What The Beauty Industry Will Look Like After The Pandemic Subsides

With President Joe Biden pledging there will be enough vaccines for every American at the end of May and Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House, forecasting the United States could see a “degree of normalcy” by the fall, the beauty industry will likely be in for major changes toward the second half of the year.

We wondered how beauty industry insiders believe the beauty business will transform as a result and asked 24 with expertise in various elements of it, including retail, manufacturing, social media, packaging, brand strategy and consumer research, the following questions: What areas do you predict there will be growth in? What areas do you predict will slow down? What ways can beauty companies take advantage of what’s to come?

Margarita Arriagada Founder and CEO, Valdé

I believe the need for physical and social interaction will be greater than ever. People will go back to stores. While I think brick-and-mortar needs to evolve to offer more value to the customer (i.e. experiences, education and entertainment), in the short term, beauty stores at least are eye candy. And, in the short term, there will be retail proliferation in neighborhoods as people migrate from urban cities.

That said, business will not come at the expense of digital. Now that we have experienced all the benefits of online shopping, and brands have a taste of what's possible, there's no going back. Rather, I expect digital to continue to get more dynamic. Omnichannel will go mainstream. Social marketplaces will strengthen, and other platforms will emerge. So, there will be more ways to lure the customer to shop with the ease of click and collect, fast delivery, etc.

The trends that we experienced due to the pandemic like cocooning in our homes to provide us with comfort, security and peace will continue. This shift has influenced the strength of the bath and body categories, and home scents. I anticipate that all the wellness and self-care trends will continue. Devices, science-based skincare brands, and botanical and homeopathic brands backed by science will continue to see momentum.

On the other hand, I do think color cosmetics will come back strong as soon as this fall. There is pent-up desire to glam up. Foundation and lip will improve. Fragrance should do extremely well, and anything that is novel, i.e., adornment, hair accessories, should do well. People want to be inspired, and anything that is sensorial, ritualistic and puts a smile on our faces to feel good, including sexual wellness, speaking of smiling, will do very well.

From a demographic standpoint, while there is major emphasis on gen Z'ers, but I think baby boomers have the disposable income to still impact the industry. Luxury will be strong as customers will desire to indulge, and boomers will have the disposable income.

And one more category that should improve is sunscreen. I think people finally are getting religion on the importance. Given the fact we were cooped up for most of the year, there will be sensitivity on getting protection when we return out. There's also more intuitive and easy-to-use options.

Julie Pefferman Founder, The Lab & Co.

I just feel a huge, but good change coming and, like anyone else, I want to be ready to take advantage of the tides turning. I think retail is going to come back in a major way, but customers who crave a fresh start will want products to match. Undiscovered or veteran indie brands that have been passed over before and sustained themselves through the pandemic now have a chance to let retailers know they are here for the new wave of retail to come.

I see tons of opportunities for brands with distinct messages to get into retailers as retailers are eager to make statements about who they support by selecting representative brands with a purpose. As long as those purpose-driven brands have product quality to match, then it could be the perfect time to get a foot in the door at this moment. And I see some opportunities for new beauty retailers. Many salons and small beauty stores closed. This leaves an opportunity for local retailers with the guts to do something major.

Makeup will perk up, but we won't want the same offerings. I think we are harkening back to the days when Bobbi Brown's original makeup hit its stride. There will be glowy, dewy, easy regimens for makeup with staple holy grail products instead of massive palettes or excessive contouring. Clean ingredients are the key to the new wave of makeup we are going to see. Makeup and skincare that target active lifestyles are important, too. Fragrance, particularly new fresh summer fragrances, will excite customers as they go back into stores and want to represent their new outward identities again. I see skincare being steady, but highly competitive.

The reverse I see coming is in personalized beauty. I think consumers will be less enamored with personalized skincare and substitute it with consulting live people during the retail boom. This is until personalized skincare can become more formulation-oriented and sophisticated, which is hard to scale.

Rohit Banota Founder, StorySaves

Pre-pandemic trends like digital conferencing and socializing, health and wellness, and online shopping have been accelerated by COVID and will continue to see faster growth versus pre-pandemic, accelerating the demand for skincare, DIY devices, skin immunity as well as body immunity with supplements. Similarly, the behavior for sanitization and hygiene has been accelerated and will continue to accelerate the demand for face, hand and body hygiene, albeit at a reduced rate of growth. Masking has led to a growth in care and style for the upper half of the face including brows, eyes and lashes. This would continue to grow.

