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How do you thrive as a beauty ecommerce brand when the cosmetic shopping experience is dominated by touch and feel? The pandemic forced the beauty industry to make some major technological leaps as beauty retailers like Sephora and ULTA were forced to close their stores during quarantine and adapt to a seismic shift in ecommerce beauty trends.

While brick-and-mortar stores have opened up again, the digital disruptions in the beauty industry have made a huge impact on cosmetic brands and their bottom line. 

Beauty brands that were able to act fast and keep up with technological shifts and changing customer sentiments towards certain product categories were able to rise to the top, while brands that failed to make the pivot were forced to close. 

Here’s a look at the ecommerce beauty trends you should pay close attention to in 2023.

1. Consumers Require More Transparency From Brands

With so many beauty brands claiming to be organic, clean, and cruelty-free, “greenwashing” has taken over the industry to describe products that portray themselves as ethical and sustainable despite a lack of testing or proven clinical studies. 

Clean beauty is a buzzword that many brands use in their marketing campaigns, but it’s becoming increasingly crucial for any cosmetic brand or beauty retailer to clean up their ingredient list.

U.S. regulation has been a major problem in the past (the FDA bans 11 ingredients while the EU bans 1,328. ), but with the new Modernization of Cosmetic Regulation Act introduced at the end of 2022, brands should take note of stricter guidelines for labeling and manufacturing. 

If clean beauty products were a nice-to-have previously, they're now a must-have. 

This applies just as much to the formulas themselves as the people running the brands: Ethically conscious business practices are also a must, and should be expected to be examined through rigorous reporting.

2. Increased Focus On Diversity And Inclusion

There's no more room for exclusivity. As brands like Fenty Beauty, Illamasqua, and Black Opal Beauty float to the top of the beauty market, and mainstays like Too Faced, Milk, and Make Up For Ever keep up with demand, the standards for shade ranges are going up. 

If a brand wants to practice inclusivity, they need to create collections where anyone and everyone can find themselves in their product lines. Illamasqua's tagline explicitly celebrates “express your true self” as they "redefine beauty."

For example, Fenty Beauty offers one of the widest shade ranges of foundation on the market, with 50 shades. It’s paid off—the line continuously sells out. And other brands like Rare Beauty have followed Fenty’s lead, offering 48 shades of their Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation.  

Kimberly Smith, the co-founder of the Brown Beauty Co-Op, points out that it’s not just about shades:

As a person of color, you can still see a brand have about 50 shades and not take into account the different undertones and all the different things.

It’s not just about the shade itself or the complexion color, it’s really a little bit more than that.

Kimberly Smith

We also are seeing more inclusivity when it comes to the hair category as well. Black-owned brands like Pattern and 4U cater to Type 4 hair with products and ingredients specifically designed and chosen for curly or coily hair.

Pattern’s products and tools cater to women of color and specifically Type 4 hair.

In the past, haircare brands would offer one or two products in their product assortment for Type 4 hair almost as an afterthought, but these emerging brands are openly celebrating black hair and causing customers to rethink their relationship with their natural hair.

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3. Personalization And Customization Are As Popular As Ever

Even though no one can be left out, people still want individuality. This rings especially true for cosmetics products, personal care, and ecommerce shopping. 80% of consumers said they're more likely to purchase if the experience is personalized. Consumers want custom-created products, the option to personalize each item, and nothing less than a fantastic customer experience and customer support. 

Haircare brands like Function of Beauty do an excellent job of creating personalized products for their customers. Visitors can take a hair quiz on their website, describing their hair type and hair goals along with their fragrance preference, and create a customizable formula made just for them within seconds. 

They take the personalization journey a step further by asking customers to opt-in to their newsletter to get more tips and advice for their specific hair type. 

While millennials love subscription boxes like Birchbox and IPSY, Gen Z is asking for new products that can be customized to their tastes and needs. 

Implementing an influencer marketing strategy and leveraging beauty influencers is one of the best channels to showcase this trend and show consumers how products can be customized. A campaign designed around user-generated content (UGC) is a brilliant way to bring this ecommerce shopping experience to life, using your existing community and brand champions to show how it works for them.

