Feb 21, 2019
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Microbiome skincare and clean makeup among biggest trends in UK beauty market

Feb 21, 2019

New research has found that UK brands are leading the way for skincare products targeting skin microbiome - a hot topic in the cosmetic industry - and that British consumers are buying more colour cosmetics than their European counterparts.


These are some of the trends driving growth in the UK beauty market in 2019, according to a new report from Mintel following on from the 2019 CEW Beauty Awards Product Demonstration Evening.


Demonstrating a quick ability to adapt to the growing awareness of the human microbiome, UK brands launched more bacteria-infused skincare than their international rivals, with 37% of the world’s launches coming from the UK, followed by 25% in the US and 15% in France.

“British skincare brands have been among the first to understand the importance of the microbiome, the natural bacteria found in and on the body which can be balanced through skincare. In the next 5-10 years, the skincare industry will expand from simply focusing on the microbiome to also include the exposome, ie external environmental factors like pathogens, fungi, pollution and plants that interact with our DNA and affect our health,” Jane Henderson from Mintel commented.

Mintel is predicting a shift towards a more bespoke and holistic approach to skincare and health, with a rise in exposome-measuring wearable devices, bespoke ingestibles, personalised DNA nutrition, and products that boost skin health and personal air quality.

The UK skincare market also seems to be going upmarket, with prestige/luxury facial skincare accounting for 71% of launches (compared with 54% ten years ago). Meanwhile, the proportion of budget and mass facial skincare launches declined to just 10% in 2018.



Another trend driving the market is clean colour cosmetics, with the UK being the leading European market in terms of launches in 2018. Second only to the US, Britain accounted for 21% of all global clean colour cosmetic launches in 2018.

This is particularly interesting given the size of the UK colour cosmetics market. Last year, it was the fourth biggest market globally behind the US, Japan and China, generating an estimated £2.1bn in sales. Britons are also the fourth biggest spenders, splashing out £32 per capita on colour cosmetics every year.

“Clean beauty is more than a trend, it's a lifestyle, and as such brands must adapt to the changing landscape to secure their place in the future market,” Henderson continued.


Further targeting eco-conscious consumers, the proportion of new haircare products claiming to be vegan rose from 6% in 2016 to 20% last year, according to Mintel. In comparison, only 10% of haircare launches across the globe carried a vegan claim.

Additionally, UK consumers have now a larger offer of gluten-free haircare products. 9% of all launches in the UK carried a gluten-free claim in 2018, compared with just 4% across the globe.

“With over 1,800 beauty brands operating in the country, it's no surprise that we are seeing some of the most exciting and creative innovation coming from the UK and shaping the future of beauty across the world,” commented Caroline Neville, president of CEW.

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