The market for clean beauty (or natural personal care products) rebounded strongly in 2021 – and our research shows that the increase was greatly due to indie beauty brands.
Compared to 2020, clean beauty saw a boost of 10% in 2021; several of the strongest gains upwards of 100% year-over-year growth were experienced by indies, which collectively account for about 12% of total market sales.
Upon closer look, we found that clean beauty indie brands such as Pacifica, Lawless and Lys fueled traditionally slow-performing categories like fragrances and makeup in 2021, which posted gains of 26% and 18 %, respectively. Such success can be attributed to the brands’ touchpoints that attract today’s consumers, including:
- Ethical + sustainable sourcing
- Creative social media engagement
- Unique product story and ingredients
- Niche positioning
So which indies are making the biggest moves in the market? Read on:
Skinfix saw phenomenal triple-digit growth and was the fastest-growing brand in the natural and clean beauty market. Its success certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed: In November 2021, the company — which positions itself as dermatologist-recommended, promoting skin health while educating consumers about the skin barrier and microbiome — secured an investment from private-equity firm Stride to fund its brand awareness on e-commerce platforms and through Sephora. Skinfix isn’t the only jewel to land on the radar of multi-nationals, private equity firms, and VCs: In 2021, Glow Recipe, Beautycounter, Sol de Janeiro, Milk, and Youth to the People were all acquired. And just last week, Brentwood Associates, a private equity firm, announced it had made an investment in Pacifica Beauty.
Ilia saw tremendous growth in 2021, brought on by a number of initiatives. The brand’s skin-loving makeup products trended with consumers looking for multi-tasking and multi-purpose beauty; Ilia also became more inclusive as new shades were added to its complexion products. Much of the brand’s success was through word-of-mouth marketing tactics and strong partnerships with retailers — most notably, Sephora.
One of the more innovative new entrants was LYS Beauty. The makeup newcomer prides itself on diversity and inclusion with a wide range of shades. Another newcomer in the spotlight is teen-oriented Bubble. The brand positions itself as clean, using both plant-based ingredients and synthetics deemed safe by its “Off-Limits List.”
For more insights on the top trending market, be on the lookout for our Natural and Clean Beauty 2021: United States report, which is now published.
About this blog:
How Indie Brands Helped Power the Clean Beauty Market was written by Karen Doskow, Director of Kline’s Beauty & Personal Care practice. Doskow has more than 30 years of experience in the beauty, home care, and related markets. She oversees global and domestic research teams on several flagship reports including Beauty Devices, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Professional Skin Care, and Beauty Retailing. Prior to joining Kline, Doskow worked on the marketing and advertising sides of the business on brands such as Pantene, Chanel, and Avon. She has achieved industry recognition as a marketing expert in beauty and related markets and is a presenter at major conferences; she is frequently quoted as an industry expert in various publications and presents at major beauty-related conferences. Doskow holds a B.S. in public relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
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