WGSN | Big Ideas 2023: Beauty
Beauty routines and products will be reshaped by a sharper focus on health, science, sustainability and social justice in the post-pandemic era. Here are the five need-to-know directions that will impact the industry in 2023
Clare Varga & Emma Grace Bailey
01.15.21 · 8 minutes
Farmacy Beauty
Executive summary and methodology

Against a challenging economic, social and environmental backdrop, we present five areas that will impact product development for beauty businesses by 2023. The following pages explain these areas, explore the opportunities they present, identify early adopter companies, and outline what you should do to succeed. The areas are:

  • Push for Progress: the urgent need for inclusive and regenerative change will drive demand for proactive products and business practices that actively improve the world
  • Embracing Frugality: long-lasting, reusable and circular products will gain importance as consumers look to save costs and reduce waste
  • Mastering Wellbeing: with wellness now core to consumer priorities, brands should explore hi-tech and lo-fi solutions that respond to mood and improve wellbeing
  • Tech-ceptance: digitised design will go mainstream, opening up new retail channels and boosting the importance of customisation and flexible design
  • Intentional Community: emerging social and values-led networks will become more influential on consumer purchasing decisions, and brands will need to implement new strategies to reach these communities

Each January WGSN produces the Big Ideas series of reports (one for each of our platforms – Fashion, Lifestyle & Interiors, Beauty, and Food & Drink), which highlight the industry-specific trends you need to know now, so you can start developing products and services that will resonate with consumers in two years’ time.

The five trends in our Big Ideas reports evolve from the broader themes explored in our two annual flagship forecasts – Future Innovations, which showcases the creative and cultural directions that will shape the next two years, and Future Drivers, which chronicles the social, economic and political factors that will affect businesses in 2023. Big Ideas takes shape alongside our Future Consumer forecast, which is published in January and outlines the key consumer profiles you will need to engage with over the coming years.

These reports are produced by WGSN’s global team of experts and analysts, ensuring they have broad relevance across all regional markets. Our trends are validated by data, industry examples and our unique STEPIC methodology (encompassing developments in society, technology, environment, politics, industry and creativity) so you can apply them with confidence to your product development.


The five need-to-know Big Ideas for 2023

The Halo Collective

Push for Progress


The urgent need for ethical, inclusive and sustainable change will drive consumers to seek proactive products and business practices that actively improve the world. Transparency will be non-negotiable.

Live Tinted

Embracing Frugality


Beauty consumers will prioritise efficacy and efficiency as they look to make smart purchases that don’t harm the planet. The skinimalism  trend, which champions simplified skincare routines, will unite frugality and sustainability in hybrid products.


Mastering Wellbeing


Beauty and health will be one and the same, with products and treatments formulated to support physical and mental wellbeing. Cellular beauty will combine science and therapy.

Opulus Beauty Labs



Beauty consumers’ newfound tech-ceptance will create ‘beauty moonshots’ in product design. Advances will focus on new bio-engineered ingredients and enhanced potency and delivery methods.

54 Thrones

Intentional Community

Beauty communities and customer collaboration will increasingly shape product development. Consumers will migrate to brands with shared values, which treat networks and co-creators equitably.

Push for Progress

In 2023 products will need to be fit to function in a trading environment where collective activism has increased and industry practices are being continually challenged on environmental and social grounds. 

Regulators, investors and consumers will coalesce to demand services, systems and products that accelerate regenerative change and deliver inclusive and equitable outcomes at a local and global level. Proactively designed products that do more good will stand out to consumers as markets become inundated with products designed to do less harm.

Beauty implications
As we put the turmoil of the pandemic behind us and economies return to growth, it’s important that the lessons of 2020 are acted upon. Brands and retailers must seize the opportunity to reset or be held accountable as the beauty industry recreates itself as more ethical, inclusive and sustainable. In 2023, a brand that doesn’t participate positively won’t participate at all, as beauty consumers look to invest in products that support their needs and the needs of others. Standing for something other than the bottom line will propel brands to the forefront of much-needed radical change, and complete transparency will be non-negotiable. Products must help heal the world, and be created by processes that boost biodiversity and leave no footprint behind. Now is the time for progressive transformation.

Future Drivers: Community 3.0, Radical Reform, Environment: From Urgency to Emergency

Future Innovations: Design Is a Social Practice, Collective & Regenerative, Science Will Save Us, SuperNature

Tatabi Studio

Tatabi Studio’s IKI design concept reimagines the classic toothpaste tube as a refillable shape, demonstrating a need to disrupt and subvert longstanding product expectations


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Embracing Frugality

Income insecurity and recession will have been experienced by many by the time we reach 2023, leading consumers to reassess their priorities and needs. 

Frugality will be embraced as a life skill – one that can be mastered, shared and celebrated as a new form of smart consumption. To appeal to this mindset, it will be imperative to develop products that can be made and used efficiently, and that enable self-sufficiency, aligning with your core consumers’ values and interests. The motivation to be more frugal and less wasteful will not only emerge from financial constraint, but also from a newfound interest in DIY, and as a way to better sync with the seasons, the environment, or with a community or locality.

Beauty implications
As beauty consumers continue to reassess their priorities and needs, brands and retailers must empower these newly confident and self-sufficient shoppers to make smart decisions for their pockets and the planet. In 2023, value will increasingly be equated with efficacy and efficiency. Buying well and making judicious and thrifty choices will be celebrated and respected. Products with proven results will be the new measure of value for money, irrespective of price tag, while products that enable sustainable consumption will be in high demand. Brands must ensure consumers can enjoy guilt-free use of their favourites. Items must come without the fear of creating more waste, and celebrate the satisfaction of frugal choices.

Future Drivers: The Recession Generation, Environment: From Urgency to Emergency, Community 3.0

Future Innovations: The Lifecycle Lifestyle, Collective & Regenerative, Design Is a Social Practice

Frances Prescott

Frances Prescott’s collection of three luxury multitaskers includes the facial Tri-Balm which cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturises in one step


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