Make-up and skin care and wellness oh my: why silos are dead and health-beauty hybrids are taking over

Make-up and skin care and wellness oh my: why silos are dead and health-beauty hybrids are taking over

Many moons ago, my job as an editor was to produce detailed monthly reports of all the movement in the cosmetics industry, sector by sector. Today, not only is publishing all about digital but the lines between those categories have blurred, almost to the point of irrelevance. Whole brands have evolved on a cross-category concept where make-up and skin care are one and the same – most notably It Cosmetics, which L’Oréal snapped up last year for US$1.2 billion. That price alone should tell you the benefits of breaking down these artificial barriers.

Because beauty silos are being smashed left, right and centre and hybrid products are the future. “I don’t care whether its skin care or color. Those are artificial constructs that will come down… I’m really frustrated that the world is organized in that way. That’s not how any woman deals with her life,” argued Jane Park, CEO and Founder of Julep in a recent interview with WWD.

For as Julep contends, silos aren’t representative of real life – neat categories are for email folders, not innovation. Today’s consumers are lifestyle led, and that means they want turmeric in their curry, coffee and in their Cushion Complexion.

Yes, it’s not only within the beauty industry that categories are breaking down but outside too – we’ve borrowed athleisure from fashion, we’ve taken superfoods from wellness. The lightbulb moment seemed to come when K-beauty’s now infamous BB and CC creams went global. From there, the only way was up – so now we have face powders doubling as night creams – yes, we’re looking at you BareMinerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment. 

Indeed, shoppers are taking a more holistic approach to their baskets, shopping by philosophy rather than by aisle. To wit, the beauty from within trend that’s grown out of the wellness movement has seen nutricosmetics come to the fore once more, even leading Stylist to ask whether the future of beauty was pill-shaped.

Well, beauty wasn’t having that, instead borrowing even more heavily from the wellness movement to maintain its relevance. That’s why, for example, probiotics have snuck into formulations over the last two years. Once reserved for yoghurts, in the west at least, they’re now being touted by everyone, hitting the mainstream with Clinique’s redness solutions daily relief cream with probiotic technology.

And the popularity of microbiome-based skin care just proves, as many a business consultant has contended, that silos are limiting. Meanwhile, beauty is ever-involving – and, on that basis, the future looks to be even more radical hybrid products that blur the lines between food, health and beauty.