Jan 012013

Yesterday, we looked back at some of our favorite products of 2012. Today, we’re going to look forward to create a wish list and observe a few things about the future of beauty. At this same time that this is posting, Sabrina at The Beauty Look Book is posting her thoughts as well here. This is Cafe Makeup’s little thought piece, looking at potential directions and trends. We’re speculating and opining, so take this needs to be taken with a wink and a grain of salt.

So, here we go, what do we think will (or should) happen in 2013?

Cafe Makeup believes that the key concept is “giving the customer a reason to buy.” At this point, the beauty and skincare market has myriad options. Which will customers find most compelling?

1. Color trends for the face.  Over the past year, nail colors have gotten more vibrant. At the same time, companies have worked to improve makeup formulations to create strong color with thinner layers. We suspect that the bright color trends that we’ve seen in Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense lipsticks and MAC’s Iris Apfel collection will continue into 2013. We predict that bright pops of color using new technology will spread to other lines, and also to eye products. Color is decidedly back!

pop of color

If you’ve tried this look, you know that it starts with a flawless face and a neutral canvas. Skin care and subtle products that cover and contour will continue to be important.

2. Luxury Travel Products: Tom Ford’s successful launch may signal that some women are ready, willing, and able to invest in looking right, including while on the road. We suspect that we’ll see more travel-friendly products, like this Nars skincare set that is set to release soon. Will other companies follow suit? We suspect that they will.

Nars skin

3. Wishing for a most customized customer experience.  Luxury fashion has discovered a customized experience, and will pay a premium to do so. Although sometimes makeup companies promise customized products, that typically means that the product “adjusts” to your coloring. This isn’t really controllable, and sometimes delivers dubious results.

We’re left to self-mix foundations, mix blushes, or top a lipstick with a gloss to get everything right. We wonder when (or whether) makeup companies will give customers a genuine custom experience, including the ability to choose textures and colors. Wouldn’t you love a foundation that was genuinely customized to your skin?

Louis Vuitton

Moving toward a customized experience

4. Resistance against micro-releases.  Although some might believe that in the thrill of the hunt, our reading is that customers are growing weary. Some items sell out in less than an hour. Some are understandably questioning the entire system. Some great makeup companies,  like Nars, Chanel, Guerlain, and many others, manage to do limited edition releases in a balanced way. Why can’t everyone?

Sold out

5. UV/LED Gels: The next nail frontier.  Over the past year, we’ve seen the gel nail trend blossom. This nail polish is set with a UV light, and lasts for up to 2 weeks. After First Lady Michelle Obama wore a chip-free blue at the Democratic National Convention, we discovered that she had used a UV-set polish. We’re wondering why no high-end polish company has executed this trend safely and well. That set would get our vote!

Gel nails

6. Untold color stories.  We’re hoping that some makeup companies can leave their personal drawing boards to ask women about color stories that don’t yet exist. As one tiny example, why not pick up on the Chanel Notorious frenzy, and apply this mauve blush idea to bronzers? Some women found Notorious too grey, so that would have to go. Mixing mauve with a bronzer would dispel the unfortunate orange that now seems so passé (especially as Jersey Shore has officially aired its last episode) and work better on cooler skin tones.

What other color stories could be told, if customers were meaningfully consulted? What would you like to see?


7. Double-duty products, merging science and beauty. This year, BB Creams became mass-marketed. These products promised coverage plus sunscreen and skincare benefits. Eyeliners promise longer lashes, and lipsticks promise conditioning and SPF protection. Cafe Makeup believes this trend will continue, as more become responsive to customer’s skin/sun care needs.


8. Customized sampling (for a price).  A while ago, free beauty samples seemed to became more scarce unless you developed a good relationship with a sales associate. Now we see a proliferation of samples in charge-per-month sample services like Glossybox, Birchbox, and others. These samples are usually larger, and some items are full-sized. In addition, some companies sell “try it” sets.


We believe that the more customized experience for these boxes, the better. We don’t love paying for items we don’t wish to use. We’d like to see more samples from high-end skin lines and foundation samplers for different skin tones (whether from a single brand, or a mix).

9. The continued proliferation of inspired similarities. High end brands may find that their products inspire others to offer similar features at lower price points. These may be authorized, but does put pressure on the high end companies to continue to justify their prices.

Dupes galore

Cafe Makeup suspects that this will encourage luxury companies to offer super-special formulations that are impossible to deliver at low prices. This may include drawing on hand-created custom palettes and the creation of entirely new versions. For consumers, this will widen choice but might entail ever-higher prices at the “super luxury” end.

10. Natural beauty. Despite the proliferation of color, Cafe Makeup knows that many women prefer a subtle look and will always continue to do so. Although sometimes this is accomplished with genetic advantages, it might be created with an artful application of well-formulated skincare and makeup (shhhh–we won’t tell!). We’re hoping that companies continue to love and appreciate this market sector with fabulous products for a flawless face.

no makeup makeup

As we said, please take these observations and opinions with a grain of salt. We have no inside information, but plenty of hopes, thoughts and dreams. We’d love you to share yours as well!

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  13 Responses to “Looking Ahead: What Will 2013 Bring to Beauty?”

  1. Great ideas!

  2. This is totally on the ball! I agree with a lot of them – especially with the hope that companies will stop doing limited releases of products that sell out within an hour. So annoying! It seems like they are simply losing money on this since there is actual demand!

  3. Happy New Year! I loved this list and the accompanying illustrations, especially the piece on bronzers. I think new (but not too crazy) contouring colors and/or related tutorials with existing products would be wonderful.