Sunscreen and body care will see a spurt in growth during the summer along with deodorants. Makeup will see a revival of sorts for lipstick and nails as people would go out more, but it won't be a big recovery. Makeup was already a category that was taking a hit due to a trend towards minimalism and skincare. Ebbing of pandemic is not enough to revive makeup as a category, even though the upper face care and style along with the trends for wellness have the potential to pull the whole category up quite a bit. Makeup brands will eventually they need to reinvent the category as a whole and build demand for the category by inviting new consumers and bringing back the lost consumers.

Elaborate skincare routines are likely to see a decline of sorts if people go out a lot during the summer. I don't see a drastic decrease in the rate of growth of skincare routines, though. Based on all the interviews we have done so far, the work-from-home situation is not going to change drastically in the next six months. Eventually, since people are getting busier in their lives post-COVID, lengthy skincare routines will take a hit.

Professional brands, salons and spas will see a revival as people cannot wait to go to their stylist and aesthetician, especially since these places are sanitized and are well-controlled environments. Hairstyling and fragrances are other categories that will show an uptick because people will start going out a bit more even if the interactions outside are restricted.

For brands that lost a big chunk of their business due to pandemic, business won't bounce back automatically on its own, as different brands will recover at different speeds, with some permanent damage and redistribution of market share. They need to create either a turnaround or a reinvention strategy, where they rethink their whole business amidst changing consumer preferences.

Anthony Standifer Founder and Chief Brand Architect, mSEED Group

During most of 2020, every manufacturer saw extreme disruptions in the supply chain for obtaining both packaging and raw materials. I still call Q2 and Q3 of 2020 "The Hunger Games of Procurement" as everyone competed to obtain the same under-supplied quantity of bottles and jars in the market. For many of us, we also began competing with the U.S. government as they began procuring packaging for the essential production of hand sanitizers. That instability combined with the surge in consumer demand for indie beauty brands made manufacturing lead times extraordinarily longer than normal. The instability, while not as intense, still exists in some areas of my supply chain even now in Q1 2021 as a contract manufacturer in the beauty space.

My company, mSEED Group, works primarily with startup and growing beauty brands. Inbound inquiries from new leads grew more than 35% in our business in 2020. In the midst of great economic uncertainty, people found the courage to move forward on the product-based business that had been on their minds for some time. That kind of growth will start to materialize by the second half of 2021 as a new, broader wave of entrepreneurs enters the market.

One element I love is that new brand founders are coming from all walks of life: school teachers, corporate executives, social workers, wide-reaching social influencers. In my consulting with new brand founders, I am strongly advising that indie brands think tactically about niche communities they want to serve and what problems they want to solve for those audiences. I have seen that focused approach as the fastest, most efficient way to make traction in the market.

The pandemic has shifted a ton for every single person in the world. There has never been a time like this in our lifetime where no person's behaviors mimic exactly what they were pre-March 2020, when the U.S. started to shelter in place. The behaviors and patterns that we've picked up over the last year will not completely go back “normal.” Entrepreneurs that identify gaps, new pain points and opportunities that are relevant to our right-now experience make their brands super appealing for use. At this point, we've all spent more time inside our homes than ever before. At the very least, anyone who can position products that add newness and freshness to the same walls we've been looking at for a year now gets my attention.

Kelly St. John Founder, KSJ Collective

Based upon everything I have experienced with the brands and retailers that KSJ Collective has worked with throughout the pandemic, I have every confidence that beauty will return to 2019 business levels by this fall. The beauty industry historically is a leader in innovation and the ability to pivot or reinvent. 2020 was no exception. I saw brands and beauty-focused retailers demonstrate more grit and perseverance than ever.  Beauty retailers shifted their focus to categories that the customer was leaning in to. They went after mission-based brands that filled a white space and focused on enhancing their customers’ experience. Brands used the no travel time to increase their digital footprint and drive brand awareness, and also to hunker down in their labs and focus on product innovation.

