cosmetics Trends

“Free-from” products continue to grow to popularity with time as more and more ingredients are brought into the light of media scrutiny. Ingredients whether harmful or not are being targeted as potential irritants or other “scare tactic” concerns. Equated with old wives tales like the boogeyman and the sand man, many of these claims are nothing more than folklore that has been passed along by companies to give them an edge over their competitors. Validity to these claims aside, when consumers see ingredients like sulphates, parabens and other maligned ingredients they are quick to toss the product aside in favour of an alternative. Long gone are the days of using cost effective and well performing parabens. Parabens and other bad-mouthed preservatives are being replaced by alternatives such as organic acids combined with formaldehyde releasers.  Some people even go as far as to offer products with ‘no preservatives’ and tout this as a superiority claim. However, not only can products with no true preservative have reduced shelf life, they can pose a greater risk of contamination and thus a greater risk of consumer harm.  Many suggested ‘natural’ alternatives such as various essential oils and extracts must be used at incredibly high concentrations causing a severe trade off between making a product that’s effective and natural versus once that’s preserved.  Moreover, at high quantities these natural alternatives have the potential to cause high degrees of sensitization. Despite the downsides of some “free-from” options, “free-from” remains a popular claim that’s used to market some products as better than others. A poor man’s excuse for a benefit, “free-from” trends are often nothing more than marketing jargon that hurts the industry and potentially the consumer.

4. Blue-light Cosmetics Trends

With more and more time spent in front of a screen, it’s almost impossible to not think of the possible implications of this behavior.  Blue-light, a member of the visible spectrum, is emitted naturally as a member of white light from the sun but also artificially sourced from LED bulbs as well as the screen of electronic devices; we are increasingly becoming affected by this invisible tyrant.  Studies have shown that concentrated blue-violet light exposure can impart some damage to the skin due to oxidative stress.  To combat the damage from blue light, more and more companies are releasing various types of ingredients aimed at protecting the technologically-saavy beauty consumer. These innovative products employ similar principles to that of sun-protectants but with the bonus benefit of protection from harmful blue light.  Additionally, a variety of raw material companies are introducing new forms of ingredients such as antioxidants, aimed at reducing the oxidative stress imposed by blue-light on the skin. Media gimmick or serious concern, little is known in the ways of the seriousness of this threat.

5. Halal Beauty Trends

In a time where natural product trends seem to take hold of consumers, it comes as no surprise that consumers are in search of natural and “healthier” ingredients. A prime target for those of Muslim faith, halal-certified ingredients also boast a remarkably high ethical standard and reputation.  It’s this reputation that results in these products getting the attention of non-Muslim consumers. A close sister to vegan cosmetics, both do not include any animal products as part of their composition. The difference lies in the alcohol content, vegan cosmetics may still contain alcohol whereas halal does not.  Alcohol (with the capability of causing intoxication) is considered unacceptable under the Muslim religion, resulting in alcohols like ethyl alcohol being undesirable while non-intoxicating alcohols like cetearyl alcohol remain acceptable.

Undeniably, changes in the regulatory landscape as well as ongoing updates to trends are having a heavy impact on the industry.  Whether it be the growing desire for cosmetics free of certain stigmatized ingredients or products aimed at trending topics such as the consequences posed by the exposure to blue light-emitting devices, now is a time of innovation and progress. As technology advances so do the demands of consumers and this is seen to have a dramatic effect on what companies and brands push into the marketplace.

For more information, please contact Focal Point Research Inc.  We are leading North American Regulatory and New Product Consultants for Medical DevicesNatural Health ProductsOTC DrugsCosmetics, and other consumer products regulated by Health Canada and the U.S. FDA.