Clean beauty has been hot for years, but 2023 is set to be its biggest year yet with a return to basics, more men getting in on the action, and a farewell party for plastic.
Beauty is such a personal thing. We come to identify with makeup, fragrances, and skincare products like they were made for us personally. This makes loyalty a legitimate character in the ongoing saga of our beauty industry’s shift to becoming more sustainable. Change is hard, granted, but most of us know by now that not changing is even harder over time.
And, so, like so many other trends, the beauty industry has set itself on a collision course with destiny for the new year. Progress may have been the mantra for 2022, but for 2023, the mantra is Better: from better self-images allowing us to wear less (or more) makeup and let our greys grow out, to better ways of tackling the climate crisis, our plastic problem, and how we handle diversity and inclusivity.
Clean beauty trends for 2023
From sun protection to beauty by men, here are the top sustainable clean beauty trends you’ll be seeing next year and beyond.
1. Tinted SPF
Our love/hate relationship with the sun continues as climate change brings hotter days. But even on the cooler ones, SPF is a must. And as the less-is-more makeup trend continues, going as bare as possible means light coverage and a little tint from your daily SPF. Celebs including Naomi Osaka and Winnie Harlow have brought clean suncare to market in a range of skin tones. And from a tried and true clean skincare giant, give Ilia’s C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40 a try. It comes in a range of colors and shades to keep your skin glowing and protected.
2. Relaxed beauty
If we can go two years with minimal makeup daily, we can call easy beauty the new normal. Healthy skin—not the stuff covering it up—is going to continue to shine in 2023. Even Kim Kardashian is wearing less makeup these days and focusing more on clean skincare with the launch of her SKKN range. Going with less means fewer chemicals on our bodies and on the planet, and fewer empty bottles clogging up landfills and draining our monthly budgets. Why do we call this one of the biggest beauty trends for 2023? Because that’s precisely what it is.
3. The grey wave
The sustainable and cruelty-free beauty industry is booming, thanks in no small part to Gen-Z and Millennials. But Gen-X and Boomers are all in, too. They’re leading the charge in one key area: embracing grey hair—a trend we saw a lot of during the pandemic thanks to celebs like Andie McDowell and Jamie Lee Curtis. Even Jane Fonda recently embraced her greys. And if you’re seeing more grey heads at school drop-off and pick-up, don’t assume it’s the grandparents. Millennials are going grey, too. Just like letting your pit hair grow out, greys are in and they are gorgeous. Save a load too when you skip the salon or at-home dye jobs and let those silver, grey, and white strands shine like the rewards for a life well-lived they most certainly are.
4. Bars are better
Ditch the plastic and overpriced liquid soaps, shampoos, and all the rest of it. The bar is back in a big, big way. This isn’t your supermarket bar soap, though. Brands are pouring luxe, all-natural ingredients into incredibly effective and long-lasting bar bases. Yes, you can wash your hair with bar shampoos, and yes, they work. The new year will see consumers ditching shower gel and liquid skin cleansers for targeted bars that deliver effective benefits without the immense plastic waste.
In addition, according to this dentist who does the best dental implants in New York, there are toothpaste bars available on the market nowadays, too. Complementing them with bamboo toothbrushes is the perfect way to reduce your dental care waste.
5. Plastic-free packaging
Speaking of plastic, while the best of the best in sustainable luxury skincare already eschew plastic, expect to see more brands making the shift. From fully recyclable glass bottles and metal lids to aluminum tubes, cardboard deodorant containers and more. As laws in New York and California ban travel-sized plastic bottles from hotels, you can expect to see more innovations in travel beauty, too, like Palette’s High Fiver pour-and-travel kit that makes plastic waste a thing of the past.
6. Mission-driven beauty
Planting a tree with purchase, supporting a school, community garden, or empowering women worldwide are just some of the causes leading the mission-driven beauty movement. Already, trends like Fair Trade beauty are taking up more real estate at your favorite beauty shops. Expect to see this trend explode in 2022 as consumers seek out mission-driven brands in every area of their lives, especially daily-use products.
7. More skincare by men
Men embraced beauty and skincare in a big way over the last year, and it’s set the wheels in motion for a bona fide boom as celebs like Brad Pitt, Harry Styles, and Pharrell champion the movement. The category is ripe for a makeover; historically, men’s skincare has been a toxic soup, relying on heavy chemicals to mask (“manly”) odors. But don’t let the gender pronouns fool you—this isn’t a boy’s club; this is beauty for every body, just made by men. And with clean and non-toxic formulas at the top of the list, the boys are helping to bring sustainability to the beauty industry in a meaningful way.
Having mostly emerged from our covid cocoons, all bets are on the table now. Self-expression looks like it’s here to stay in all areas, especially beauty. Be on the lookout for whimsical face embellishments, dramatic eyes, bold blush, glitter, and more. For sustainable takes, Ganni recently launched a biodegradable version. Lashes have been on trend for years and will continue to be a mainstay. Clean mascaras abound and fake lashes are getting a sustainable makeover, too.
9. Fragrance revolution
Natural scents have been on trend for ages and it’s going up a few notches for the new year with mainstream brands like Polo and Chopard diving into the category. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose is also taking the lead, making clean ingredient fragrance a must. The category is getting support from Billie Eilish, too, with her second clean fragrance, this one inspired by water.