Univar Solutions exec’s predictions for ‘biggest ingredient trends of 2024’

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

In 2024, “the product is important, but a brand says just as much about the person buying it as it does about the company that built it,” said Tom Flatley, Global Brand Manager, Beauty and Personal Care at Univar Solutions. © Jonathan Kitchen Getty Images
In 2024, “the product is important, but a brand says just as much about the person buying it as it does about the company that built it,” said Tom Flatley, Global Brand Manager, Beauty and Personal Care at Univar Solutions. © Jonathan Kitchen Getty Images

Related tags trend spotting Sustainability mental health efficacy claims substantiation

Product performance, the end of ‘the era of the soft claim,’ mood boosters, and ‘transparency in sustainability', are just some of the most impactful ingredient formulation trends for the year ahead, says Univar Solutions' Tom Flatley.

This year, the Beauty and Personal Care market is expected to generate a revenue of $100.3 billion, with the largest segment of market share being Personal Care products at an estimated $45.52 billion, according to market research firm Statista.

This competitive industry is growing at an annual rate of 2.4%, the research firm reports, and to gain an advantage, manufacturing and supply companies to the cosmetics and personal care industries are always looking to stay up to date on product formulation and ingredient trends to best appeal to their target consumer audiences.

Univar Solutions trend forecasting expertise

For insight into 2024’s top forecasted trends in the product ingredient space, CosmeticsDesign spoke to Tom Flatley, Global Brand Manager, Beauty and Personal Care at Univar Solutions. Flatley, who has spent his entire professional career in the beauty and personal care industries, has a background in chemistry and technical marketing and in 2019 he “launched the company’s brands concierge team to provide beauty brands with an unparalleled level of support from concept through to commercialization,” he shared.

Since that time, Univar Solutions has expanded globally, providing “bespoke solutions for brands across all personal care applications” and giving Flatley a unique perspective on ingredient trend forecasting for cosmetic and personal care product formulations.

To inform his opinions on 2024’s most significant ingredient trends in PBC product formulations, Univar Solutions pulls “our data across a variety of resources,” Flatley explained, and “we utilize many of the top trend houses across the globe, while also taking into consideration feedback that we’ve received from customers.” Further, he added that “our unique position of support from a distribution perspective allows us to view trends from multiple angles and provide our own interpretations.”

Performance is key

One of this year’s most prominent trends in the ingredient space for cosmetic and PBC products is performance, which “is going to be the reigning trend in 2024,” Flatley shared. “Not only are devices on the rise like LED Masks, Gua Sha tools, and the Kansa wand,” he explained, “but Botox continues to be one of the top beauty and personal care related searches among consumers in the U.S.”

From a consumer perspective, he added, “this highlights the ever-growing expectation of performance of self-care regimen, with consumers looking for perfect complexion and flawless hair.” Considering that “consumers strive for longevity and efficiency,” he said, it’s important for cosmetics and PBC manufacturers as well as brands to note that beauty product shoppers are “wanting the next product that they buy to offer better performance at a faster rate than their last.”

The death of the soft claim

Another notable ingredient trend in 2024 is that “the era of the soft claim is dying,” Flatey shared, which means that “hard facts are taking its place, with the need for data to back them up.” For beauty brands looking to manufacturers for assistance with formulating or launching a new product, in 2024 “many brands won’t consider a performance or anchor ingredient without in vivo​ data,” he explained.

Beauty brand product formulators looking to align with this trend “should consider taking hard claims into consideration and being open with their customer base,” he recommended, adding that “transparency on performance is more important than ever.” Therefore, he continued, for companies not already doing so, “highlighting why you chose the ingredients you have and offering the evidence to back up your claims will go a long way in building trust and loyalty with your customer base.”

Good vibes only

The trend towards mental health and wellbeing will have a significant impact on ingredient and product formulations in 2024, Flatley maintained, and will “also be at the forefront of trends this year.” This is not an entirely new concept in the cosmetic and PBC product industries as “we’ve seen wellness play a big part in the industry since the pandemic,” he said, adding that while “brands have actively promoted investment in foundations and campaigns to elevate the discussion of mental health awareness, we haven’t seen much impact on the product lines themselves.”

However, he explained, “we are now starting to see this spread onto the chemist’s bench with brands correlating active ingredients to mood boosting benefits.” While “this has primarily played its largest part within the world of fragrance” so far, he said, “I suspect that this year we will continue to see this expand into other categories in beauty and wellness.”

Eco-friendly options abound

The final trend Flatley shared that he expects to see in ingredient and product formulations in 2024 is sustainability, which “will continue to gain traction in personal care with brands taking it further than ever before,” he stated. This year, “we’re now going beyond the production of the ingredient itself and diving into how the raws are processed,” he said.

Questions like “what traceability do we have back to the harvesters, where are they getting their resources,” and “what are the scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions” will become increasingly important, he explained, as “this pressure is important as it helps the industry self-regulate and push for growth.” Further, he predicted that “we will also see a level of sustainability from the consumer in 2024 with simplicity and streamlining of regimens being taken into consideration.”

The bottom line

Ultimately, it is “transparency [and] the level of visibility that brands are offering today” that gives brand’s a competitive edge in 2024 as companies in the cosmetic and personal care product spaces “continue to push the envelope on what is acceptable and what is expected,” Flatley said.

Considering that “consumers no longer view themselves as separate from the brand,” this means that “the product is important, but a brand says just as much about the person buying it as it does about the company that built it,” he explained. Moving forward, perhaps the biggest trend of all is that “people want to know what they are buying and know that it works,” he concluded.

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