Eco-conscious living: Navigating a safer future

Andrew McDougall, associate director, Beauty & Personal Care, Mintel will lead a session at in-cosmetics Formulation Summit on ‘Eco-conscious living: Navigating a safer future’ on Tuesday 17 November at 09:15.

Personal Care spoke to Andrew to discover more about this important topic ahead of the Formulation Summit.

Personal Care: How has the pandemic impacted consumers' approach to being eco-conscious? Are there any specific types of ingredients that have seen particular surges in popularity thanks to eco-conscious consumers?

Andrew McDougall: Consumers are questioning brands and holding them accountable when it comes to eco considerations as they seek more control over their lives after recent events. It means brands need to be open about sourcing, simplify traceability and go beyond what is necessary to build lasting consumer trust.

Companies in all areas of the beauty industry are aiming to improve their sustainability, but there's only so far each can go alone or without assistance from experts. So brands can consider funding academic research to stay ahead of the pack, think outside of the usual supply chain or expand their network through AI.

In the past with the naturals trend and potentially the initial stages of the ‘clean’ beauty movement, science has developed a cold, fearful image. But as front-line health staff and researchers become the heroes of the pandemic, there is an opportunity to reframe – and biotechnology products/ingredients can really come to the fore – and we can show the potential of biotech to improve the environment and enhance products.

PC: Is the concept of 'safety' evolving in personal care? What other influences could impact this market in the months ahead?

Safety has been a key driver from the health pandemic and has always been a consideration for consumers. Indeed, safety was also one of the key drivers behind the ‘clean’ beauty movement as people scrutinised products and ingredient lists more and wanted a product that would not cause any harm.

There are now lots of apps available to enable consumers to check how safe (and eco-friendly) their beauty products are and often suggest alternatives when products aren't deemed “safe” enough. The scores and colour coded guides these apps typically use guide time-pressed consumers towards products that align with their values and simply help consumers to feel like they are making informed purchasing decisions. The more seamless these apps are to use the more pressure brands will face to create products that score highly. However, these apps sometimes contradict one another and give different scores for the same products, meaning that they may add to the confusion. It shows the importance of education and trust in the industry.

PC: What else will attendees learn in your presentation?

AM: In my presentation at the in-cosmetics Formulation Summit, we will take a look at the eco-conscious consumer and the demands that they have on the industry; and how this impacts wider trends around, politics, society, science and safety. With the COVID-19 outbreak putting stress on sustainability efforts (and everything else), we will look at solutions for navigating a safer future.

For more information and to register to attend in-cosmetics Formulation Summit 2020, visit: