The beauty industry is evolving through a spectrum of change from a “green” to “clean” to “conscious” positioning. With varying principles, these three pillars of market evolution reflect the ongoing challenges and shifting goalposts for beauty brands and consumers alike. Skin health and efficacy remain top consumer priorities; meanwhile, environmental concerns are growing, yet scepticism around natural and organic certification deepens and the notion of clean beauty faces even graver scrutiny.
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Consumer interest in natural and organic products – an industry segment originally billed as green beauty – is waning. Lack of certification standardisation and the realisation that natural is not necessarily always best for efficacy or for the environment is having a knock-on effect.
Marketeers created the elusive clean beauty segment as an antidote to the confusing and unstandardised green beauty space. Clean beauty takes the approach of minimalism, simplicity and safety – regardless of ingredient provenance; natural, naturally-derived or synthetic.
Much like green beauty, clean beauty is a moving target, and brands tailor definitions to their own offerings. Controversially, much of the clean beauty discourse demonises whole ingredient groups, and brands have been accused of employing scaremongering tactics. Clean beauty remains a US-focused trend, with some influence seeping into Europe.
Conscious beauty is the next frontier. If clean beauty carved a niche by selling products based on culling whole ingredient groups, conscious beauty takes a more considered and targeted approach. The consumer is becoming more knowledgeable of their individual skin sensitivities, and takes a case by case basis approach to treating their skin concerns.
Conscious beauty is the culmination of a 360˚ consumer understanding; to be aware of and respond to their own needs, as well as those of the environment around them. A conscious beauty consumer is committed to evaluating the wider ethical and environmental impact of a purchase with the same gravity as personal priorities.