In a world of instant online sharing and social media influence, big beauty incumbents are no longer setting the trends. Instead, smaller brands — and beauty consumers themselves — are changing the way that standards are set. Which countries are currently leading the way for beauty around the world, and where will we take inspiration from in the months and years to come?
K-Beauty and J-Beauty Continue to Grow
Korean beauty hit the West in 2014, and had a huge influence on how beauty consumers around the world chose and used beauty products. Facial massages, gel creams, sheet masks and essences are now everyday items for many, and heritage European brands have launched products rooted in Korean beauty routines.
K-Beauty provided a pathway for Japanese beauty trends to follow seamlessly into the market. J-Beauty is all about simplicity and elegance. It reflects the wisdom and style of Japanese culture as a whole — rich with natural ingredients and supported by scientific research and innovative technology, while remaining rooted in tradition. For Japanese people, beauty routines are not just a passing fad; beauty in all areas of life is simply a part of the culture.
Around the world, more and more people are drawn to Japan’s effortless way of integrating beauty with everyday life. Skincare takes precedence over makeup and more superficial beauty products; Japanese consumers put their time and money into caring for their skin, with a focus on hydration and nourishing plant extracts. In fact, Japanese beauty customers spend an average of $114 per year on facial skincare, and $46 on color cosmetics. In contrast, UK beauty consumers spend an average of $24 on facial skincare and $46 on color cosmetics.
What are the bestsellers in Japan right now? Decorte, a skincare and makeup brand promoted by Kate Moss, along with Cle De Peau, a similarly luxurious skincare brand, are doing well. Both brands focus on the importance of glowing, youthful skin; and bestselling products include a hydrating gel serum and a botanical face cream.
Europe is in the Running
Europe countries have not been complacent in the drive for market share. A traditional Scandinavian concept, called ‘Lagom’, is gaining interest and drawing consumers who are seeking a simpler, cleaner approach to beauty. The concept roughly translates into English as ‘not too much, not too little’, and embodies the idea of slowing down, and embracing a life of less pressure and more time for enjoyment.
Lagom is a central part of Swedish culture and is thought to contribute to the high standard of living experienced by people in Sweden; it’s among the happiest countries in the world, with an emphasis on work-life balance even at a governmental, legislative level. It’s all about acceptance and contentment, and provides an alternative philosophy to constantly seeking and striving for the next best thing. The Swedish proverb ‘Lagom är bäst’ means ‘the right amount is best’, but can also be translated as ‘enough is as good as a feast.’ It is a complete philosophy for life, and a habit to be applied to the mind. When a person begins to live by this concept, they can draw it into every aspect of their lives — including the way they purchase and consume beauty products.
The growing popularity of Lagom emulates the recent trend centered around the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’, which also promotes contentment. But what does Lagom mean in terms of beauty brands and products? The term applies to a wave of efficient, minimalist products with equally clean and minimal packaging.
Australia Embraces its Native Plants
Australian beauty brands are also emerging as significant players in the global market. The country is home to a huge variety of unique native plants, many of which are rich in medicinal properties. That, combined with Australia’s hot and often harsh climate, is inspiring a boom in natural and functional skincare — both of which are key components in global beauty trends right now.
MV Skincare Organic is gaining traction beyond Australia, spurred on by celebrity endorsements from the likes of Emma Watson, Cara Delevingne, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely. Other Australian brands currently booming include skincare line Alpha-H; clean, simple and natural cosmetics brand Lucas Paw Paw; and skin and haircare brand Aesop.
Stay Tuned… Korea, Japan, Sweden and Australia. A fabulously eclectic gathering of breakout stars in the global beauty industry makes this an exciting time for beauty fans around the world.