Prior to the pandemic, beauty was becoming more intertwined with a sense of well-being, and the COVID crisis certainly shined a brighter light on the importance of self-care. Categories such as body care, personal care, bath, haircare, wellness, skincare and beauty tools have experienced significant growth, and I only see that growth scaling as we emerge from the pandemic in the year ahead. I believe we will see a growth in platforms that address wellness via content, community and telehealth. Fragrances has fared surprisingly well during the pandemic, and you have to believe will trend upward as travel reopens and gatherings are commonplace again.

I am confident that the rise of the skincare category will continue. Younger demographics who are interested in multistep routines and taking time to focus on a self-care skincare ritual will help drive this. I believe the ingestible category will also see major growth as customers emerge the pandemic with a redefined focus to inner beauty and wellness. Consumers understand more clearly that their inside must equal the outside.

With regards to category growth in wellness specifically, people have taken a more holistic approach to their overall wellbeing, rather than only being focused on working out. As a result of more time at home, they have learned the importance of approaching wellness in a way that makes them feel happy, healthy and revitalized. As a result, sexual and hormonal wellness is one of the self-care categories that has seen the highest growth this past year. Brands and platforms focused on well-aging will be a big growth opportunity. Considering women represent half of the population, and all women will experience menopause, this underserved group is one for brands to target.

I would caution brands that have not realized that clean is now table stakes. That said, the customer expects results. Contract manufacturers have been pushed to find clean alternatives, and this will continue to evolve.  Brands not pushing themselves to invest in new science and clean formulations are at risk.

Color cosmetics is another category of caution. The pandemic has simply worsened what was an existing downward trend. The pandemic cannot be held to blame for this trend as it has really been the lack of innovation within color cosmetics that has contributed. When you step back and assess, there has been less innovation in the past two or three years than we saw in the decade prior.

The growing focus on diversity has also impacted the color category. Prior to 2020, the beauty counters and aisles were finally beginning to reflect diversity. The offering of unique color ranges has outpaced the growth of the overall product category as a whole. In other words, the sheer number of unique colors of foundation and concealer, etc., has grown at an accelerated rate as compared to the product innovation we saw across the entire color cosmetics category.

Another area of risk is brands that have not been able to overcome supply chain challenges. The world changed quickly, and the way customers shopped shifted rapidly. Brands that did not double down on being digitally native with keen focus on direct-to-consumer were left behind and will be challenged to catch up even as we emerge. To catch up, there is a great need for contract manufacturers to diversify and play a more hands-on role in product innovation.

With regards to brands shifting to take advantage of what is to come, I think one of the headlines would be embracing and leveraging new technology—virtual makeup try-ons, digital beauty concierges and skin analysis built on AI—as well as strategically focusing on the customer demographic who is emerging from the pandemic more focused on beauty shopping. Customers have been confused and overwhelmed with endless options. The shift of technology to help a customer meet their needs increases their loyalty to a brand and the chances that they will replenish. It will be increasingly important for all beauty brands to embrace the use of data collection and analysis. The shift to digital spending will only increase as we emerge.

Ehrin Ziccardi Co-Founder, Undrgrnd Beauty

Digital innovations will reshape this industry as beauty brands continue to race to blur the lines between physical retail and digital, accelerating trends that were emerging even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology will continue in terms of personalization, virtual shopping assistants, livestreamed consultations, and custom color and skincare analytics.

2021 will bring more online beauty consultations with retailers, and AI will become more mainstream. Beauty retailers will need to leverage this technology in order to properly curate consumer product preferences, bringing new and innovative offerings to their attention via customized online engagement. Therefore, technology must be integrated into all facets of a retailer’s strategy, and quality online experiences will matter more than ever.

The question that lies is as e-commerce continues to be the norm and as consumers become more acclimated to making the majority of their beauty purchases online is: Will it will be harder to get customers to return to stores once the pandemic is over, especially since the online shopping experience will be more personalized than ever before?

The concept of trust is central to consumer choice, and brands need to find ways to build that via social media, apps, friends, family and influencers in addition to the online experience itself. Subscription boxes and online brand sampling with purchase will be a focus to allow for additional trial before full-sized product commitment. Prior to COVID-19, consumers would flock to Sephora, Ulta or any beauty department to engage with staff, using testers to experience the product before purchase. That sensorial in-store experience is now gone, and brands and retailers will need to find a safe way to bring that back to beauty.

