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Do ingredients, rather than brands, drive beauty purchases?

With brand recognition and loyalty playing such a large part in beauty purchase decisions, it can be tough for smaller, independent brands to get their products noticed. But new consumer behaviour is presenting an opportunity for outsider brands.

According to research from L2, beauty consumers are searching for specific ingredients when browsing beauty and skincare products, rather than brand names. This especially applies to anti-ageing serums containing retinol and marula oil; demand for these specific ingredients has been steadily growing since 2015.

A trend research team at Google analysed skincare searches over a two year period, starting in September 2014 and ending in September 2016, and found that “face masks” are the most popular search term across the US, France and Japan. The number two trend was “vegan beauty,” supporting the idea that ethical consumption isn’t going away any time soon as a driver of purchasing behaviour in this market.

The top nine searches led Augusta Statz at Bustle to deduce that the overarching trend for skincare this year is “mindfulness,” as all of the search terms belied a growing awareness and scrutiny of what ingredients consumers choose to use on their skin.

Scrutiny of products with “nasty” ingredients started in the food aisle, but now beauty shoppers are becoming adept at hunting down items with the “free from…” label. And it looks like ethical ingredients are becoming as much of a draw as traditional brand messaging, with smaller, more agile brands better equipped to pivot and adapt to these evolving consumer desires.

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