4. Shift Away From Retail To Live Shopping At Home

One thing is for sure: 2023 doesn't mean periods of time at home are coming to an end as WFH becomes more popular.

The beauty industry will lead the charge in bringing artificial intelligence (AI), home try-on, realistic (or not so much!) filters, and other digital extensions to the online shopping and checkout experience while remote life persists.

This will show up on product pages; social media like Instagram, Facebook (see Spark AR for a sneak peek), YouTube, and TikTok; and through video calling platforms like Zoom. So make sure you know these social ecommerce trends for 2023.

For a hint of what's on deck, take a look at Perfect Corp, the world’s leading AR company.  Founded by Alice Chang, a former software entrepreneur, the virtual try-on technology caught the eye of e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2019. The company integrates the YouCam Makeup AR virtual try-on technology into Taobao and Tmall Alibaba online shopping experiences. Chinese customers had a new way to shop virtually, and after 6 months, Alibaba revealed they had increased their conversion rate by 4X! 

If you try more, you buy more. It solves the pain point of every beauty lover.

Alice Chang, founder of Perfect Corp

Perfect Corp’s AI technology is now being used by major beauty brands like Estee Lauder, Shiseido, and Chanel. Keep your eyes peeled for more AI, AR, and VR from your favorite beauty brands, and it doesn't stop at color cosmetics brands. Skincare brands are offering skin analysis tools, too, where the customer can get custom skincare product recommendations based on selfies.

Perfect Corp’s AI technology makes it easier than ever for brands to color match and improve customer satisfaction.

Get acquainted with the Mobile Ecommerce Trends of 2023 to make sure you're always in the game.

5. Increase In Hand-Care And Sanitizing Products

Handwashing will never be the same again. If we're going to continue the compulsive yet hygienic habit, the personal care space might as well make it a great experience. Look for products featuring hydrating, skin-smoothing, and aromatherapy ingredients; packaging that doubles as decor; and hand sanitizer that our pandemic selves would praise. 

Once the beauty industry realized how clinical most of the common antibacterial hand sanitizers are, the safety-essential entered the luxury space, and now everyone from Amazon to Goop is trying to get in on the action. 

Social media-darling hand sanitizer brand, Touchland, sells out time and time again and is forecasting a 200% growth in revenue this year compared to 2022. The beloved brand has also gained a coveted spot in Target and Sephora. 

It delivers a fine mist that elevates the hand sanitizing process, and its minimal sleek packaging makes it compact enough for travel.

Touchland’s sanitizers feature minimal packaging and a wide range of scents.

Drugstore brands like Dove and Vaseline also pounced on the behavior shift, creating nourishing, virus-fighting formulas that actually leave skin feeling healthy.

6. Increased Protection From Blue Light And Screens

With more time in front of our screens comes more risks to our well-being. Most of us are quite aware of the mental and emotional impact but don't forget about blue light damage. Glasses can protect your eyes, but what about your delicate facial skin and hands?

Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ Skin, says:

This blue light causes free radical damage and induces degrading enzymes in the skin, resulting in accelerated aging, pigmentation, and texture issues.

Maryam Zamani

Searches for “blue light sunscreens” have been trending upward over the past few years as the public has become more aware of the negative effects of blue light exposure. 

As we become more aware of the effects, the cosmetics industry is unearthing innovative ingredients to help fight the damage. The startup Goodhabit is one of the latest: they're a brand built entirely on the concept of blue light protection.

Eye therapeutics are also on the rise. Too much screen time can result in dry eyes or irritation. 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dry eye syndrome, and many older adults suffer from chronic dry eyes.

Interest in skincare products to combat dry eyes has gone up as eye patches gain popularity. Under-eye patches can contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and caffeine to plump up the area and deliver much-needed hydration.

7. "De-Influencing" Trend Reflects Audience Fatigue

As we head into a recession and scroll through our TikTok feeds, videos of SHEIN hauls are gradually being replaced by money-saving hacks and beauty dupes that are a fraction of the price of luxury beauty products. The latest trend of “de-influencing” reflects how online audiences are beginning to tire of video content that promotes overconsumption and a desire to shop more thoughtfully and sustainably. 