For those that crave the interaction and product guidance that was synonymous with beauty and skin, we project that the spa industry will see a significant uptick. The physical interaction with the aesthetician will satisfy on an emotional level, while brand owners will be the beneficiary of their products being introduced by a trusted source, in a trusted environment. Further, this creates an opportunity for the smaller, more unique independent brands that have communicated clearly with on-point messaging and a unique ingredient story.

Corey Huggins Founder, Ready to Beauty

There is going to be a drive for fun and happiness. People want to bring joy back, particularly after the divisive politics and the pandemic. Consequently, things that delight, make people smile and elevate the good feelings will reign supreme. Additionally, there is going to be a drive for "normalcy,” however redefined that may be. For instance, events. People will want beauty events again, perhaps new and improved, but they will return as they are a sign of one's previous life. Retail, too, is looking for its new chapter. New formats will bear out and will be tested for implementation. Retail will 100% come back stronger.

From a multicultural perspective, beauty will continue to have its Black moment. It is only to be more prevalent and more differentiated. I truly believe liberal-leaning, conscious-caring brands have learned from this past summer and are now willing to do the hard work to be more inclusive and diverse.  Moreover, Black people in beauty have been unleashed. No one will regulate us to afterthoughts again. We have tapped into a power and are now willingly to wield it.

From an investment perspective, it is only a matter of time until an Estée Lauder or LVMH makes a major acquisition of a rank-and-file Black brand. All the signs are pointing to a purchase as being relatively imminent.

Vannett Li Strategy Director, Bartlett Brands

Our expression of our personal identities has been long been in hibernation—bare-faced/minimal makeup, lounge wear, bundling up for winter temperatures. Isolation from the society has compelled us to think deeply about the person we are and the person we want to be. With the promise of spring in the air and herd immunity from vaccines on the horizon, the person we’ve spent months crafting and refining in our minds can finally be unleashed, resulting in a semi-permanent shift to supercharged, highly curated looks, max beauty and fashion expressions.

This frantic desire is driven by a candle burning at both ends: the long-awaited release from isolation and the subconscious knowledge that we only will be seen by the outside world for a limited amount of time. We are still conscious it’s a pandemic, and we shouldn’t be spending too much time outside of our homes. Trips outside of our home base will most likely be a total of one to two hours during weekdays and two-to-four hour outings during the weekends.

As the world returns back to “normalcy,” this supercharged expression for most will lose steam. The urgency will dissipate, and we will fall back into our comfortable “regular,” "everyday” expression of self pre-pandemic.

Sharon Eucce Founder, Packaging Chic

There is a slight shift away from secondary cartons, especially in DTC channels. The thought here is, "Why add packaging if it's already in the e-commerce shipper with shred or tissue?" There is some truth to that, and it blurs the line between secondary and tertiary packaging a bit. Packaging's original function is to protect the product, but there has been pushback on too much packaging in some cases.

Influencer boxes are still out there, but everyone is specifying no foam for the inserts that hold products. This is especially hard for a box maker because foam can be run in small quantities and does a great job of holding the products in place. Alternatives include a plastic thermoformed tray or paperboard insert. Thermoforming is still large quantity, and paperboard has minimal gripping power.

We're talking a lot about manufacturing close to the client's distribution centers to minimize freight and emissions, etc. Every call starts with talking about sustainability and materials. It’s such a huge topic and, now that brands are starting with this in mind, their paths may be easier. It's the big brands that will drive the innovation that the indie brands will eventually be able to utilize.

Lead times in certain packaging segments have extended quite a bit. So many underlying issues such as imports sitting offshore or in customs. In the U.S., the paperboard packaging industry in some segments got hit hard in 2020. Ransomware and COVID hurt some of the largest corrugated manufacturers. We've got Increased costs across the board of corrugate and cartonboard. Long lead times and increased prices means brands should plan now in budgeting as well as timelines.

Conor Begley Co-Founder and President, Tribe Dynamics

One trend we’ve observed in influencer content during the pandemic is a decrease in glamorous makeup looks. People aren’t going out as much, so cosmetics that used to feature heavily in party-ready looks—like colorful eyeshadows and bold lipsticks—aren’t seeing quite as much interest. Instead, content creators are opting for more understated, natural, everyday looks that aren’t over-the-top for a Zoom call. If the pandemic ebbs and people begin to get together and celebrate again, makeup brands will likely see a boost. Haircare brands, especially brands used by professional hairstylists, are also poised to benefit from the end of the pandemic, as increased traffic in salons opens up more opportunities for content creation.

