Beauty buzz: Top 10 most-read beauty trend stories of 2023

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Our biggest trends stories from the past year. [Getty Images]
Our biggest trends stories from the past year. [Getty Images]

Related tags Trend 2023 Cosmetics Personal care products

Take a look at our biggest trends stories from the past year, featuring the revival of first-gen K-beauty brands, L’Oréal’s insight into derma beauty, and The Body Shop’s move away from ‘anti-ageing’.

Don’t call it a comeback: Behind the resurrection of first-gen K-beauty brands Skinfood, Nature Republic, Etude

First-generation K-beauty brands navigated their way back to relevancy by banking on brand values, zeroing in on trends, and playing on nostalgia, said one expert.

Over a decade ago, Etude House, Nature Republic, Skinfood, and Tony Moly were among the hottest beauty brands

This year observed the remarkable resurgence of these first-generation K-beauty brands thanks to savvy viral marketing, trendspotting, and nostalgia consumption.

Innovate or fade: Why constant experimentation is vital to attract Gen Z and Gen Alpha consumers – SUGAR CEO

Innovation and experimentation are vital for beauty brands that want to stay relevant with Generation Z and Generation Alpha consumers, who are seen as the future of the market, said SUGAR Cosmetics CEO.

Founded in 2015, SUGAR Cosmetics has grown to become one of India’s most successful homegrown beauty brands on the back of demand from millennial consumers.

However, to ensure the future of the brand in the rapidly evolving Indian beauty market, it had to turn its gaze towards younger consumers, said co-founder and CEO Vineeta Singh.

Better and faster: Asia’s ageing skin care evolving with instant gratification, ‘preventive protection’ trends

The demand for instant gratification and the trend of 'preventive protection' influenced cosmetic companies to develop skincare products that were fast-acting and more efficacious than ever, said DSM.

The desire to maintain a youthful appearance was not a new phenomenon but there was a persistent demand for cosmetic companies to minimise the effects of ageing and help consumers age gracefully.

In Asia, the demand for ageing skin care products was being fuelled by two polarising factors: a large ageing population and a large young population.

‘The perfume effect’: Luxury niche fragrances bucked recession trend in Korea – Shinsegae

Shinsegae International observed that economic fears were not deterring consumers from purchasing luxury niche fragrances, believing they had replaced lipstick as the new recession-proof commodity.

The lipstick index, a term famously coined by Estée Lauder's Leonard Lauder, is the theory that sales of affordable luxuries tend rise during economic downturns.

However, instead of lipsticks, the South Korean fashion, beauty, and lifestyle retailer believed that luxury niche fragrances were the new barometer of consumer demand.


Pushing the right buttons: Kao relaunched navel care product amid high demand and market gap

Japanese cosmetics giant Kao relaunched its patented belly button cleansing product that claimed to address the needs of those with navel shapes that are susceptible to dirt accumulation and odour.

SPOT JELLY belly button cleaner was re-packaged and officially launched on June 12, following a gathering of feedback and consideration of market needs.

During its limited-time release​ in April 2021, the product topped Japanese e-commerce marketplace Rakuten’s daily ranking chart and sold out in 13 days.


L’Oréal derma chief: Consumer demand for aesthetic procedures driving cosmeceutical growth in APAC

Surging interest in medical aesthetic procedures among consumers in Asia Pacific was one of the key emerging growth drivers for L’Oréal’s dermatological beauty division.

The head of L’Oréal’s dermatological beauty division underscored her confidence that its cosmeceutical brands, such as La Roche Posay, Vichy and Skinceuticals would continue to have “phenomenal” ​growth in Asia Pacific.

“I believe will continue to see that growth. The growth is happening due to structural reasons. We are basically being pushed by big winds,” ​said Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, president of dermatological beauty, L’Oréal Group.

Resilient beauty: The Body Shop’s moved away from the ‘idealisation of youth’ with Edelweiss

The Body Shop moved away from anti-ageing language and instead focused on the message of building skin resilience to help consumers on their quest to ‘age gracefully’ with the launch of its Edelweiss range.

It was previously the Drops of Youth range, one of The Body Shop’s best-selling skin care ranges. The flagship Drops of Youth Concentrate was the brand’s number-one product.

Last year, however, the company decided to risk a rebrand of its top-selling range to stand against the negative connotations associated with ageing.

‘Less impulsive’: Chinese beauty consumers behaviour more ‘rational’ – Yatsen

This year, the Chinese consumer reined in previously impulsive buying habits and instead prioritised efficacy and functionality, said a top executive from Yatsen Holdings

Vice President and head of strategic investments and capital markets, Irene Lyu noted that the shopping habits of Chinese consumers has altered.

“Consumer behaviour has shifted a little bit from previous impulsive buying habits toward more rational behaviour, which also kind of demonstrates that very strong efficacy and functional value actually probably attract more consumer attention and buying.”


Comfort vs celebration: Psychological differences between millennials and Gen Zs drove difference in makeup trends

The psychological differences between millennials and Gen Zs played a significant role in driving divergent makeup trends in Asia Pacific.

Fernanda Soro, global marketing manager at ingredients firm Sensient, observed a split in the colour cosmetics market between millennials and Gen Zs.

As the pandemic recovery kickstarted, the younger Gen Zs were in a celebratory mood, she said. This was vividly reflected in their choice of bright and vibrant colours in their makeup.


Inclusive and conscious: Leading cosmetic chemist weighed in on key beauty trends in 2023

Inclusivity and conscious beauty were among the most important elements for cosmetic brands to consider this year, said one prominent cosmetic chemist.

Director of Australia’s Institute of Personal Care Science, Belinda Carli, said we would see even more brands developing gender-neutral products as more consumers rejected the notion of being placed into a box.

However, she emphasised that there were significant biological differences between the genders that brands had to address tactfully.

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