Users jump on the de-influencing trend to honestly give their thoughts on trending products that may not be worth purchasing and suggest some more affordable alternatives while preaching that less is more. 

This is a great opportunity to position your products as a dupe for a popular product that is too costly for more customers and create more transparent social media content that speaks to the customers' state of mind. And if you do have to do a price hike due to supply chain issues or rising prices of ingredients, tell your customers why and be honest about it.

More often than not, they will respect your honesty and stay loyal customers or fans of the brand. 

8. Influencers Will Be Held Accountable For Their Claims

After Mikayla’s Nogueira’s Mascara gate scandal, brands and influencers will need to take a closer look at how to approach a social media partnership without receiving backlash from the public.

The beauty mega influencer with over 14 million TikTok followers demonstrated how a L’Oreal mascara transformed her eyelashes with a dramatic before and after video, but users were quick to call out that she was noticeably wearing false eyelashes. The heavily scrutinized video led to many users debating about the accuracy of her claims and integrity in the beauty space. 

Users are not afraid to voice their opinions if they feel an influencer is misleading their audiences in order to monetize. Above all of us, audiences value influencers who are authentic and whom they can trust. Brands should vet influencer content more closely and be transparent about their product claims.

9. TikTok’s Beauty Influence Will Persist

With rising stars like Glamzilla and Alix Earle, TikTok has become the main social media platform for discovering beauty trends and product recommendations. Audiences can still be influenced to purchase a product if the creator doing the influencing feels authentic and natural on camera. 

Alix Earle’s rapid rise to TikTok fame with her makeup routine has already influenced other Tiktok creators to try out white eyeliner and body gloss with mixed results. But audiences love relatable influencers who act as best friends or big sister surrogates. Brands should follow this platform closely to vet small content creators who have the potential to be breakout stars.

10. Multifunctional Products That Deliver Value

Rather than following a 10-step beauty regimen, budget-conscious consumers will look for products that can perform multiple roles like cleansing and exfoliating or this pore-clearing face mask that doubles as a primer.

We are seeing this multi-purpose trend play out in all beauty categories, such as makeup, hair, and skincare. 

Makeup brands like Nudestix have multi-purpose blush sticks that can be used as a blush, eyeshadow, or lip stain, so customers can create a complete look with just one product. 

Brands like Virtue’s 10 in 1 styler can perform multiple different functions at once, saving both time and money. 

For skincare, multi-use balm sticks continue to trend. Products like Kahi Seoul Wrinkle Bounce Multi Balm, which is advertised in many popular K dramas, can be used for dry patches, tired eyes, or even as a lip balm.

Actress Kim Go Eun demonstrates how the Kahi multi-stick balm can be used under her eyes in the K drama Yumi Cells.

11. The Skinification of Beauty (Literally)

Glossier may have popularized the no-makeup makeup look nearly a decade ago, but newer brands like Youthforia go a step further by seeing “makeup as an extension of skincare” and only including key ingredients with skin benefits.

Their makeup line includes a color-changing blush oil that reacts to your skin’s pH level for a natural-looking flush, plus an anti-redness and sebum-controlling primer. 

Rather than having makeup work against our skincare routines, adding skincare benefits to makeup just goes to show how the chokehold skincare has on the consumer, and there is a greater emphasis on good skin more so than flawless makeup.

Youthforia makeup line with skin benefiting ingredients and colorful packaging is a hit with Gen Z.

The world of beauty is top of mind for many, as we spend the bulk of our 9-5 jobs on Zoom with the “Touch Up My Appearance” filter turned on and our evenings with the soundtrack of get ready with me TikTok videos in the background. 

Paying close attention to what’s trending in the beauty space can set your ecommerce brand up for success. 

We’d love to hear from you in the comments: Have you implemented any of these wellness or beauty ecommerce trends in your ecommerce strategy yet? What’s working or not working for you in terms of ecommerce sales?

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By Frances Du

Frances Du is a content manager and writer with 10 years of experience in ecommerce and digital marketing, turning customer insights and market trends into actionable content strategies that drive engagement and discussion. Frances' editorial work has been featured in The Ecomm Manager, Village Living Magazine, GOOD Magazine, Traveler's Digest, SHE Canada, The Culture-ist, and The Huffington Post. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto.