The Industry’s Minimalist Makeover

Sometimes, less really is more. A recent trend in the beauty and cosmetics industry emphasizes simple packaging, formulas and routines as consumers realize the benefits of minimal product application. Not only are consumers spending an inordinate amount of money on products they do not necessarily need, the products may not even perform their correct functions; a recent WGSN article states that the more product that is applied to skin, the less it is able to perform its natural function. In light of this, industry players are adapting packaging efforts to become more sustainable, minimalistic and convenient to provide real benefits without excess packaging or wasteful materials.

To successfully minimize unnecessary packaging, consider crafting multifunctional products. Formulas that serve various purposes can effectively minimize the amount of waste created and number of items bought per consumer. Simplified skincare routines comprised of multifunctional products are already popular in Asia, specifically in Korea. Dr. Sejal Shah of SmarterSkin Dermatology notes that “The traditional K-beauty routine is a multistep process, but we are starting to see a return to a more minimalist approach using fewer but harder-working ingredients.” Sometimes called “skip-care,” this concept offers more results from less steps, ideal for busy consumers. 

Similarly, consumers are increasingly seeking “potent, high-quality hardworking active ingredients” (WGSN Beauty Key Trend 2021: The End of More).  If cosmetics are to become minimalistic, the ingredients must be accurate and potent – the concept at the core of “mini heroes” housed in ampoules and capsules offering potent amounts of ingredients. These products can be applied directly to the skin or hair for a powerful treatment, or function as boosters to other products.

Another way to minimize wasteful cosmetic production is to capitalize on the personalization trend, which limits product waste by reducing unnecessary consumption. Generally speaking, tailored solutions limit trash by eliminating excess.

Brands are jumping on the bandwagon of creating products that promote a minimalistic lifestyle and are easy to use. Recently, fitness brand Lululemon Athletica launched its first line of cosmetic products, Selfcare, which includes deodorant, dry shampoo, Basic Balm lip balm and face moisturizer. The products are designed for use before or after workouts, highlight simplicity and encourage consumers to get back to basics.

As consumers juggle fast-paced lifestyles, the cosmetics industry must adapt to their lifestyles to offer convenient and sustainable packaging solutions. Via multifunctional formulas, potent ingredients,  and personalized products, the beauty industry can more responsibly provide effective solutions for consumers seeking to save money and minimize their environmental impact.