Rosalia Di Gesu
Rosalia Di Gesu is a Senior Innovation Analyst. She focuses on delivering cross-category insight and commentary on innovative new product launches and trends.

Beauty and personal care (BPC) innovations that have really caught our attention so far in 2022 are tapping into interest in the metaverse, being vocal about value, and engaging consumers with some much needed escapism.

1. Brands utilise interest in the metaverse to blur digital and physical worlds

The hype around the metaverse – that 3D, yet to be fully created, virtual dimension – is getting louder, as discussed in Episode 90 of Mintel’s Podcast, ‘Let’s talk about the metaverse’. It is also inspiring beauty innovation that blurs the boundaries between digital and real worlds.

BPC brands are blurring with virtual worlds in different ways, and aiming to engage with some four in ten adults in the US who have heard of the Metaverse and associate it as something that is futuristic (44%) or interesting (42%).

The Unseen’s Spectra Eye Colour emphasises versatility by revealing a different finish in the real world compared to the digital one. In the real world, this “dual reality makeup” offers highly pigmented black or faint silver grey shades, But, when exposed to light (e.g. from a camera’s flash), these shades transform into a reflective silver – bringing a wow factor to virtual connections without people having to use filters/augmented reality tools.

Source: Mintel GNPD; The Unseen

MAC Cosmetics is blurring with the virtual world by tapping into the buzz around NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – those digital online-only assets. The Viva Glam x Keith Haring NFT collection comprises three limited edition animations of lipsticks based on the work of the late artist/activist Keith Haring. What is especially interesting about this NFT collection is how it allows consumers to contribute to MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam charitable arm without having to purchase a physical lipstick. Moreover, buying the digital artworks can also give real-world physical benefits to the buyer, exemplifying how digital and physical worlds increasingly collide. For example, in purchasing the Yellow – Icon rarest piece (just 25 pieces) for $1,000 each, buyers are also treated to a real-word 30-minute consultation with a MAC make-up artist and a complementary Viva Glam lipstick.

Source: MAC Cosmetics

2. Brands must be vocal about value

The cost of living crisis, coupled with consumers’ ingrained desire to save money is driving BPC brands to focus on value and appeal to the over half of adults in France, Ireland, Italy and Poland who are most worried about their finances.

Value-minded beauty innovation is not just about affordable pricing. Skincare brands such as Elf Cosmetics, Horace and Deciem are tapping into value trends via transparent messaging. On their social media/websites, these skincare brands are: being upfront about product price rises; clarifying the reasons behind the rises (e.g. rising cost of raw materials); and giving consumers advance warning so they can stock up before price increases take effect.

In being transparent and upfront, brands can instil a sense of trust. Opportunity exists for brands to expand this concept further by connecting with consumers on a more emotional level. For example, brands can emphasise how price rises are not just about profit margins, and declare the proportion of profits that go towards employee salaries.

Amid a cost of living crisis, a gap exists for more private label beauty innovation; just 14% of global BPC launches in the 12 months to April 2022 were private label, a small decline on the 16% in the previous 12 months to April 2021- according to Mintel GNPD. Among these is 7-Eleven in Australia which is tapping into value trends but also conveying quality in order to appeal to consumers. Its limited edition Coffee Body Scrub – priced at just A$1 – lauds the use of the same high quality freshly ground real Arabica and Robusta beans found in the store’s coffee.

Source: 7eleven

French start-up, Rose Pirate is another noteworthy beauty brand/service tapping into value trends while also helping consumers minimise lipstick packaging waste. The start-up offers a service that prolongs the life of pre-loved lipstick cases, especially those stylish cases from prestige brands. For €15, the company sterilises and refills (with a natural hydrating lip balm) any empty lipstick cases sent to them by interested parties – this cost is a fraction of the cost of buying a new luxury lipstick.

Source: Rose Pirate

3. Brands need to offer much needed escapism

Beauty innovations are attempting to offer some escapism amid all the seriousness linked to rising living costs/inflation, geopolitical turmoil, fears of a climate catastrophe, and lingering COVID-19.

Playful innovations can help temporarily distract consumers from their worries, reminding people how BPC products/routines can be comforting, and speak to Mintel’s 2022 Global Consumer Trend, Enjoyment Everywhere. Having endured lockdowns, consumers are eager to break out of their confines and explore, play and embrace novel experiences, both virtually and in the real, physical world.

In colour cosmetics, we have seen disruptive team-ups emerge to help bring a sense of fun and escapism. For example, Pat McGrath has teamed up with Netflix and Shondaland to celebrate the popular Bridgerton II series. The Pat McGrath Labs x Bridgerton collection channels the series’ Regency era with its decadent pack designs and ‘regal’ shades. While an Elf Cosmetics X Dunkin limited edition makeup/skincare collection features doughnut and coffee-inspired shades, textures and scents.

Source: Mintel GNPD, Elf Cosmetics

Vanilla Cloud Birthday Cake Cookie Dough is another collaborative food/beauty innovation that taps into playful trends and Mintel’s 2025 Gastronomia BPC trend. Developed by Deux (an ‘enhanced cookie dough’ manufacturer) and Summer Fridays (skincare brand), the beauty supplement also offers more format choice within an on-trend beauty supplements segment. The “first-ever beauty cookie dough” can be eaten straight from the jar or baked in an oven – quite a disruptive alternative to standard capsule/tablet and even gummy supplement formats.

Source: Mintel GNPD.