We Had A Hunch: The Stories We Wrote Before They Were Big Stories

If a trend is over once it hits The New York Times, it’s just beginning when it lands on Beauty Independent’s web pages. Case in point: We dug deep into butt beauty in July last year, and the Old Gray Lady decided to glance at the derriere 14 months later. We have a periscope that we pick up to spot the beauty movements of tomorrow in the form of the beauty entrepreneurs we talk to day in and day out who are experimenting with the next big things that will shape the beauty industry.

The arrival of our two-year anniversary has caused us to reflect on the stories that put us on the map. As part of that reflection, we’ve looked back on several of the trends we explored early on. These trends remain highly relevant, and the articles mentioned below demonstrate the power of indie beauty to sway the discourse in the consumer packaged goods segment. The credit for changing the discourse goes to pioneering brands like Bawdy Beauty, maker of the original butt mask, Sana Jardin, a perfume startup pushing the boundaries of sustainability in the supply chain, period care trailblazer The Honey Pot Co., and Verdant, a CBD brand sticking to stringent formulation standards. They and others we follow avidly will foment the beauty industry transformations we’ll be investigating in the years to come.

Here are eight key trends we’ve delved into since our 2017 debut, but there are scores more we’ve detailed into that are percolating through the beauty landscape.

Gender Neutrality Gains Traction: Beauty brands’ increasing gender neutrality has been newsworthy for some time. As far back as CK One in the 1990s, fragrance has been a category leading the gender-fluid charge. We tackled how independent brands handle gender neutrality in one of the first stories we published at Beauty Independent. 

The Rump Roars: We’ve already touched upon our fascination with the backside. In May last year, the editorial team at Beauty Independent joked, “The butt is the final frontier of beauty.” We’re no longer cracking jokes as the butt has become a body part that’s seriously considered by beauty brands. Colorful butt cheek sheet masks, tony bidets and premium personal wipes have rushed inot the market. We chatted with backside beauty first movers for our story that got to the bottom of the rising trend.

Bawdy Beauty’s cheeky butt masks are sold at Sephora, Ulta Beauty and Credo.

Products For People With Disabilities: Almost a year ago, Beauty Independent covered a handful of founders creating products to address the beauty needs of people with disabilities. The founders of the brands behind the products, including Francesco Clark of Clark’s Botanicals and Veronica Lorenz of The Vamp Stamp, often are dealing with disabilities that rendered the products that preceded theirs difficult to use. Accessible products have continued to make inroads with brands such as Grace Beauty introducing color cosmetics that are easy to use with unsteady hands.

Paring Back Beauty Routines: For several years, drool-worthy #shelfie posts blanketed beauty lovers’ Instagram feeds. The excess was bound to spark a backlash from consumers that had spent enough on serums and sunscreens. Movements like #skipcare and #nobuy have been on the upswing as people reevaluate what should truly be in their beauty arsenals. 

The Influencer Makeover: Beauty Independent has spotlighted indie-friendly influencers from the moment we went live. Our social media and influencer coverage has also touched upon trends within the beauty content creation ecosystem we think are significant. When YouTube sensation Samantha Ravndahl, better known as Ssssamantha, announced she would no longer accept freebies from brands, it sent ripples through the beauty community. We knew the anti-swag sentiment would intrigue brands and consumers, and wrote about the influencer recoiling from ubiquitous unboxing. 

influencer unboxing
Influencer press relations package unboxings became a constant feature of social media posts as Instagram Stories grew popular, but they’ve been criticized for a lack of results for brands and propagating poor environmental practices.

Female Sexual Wellness: If there’s any category that rivals cannabis beauty for the number of startups and product launches, it’s female sexual wellness. In the past two years, we’ve chronicled clean and stylish period care products, sex toys, lubes and more. Among the numerous exciting brands we highlighted in the space are The Honey Pot Co., which appeared in Beauty Independent on the day the publication launched, Rael, Saalt, Quim, Dame and The Flex Company.

Weedwashing: Since cannabis beauty and wellness set the industry ablaze, Beauty Independent has feverishly reported on the buzzy segment, from the latest product unveils to the ongoing legal woes. We coined the term “weedwashing” to describe brands glomming onto the CBD craze without actually having CBD in their products, and the term now boasts over 17,000 search results on Google. 

Brand Incubation And Acquisition: The agents of disruption in the beauty and wellness space are varied. They include a growing group of incubators developing brands and new strategic acquirers pursuing specific niches in the industry and slices of the consumer base. Brand incubator examples we’ve documented on in our pages include Basis, Brandable, Small World Brands and Volta Digital Brands. The new class of acquirers includes Codex Beauty, Rare Beauty Brands and New World Natural Brands.