Skip to Main Content

Five Hot Trends Driving Personal Care Product Development

Personal Care

The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything in 2020 – from the way people work to the way they shop. As a result, the retail industry was forced to dramatically reassess its focus and alter business practices in a hurry. As we begin 2021 facing these same challenges, retailers and brands are once again tasked with adapting their products and offerings to appeal to consumer’s desires in an ever-shifting world. This article provides a snapshot of the five consumer trends driving innovation and growth in personal care, hair care, skin care and beauty product development in 2021.

At-Home Hair Care Products Please

With consumers limiting their exposure to public places like hair salons and beauty stores, demand for at-home hair care products is up. Beauty Packaging recently reported that “the pandemic will create additional demand for the Hair Care Market in the U.S. through 2024,” citing Technavio’s recent Hair Care Market in U.S. report, which projected that the market will grow by $1.15 billion between 2020 and 2024.

For hair care brands, it means that this is a great time to reassess products and pinpoint opportunities to innovate and extend their offerings. Waterless hair care solutions such as dry shampoos are a particularly popular option this year. These easy-to-apply products provide the at-home consumer with a variety of styling options – from volumizing to oil absorption and style control that smooths the cuticle, protects color, and adds shine without weighing the hair down.

Many national brands are also launching new personalized products that embrace diversity to treat specific hair care types and issues such as scalp treatments and aging hair. Natural, textured and healthy-looking hair is “in,” whether straight or curly, so the more customization options, the better. We are seeing growth in sprays and serums to complement different hair types. Products such as root lifting mousses and texture sprays are becoming even more popular.

For example, a fast-absorbing oil that nourishes coarse hair will provide frizz protection for smooth, shiny, healthy and hydrated locks. An optimal blend of nourishing natural oils such as meadowfoam, argan, almond, plum and many others, as well as mango or shea butter are great conditioning agents that make dry, coarse hair feel soft and static-free. Special resins can be used to control frizz and assist in creating workable hair products that provide smoothing, conditioning and flexible hold.

Gender Neutral Personal Care Products for All

Amid a rapidly evolving social climate, brands have been challenged to balance the value of brand equity with shifting consumer attitudes and preferences. This is especially true for personal care products, which, like fashion, have always been closely aligned with evolving trends.

Inc. magazine reported that gender-neutral products are a growing segment in the cosmetics industry. This of course has not always been the case. Despite changing trends in personal care, brands have traditionally embraced gender-specific packaging and promotion – a tried and true approach for generations. Picture retail shelves stocked with purple and pink shampoo bottles for women vs. black and grey shampoo options for men, or floral-scented deodorant sprays vs. deep woods-scented offerings.

As gender roles and expectations have blurred, an increasing number of consumers are rejecting stereotypes and embracing individuality. There is also a growing acceptance of men’s care products, including using grooming, hair care and skin care options – presenting a major opportunity for diversification of gender-neutral personal care products including deodorants and anti-perspirants, hair care products, body sprays, cosmetics, shaving creams, shower foams and more.

Clean Beauty and Personal Care Products are Here to Stay

For today’s more discerning consumers it’s never been more important to use safe, non-toxic formulations, featuring more natural and simple products. As a result, wellness trends that have gained traction in food are expanding into the hair care and beauty product aisles.

Product packaging is used to promote attributes such as elimination of harmful ingredients including parabens, sulfates or formaldehyde, or adherence to organic, vegan and Halal certifications. And, there’s rising interest in plant-inspired and botanical ingredients – from charming plant-based fragrances to strengthening exotic argan and jojoba oils, amino acids and plant extracts, to superfoods such as olive oil, butter, chia seeds and avocado, as well as cannabidiol (CBD) oils.

Examples include using aromatherapy botanicals and essential oils as alternatives to synthetic fragrances, or mineral SPF formulations featuring natural ingredients such as titanium and zinc oxide to absorb and deflect sunlight, in place of chemical-based sunscreen formulations. 

Eco-Friendly Products for Planet Appreciation

Growing attention to human health is elevating consumer interest in protecting the environment as well. According to Joel Makower, Chairman and Executive Editor of the GreenBiz Group and, consumers are seeing corporate sustainability as “central to addressing the economic, environmental and social problems we face, and to increasing societal resilience to the next wave of shocks, in whatever form they take.”

As a result, it’s not surprising that the momentum of eco-friendly ingredients, products and packaging remains a driving force in 2021. People want to know the origin of the ingredients they apply to their skin and hair. Consumers consider factors such as whether the ingredients are eco-friendly, what part of the world the ingredients are sourced from, and how the products are manufactured before they commit to a purchase.

Hand Sanitizer Everywhere

No 2021 trends article can be complete without including discussion of the hottest personal necessity that COVID-19 generated – hand sanitizers. According to Fact.MR’s “Hand Sanitizer Market Forecast, Trend Analysis & Competition Tracking – Global Market Insights 2020 to 2030” study, as cited in Happi magazine’s recent “Hand Sanitizer Market Soars” article, the global hand sanitizer market is expected to surpass a value of ~$1.4 billion in 2020 and double from 2020 through 2030 to exceed ~$2.8 billion.

For brand owners looking to expand or build upon their product offerings to meet this market need, there are several variables to consider. Traditional alcohol-based hand sanitizer formulations are the most produced. They feature alcohol as the active ingredient, in the form of either ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, and effectively kill germs, bacteria and most viruses by working immediately on the skin to deliver fast-drying properties. In contrast, non-alcohol hand sanitizers feature antimicrobials, such as benzalkonium chloride, as the active ingredient for delivering effective germ protection. Beyond their moisturizing benefits, non-alcohol hand sanitizers feature minimalist formulas utilizing natural ingredients.

We have been working with customers for over a decade to determine their needs and bring both alcohol and non-alcohol, liquid and aerosol hand sanitizer options to market, including liquid pump sprays, squeeze bottles, foaming solutions and aerosol sprays.

A Contract Manufacturer’s Look Ahead

As the world continues to adapt to our “new normal” and think ahead to what’s next, we offer unique insight into the ever-changing world of product development. Whether your company is launching a new product or needs an expert to advise on formulation refinements, PLZ Personal Care offers specialized contract manufacturing and filling experience delivering aerosol and liquid products. By staying ahead of the latest industry trends, we take great ideas and guide our customers through the entire product development, formulation, validation/testing, compounding, filling and packaging process to deliver high-quality personal care products, as well as household and OTC products.

Contact us today to learn how we can help bring your new personal care product ideas to life or refine your existing formulations to fulfill the demands of consumers in 2021 and beyond.

Let’s Talk About Making Your Plans Come to Life

History, capability, service: start the conversation about what how our values can bring your brand forward.

Start a Conversation