The stresses of the pandemic have inspired renewed enthusiasm for self-care products. Mentions of #SelfCare in influencer content generated $28.5M EMV from March 2020 to February 2021, an 18% increase from the previous 12-month period. As a result, many brands that support influencers’ self-care rituals, like skincare brands, have significantly expanded their earned media footprints. Because skincare was already a booming category before the pandemic, it’s unlikely that content creators will lose interest in skincare products, but brands may need to work harder to grow at the same rate.

Cosmetics brands have a real opportunity to capitalize on the end of the pandemic. With people gathering again, we’ll see more glamorous get-ready-with-me posts, and elaborate makeup looks from parties and travel experiences. Below-the-mask products like lipsticks are likely to see a resurgence in popularity. Additionally, luxury beauty brands can regain ground. While the economic turbulence of the past year challenged many luxury brands, as the global economy recovers, luxury beauty products will become more accessible and see greater exposure on social media.

Finally, the pandemic-led influencers place an increased emphasis on the importance of caring for one’s overall physical and mental well-being. One of the results of this was that more content creators began turning to clean beauty brands that are transparent about the ingredients in their products and use formulas that are free of unhealthy chemicals. Even after the pandemic subsides, interest in clean beauty brands is likely to remain strong, as influencers and consumers remain sensitive to potential health risks.

As new beauty trends emerge, it’s important that brands actively monitor influencer conversations and strive to accommodate content creators’ evolving goals and priorities. The most successful beauty brands on social media drive continued exposure by fostering long-term relationships with content creators and consistently working to empower their fans even as their needs change. One step beauty brands can take to grow in alignment with their influencer advocates—and inspire ongoing conversation—is to incorporate content creators’ feedback into their product development process. By taking influencers’ preferences into account when launching new products, brands can ensure that content creators will be genuinely excited about their offerings.

Pamela Mattielli Executive Assistant, Bentley Labs

Our sense is that skincare is continuing to trend upward. Consumers have learned through the pandemic that, when they take care of their skin, they can look great with less makeup. Also, minimalistic skincare routines are more desirable. Layering multiple products will be less important, while having a few but effective products that achieve skin wellness is trending up.

As the pandemic ebbs, this will still be true about skincare, but makeup will eventually start to trend upward again. The no makeup-makeup trend will continue to gain strength as this pandemic showed us less is more. Because we will continue wearing masks, the focus may be more on eyes as they won’t be hidden. At-home haircare that rose in COVID will see some decline as a segment of their customers will go back to salons as they reopen, but they definitely will keep some share that they gained. Hand sanitizers will decline to a new higher-than-before plateau, and prices will drop.

Lindsey Smolan President, VLIV Communications

I'm certainly seeing a strong shift toward more beauty brands being more transparent with the data, efficacy and science behind their products. As science pervaded the public consciousness last year, with many of us seeking to understand how the virus was spreading and how vaccines work, this renewed confidence in clinically proven products has seeped into other areas of our lives, including beauty. Brands who focus on the data and science behind their products such as our client Codex Beauty Labs will gain trust from skeptical consumers.

On the flip side, consumers and media are starting to shy away from vague language that isn't regulated such as "green" or "natural." Brands who make these claims will really need to have the facts and data to back up why they are saying this, and need to be prepared to be incredibly transparent about every step in their supply chain, ingredient sourcing and production process.

When spas and salons shut down, many consumers and media were gravitating to at-home products that could provide similar results to in-salon services and treatments at home such as highly conditioning hair masks, facial peels and nail care systems. While things are slowly reopening, some consumers may still be cautious about getting in-salon services done, and I'm seeing these types of products still gaining traction through this year.

Overall, there's such a sense of optimism for the remainder of 2021 that brands should certainly take advantage of. We're no longer in the doom and gloom of the early days of the pandemic, but are cautiously hopeful that things are slowly returning to normal. Brands should key into this optimism with their messaging and media outreach, while still being mindful of the current situation.

