Trending forward, we see development of gender-neutral beauty products and fresh scents for a spirited neutral world.

The march toward gender-neutral beauty products is being spearheaded by Millennials, Gen Z and Gen Y, for whom skin care and fragrance is about choice and not about gender. Match this philosophy with the natural/organic movement and demand for products with healthier ingredients (ie, “clean labels”), and we are in for an exciting and highly creative time in the F&F industry.

We’re seeing an influx of genderless beauty and fragrance products because today’s consumers have grown beyond the old narrative that uses stereotypical gender cues to attract the opposite sex with scent. People want to choose the scent they feel like wearing. They don’t want a brand “telling” them what they should wear based on their gender, and they may not agree with that brand’s interpretation of gender. These consumers want non-binary scents that speak to everyone.

Consumers are becoming more independent, meaning that they enjoy co-creating product experience with the brand, rather than just being a passive consumer. The brand must communicate both freshness and sensuality. These tonalities are not always paired together and must be both open and provocative. This poses a challenge for the industry – one that will surely be met with great enthusiasm and game-changing innovation.

The F&F industry has always been a “experiential” leader and, much like the fashion industry, focused on exploration and energizing tradition in new directions. Designers who had mastered the introduction of unisex products are now bringing those products into the mainstream, stretching beyond fragrance to a range of beauty products. Redefining beauty in genderless terms broadens the potential appeal to more consumers, which builds brand opportunities.

Here are just a few new designer brands that are taking the leap and leading the charge toward change:


  • Chanel’s Les Eaux des Chanel
  • LVMH and its line of fragrances that prioritize experiential fantasy over gender-specific fragrance notes
  • Byredo: Slow Dance
  • Ariana Grande is breaking gender boundaries with the launch of Cloud Eau de Parfum.
  • TomBoyX
  • Gucci’s Memoir d’une Odeur
  • Malin + Goetz Leather Eau du Parfum
  • Kiehl’s Musk Eau de Toilette Spray

The following statistics to support this change:

  • According to market analysis company Mintel, gender-neutral or unisex fragrance launches accounted for 17% of the market in 2010; by 2018, that figure had tripled to 51%, and non-conformist ideas about gender were at the heart of some of 2019’s biggest new-fragrance launches.
  • According to a 2019 Pew surveyof 10,000 Americans, about 59% of Gen Z’ers (persons born in 1997 and thereafter) say forms that ask about a person’s gender should include options besides “male” and “female,” compared with 50% of Millennials (ages 22 to 37 in 2018) and 37 percent of baby boomers (ages 54 to 72 in 2018).


Makeup, skin care and fashion trends
Need more proof that gender-neutral is in? Consider these marketplace developments:

  • James Charles became CoverGirl’s first male model in 2016, and soon after graced the cover of a European edition of Vogue. Katy Perry, a CoverGirl brand ambassador, said she was “honored” to have Charles on board.
  • Makeup and skin care brands popular with Gen Z’ers, such as Milk Makeup, Glossier and Fenty Beauty, feature diverse casts in advertisements and on social media.
  • The Ordinary brand serums, creams and acids come in simple, clinical-looking packaging with an intentional unisex appeal.
  • Ursa Major, a skin-care brand co-founded by Oliver Sweatman and Emily Doyle, also has gone all in on genderless products. Facial, hair and body products containing natural ingredients are sold in eco-friendly packaging featuring blue, green and white mountain outlines, and its website pictures rugged, parka-clad women hiking through snow-covered mountain ranges.
  • Victoria’s Secret in August 2019 hired Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, the company’s first openly transgender model.
  • Fast-fashion leader H&M sells a gender-neutral collection of clothing, shoes and accessories for children and adults.
  • Abercrombie Kids in 2018 introduced a gender-neutral line of children’s clothing.

At Artiste, our response to change is to get in front of our customers’ needs. Whether we’re helping our customers meet natural or organic ingredient needs, navigate shifting regulatory requirements or replace key ingredients to meet clean-label demands, we search the world for the resources to help customers satisfy their formulation and application details. We have worked more than 40 years in this industry, and each year has brought exciting challenges and new paths leading to stimulating, creative products. We are ready to tackle the challenges 2021 will bring.

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