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The Future of Makeup: A Complete Guide for Buyers


The lipstick effect, or consumers’ propensity to indulge in reasonably priced luxuries, will protect the cosmetics industry from the economic downturn. The post-pandemic era will see a rise in creative self-expression, space-inspired aesthetics, and hybrid products with active ingredients. Discover the top trends and learn how brands respond to these shifts and rise to the occasion.

Table of Contents
The lucrative make-up industry
The changing beauty narratives: future trends
Key trends in a nutshell

The lucrative make-up industry

An assortment of different beauty products

Despite the economic downturn and environmental crisis, the demand for cosmetics will rise as many shoppers see make-up as an emotional outlet. The NPD Group reports a 22% increase in make-up sales in the first quarter of 2022, which is twice the rate of fragrance and skincare. 

Consumers prioritize skin-first formulations, forcing brands to develop clean and nourishing cosmetics. However, many shoppers will be budget-conscious; thus, minis and an affordable range are required. 

Existing beauty standards will be challenged, and there will be an increase in artistic expression, creativity, and unconventional and avant-garde aesthetics. Furthermore, growing environmental consciousness will increase the demand for sustainable packaging.

Scroll down through this buyer’s guide for more information on the latest trends shaping the make-up industry in 2024.

Skin-focused cosmetics: hybrid formulations

A woman wearing blue and purple eye makeup

In 2024, consumers will prioritize their budget and health and adopt a prevention-over-cure approach. Therefore, hybrid products with active ingredients that nourish and improve skin health will appeal to many.

According to global Google trends, the search interest for tinted serum foundations has increased by 130% in the last year. This indicates that many consumers are concerned about skin health and the ingredients in cosmetics and thus will give first preference to skincare-infused makeup. Such hybrid products will also be in demand because they provide double the benefits and allow consumers to simplify their routines.

Brands should invest in cosmetics containing active ingredients like vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which are known to hydrate, brighten, and even improve skin tone. Some brands are doing so by selling eyebrow products and mascaras that contain ingredients that promote growth. Furthermore, because many customers value accreditations, look for brands that can back up their claims with certifications.

Embracing creativity: artist collaborations

A woman wearing blue color makeup

The younger generations will appreciate exclusive beauty collaborations with artists, especially Gen Z. These partnerships will entice thrifty consumers to explore a reasonably priced line of cosmetics. The products must have intriguing and upbeat designs that bring joy to daily experiences, even during dark times.

Offering unique designs and limited edition collections that can double as collectors’ items is the best way to attract customers. Avoid cheesy and predictable designs in favor of brands collaborating with local artists to showcase new talent. Additionally, partnerships that benefit a cause will also appeal to Gen Z.

Finally, consider brands that reimagine packaging by providing high-quality materials and refills to reduce waste.

Creative self-expression: freestyle makeup

A woman wearing gold makeup

Many customers will embrace authentic, out-of-the-box beauty that challenges conventional beauty standards. They will gravitate toward brands that promote self-expression and unapologetic beauty.

It is time to abandon the ‘clean girl’ idea and encourage individuality, spontaneity, and bold, bright appearances that appeal to all consumers. Brands can cement this notion by recognizing that makeup is for everyone, being gender-inclusive, and offering a diverse range of options.

Explore products with flexible formulations that allow for creative and freestyle applications, such as paints, glitters, and liners that are not just for the eyes. Unexpected bolds and hyper-bright pigments with textural finishes ranging from glossy to matte are excellent choices for daring consumers.

It is worth looking into brands that offer customized palettes to allow for more creative freedom while also focusing on clean pigments. Offering collections for people of all ages, gender identities, and ethnicities is a beautiful way to promote diversity.

Minis for testing

An assortment of beauty products

With rising inflation, consumers will be more cost-conscious, making miniature versions of large-size products more appealing. Minis allow discerning customers to test new products before making a large purchase. To broaden the appeal of minis, consider minis that are travel-friendly, as these will also appeal to consumers looking to minimize clutter and wastage.

Sample kits are good options because they allow customers to test these products in the privacy of their own homes. And, because sustainability is important, ensure the minis do not come in single-use plastic bottles. On the contrary, samples made from recycled materials will be a good choice.