Jordy Pickel Director of Marketing, Accupac

In 2020, skincare was the category that grew the most for us. A few of our customers made it into the social zeitgeist and, with our lockdown pamper mood, demand for skincare has been high. When the pandemic ebbs, we expect skincare to continue its growth with us. Overall, we expect to see skincare, prestige care products like toners and whitening oral care products increase. On the reverse side, we are expecting our sanitizers to decrease, although it’s unclear exactly how much and how fast.

For beauty companies to take advantage of what’s to come, I think it’s imperative that they build a business supported by DTC sales and nimble workflows designed for a high amount of low volume sales. Retail space will still be important, but the brands that have the manufacturing workflow and marketing efforts that were able to take advantage of direct online sales will be able to grow faster during the uncertainty with retail shopping over the next year. Even after the pandemic is completely gone, that workflow works better for the internet age anyway. A lot of consumers will choose to keep making their purchases online for beauty care supplies.

Rachel Martin Founder, Remcal Insights

First off, consumers are expecting the pandemic to continue and have found a balance in all of it. When I first started interviewing people back in March/April, it was very much a doom-and-gloom-type story. Now, consumers have started to appreciate the fact that they've been forced to slow down, spend more time with family and just take better care of themselves. Part of this self-care comes down to skincare and makeup.

All consumers that I have interviewed have started focusing on their skincare and trying new products that they wouldn't ordinarily try because if their skin reacts negatively. Who cares? Who's going to see me? This has people trying the more science-backed products, but always making sure to balance it with the spa-like, whole-food, nourishing products. Because consumers have taken a more intense look into their skincare routine, they have changed their relationship with makeup.

Clean is no longer just natural/organic. Clean equals simpler ingredient decks. Consumers don't even know what natural means anymore because they know a lot of brands say they're natural when they're not. All consumers look for paraben- and sulfate-free products, but there's a sentiment that it's a given that products won't have parabens and sulfates in them. The new clean, which consumers prioritize, is shorter ingredient decks. Consumers aren't sure whether they're necessarily organic/natural, but, as long as they're simpler, that's what matters.

I think there was a trend for a while that clean and natural was the priority, but consumers have been burned by these products and, obviously, efficacy trumps all else. They've learned to find this balance between clean and efficacy.

A lot of consumers are still figuring out what their relationship with makeup will be post-COVID. What will they be buying more of or less of due to their new COVID skincare behaviors? Consumers are taking advantage of all of the deals that brands are giving them, but sampling remains difficult. Consumers have become accustomed to shopping online, but it's less than ideal. They only purchase through brands and sites that have good return policies, which is why many consumers still focus on Sephora for their shopping needs.

Jonina Skaggs Founder and Creative Director, Skaggs Creative

Wellness will continue to be a trend, and the intersection of beauty and wellness will benefit. Consumers will want to find a way to maintain wellness habits they cultivated during this time while their lives return to some semblance of normalcy. Skincare will continue to be a focus, especially in ways that add to skin health. [There will be a reversal in the sales of] DIY hair color kits, and possibly mani and pedi kits. Makeup will make a comeback as people start to venture out again. I think anything that brands can help to facilitate sanitary sampling to assist consumers in selecting products to try and purchase.

Alicia Carpenter Marketing Director, Colour Collective

Even though some states are starting to lift restrictions, I do think it will be a gradual transition back to not worrying if you have a mask handy or where the closest hand sanitizer is. I see skincare as an area for growth. “Self-care,” “blue light” and “maskne” were buzzwords for 2020, a year to find yourself and try new beauty routines. People had more time to pamper themselves with jade rollers and face masks. Blue light has also been a trending word as we have spent more time on our computers with virtual meetings and happy hours. After sitting in the meeting for a while, the computer starts to look like a mirror, and you start noticing wrinkles and age spots. Is that a pimple? Why do I look so tired? It’s scary!

Makeup, especially lipstick, is going to be slow to bounce back with the lower halves our face being covered. Because of this, I think people have started to reach for lip stains and tinted balms. With the initial high demand for hand sanitizers, packaging components and some ingredients are still trying to meet orders and get back on track. I am curious to see how this will affect the beauty industry for the next year. Will brands pivot and utilize packaging that is available now with some modifications or commit to higher MOQs than previously so they have what they need?

