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Make up routines go simple part I: Where has the less is more concept come from?

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Simple make up routines

Related tags Colour cosmetics Cosmetics Mintel

As streamlined beauty regimes lead to reduced growth for the colour cosmetics sector, we spoke with Shannon Romanowski and Sharon Kwek from market research company, Mintel, about why this trend for less is gaining such notoriety.

Streamlined make up routines are increasingly becoming the norm. Quite simply, “women are looking for their makeup to do more”,​ noted Shannon Romanowski, Director, Mintel Reports, Health, Household, Beauty and Personal Care.

Colour cosmetics with skin care

Romanowski remarked that this is the consequence of today’s colour cosmetics market becoming more and more competitive and saturated: “Women are becoming more discerning shoppers and looking for products that blur the lines between facial skin care and make up to achieve better results.”

This preference for streamlined routines also heavily influences the type of make up women are selecting, which is “blurring the lines between colour cosmetics and skin care”​, Romanowski held.

This aggressive marketplace can also lead to consumers feeling overwhelmed as the selection of products available that aid skin care and make up needs grows. As a result, consumers choose those products and services that ease the complexity of the beauty regime.  

Recent market research from Mintel shows that 19% of colour cosmetics users in the US are spending less time on their daily make up routine compared to a year ago, demonstrating this widespread trend of less really is more.

Time-poor consumers

Fewer products or hybrid items are heavily in use at the moment. Females are low on time, typically spending 20 minutes or less on their beauty routines.

Sharon Kwek, Senior Innovation and Insights Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care, Mintel, emphasised how societal influences and life stages impact consumers demands: “Urban consumers in Asia Pacific are increasingly time-pressed and are looking for shortcuts in life, and that includes streamlining the process of choosing from a myriad of products.”

‘Guiding Choice’, a Mintel Trend examines how consumers are in search of shortcuts to help with their decision-making where there is a significant amount of choice and limited time available.

“As a result, products that allow women to multitask, such as multipurpose sticks, can save time by allowing them to address their lips, eyes, and cheeks with one product,”​ added Romanowski.

Active beauty speeds routines

Athleisure apparel is also set to be a favourable option for consumers: “Proving to be a staple in people’s wardrobes and not just a fleeting trend, with the active wear market thriving despite a struggling apparel and footwear market overall”.

This athleisure movement has made athletic wear socially acceptable for casual, non-working use, and women may be ready for seeing long-lasting and "athletic"​ benefits in beauty too.

Stumbling block

While the US colour cosmetics market grew moderately in 2017 by rising 2% to reach $11 bn (€9.2 bn), global demands for simple make up routines have led to stalled growth.

Favourable and individual colour cosmetics segments including lip cosmetics, facial cosmetics and eye cosmetics have all grown 2% points slower than in 2016.

In fact, the simplified make up approach has led to all three colour cosmetic segments (eye, lip, and face) to experience slower growth during 2017 (est.) than in 2016.

This suggests that market momentum is slowing, Romanowski reported. Moderate gains, however, are expected to result from “the desire for simplified routines and the popularity of value brands”.

Simple ramps up?

This slowing is not necessarily expected to continue in 2018, as sales of colour cosmetics are cyclical, with new trends and “must have”​ products having a potential impact on growth.

If these new trends prove popular — although we can anticipate simplification, natural looks, and convenience to remain as overarching category themes — “spending could see an uptick”.

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