Looking Back:
Beauty in 2017

22.12.2017 Beauty : Wellness : Perfume

Scents that affect your brain waves, getting creative with hair advertising and the rise of honest beauty were some of the highlights in beauty this year.

The Trend: Psychoactive Scents

Valeur Absolue perfumes Valeur Absolue perfumes
Scent of a Dream by Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream by Charlotte Tilbury

In 2017, perfume found a new purpose. Although it has always been a pick-me-up when you spray on a fragrance, new launches promised to enhance a wearer’s mood via his or her nervous system.

Perfumers such as Valeur Absolue produced Psychoactive Scents that included ingredients that are scientifically proven to affect one’s mood. Valeur Absolue’s range uses Areaumat Perpetua, an odourless ingredient derived from the immortelle flower, to convey a signal to the nervous system, helping to alleviate stress.

‘It has been measured and clinically tested that when people apply the extract to their skin, the level of cortisone in their saliva is reduced – cortisone is the marker for stress,’ Foucart told LS:N Global. ‘It’s like when you go into the sun or you get a massage, it has that effect of reducing your stress.’

The Big Idea: Sensitised Living

Glossier Glossier

This was the year when sensitive skin changed from being a niche concern to a mainstream conversation. But the issue has moved on from sensitive skin – a medical condition that affects few consumers – to skin sensitivity, a fine but important distinction.

With more exposure to pollutants and toxins, consumers’ skin is becoming increasingly sensitised, more prone to redness and irritation. ‘For a long time, cosmetics companies have gotten away with using low-quality ingredients – things that are known to be aggressors to the skin and cause reactions,’ explained Dominika Minarovic, co-founder of natural beauty brand Clean Beauty Co.

In response, beauty brands launched natural products that focused on non-irritating ingredients, and there has been an increased push for transparency on product labels.

The Space: Riley Rose

Riley Rose, Los Angeles Riley Rose, Los Angeles
Riley Rose, Los Angeles Riley Rose, Los Angeles

The combination of Instagram’s pivotal role in the growth of cult beauty brands online and the recent success of physical beauty retail has prompted some large retailers to explore how they can bring cult brands into a physical space.

This year Riley Rose, a new beauty concept store opened from Linda and Esther Chang – the daughters of Forever 21’s founders – combining a physical shop with the power of digital to offer products chosen by the consumer. The store stocks about 200 brands, including about 80 from the beauty sector, as well as home décor and accessories.

Products are rotated based on their popularity, lending the store an element of discovery and peer-to-peer recommendations offered by Instagram. ‘We felt there was a [gap] in the market for a beauty and lifestyle brand that really catered for our generation, the Millennials as well as Generation Z,’ Linda told Racked.

The Interview: Brandon Truaxe on making beauty honest

The Ordinary by Deciem The Ordinary by Deciem

In November 2017, we spoke to Brandon Truaxe, the founder of beauty group Deciem, about the success of the various brands under the company’s umbrella and its science-based approach to beauty.

With the brands Niod, The Ordinary and Hylamide, Deciem aims to speak honestly to educated beauty consumers who care not only about the ingredients in their products, but how they work as well. Each brand aims to inform customers exactly what their value proposition is, something that Truaxe sees as generally lacking in skincare brands.

‘In the world of functional beauty – largely skincare today – chemists are working to make marketing people happy. Marketing people make their decisions based on trends, and trends are basically history,’ he told us. ‘It’s not clear what is being made, what is being sold, other than promises, and why things that cost a few dollars do roughly the same thing, if not more, than things that cost hundreds of dollars.’

The Campaign: The Thief by SYOSS

The Thief by Walker Zurich for Syoss, Switzerland

Swiss haircare brand SYOSS proposed a different aesthetic for advertising with its May 2017 advertisement The Thief. Rather than the typical model with glossy hair, tossing her head about, the ad describes one's commute as a thief of time.

‘My daily commute is a thief, a burglar who steals away my precious time,’ the voiceover said. ‘It shows no mercy. It steals my breakfast, my long, hot shower and that priceless me time I need to do my hair.’ It presented SYOSS’s range as a solution for those time-poor commuters who are just waiting for a good hair day.

‘With this film, we wanted to create something that was different to the usual mould that hair ads stick to,’ explained Pius Walker, the creative director at Walker Zurich, the agency behind the ad.

Download the Future Forecast PDF

With the past year in beauty now behind us, find out what is on the horizon for next year. Download our Future Forecast 2018 report here.