Beauty trends, cosmetics, and ingredients are constantly evolving. Despite steady increase in consumer interest in the megatrends “natural” and “sustainable”, the impact of the pandemic over the past two years has only accelerated consumer demand. Yet, in 2022, the reactiveness of companies to newly emerging trends will be equalled by the need to collaborate as the regulatory landscape changes.

organic trends
©NuernbergMesse / Erich Malter

Sustainable Innovation

Outside the health-focused themes raised due to the pandemic, where we saw a surge in demand for natural personal hygiene products such as soaps and hydroalcoholic gels, there remains an underlying need for decisive action when it comes to the escalating climate emergency and its long-term impact, which has only crystallized in consumers’ consciousness through their increased demand for ethical and environmentally friendly products. In 2022, a further wave of sustainability-focused innovation across the supplier chain is expected to take root. This can mean everything from more waterless products, to greener methods for raw material extraction and production, to eco-designed products, to reducing waste via upcycling, to greater use of ingredients with positive social and reduced environmental impact, to reduction or removal of packaging and investment in reuse and refill schemes.

Consumer Focus

Consumers have reacted accordingly, and we’ve witnessed a boom for such products as solid and powder cosmetics – especially deodorants and soaps – with some stores’ sales reported to have reached a growth of 422%. The established consumer trends to choose natural and avoid plastic where possible has been met with a new emphasis on multifunctional products – like a combined shampoo and soap. In addition, as the understanding of pre-, pro- and post-biotic ingredients increases, we can expect the steady rise in ingredients and products claiming to benefit the skin’s microbiome (the various microorganisms that live on our skin) to continue.

Outside the scope of cosmetic ingredients and packaging, we’ve seen a rise in the inclusivity influencing the industry and its outlook. Consequently, manufacturers are taking notice and adjusting their product ranges accordingly; for instance, by creating gender-neutral products for various skin types and ages.

Expanding digitalisation

Given nearly all consumers were affected by lockdowns, 2020-2021 saw a notable acceleration in the growth of sales from e-commerce; both due to necessity and convenience. 2022 will only continue this trend, and besides purchases, ever more digitalisation will impact complementary habits as consumers also look to obtain product information, use more apps or seek tips from influencers either before, after, or during the point of sale.

©NuernbergMesse / Hans-Martin Issler

Regulation Revision

Following publication of the Green Deal and the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS), in late 2021 the EU Commission launched a targeted revision of the EU Cosmetics Regulation (CPR). The CSS’s objectives are to better protect citizens and the environment against hazardous chemicals and encourage innovation for the development of safe and sustainable alternatives. The CPR revision focused upon five key aspects: (1) an extension of a generic approach to risk management and only allowing substances when essential to society; (2) account for combination effects from simultaneous exposure to chemicals from various sources; (3) a revision of the nanomaterial definition; (4) changes to how information is provided (including digital labelling); (5) reattribution of scientific and technical work from SCCS to EU agency (e.g., ECHA). A Commission proposal is expected in Q4 of 2022; yet, adoption of legislation is not expected before 2023-2024.

Ingredient risk

In mid-2021 two initiatives aimed at revising REACH and CLP emerged with legislative proposals expected from Q2 2022 onwards. Earlier in 2021, ECHA and the EU Commission presented drafts focusing on a generic approach to risk assessment, potentially opening the door to blanket restrictions or bans on substances or mixtures containing a constituent that is classified as a hazardous material. Since significant changes to REACH and CLP are unavoidable for downstream users, and because natural complex mixtures (NCSs), like essential oils, are fundamental to the identity of the sector, it remains essential for natural cosmetic formulators to access a wide palette of NCSs. However, the risk of inappropriate regulation could, in effect, endanger both natural cosmetic authenticity and the diversity consumers have come to expect.

“The impact of the pandemic over the past two years has only accelerated consumer demand”

Following the 2021 EFSA Opinion, which concluded that E171 (titanium dioxide) was no longer considered safe as a food additive, in 2022 titanium dioxide, which is safe for cosmetics use by law, is expected to receive a further independent risk assessment by the SCCS.

Claims substantiation

The EU Commission is expected to release a package of horizontal proposals reworking policy as part of the Green Deal and EU consumer law revision. These 2022 proposals centre on three areas: sustainable products, environmental claims substantiation, and expanding consumer empowerment in the face of greenwashing. In tandem with these we can expect an update to the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive guidance document on environmental claims.

NATRUE’s commitment

To ensure appropriate and proportionate regulation for the natural sector, into 2022 and beyond, NATRUE will continue its mission and work closely with the sector to provide input to the revisions of REACH, CLP, and CPR, contribute to the protection of safe, natural ingredients, and advocate for better regulation for claims to combat greenwashing.

Authors: Mark Smith, NATRUE Director; and Paula Gómez de Tejada, NATRUE Communications Officer

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