Top Cosmetic Trends of 2022

Belinda Carli, 13/04/2022

Wondering what the top cosmetic trends of 2022 are? Read on to find out the ESSENTIAL trends a cosmetic brand needs to achieve as 2022 ticks along...


#1 Top Cosmetic Trend of 2022: Sustainability

Consumers are more eco-conscious than ever, so having a sustainability message with your cosmetic products is essential. Fortunately, there are several of ways of achieving this (see more detail in our Top 5 Sustainable Cosmetic Formulation Trends blog):

  • Waterless cosmetic formulations:
    • waterless cosmetic bars can have some formulation challenges, not the least of which is getting the bar or stick just the right hardness, and ensuring the right sensory when the waterless product is wetted for use.
    • learn from our formulate waterless cosmetic bars workshop series.
    • if your cosmetic brand can master these techniques, consumers are willing to give these types of cosmetic products a go. You’ll also save on shipping the ‘water’ part of a ‘regular’ cosmetic formulation; just make sure your waterless cosmetic product is packaged in a sustainable way.
  • Upcycled cosmetic ingredients:
    • upcycled exfoliant ingredients have been trending for a short time now, and we’re also starting to see other ‘upcycled’ actives and materials being introduced.
    • check out some great upcycled exfoliant options with this video.
    • investigate innovative upcycled options for your cosmetic exfoliating ingredients or even active cosmetic ingredient choices in future cosmetic developments
  • Reduced carbon footprint cosmetic ingredients:
    • we’re now seeing cosmetic esters produced through enzymatic processes, saving on heat intensive processing
    • we’re also seeing cosmetic herbal extracts derived from fermentation and wild plant bio-factories – both highly sustainable processes that yield some innovative cosmetic active components that differ from standard herbal extraction processes
  • Minimise packaging/use innovative packaging choices:
    • it goes without saying cosmetic brands should minimise packaging used wherever possible, but they should also check carefully all cosmetic packaging components to make sure they are at least recyclable.
    • innovative packaging solutions include the use of sugar cane bioplastics and upcycling old fishing nets (and other marine debris). Watch our video on innovative packaging solutions here.
    • avoid glass – while it is recyclable, it is heat intensive to produce, heavy to ship (using extra fuel) and requires a lot of extra packaging to protect from breakages
  • skinimalism – minimalist beauty:
    • consumers are looking to simplify their beauty routines in favour of less different types of products that each do more.
    • for cosmetic chemists, it means selecting multi-functional ingredients that have more than one function in a formula, to reduce the overall variation of cosmetic ingredients. The formula should not compromise on performance, but should use a greatly reduced number of different ingredients to save on shipping and waste.


#2 Top Cosmetic Trend of 2022: Vegan friendly cosmetic formulas

Turning a cosmetic formula vegan is quite easy. There are only a few non-vegan friendly cosmetic ingredients used in cosmetic formulas, and in many cases, alternative cosmetic ingredients can be selected relatively easily. To be vegan with a cosmetic formula, make sure you avoid:

  • beeswax and honey products
  • lanolin
  • carmine
  • use only plant sourced collagen and hydrolysed proteins – check the sources carefully to make sure they are plant sourced only rather than animal sources

Watch our video on how to formulate vegan, halal and palm free here.


#3 Top Cosmetic Trend of 2022: Formulate for sensitive skin

It is estimated that around 50% of consumers consider themselves to have sensitive skin. In fact, some ethnic skin types are more prone to sensitive skin than others, watch our video on the needs of different ethnic skin types here. In any case, having ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ claims on your cosmetic product, and making sure the cosmetic formula has been created to suit sensitive skin, will increase appeal to most consumers.

To formulate cosmetics for sensitive skin:

  • avoid acids and highly active cosmetic ingredients
  • any active ingredients you want to include in your cosmetic formula should be checked carefully to ensure they do not increase irritation or sensitivities of any sort
  • include active ingredients that are known to reduce redness and irritation

Remember to test your cosmetic products on users with known sensitive skin before you put the product on to the market. Its one thing to formulate cosmetic products for sensitive skin in theory, but sometimes even the best theory does not translate to the desired results when tested on certain users.

Remember too, cosmetic irritants are different to cosmetic allergens and comedogens. Watch our video which explains the difference here.


#4 Top Cosmetic Trend of 2022: Combine science and nature in your cosmetic formulations

Consumers are drawn to natural cosmetic ingredients – whether it is true or not, they perceive them to be safer and better for them. That’s not to say they won’t use a product containing partially natural or even synthetic cosmetic ingredients – but they will be attracted to cosmetic products which contain a natural marketing message.

While the performance of a cosmetic product will lead to repeat sales and referrals, it doesn’t mean this performance must come from the natural ingredients. Cosmetic brands that combine the best of science and nature in their cosmetic formulas will find strong consumer interest.

To combine science and nature in your cosmetic formulas:

  • use natural plant extracts with clinically proven results in your cosmetic formulas where possible
  • use active ingredients (regardless of source) to get great results from the cosmetic formula and include some natural cosmetic ingredients, such as herbal extracts or exotic plant oils, as well
  • highlight the benefits of the natural cosmetic ingredients used in your cosmetic formula in your marketing

Make sure any performance related claims are linked to the correct cosmetic ingredients for the evidence you hold, but make a point of including natural herbal extracts or plant oils, and pointing out their benefits in the cosmetic formula as well. Learn how to ensure your cosmetic labels, claims and evidence comply here.


#5 Top Cosmetic Trend of 2022: Engage with your consumer – on-line presence

If your cosmetic brand does not have an online presence, it may as well not exist. In this ever-increasing digital society, cosmetic brands must connect with their consumer to enrich their product experience.

If you are able to have some sort of interactive or app-based experience, this is ideal; but for many small or indie cosmetic brands this may not be possible. If you can’t provide an interactive experience, at least engage with your consumer with replicas of what using your cosmetic products may be like. Engagement such as before and afters with various skin types, your customers posting results and use from the product, and customer testimonials all count as digital presence, as well as proof of product.

Make sure you also engage with your consumer online – not just sell. Consumers are interested in cosmetic brands that inform and entertain them, not just constantly sell, sell, sell!

And of course, make your cosmetic products easy to purchase on-line – because so many purchases are now conducted online.


The top cosmetic trends take home message…

2022 is shaping up to be a year where we can shake off some of the world’s recent history and focus on fantastic personal care to solve consumer’s needs, whilst at the same time making sure we have a world to pass on to the next generation.

Make sure your cosmetic brand incorporates all of the above strategies to really grow throughout 2022 and give consumers the types of products they are looking for.

Happy formulating!





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