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!

Please follow us on....