Trending Now: Contour Makeup, Hydrating Serum, and Flat Irons

In our May Trending Now report, we dive into key themes shaping beauty consumers’ choices – measured both through search interest and market data. Below we touch on the key themes which were trending this past month.  

Complexion Perfecting

Consumers continue to turn to the transformative power of makeup to enhance their natural features. Unlike the dramatic contoured look of 2016, when we saw the trend peak in popularity, consumers are striving for a more natural way to conceal, contour, and highlight.

The Data

On average, there are over 76.5K monthly searches for contour makeup, +47% to LY and +137% to 2020. Searches for cream contour palette (+119% to LY), liquid contour (+42% to LY), and contour sticks (+28% to LY) show consumer interest in blendable formulas and easy-to-apply formats.

The Takeaways

  • At this point, concealing and contouring have become a regular part of consumers’ routine, and they’re tackling the look with a soft, light-handed approach. Creamy (+119% to LY) and liquid formulas (+42% to LY) offer a dewy, natural look.
  • TikTok’s latest viral beauty hack teaches people how to get the perfect contour. The Cheek Contour filter by @gracemchoi measures out a person’s proportions to show where to apply cream contour. “How to contour” is the most searched for query related to the contour conversation online, and brands stand to benefit from educating shoppers on how to properly apply the product.
  • According to research by The NPD Group, foundation accounts for 26% of makeup sales. After two-plus years of living online with filters that helped consumers achieve a flawless complexion, demand for high coverage, long-lasting face makeup is rising in popularity.
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Hydrating Heroes

Consumers are searching for ultra-moisturizing formulas to get the healthy, “glazed” glow of the moment. With unprecedented demand, brands aim to stand out with clinically-proven ingredients and lightweight, jelly-like textures.

The Data

There are 20.4K average monthly searches for hydrating serum, +18% to LY and +174% to 2020. Face moisturizer (+15% to LY) and moisturizing eye creams (+51% to LY) are also being searched for alongside this term, an indication that consumers are looking for a boost of hydration however they can get it.

The Takeaways

  • 2022 will be the year of “glazed doughnut” skin if Hailey Bieber has anything to do with it. The ultra-hydrated, healthy glow is gaining traction ahead of spring, and consumers are increasingly searching for hydrating formulas that deeply moisturize.
  • In addition to clinically-proven ingredients, science-backed brands are leading the way. According to Boots, YoY sales of science-backed brands increased by 41%, making it the best performing skincare category.
  • Bioderma moisturizer (+241% to LY), La Roche Posay moisturizer (+34% to LY), and Cetaphil moisturizer (+21% to LY) are exhibiting the highest YoY growth.

Styling Spotlight

The hair styling tools market was valued at $ 30.09 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% to $ 39.63 billion by 2026. Despite a large dip in demand at the start of lockdown, consumers are looking for tools and products to help them prep and maintain their look.

The Data

There are 310.4K average monthly searches for flat irons and 122K for curling irons, +50% to LY and +11% to LY, respectively. Despite higher search volume, hair straighteners (431K AMS) are declining YoY, an indication that consumer language when searching for the product is shifting. To optimize SEO, brands should explore options for bringing this language into their messaging.

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The Takeaways

  • The “skintification” of hair started growing pre-pandemic and took off during lockdown as consumer interests started to shift. We’re now seeing a renewed interest in styling tools and products as consumers return to the office and prep for summer.
  • According to The NPD Group, sales o

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    f hair styling products grew from April to September 2021 in the range of 13% to 58% compared to a year ago. Curling irons had a 43% lift in sales, and sales of flat irons and straighteners increased by 25% in the period compared to last year.

  • To cater to consumers’ post-pandemic priorities, brands should explore pre- and post-styling products and less damaging hot tool technology to help keep their hair healthy and strong.

To learn more about what’s trending this month, download the abbreviated report here.  Clients have exclusive access to the full report here.

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