Coni Lefferts President, Creative Packaging Solutions

There might be an opportunity for a beauty industry pioneer to create a face mask which will protect yet also heal the facial acne we hear about. Even though Texas has given the green light against continuing with wearing masks, I believe this is short-lived and will come back to haunt them with increased infection rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also recommending the long-term use of masks. Further, medical grade N95 are more abusive to the skin and will continue to be worn by medical staff long after the crisis is on the wane.

Jazmin Alvarez Founder and CEO, Pretty Well Beauty

I think there will be an increase in new modern QVC-style shopping through platforms like Supergreat and Newness, which just launched. Gone are the days that people will rely so heavily on the opinions and suggestions of influencers and sales associates to make their buying decisions. I think there is a huge uptick in seeking product recommendations from peers and everyday people on these new platforms giving their true, unbiased thoughts and experiences using beauty products and tools.

Krupa Koestline Founder, KKT Consultants

I think we will see a rise in makeup products. Foundations, lip and cheek colors in particular will make a comeback as people start going to work again and leave the house without a mask on. I think sun care will also spike as people start to go out more.

We may see a decline in indulgent product categories like masks, hair and skin treatments, etc. Also, as people start going back to salons, there might be a decline in at-home nail grooming products, too.

The last year has shown us all how things can be completely unpredictable. The companies that continue to outshine such circumstances are the ones that are agile. Don’t be stuck in your ways, learn to adapt and change quickly.

Melody Bockelman Owner, Private Label Insider

One of the biggest changes that I see affecting the beauty industry will be brand owners developing strong sampling programs to help support retailers and entice new customers to try new products. Since COVID will continue to the impact in-store retail sale experience, samples will almost certainly become a necessity for new consumer brand discoveries. The best thing about sampling is that it's very much a strategy that all size brands can implement. Whether they invest in traditional foil satchels or hand making smaller 2- to 5-ml. samples, it's a strategy that all brands need to implement now and going forward post-COVID.

The pandemic has inspired a new wave of beauty entrepreneurs to enter the beauty industry, and this has introduced innovation, but also increased the already strained manufacturing sector. I anticipate manufacturers that are currently overwhelmed will expand to accommodate the demand, but that will take some time. This will force brand owners to consider moving manufacturing back in-house or diversifying production amongst several labs.

Mia Bell Founder, Inspired Beauty Wholesale

With the retail shakeup of last year, much of the retail distribution support network and players were disrupted as well. Many founders are asking where they can find sales reps. Where can they find brokers? Seasoned sales assistants? Brands who are looking to break into retail are seeing a significant thinning out of this kind of hands-on sales support. As retail steadily works to recover and the support network reemerges, we'll be seeing more brand founders taking over the active role of pitching their products to retail, growing their wholesale sales, and leveraging multiple online wholesale platforms.

Patricia Valera Founder, Beautybrandr

Since the work from home in comfort trend will likely continue, which has accelerated the adjacent trend that “best face forward” no longer means full makeup, I think that color cosmetics will continue to decline overall, but we may see some movement with non-transferable lipsticks and eye makeup. Skincare will continue to rule and new COVID-reaction categories expand, e.g., maskne prevention and moisturizing antibacterial hand cream. The biggest opportunity for innovation and growth I see is in anhydrous products across the skincare, haircare and body care categories.

Erica Choi Co-Founder, Lumn Inc. and Superegg

I feel that there will be more community-driven events and opportunities. There will be a chance for us to come out and really offer those events to people. At the same time, we will still keep the virtual aspect. It does work. Everyone is working from home now, and there are so many companies that will continue with that. There are major companies that don’t have physical offices anymore. Personally, I love it because it’s convenient.

The in-person events that we will have will be much more special and precious. At the same time, there will be virtual events because of the flexibility of not having to be in a certain city like New York or LA to attend the events. There will continue to be more opportunities for people to collaborate and communicate.

Cayli Cavaco Reck Founder, Knockout Beauty

This time last year, we saw a rise in at-home treatments with clients realizing it might be a minute before they see their favorite facialists or doctors. This feels like a trend that is here to stay as well as an attention to brands that represent inclusivity and diversity.

Given the stress of last year and many of the metabolic changes that people have experienced, we have seen an increase in interest in the hair category, including growth, shedding and resilience. The best thing no matter the climate is to meet clients where they are and support them in reaching their goals.

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