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Tapping into the affordable skincare trend

Ever heard of the ‘lipstick effect’? The phrase, first coined by the luxury skincare brand Estee Lauder, points to the fact that during economic upheaval, consumers tend to buy more affordable luxuries1. Skincare and beauty brand owners that develop reasonably priced indulgences often thrive, particularly when consumers are tightening their belts.

As shoppers continue to reevaluate their purchases in the face of rising inflation and cost of living pressures, the beauty industry can expect to see a massive rise in the development of affordable skincare items or ‘dupes’ that mirror the benefits, formulations, quality, and aesthetics of more expensive, premium brands.2

Eminent beauty trend forecasters, WGSN agree. Its latest webinar, Cost of Living: Beauty on a Budget, notes that the ‘dupe’ culture is shifting from novelty to necessity as more customers seek out affordable products. Not only does this make beauty products more accessible to individuals on a strict budget, but it can also impact positively on NPD by tapping into current beauty trends such as ‘glass skin’ and ‘skincare cocktailing’.3

Glass skin refers to a Korean skincare movement that originated with the K-beauty scene. To achieve the desired effect, consumers indulge in a multi-faceted skincare regime - typically making use of a lot more products than the three-step skincare routines touted by more traditional brands. It is not unusual to see up to seven steps and products used in a single skincare session.4 Skin cocktailing on the other hand, refers to the mix and match of a myriad of ingredients to enhance a specific result – such as a cocktail of ingredients targeted to brighten the skin.5

What these trends have in common is that they all make use of multiple steps and products. Using only premium or luxury skincare brands could make this prohibitive to most consumers on a budget, while the more affordable price point of ‘dupes’ can allow more consumers to achieve their skincare goals.  

But says WGSN’s Big Ideas Report, economic pressures are not the only reason for the stellar growth of affordable skincare: Online communities and social media influencers are also backing these products as consumers turn to digital communities and apps to seek advice on all aspects of beauty. This will continue to fuel growth as consumers remain cautious about spending, particularly when it comes to luxury skincare and beauty products.


Building a resilient & transparent industry

Brand owners developing affordable duplicate products often have to work harder to establish the credential of these products.6 Frequently these items have a less than stellar reputation, forged by the assumption that they are unethically produced, making use of untested and unregulated raw materials.7

To be seen as competitive, brands should continue focusing on full traceability of their products – including the provenance of its raw materials and ingredients, full transparency of their formulations and manufacturing operations, and all certification, safety, and technical data.

It should also address the issue of waste in the face of a ‘more is more’ ethos. The beauty industry is already under scrutiny for excessive amounts of unrecyclable plastic waste, and it is up to brand owners to offer packaging solutions that are recyclable or has a reuse value!8

For this sector to flourish, it is important to partner with an ingredient supplier that understands your unique product portfolio.

At Oleon Health and Beauty, our range of specialist beauty ingredients are sustainably produced with a sustainable positioning. Our Jolee® range is perfect for consumers and brand owners who desire safe and sustainable ingredients – from the raw materials, through to production and packaging.

Our Jolee® range is easy to use, adds multifunctionality to most products and can optimize your formulation process. The range is non-toxic, non-irritating, readily biodegradable and adapted to meet the highest cosmetic standards.

For more information on how we can assist you develop affordable beauty and personal care products, contact our Health & Beauty team now. Simply click here: info@oleonhealthandbeauty.com


Green Chemistry is the heart of our company. We use bio-based materials to supply our customers with the most environment-friendly and safe products.

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