Key Personal Care Ingredient Trends for 2024 and beyond

Key Personal Care Ingredient Trends for 2024 and Beyond

Like ripples in a pond that continue to expand long after a stone is thrown, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt across the personal care industry. As we explore the top trends in the personal care ingredients (PCI) market, we see a landscape transformed by shifting consumer behaviors, emerging sustainability imperatives, and the relentless pursuit of innovation.

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the personal care landscape in profound ways. As the world retreated indoors, the demand for skin care and hair care products surged as consumers redirected their attention to self-care rituals. Yet, the once-thriving domains of makeup, sun protection, and hair styling faced headwinds due to lockdowns and a decrease in social gatherings.

As the restrictions began to lift, the personal care ingredients market started to recover. However, the resurgence was not without its hurdles. Whilst people initially maintained their self-care routines that they’d established in the pandemic, treating themselves to higher quality or more products, this began to be eroded by the increased inflationary pressures.

This reduction in consumers’ purchasing power resulted in a slower rebound for certain product categories. The road to recovery for makeup, often seen as a leisure expense, proved to be an arduous journey. Additionally, skincare products like face masks saw a decline as consumer reliance on them waned with the resurgence of outdoor activities.

Beyond the fluctuations in demand and market recovery, the pricing of personal care ingredients and products has experienced its own volatility. Supply chain disruptions caused raw material costs to soar in 2021, and while stability was eventually attained, the costs remained high throughout 2023. External factors, ranging from energy and logistics to labor costs, continued to exert pressure on the pricing dynamics. Notably, even renowned brands such as Chanel made unprecedented adjustments to their product pricing, reflecting the industry-wide challenges faced.

Amidst these fluctuations and challenges, a number of trends have emerged, shaping the personal care ingredients market. One such trend is multifunctionality, as consumers seek products that offer various benefits like hydration, anti-oxidation, and sun protection. This has led to an increased demand for multifunctional ingredients such as humectants with antimicrobial, anti-oxidation, and exfoliation properties. Using multifunctional ingredients also helps simplify product formulations for personal care manufacturers, aligning with consumers’ desire for shorter INCI lists.

The sensory experience offered by personal care products has become paramount, with consumers craving luxurious textures and delightful sensations on their skin and hair. And in an increasingly eco-conscious world, sustainability has become a linchpin, driving the need for ingredient transparency, traceability, and the adoption of greener alternatives.

The trend for natural ingredients has been present in the personal care industry even before the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to thrive. Consumers prefer healthier lifestyles and are environmentally aware, creating opportunities for the growth of natural ingredients like natural surfactants, natural emollient esters, natural oils, and preservative boosters.

Sustainability is another key trend in the personal care industry, driven by the need for ingredient transparency and traceability. New legislation in Europe, set to take effect in 2025, will require traceability of natural raw materials, impacting the market for natural ingredients. The European Green Deal promotes sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients, aligning with consumer preferences for environmentally conscious products. However, stricter regulatory standards can pose challenges, requiring reformulation efforts and potentially limiting options. Adoption of eco-friendly alternatives may also increase production costs.

Furthermore, the European Commission has adopted a regulation restricting the use of synthetic polymer microparticles (microplastics) in personal care products. Starting in 2035, intentionally added microplastics, such as exfoliating microbeads and plastic loose glitter, will be phased out, with a phase-out of microplastics in rinse-out products by 2027.

Though those ripples of the pandemic are still being felt, these trends show that there are new challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the personal care ingredients industry. Navigating the emerging trends of increased demand for natural ingredients, multifunctionality, sensory experiences, and sustainable practices will be crucial for companies aiming to thrive in this dynamic industry.

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