You Heard It Here First: Active beauty

January 22, 2019
5 min read

Since we unveiled the Mintel trend ‘Active Beauty‘ at the end of 2016, it has gone from strength to strength.

On your marks

In mid-2015, an intriguing story came out of Japan. Women had taken up running in great numbers and wanted to look their best for mid-race selfies. So they were swapping tips about which make-up products would stay in place throughout the race. Chacott, a long standing brand of apparel and cosmetics for dancers, received lots of mentions – and saw its sales soar as a result.

That caught the attention of Mintel’s beauty team as it resonated with the booming athleisure clothing trend, the emergence of facial fitness brands Face Gym and Face Love Fitness, and some early warning signals from the make-up and skincare categories. We watched carefully, gathering more examples and more ideas for future NPD, and at the end of 2016 we launched the Active Beauty trend.

Active Beauty looks at the beauty industry’s efforts to help consumers get the most out of their fitness routines, with products that help them before, during and after exercise. These may be as simple as sweat-resistant formulations or as complex as sportswear that monitors and responds to muscle and skin changes. The trend also forecast the entry of fitness chains into the beauty space and the development of beauty fitness communities, inspired by the likes of Cross Training.

We knew we got it right straight away. The Active Beauty trend immediately resonated with many of our clients and was enthusiastically picked up by the press. We have continued to develop the trend, and have been delighted to see many of our predictions transform from blue sky thinking into commercial reality.

Get set

Today’s Active Beauty products are, for the most part, colour cosmetics and facial skincare products designed to keep the face looking fresh and even-toned, no matter how hard the workout. These operate at a number of different price points, from mass market e.l.f. to premium brands Clinique and Dior.

A number of brands have moved on preventing heat and moisture-related discomfort to products activated by heat and moisture, just as we forecast. In fact, when we asked European consumers if they would be interested in such products, the answer was an enthusiastic yes.

Sweatwellth has an entire collection of bodycare and wash products featuring encapsulated actives which are released over time when triggered by sweat, heat or motion. These actives are selected to protect, help repair, refresh, cool and replenish essential electrolytes. The collection includes two anti-chafe products: Awesome Chalk to improve grip and prevent chafing and blisters, and Friction-Free to cool and repair damage caused by chafing.

Credit: @sweatwellth

Face Gym will launch its own reactive products in March 2019. The company has gradually transformed itself from a salon and retailer of third party brands to an Active Beauty brand in its own right. Founder Inge says this will be the first skincare range triggered by exercise. “As a mother of two under four, I have a small window of time to dedicate to myself. I didn’t want to sacrifice a facial for a workout or vice versa, so I created something which targeted both at once.”

Credit: FaceGym

This is confirmation that Active Beauty has moved far beyond simply using the language of fitness to sell products. Sportsmen are now getting involved with developing (and funding) Active Beauty brands. Retired basketball star Kobe Bryant is co-founder of Art of Sport, a bodycare brand focused on the needs of athletes. The body wash, shampoo, sunscreen, deodorant and recovery cream are formulated to protect athletes, help them perform and aid their recovery. The products were developed by scientists with input and backing from professional stars like NBA’s James Harden, NFL’s Juju Smith-Schuster and surfer Sage Erikson.

Credit: @goartofsport


When we first launched Active Beauty, we suggested that brands could build on the community spirit of CrossFit and Peloton. Excitingly, this is exactly what Face Gym has lined up for its next venture. Face Gym plans to launch an app in 2020, which will offer Peloton-style live workouts for its followers. In-store events will also build on this sense of competitive collaboration. We’ve already seen companies like Philosophy and Lush run in-store fitness events, and given that 38% of UK consumers would interested in attending a similar event in the future, we will see more similar fixtures in the coming years.

We’re also seeing movement towards another of our forecasts – heat-activated fitness apparel. Devan Chemicals has collaborated with Kaneka Corp to develop textiles designed to aid sports recovery and skin protection by reinforcing the body’s antioxidants with Q10, sea kelp and thyme oil.

And what about our other prediction – DNA-driven Active Beauty, which helps consumers meet or surpass their genetic fitness profile? We’ve already seen home DNA testing kits go mainstream thanks to genealogy specialists Ancestry and 23andMe. This will help drive acceptance of products such as DNAFit’s Diet Fitness 360 which generates recommendations for personalised supplements based on fitness profiles. Personalised bodycare products must surely be the next step?

Vivienne Rudd is Mintel’s Director of Innovation & Insight, BPC. Vivienne heads up the beauty consultancy team, delivering bespoke strategic projects concerning every aspect of the beauty industry. Please contact her at if you would like more details.

Vivienne Rudd
Vivienne Rudd

Vivienne is the Director of Innovation & Insight for Mintel’s BPC team, creating and delivering trend presentations and focused insights to clients around the world.

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