What exactly is conscious consumerism and how is it affecting the personal care and beauty industry? Well, conscious consumerism is all about making ethical, healthy, and positive purchasing decisions. It’s part of a shift to more mindful consumption across every industry, from fashion and food to beauty and personal care.

In essence, conscious consumers consider more than just how a product works, but also how it impacts others, their health, and the environment. The conscious consumer is well informed. They know that sugar-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy and natural doesn’t mean clean or eco-friendly.

From Fairtrade coffee to secondhand clothing, the opportunities to be more conscious about our purchasing decisions are endless. And when it comes to beauty and personal care, it means choosing products that are eco-friendly, socially conscious, cruelty-free, vegan, and good for your health.

Conscious beauty is the term used to describe the way a consumer chooses their personal care and beauty products based on their values. Today, we’re looking at how conscious beauty is influencing the evolution of the personal care and beauty industry in a positive way.

Vegan and cruelty-free

The vegan lifestyle has become increasingly popular in recent years, and a huge part of conscious beauty is avoiding products that are tested on animals or contain animal ingredients.

This trend has led to a shift toward vegan and cruelty-free skincare and makeup that contain plant-based ingredients that aren’t tested on animals. Peachy in NYC is a great example. Their daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen and prescription retinoid are both 100% vegan and cruelty-free. To appeal to conscious consumers, brands like Peachy are also formulating their products with clean ingredients and avoiding things like parabens, fragrance, and gluten.

Waterless personal care

Conscious consumers read personal care product labels carefully, demanding that each ingredient is necessary and truly beneficial. One ingredient that is increasingly being criticized is water. Does it really need to be there?

As ecological concerns about water waste become a major issue for conscious consumers, brands across the industry are launching initiatives to reduce their water consumption. They’re making changes that require less water for formulating and manufacturing their products.

Love Beauty and Planet is a forward-thinking brand that is using technology to find ways to make it easier and faster to rinse out their hair conditioners. This allows conscious consumers to reduce their water usage at home.

On a side note, producing cosmetics without water allows them to be formulated with fewer harmful ingredients like parabens and preservatives. Water provides the perfect environment for bacteria, so going waterless is important for hygienic reasons, too.


Today’s conscious consumer knows that what you put on your body is every bit as important as what you put in it. They are constantly looking for products that are suited for their individual health concerns and lifestyle.

This not only affects the beauty and personal care space, but also clothing, food, vitamins, and much more. Cosmetic brands are meeting this need by producing personal care products based on quizzes and tests that provide recommendations based on diet, location, climate, stress levels, lifestyle, and more.

After taking the quiz, the consumer receives a set of hyper-personalized products that can be purchased once or through a subscription. One example is the Clinique iD program, which helps the customer create their own personalized care concentrate which can be added to their choice of foundation.

Gender neutrality

Cosmetic companies are beginning to move away from products that are specifically marketed for men or women only. It’s now becoming more and more common to see cosmetics and personal care products marketed as gender-inclusive or gender-neutral. This trend is becoming more commonplace even in products that have traditionally had strict gender differentiation. For example, some brands are producing entire lines of cosmetics made for both men and women.

Environmental beauty

Environmental beauty is a growing trend that’s all about creating products that protect the skin from environmental pollutants. This is especially appealing to consumers who live in urban centers, where environmental pollution is a major concern.

Sisley Paris has even released a universal moisture cream that is formulated to block digital pollution, such as the harmful emissions that come from electronic devices. And the London-based Oskia has introduced a line of products that protect skin against harmful indoor and outdoor environments.

Open discussions about body care

Today’s conscious consumer is all about breaking stereotypes, and that includes open discussions about topics that were previously considered taboo. This trend has led to steady growth in the intimate care products market.

Brands no longer need to avoid talking about the more delicate topics. There’s nothing indecent or embarrassing about taking care of your body. Body care is part of self-care and discussions about intimate health and hygiene are slowly taking on a more positive and playful form.

This new attitude is being displayed by Fur, a company that offers an entire line of body and pubic hair care products. Another great example is Anese, with a unique line of “booty and boob” skincare products, including masks and moisturizing oils.

Probiotic skincare

There’s been a lot of talk about the microbiome in the healthcare space lately. If you’re out of the loop, science has discovered that the human body hosts trillions of microorganisms and complex bacteria that perform beneficial tasks within the body.

One such task is the formation of the protective barrier that maintains the skin’s pH balance. This discovery has evolved into a new trend in skincare revolving around probiotic products that help maintain the skin’s natural balance and immunity.

Brands like England’s Mother Dirt are developing serums and creams that contain beneficial microbes and this market is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years.

Multitasking products

Conscious consumers are making the shift to a more minimalistic approach across the board, and that includes their skincare and beauty routines. They want more benefits from fewer products that contain highly effective ingredients.

Brands are evolving to meet this need by creating products that simplify daily skincare with products that perform multiple functions. One example is an all-in-one moisture pad that takes the place of toner, essence, and moisturizer in one step.

Wrapping up

Conscious consumers are challenging personal care and beauty brands by demanding constant improvements, not only in the formulation of their products but also in their production and manufacturing processes.

There’s a dramatic shift to a more environmental, social, and health-conscious focus in every industry. Brands will need to evolve quickly if they want to remain competitive as today’s conscious consumers demand products that align with their personal values.