Indie Beauty On The Major Rise: Under-the-Radar Brands & Cult Faves



With the huge rise of interest and adoration for the indie beauty sector and the congruent huge rise in popularity of the Indie Beauty Expos, we are honing in on 2017 trends in indie beauty, body care, and sustainability. So we got the inside scoop from Val Sanford of Essential Wholesale & Labs, a leading resource for responsibly sourced ingredients, small batch processed, and uncommonly good skin, hair & body care.

Here’s a review of 2017 from those whose fingers are on the pulse of Indie Beauty Trends:

Trend One: Back-to-Nature Color Palette


Here’s the forecast for which colors will be big for spring:
  • PANTONE 17-4123 Niagara.
  • PANTONE 13-0755 Primrose Yellow.
  • PANTONE 19-4045 Lapis Blue.
  • PANTONE 17-1462 Flame.
  • PANTONE 14-4620 Island Paradise.
  • PANTONE 13-1404 Pale Dogwood.
  • PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery.
  • PANTONE 17-2034 Pink Yarrow.

Pantone announced Greenery as the 2017 color of the year. This lovely green-yellow color continues their trend of colors inspired by nature. Fashion Week in NYC is a hyper-energy event and also when Pantone releases the next season’s color. Spring 2017 was all about going back to nature to find our inspiration for colors.

“One of the things that we saw this year, was a renewed sense of imagination in which color was appearing in context that was different than the traditional,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Reminiscent of the hues that surround us in nature, our Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report evokes a spectrum of emotion and feeling. From the warmth of sunny days with PANTONE 13-0755 Primrose Yellow to the invigorating feeling of breathing fresh mountain air with PANTONE 18-0107 Kale and the desire to escape to pristine waters with PANTONE 14-4620 Island Paradise, designers applied color in playful, yet thoughtful and precise combinations to fully capture the promises, hope and transformation that we yearn for each Spring.”

You may end up seeing a Primrose Yellow face mask with Primrose Yellow nail polish, shoes, and maybe even Island Paradise eyeshadow!

Be on the lookout for Pale Dogwood lip and eye night creme that blends smoothly into your skin. Hazelnut and Lapis Blue are beautiful colors for natural products, and what teenager wouldn’t want a “Pink Yarrow” Bath Gel?  Have fun with this color palette!

Trend Two: Sustainability as a Lifestyle


Savvy consumers are changing their relationship with toxic and synthetic chemicals, and in 2017, this indie beauty trend escalated. At Cosmetic Executive Women’s November meeting, Lucie Green, of J. Walter Thompson revealed exclusive research on the natural beauty segment. “The trend is being driven by a growing consumer interest in sustainable living, research suggesting that sterilized Western environments are actually harmful to health, and a desire for “naturalism” in everything they consume.”  64% of Asia Pacific buyers choose socially responsible brands, compared to 63% in Latin America, 63% in the Middle East, 48% in North America, and 40% in Europe.

The indie beauty industry is responding with products that demonstrate purity, protection, relaxation, and support a holistic approach to health and wellness.

According to Greene’s research, the two main drivers are urbanism and environmental pollution, and the rise in allergies. Stress, lack of sleep, air pollution, noise pollution, indoor heating and cooling, and a sedentary lifestyle, coupled with fast-food diets and high-stress travel schedules, all contribute to poor skin and a lackluster affect.  To counter these modern, urban problems, consumers are turning not just to health food, but to healthy product for their skin. Gluten, corn, soy, nut, and dairy allergies are on the rise and people are looking for ‘non-allergy ingredient’ products for food and for their skincare.

Vegan, Halal, Kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, corn-free, and so forth are just as important for beauty as they are for food.

The push toward sustainability and socially responsible brands is being driven, too, by millennials who are loyal to causes, who use their dollars to vote their values and have grown up under the reality of climate change. Although they are not the only generation pushing for socially responsible brands, they are driving disruption in the beauty industry by demanding sustainable packaging, sustainably sourced ingredients, a commitment to communities and to giving back. They use social media to speak their minds and influence online reputations by doing so.

Trend Three: Personalized Facial Masks


Face and body masks are outpacing all other skincare items by 28% and this explosive growth is expected to continue. Long popular in the Asian markets, the love of facial masks as part of every skincare regimen has moved into the European, Latin America, and North American markets. Along with this growth, brands big and small have crowded the market place, so diversification is now key to standing out. So, too, is individualization of masks.

Trend Four: Make It Easy


Consumers are busier than ever, and thanks to Amazon Prime, free shipping, next-day delivery, and easy returns, convenience has become a paramount factor in the buying decision. This make-it-easy trend is showing up in curated and subscription beauty and fashion boxes. Glossy Box, Allure Beauty Box, Julep Maven, Spa Heroes and of course, Birch Box are just a few of the brands making it easy for their customers to try and stay stocked up on beauty products they love. Target has even gotten into the beauty box game, but they haven’t yet made it a subscription service.

Multi-use products have been trending up in the past few years. Men, teens, travelers, and moms all look for products they don’t have to think about. One bottle of Coffee Hair & Body Wash in the shower takes care of men, while a Face, Hair & Body Oil is great for mom and travelers. A one or two-ounce bottle fits easily in a bag and can sail through security. People can buy one bottle and make it work for two or even three things — like lip and cheek shimmer or hair & body wash, or a hair oil that also works for face, body, cuticles, etc. You get the drift.

Trend Five: Enhanced Natural

minimalistbridemakeupfinaltop Brit + Co Weddings

During Paris Fashion Week, runway models paraded with natural faces and minimal makeup. A bright pop of lipstick or a sweep of blush on beautiful, clean skin is replacing the perfect-skin look of foundation and powder. This means skincare really, really matters.  Products that reduce the effects of pollution and urbanization, that use botanical extracts, naturally-derived active ingredients, and enhanced skincare routines support this clean-face trend.

Vogue writer Monica Kim puts it this way: “A minimalist mood maintained its grip, as it has near everywhere else, but here, it was done with a distinctly French spirit—embracing the Parisienne’s come-as-you-are attitude, replete with frizzy ends and still-wet-from-the-shower hair.

Millenials also embrace the “I am who I am” principle and have a more minimalist approach to how they engage in the world.  A return to the concept of I am who I am is certainly powering marketing messages from software platforms like MailChimp to Ralph Lauren and MAC beauty counters. Messages like, “being yourself makes all the difference” supports this trend.


Trend Six: Sustainable Local


Eating local has been trending for nearly a decade and there’s no sign it’s stopping. It has translated into a big ‘shop local’ trend and this ‘shop local’ trend extends into our skincare purchases.  Local ingredients reduce our environmental footprint, but that isn’t always possible. Coconut trees don’t grow in Portland! So consumers are looking for companies that source locally when they can– for instance we source local lavender when French lavender isn’t required, and also those that manufacture locally and support the local economy.

Small batch, custom created, and locally crafted are strong influencers for the millennials, generation Z, and a large percentage of Baby Boomers in urban cities. They are paying more for local, sustainable, organic, and natural, and this translates into more label reading and knowing how packaging will be recycled.

Soaps oiled olive and lavender flowers handmade with organic products

Calling All Indie Beauties:

Ok so who’s looking for the creme de la creme of under-the-radar brands & cult faves?

Healing Lifestyles & Spas and EWL attended Indie Beauty Expo (IBE) West in January in LA to be a part of an event that celebrates the hottest innovations in beauty, lifestyle, and wellness. IBE is the largest professionally-curated event of its kind and is recognized as the definitive destination to find the best indie brands on the market. We hope to see you at the next one in Januray 2018!

Healing Lifestyles & Spas Team
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