  4. Such a nice article, loved reading it. I would like to also add “more global availability” as in Europe finding some brands is really a big challenge. I bought my Tom Ford quads and blushes as I got to travel to Berlin and have no access to some other brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Chanteceille, Illamasque, Urban Decay or Nars in Germany. Some of them can be ordered blindly online but comes with high shipping costs. Also some high-end brands like Dior and Chanel deliver tragically funny numbers of their exclusive collections to one or two counters across the country. Last time the seller of one of those counters explained me that they will probably get 10 pieces of each product of an upcoming collection. Dior’s new polishes (Lime, Mango etc.) was only sold in Berlin and was not available online, which i only found out because i happened to be there. I find 21st century too late for running after a products.

  5. I agree with a lot of what you have written. On the sampling front, I have no problem paying for a sample if you are going to give me more product to test out. I don’t think one dinky packet is going to cut it – so if you want a real user experience then maybe a week’s worth use at a minimum in a user friendly container. Smaller travel sets showcasing a line for a few weeks use is also ideal, as well. Color will always be huge, as well as the clean, no-makeup face. Both customers will always exist side by side. And I 100% agree about this ORANGE bronzer thing. I have long been irritated by ORANGE being the defacto skin match for base or contour products. I would love to buy contouring products but the usage of orange or brown just doesn’t cut it since it is not a natural contour color on me. As far as color stories, I think more can be done about creating various shades that are flattering on more skintones. I am looking forward to a better beauty 2013.

  6. I have to disagree a bit with you on the problem of micro-releases. You’re absolutely correct that it’s getting ever more annoying. I also agree that Nars and Guerlain do smaller releases in a very balanced way. Usually it’s not a big problem to buy any of their limited edition products.

    But Chanel is a totally different story. I find their micro-releases almost offensive for us average customers. Remember the Byzance Collection? I’d have gladly bought the whole collection, including that golden cream eyeshadow quad. But apparently I’m some sort of an inferior customer for Chanel, only good for buying a lot of the regular products in order to bring in enough money, so they can finance nano-releases for an assorted set of “special” customers. No, thanks! I’ve stopped buying Chanel altogether since I’m not their cash-cow.

    Nars and Guerlain will get my money instead, because they at least seem to respect all their customers, no matter if they’re super-rich or just the average woman who can afford only a lipstick.

    • Hi Dana,
      Where are you living? I thought these very limited editions are only problem if you are living in Europe. In US can’t you always get those by ordering online directly from the brand’s webpage.

  7. Lots of thought and hope in your ideas! There used to be a customized colour experience-remember Prescriptives? I MISS THEM. It was the first time I was able to get a foundation that matched my pale skin perfectly. My daughter is as pale as I used to be and she can’t find anything that matches her from any brand. I hope your right that something like that comes back. I think we’re all tired of settling for colours that aren’t just right for us.

    • I do remember Prescriptives! I think we’re all becoming mixologists and layering. Still, I feel a little odd about spending $32 on a lipstick that has to be customized to work r9gut. I’m sure your daughter would love something that would work for her out of the bottle too!

  8. What a fun and spot-on article!! 2012 was the year I shifted from seasonal collections to permanent product lines. I skipped all but Tom Ford Narcissist. I couldn’t even imagine one day Tom Ford would lie on top of my re-purchase list. I hope they improve upon their foundations though.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this and agree with so much of what you have pointed out. For me the limited edition product scramble applies most obviously to counters I can’t find locally, especially to Le Métier de Beaute. While I’ve been able to order a few of their regularly available eyeshadows online and by phone I’ve given up on ever ordering their limited edition Kaleidoscopes and lip products. I’ve gotten to where I’m even slightly irked by reviewers giving Le Métier much attention when their products are ridiculously hard to get your hands on. But luckily there are so many good readily available brands out there that I’m still left with a huge wish list. I’m telling myself I save big bucks by not getting the Le Métier items and that is true. But beside this selfish gripe I’m really grateful for talented bloggers like you two that can remind the beauty industry (as they no doubt must follow a good many of you) that they have a very savvy modern day customer on their hands.

  10. good take on the trends and precise…enjoyed reading

  11. Completely agree with a lot of this. I would personally pay for samples of products; as a blogger (but a relatively recent one) I don’t expect freebies (nor do I contact PRs to ask for them, it’s tacky). So I pay for, and blog about, products my own dime. Actually, I prefer this as it gives me the freedom of honesty. But it’d be nice to have samples available for order. (I used to subscribe to Glossybox and another one (can’t recall the name but Glossybox bought them out a while back). Until I found out that different subscribers get different samples, based on their perceived “value” to the brand (eg they are YouTubers or bloggers with high follow rates) – this peed me off and I quit subscribing).

    Personally I /adore/ Notorious (I’m currently about a MAC NC23ish) – I can’t get enough of that or the Kevyn Aucoin contour (posts on both on my blog if you’re interested).

    In terms of genuine customisable makeup, there’s a company in London called Cosmetics à la Carte – they are around since the 70’s, they /handmake/ their products and can create a custom foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, you name it. You can send them a piece of a scarf and ask them to match to it. Or a discontinued colour from another cosmetic house. They will also custom blend their own products to leave ingredients out if you know you’re sensitive to them. Seriously impressive. I have only recently become interested in them, have purchased a LOT of their stuff and am currently in the process of creating my own signature lippie with them. I am not affiliated in any way, but I *highly* recommend at least a gander…

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