Essential skin care

Although the situation may vary significantly from one market to another, the pandemic has had a profound impact on consumer habits. Make-up is mostly down, while hygiene, hair care and skincare have benefited from the confinements. Perfume, after a worldwide drop, is experiencing a fine upturn in many markets.

Not only has the interest in skincare products undeniably increased during the confinement periods, but skincare habits have also changed durably: No more layering of products, the trend is towards simplification, respect for the skin, and "skin fasting".

Skinimalism, for a fresh, unadorned skin

Above all, the objective is the well-being of the skin for a fresh and natural complexion. People invest in daily care and hygiene rather than spending time concealing imperfections. They want perfect, luminous, unified skin... with a minimum of products while integrating new facial massage techniques.

Skin fasting, or relative abstinence

Another, even more minimalist trend, skin fasting, recommends using a minimum of products to let the skin self-regulate and regenerate itself. This skin fasting, which streamlines the application of cosmetics to two or three essential products, is said to give results after only two weeks.

The skipcare trend also aims to reduce the number of products, to do better with less, but also to fight against wastage. The skincare ritual is reduced to a cleanser and a moisturiser. The choice of products used is all the more relevant as they must be effective, more concentrated in active ingredients and multifunctional.

This minimalism does not mean that the time spent on skin care will be reduced. On the contrary, the use of accessories or optimisation techniques for greater efficiency is in vogue.

Towards a search for XXL efficiency

As proof, Google searches on these subjects have more than fourfolded in 2021. Self-massage, use of a jade or rose quartz roller depending on the benefits sought, the gua sha technique (scraping, sand) or more high-tech techniques such as those offered by the Swedish brand Foreo. Its bestseller LUNA 3, made up of silicone dots, combined with T-Sonic pulses, removes up to 99.5% of impurities. The latest addition, BEAR combines advanced micro-currents, pulsations and Anti-Shock System to stimulate the 69 muscles of the face and neck. Firming effect guaranteed! Estée Lauder recently filed two separate patents, one for a reusable dispenser that cools the product before use to optimise its properties, the other for a multi-layer heating pad. The product alone is no longer sufficient and the search for ever more optimal efficiency is becoming the absolute quest.

The Glow, more than ever!

Women want a luminous skin, with a perfect glow, smooth, free of imperfections... the perfect glow. Brands have therefore reinvested in this niche by offering new galenic formulas such as exfoliating foams and lotions that are easier to use, concentrated in active ingredients or based on patented enzymatic complexes. The deep cleansing of the face once again becomes a fundamental gesture. And to add a touch of perfection, a BB or CC cream will replace the now obsolete foundation.

The formulation challenge

Faced with these new challenges, laboratories must revisit their formulas. On the one hand, they have to integrate these new skincare routines by working on the sensory side, and on the other, they have to find simpler, more natural formulas, free of controversial ingredients... in short, more "eco-designed".

According to Mintel [1], 62% of Millennials care about INCI lists and other information on the packaging, including environmental friendliness. Hygiene and hand care is also a new area of focus, due to COVID. Brands will have to come up with new solutions to meet demand. For ingredient suppliers, the challenge is to reconcile all aspects of CSR while keeping in mind the main consumer requirements.

Read the full article in our special issue: “Cosmetic ingredients - October 2021”


- Good skin, the return to a natural and serene beauty

- “The challenge is to develop both sensory and natural formulas,” Seppic

- How to evaluate the performance of actives and cosmetics on the biomechanical properties of the skin?

- “The respect for the microbiota, sustainability, a positive environmental impact and skin well-being are now a
prerequisite,” Pauline Martin, Givaudan

- Ingredient news: Argeville, BASF Care Creations, Clariant, Codif Technlogie Naturelle, Croda, Expanscience, Exsymol, Gelyma, Givaudan, Greentech, IFF Lucas Meyer, Lipoid, LLS Beauty, Mibelle, Seppic, Silab, Solabia

Read online for free or download the pdf version here.