Additionally, curate mini collections of high-end products to enable customers to try different items at reasonable prices.

Makeup for the rebels

An eyeshadow palette; a woman wearing makeup

The resurgence of goth and grunge culture will appeal to customers who prefer alternative beauty narratives due to the general anxiety over current events. This is evidenced by the rise in Google search interest for grunge makeup tutorials over the past year. 

Furthermore, the hashtag #AlternativeMakeUp has over 62 million TikTok views, indicating global interest. This trend defies conventional beauty standards by emphasizing flaws, encouraging creative expression, and acknowledging negative emotions.

Many shoppers will be drawn to products that combine goth, grunge, and emo culture with modern aesthetics. The best way to embrace this trend is to draw on dark palettes highlighting botanical shades while welcoming shimmery and metallic undertones. 

Additionally, curate deluxe kits focused on eye products such as eyeliners, smudge brushes, and eyeshadows made of clean and bold pigments. Brands can pay homage to the 90s grunge culture by offering matte lipliners and lipsticks in dark shades like black, brown, and burgundy. 

Interstellar beauty

A woman with face paint

The metaverse-inspired beauty and the introduction of commercial space travel will pique people’s interest in interstellar fashion. The hashtag #SpaceMakeUp has gained traction on Tiktok, with over 9.4 million views. As a result, more brands will cater to this interest by offering cosmetics that resemble concepts of space, retrofuturism, and metaverse hyperreality.

Brands can champion the intergalactic theme by presenting star gazing tones, mars-inspired metallic hues for eyes and lips, highly saturated liquid eye paints and eyeshadows, and lipsticks in textural finishes such as matte and gloss.

Draw on luminescent and reflective paints, liners, and colors for color-changing immersive looks. A UK brand, for example, sells eye pigments that change color when exposed to flash. Leverage brands that use utopian designs, eclectic shapes, and metallic materials to incorporate the inner terrestrial theme into their packaging.

Rosy cheeks

Blush cheeks will continue to flourish with skin-friendly and innovative formats. Imaginative and avant-garde ways to wear blush will emerge, a trend that will appeal to the bold and daring.

The popularity of blush will continue to rise, as evidenced by TikTok’s #BlushHack, which has over 275.1 million views, and #SunburnBlush, in which users apply color to their nose and cheeks to create a fake sunburn, which has over 1.4 million views.

Brands can help to accelerate this trend by providing fun, easy-to-apply stick formats with nourishing ingredients. Rare Beauty, for example, offers a liquid blush infused with gardenia, lotus, and lily flowers to soothe and hydrate the skin. 

Harness surprising hues such as near neons and pleasing oranges to push traditional blush colors into the digital space. It is also worth trying out new textures, such as liquid, powder to cream, and transparent blush, that blend well with the skin’s natural color.

Glossy lips with a high sheen

An assortment of lipsticks in different colors

The return of the nightlife will center on glossy and plump lips, this time with innovative formulations. TikTok’s #GlossyLips has over 314 million views, indicating a rise in interest in shiny and juicy lip kits. As mask mandates are relaxed globally, consumers will turn to noughties aesthetics with increasing demand for affordable, pain-free lip fillers

Leverage brands that offer smudge-free and non-sticky solutions in glossy finishes. Korean brands have invested in high-tech formulas designed to last 24 hours. Furthermore, capitalize on the ‘notox’ trend with instant lip-pluming glosses that add volume quickly. 

Invest in brands that provide hydrating products with skincare ingredients such as shea butter and coconut oil. It is also worth considering offering lip-liner and stick duos for complete 90s looks.

– As more people become aware of skin science, they will move towards clean and active ingredients. Invest in products with advanced and high-performing formulas backed by scientific research.

– Unexpected trends that challenge conventional beauty narratives will gain momentum, so leverage brands that facilitate creative expression. 

– As the value of conscious beauty grows, brands must consider their packaging and invest in sustainable technology.

– Sample kits, hybrid products, and diverse collections are necessary because accessibility and affordability are non-negotiable.

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