3 MAJOR Changes Being Made In The Beauty Industry
The reach of the beauty industry amazes me. From 7-year-old children to 60-year-old adults, it has influenced millions around the globe in some way, shape, or form. I mean heck, it even affected the earliest members of civilization with makeup dating back to the Ancient Egyptians and Chinese Dynasties. It is kind of wild to think about, isn’t it?
- Companies have tangible plans for sustainability efforts
- All walks of life have more representation in the beauty industry now
- More animal lives are being saved each year
What’s even wilder to think about is the evolution the beauty industry has undertaken since the Ancient Egyptians. From makeup and other beauty products like nail polish made from beetles, clay, and metals in 3100 BCE, to mascara made of petroleum jelly and coal dust in 1917, and vegan plant-based products in 2021, the beauty industry has seen major changes.
Aside from product development, the beauty industry has undergone other transformations due to the growing voice of consumers in the market. I mean, we all know there are major problems in the beauty industry. Nothing as beautiful and powerful comes without disadvantages. Despite problems, there are some major changes being made that give a glimmer of hope for the industry’s future, so let’s take a peek at 3 major changes being made in the beauty industry.
Upward Trend Towards Sustainable Beauty
Product waste, non-recycled packaging, and forever chemicals (chemicals that leave a lasting impact on the environment and health) are all major sustainability concerns beauty companies face. And now, with the rise of consumer demand, companies are tackling the sustainable beauty concern head-on.
But what does sustainability really mean for the beauty industry and sustainable skincare? According to UCLA, “sustainable practices support ecological, human, and economic health and vitality,” recognizing that “resources are finite, and should be used conservatively and wisely,”. Thus, sustainability in the beauty industry involves the supply chain as a whole, from product sourcing to transportation, to packaging in order to preserve resources.
Collaborative efforts across companies in the industry have led to two major developments. First, a co-developed environmental assessment and scoring system for cosmetic products led by cosmetic companies Unilever, L’Oreal, LVMH, Henkel, and Natura 7 Co. Scores from the assessment will likely be displayed on labels for consumers to easier identify how sustainable a product is.
Companies spearheading the creation of the methodology hope it will create cohesion across assessing the environmental impacts of each stage of a product’s life cycle through a common database, then assigning a score from A to E, enabling consumers to more easily compare products.
Second, the rise of companies becoming allies and stepping forward with concrete blueprints that showcase their commitment and plan for a more sustainable supply chain. For example, Biossance, Youth To The People, Ren Clean Skincare, Caudalie, and Herbivore have all committed and taken steps towards more planet-friendly packaging by 2025. Not to mention, skincare line Emma Lewishman published their business model blueprint in hopes companies looking to become more sustainable will adapt their business model.
Inclusivity is No Longer an Afterthought
For many years, the beauty industry served a narrow market, failing thousands of consumers annually. Lack of shade representation, lack of diversity in models, lack of diverse hair care products for different hair types, and lack of fluid gender acceptance are just a few examples of how the industry negatively affected thousands of consumers' experience with the beauty industry.
In 2017, Fenty Beauty released their new foundation that included over 40 different shades, a foundation release unlike anything the industry had seen before. Fenty’s release sparked a movement in the industry, with more companies expanding their product lines, creating inclusive shade options for everyone.
Aside from shade inclusivity, the space has been made more welcoming for all walks of life. Gender norms have been broken down, showcased by more gender neutral products and marketing hitting the markets. Those with disabilities are seeing more accessible products with accessible packaging including raised symbols for individuals with visual impairment and accessible tools including specially designed makeup tools for individuals with motor disabilities.
Lastly, the beauty industry has seen an uproar of support for Black-owned businesses since 2020. Black beauty matters! Aside from verbal support, the beauty industry has committed to supporting Black-owned businesses with shelf space. Examples include Sephora and Macy’s participating in the 15 percent pledge, the promise to commit 15% of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. Ulta has also pledged to double the shelf space dedicated to Black-owned businesses by the end of 2021.
Animal Cruelty Is Being Left in The Past
Similar to sustainability, consumers have a growing demand to ban animal testing in the beauty industry. According to the Humane Society International, over 500,000 animals a year are harmed each year at the hands of cosmetic testing.
The United States has seen swift progress in since 2017 with Nevada, California, and Illinois passing legislation banning cosmetic animal testing and sales. The remaining states have legislation in development. In addition to the United States, since 2012, the European Union, India, Taiwan, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Israel, and Iceland compose some of the 40 countries that have legislation bans in place.
Modern science has indicated that non-animal testing methods (available for most cosmetic testing) are better at predicting human responses in the real world in comparison to the outdated animal tests they replace.
According to the Humane Society International, over 1000 companies are cruelty free. Lush, Bare Minerals, Becca, and Glossier are great examples of companies who create award winning products without animal testing.
There are still major problems in the beauty industry that need to be tackled. Nonetheless, I am proud to say there are collaborative efforts being made by key players in the industry. From sustainable product life cycle ratings, accessible tools for those with disabilities, and more animals being saved each year, there are things to smile about. Here’s to a brighter future!
Written by Lauren Conklin