As we make our way into a new decade, it’s hard not to feel excited about all the innovations developing throughout our industries, and Personal Care is no exception. We’ve seen many of the hot trends from previous years evolve and shift, and as always, this industry has some fascinating trends making waves. We’re very excited to share the top trends Cambrian’s personal care experts are predicting for 2020. 

1) Gentle ingredients for sensitive skin 

A study shows that 60% to 70% of women claim that they have sensitive skin, which has risen from 50%, the long-held standard percentage. It’s unclear what is causing the rise in sensitive skin. Some suggest it is the overconsumption of skincare products while others believe environmental stressors or lifestyle choices are to blame. Regardless of the cause, it has resulted in high demand for ingredients and formulations that are gentle yet effective. While some formulators are opting for milder ingredients, others are experimenting with lower dosages of tried and true ingredients that have side effects when used at higher percentages. Another approach, while not new but increasingly popular, is skincare lines that are meant to be used together. When used as a system, these products can be formulated to offset any negative side effects caused by a product in the system. This creates an easy experience for the busy consumer and helps alleviate the risk of negative reactions. A trend that can be approached in an endless number of ways, we predict sensitive skin will prompt some exciting innovation in the personal care industry in 2020.

2) Sustainability 

The conversation around sustainability really came to the forefront at the end of 2019 and we don’t predict that to change as consumers enter the new decade looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Packaging is a major focus for many consumers, prompting a number of beauty brands to find unique solutions to the world-wide single-use packaging problem. While some companies have taken the approach of recycled, biodegradable, or even refillable packaging options, many companies are also experimenting with no packaging at all, opting for bar formats for products like shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.   

Packaging isn’t the only element of sustainability in the beauty industry that has come under the microscope. People are beginning to look at ingredients carefully, as “free-from” claims continue to highlight consumers’ concerns over certain ingredients. Ingredients with natural sources continue to be in high demand as consumers are highly conscious about the impacts of the ingredients that they use on both themselves and the environment. Certifications like COSMOS Eco-cert, Palm Done Right, RSPO, Leaping Bunny, as well as label claims such as “conflict-free,” “vegan”, “biodegradable,” “naturally derived,” “free from,” etc., all continue to drive consumer behaviours as we head into 2020.  

3) More than just lip balm 

The perfect pucker was a major trend in 2019, with a focus on plump, voluptuous lips. As we enter 2020, we’re noticing that this trend seems to have sparked some unique new products that treat our lips a lot more like skincare than we have in the past. Lip care is no longer limited to lip balms. Exciting new products like masks, gels, scrubs, and other specialized treatments seem to be constantly popping up on the shelves. The logic behind these products is that the lips can take quite the beating from the environment and the skin can dry easily due to the lack of oil glands in the area. We expect to see moisturizing and exfoliating ingredients usually reserved for facial skincare being used in new ways as consumers begin to shift the way they take care of their lips.  

4) Scalp as skincare 

Similar to the way skincare has expanded to include the lips, it has also extended upwards to include the scalp. In the past, we’ve seen scalp care typically approached as an element of hair care, and aside from dandruff treatments, there hasn’t been much focus on scalp health on its own. Recently, however, we’ve noticed that formulators are starting to approach it in a similar way to other parts of the skin, with the underlying concept that a healthy scalp results in healthy hair. We’re noticing new products like masks and scrubs, which use ingredients normally reserved for the face, showing up in the scalp care world and rather than the scalp being an afterthought to hair, we predict in 2020 that consumers will be open to exploring ways to treat their scalp in addition to their hair.

5) Luminous skin 

It may be true that moisturizing your skin is more of a best practice than a “trend,” but going into 2020 we predict products that give the skin a dewy, moisturized, or “glowy”  finish to be extremely popular as consumers increasingly look for products that can help their skin achieve a glowing, supple look. Serums, bb creams, water tint foundations, and highlighters are popular products consumers are seeking out, and we’re noticing a rise in light coverage colour cosmetics with a dewy finish (as opposed to a matte finish). An important element of this look is for the skin to appear moisturized but not oily. As a result, many formulators are incorporating popular moisturizing ingredients to achieve this desired look.

6Don’t forget your vitamins 

Vitamins aren’t just good for your internal health, they also boast many incredible benefits for your skin. Tried and true Vitamin C has long been used for its powerful brightening effects, antioxidant status, and ability to encourage collagen and elastin generation in the skin. Lately, we have noticed Vitamin C is making its way into everything from serums and toners, to concealers, undereye and even lip treatments. The other hot vitamin for 2020 is vitamin B3, also known as Niacinamide. This ingredient comes highly recommended by beauty buffs and dermatologists alike. With similar benefits to vitamin C like brightening and evening out skin tones and firming the skin, it also boasts powerful capabilities such as calming redness, reducing pores, revitalizing the skin, increasing new tissue growth, encouraging collagen production, and reducing free radicals.  

7…or your minerals! 

