Feeling the weight of the world? You’re not alone. The constant upheaval over the past few years has thrust us into the thick of a polycrisis era, where a barrage of challenges tugs at our emotions from all sides. When the combination of crises threatens to overwhelm us, a bright spot emerges: both consumers and brands are taking matters into their own hands. Whether it’s consumers rallying for genuine change or the innovation of upcycling and recycling to reduce global waste, we’re diving headfirst into a realm of urgent optimism to tackle the crises of the world—together.
Economic uncertainty. Growing inequality. Climate change. Amidst an era of ongoing crisis, the only way out is through—and with a major dose of positivity.
The global landscape is undergoing unprecedented change, fostering a heightened sense of uncertainty and turmoil—consumer confidence is wavering with the weight of the world’s issues. Yet within this challenging panorama, there’s an unwavering factor driving the upside: our ability to take care of ourselves. Both brands and consumers are discovering novel ways to make the world (and our own lives) a better place. Our resilience leads to creativity, our madness leads to innovation, and our collective rage has led to more kindness, empathy, and understanding. In this edition, we explore how we are collectively taking matters into our hands to overcome the world’s polycrisis (WGSN).
In a world clamoring for real change, who takes the lead? It turns out, it’s all of us. Consumers expect the brands they love to stand up against injustices, amplify marginalized voices, drive significant change, and genuinely add value to the world. It’s a call to action to use empathy and versatility to craft products that aren’t just practical, but adaptable enough to alleviate the overwhelming chaos of daily life—think stress-relieving skincare, customized formulas, and increased affordability. What does this mean for the future of beauty brands? One size no longer fits all. Product developers should tailor products to individuals instead of a mass consumer base. By navigating people’s nuanced and ever-changing emotions with thoughtful and accessible beauty solutions, brands can make life feel less overwhelming for their loyal clientele (WGSN).
Endless growth is out, preservation is in. It’s time to make more from less.
As our planet reaches the end of abundance, customers are conscious — and they expect new solutions that make more from less. Wasteful industry practices will become increasingly unacceptable. People will expect brands to lean into recycling, regenerating, and repairing. Businesses must look for ways to reduce their environmental footprint (WGSN). This shift has paved the way for the rise of upcycled beauty, a trend where beauty companies cleverly repurpose parts of produce that would typically contribute to food waste. These ingredients find new life in sustainable beauty products, marking a transformative approach to skincare. By utilizing discarded materials, these brands not only create unique products but also play a part in curbing global food waste. It’s a refreshing approach where beauty meets sustainability in a meaningful way (Cosmetics Business).
The more overwhelming the cost of living feels…the more lipstick flies off the shelves? It feels counterintuitive, and even nonsensical, but the lipstick effect has been a marker of economic health for decades. While inflation and rising costs of living may cast a shadow over our usual purchase decisions, consumers become more likely to treat themselves to the ‘little luxuries’ when their regular expenses rise. These little luxuries are the inexpensive purchases that will not make a major difference to their bottom line, but will act as a pick-me-up on a gloomy day. This effect is coined The Lipstick Index, and it proves that consumers are turning to beauty products as a mood-booster during troubling times (The Guardian).
Beauty routines are going beyond skin-deep—they’re now fully immersed in the realm of self-care. In the wake of the pandemic, consumers have fully integrated holistic health and wellness practices into their beauty routines—and the brands that win are the ones that follow suit. Modern beauty enthusiasts are balancing physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being in tandem, seeking symbiosis across each realm. Brands should aim to create products that achieve harmony between the body, mind, and soul, such as meditation-oriented offerings, mental health moments, and infused nutrients and vitamins (Beautystreams).