Vitamins aren’t the only ones receiving attention in 2020. We expect to see minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium make their way into many skincare regimes. These minerals are electrolytes which means they carry an electric charge. Electrolytes are linked to PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid) which is part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor. They work within the skin’s water channels to deliver hydrators like ceramides and glycerin. Electrolytes are also able to train the skin to maintain its moisture balance and strengthen its barrier, improving the overall appearance and health of the skin. With consumers looking for products to help give them “glowy” skin, we expect to see electrolytes really shine this year.


8Dry shampoo 

Perhaps consumers’ busy lives are to blame, or perhaps it’s an aim to be more sustainable by using less water, but dry shampoo continues to be a hot product this year. Though it may not be a recent innovation, dry shampoo has found its way to the mainstream and has become a staple for many consumers who have realized the detriments of over-shampooing their locks. Dry shampoo not only helps a blow-dry last into its 2nd or 3rd day and help stave off oily hair but also helps with achieving a voluminous look. We’ve seen several interesting innovations in this category and expect to see many more in 2020 as consumers look for convenience without sacrificing their sustainability goals.  

9Reef-safe sunscreens 

Like many trends in 2020, this one is closely related to the shift towards sustainability as the negative effects of chemical sunscreen ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate on coral reefs come to light. Florida and Hawaii are among a growing number of tropical locations that have recently banned chemical sunscreens in an effort to reduce damage to the reefs in those areas. Sun protection is one of the most important elements of skincare, and with consumer interest moving away from chemical sunscreens, formulators are turning to mineral sunscreens to provide SPF protection for the eco-conscious consumer. What used to be a challenge to find, chemical-free sunscreens are becoming more available as companies begin releasing mineral sunscreen lines. Some of the claims many consumers are looking for when shopping for these sunscreen products include “reef-safe,” “non-nano,” and “mineral sunscreen.” Mineral sunscreens tend to be much thicker in consistency than chemical sunscreens and can be difficult to spread on the skin, so many formulators will have to consider this challenge as they work in this new space.

10Aluminum-free deodorants 

Despite inconclusive evidence linking aluminum to breast cancer, “natural,” “aluminum-free” deodorants are a rising trend in the beauty world. What used to be a niche market reserved to indie beauty and health food stores has now been picked up by popular drugstore brands. These aluminum-free deodorants are not only popping up in the stick form that we are most used to. We are seeing an array of formats from spray bottles to small glass tubs or metal tins that are dispensed by scooping the paste out using a finger, tubes that can be squeezed onto a finger and applied to the underarm, powders and even bars that look like bars of soap. Without the use of aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum-zirconium tetrachlorohydrate GLY to prevent sweating, natural deodorants rely on other ingredients such as probiotics, activated charcoal, clay, sodium bicarbonate, and natural starches to help absorb sweat, as well as plant extracts to help with scent masking and adding pleasant aromas. Natural oils and butters are also popular ingredients in the green beauty world and can help keep underarm skin moisturized and without irritation. 

11) The microbiome becomes more sophisticated  

The microbiome was a popular topic in 2019 and it’s easy to understand why. A healthy, balanced microbiome can result in better-protected skin. What was once new to the beauty industry is now much more established and as such, we’ve found new ways to approach a balanced microbiome. Prebiotics are one way that skincare products can target the microbiome. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria and help it thrive. Formulators can also look for ways to incorporate probiotics, however, these can be challenging as live bacteria can be difficult to incorporate with many preservative systems. Lastly, there are postbiotics, which are the metabolic byproducts of probiotic bacteria. As both formulators and consumers better understand the microbiome and the benefits of keeping it healthy, we anticipate that we will continue to see products that target this trend.   

12) Natural preservatives 

The rise of natural cosmetics in the last few years has meant many consumers are growing uncomfortable with “artificial” ingredients, such as preservatives, in their products. Most consumers, however, are not prepared to start keeping their skincare products or cosmetics in a refrigerator for preservation or use spatulas to dispense the product. Therefore, there is still a need for preservatives, even in the green beauty space, to ensure product safety and to avoid any microbial infections. Natural preservatives are a great alternative for the green/clean beauty market, as they can help meet consumers’ expectations for a safe product while maintaining a reasonable shelf-life. 

13) There’s a mask for that 

Face masks are just the beginning when it comes to the ever-growing mask trend. This trend, boosted by consumers’ recognition of the importance of self-care, is an exciting market segment to watch as it expands to include other parts of the body. No longer limited to the face, it’s becoming increasingly common to see masks for the scalp, hair, lips, eyes, and even (no we’re not kidding) underarms, and butt making their way onto drugstore and beauty store shelves. That’s not to say that there are no longer fascinating innovations happening in the face mask world. Masks have made their way from being a new idea to a key step in many consumers’ skincare routines, and we don’t see that changing in 2020.


Are you curious about how these trends could work for you? Talk to your personal care account manager or contact us here!