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Who are the new players blowing a wind of change in the French beauty market?

Despite healthy and fierce competition, the French beauty market is still outperforming with France remaining the leading exporter of personal care products worldwide (1). The unique French refinement and its strong heritage and long history of “savoir-faire” still attracts beauty consumers from around the world. 

However, it seems that the French beauty landscape has recently evolved. Alongside the personal care leading groups and other well established category key players in the luxury, dermo-cosmetics, and natural cosmetics segments, the French beauty market has in recent years seen an incredible boom of new brands emerging.

Who are these new beauty brands? How have these new players created change in the French beauty market? To answer these questions, we explored a selection of those brands blooming in the French beauty market…
tourists in Paris to represents the french beauty market

Who are the new players of the French beauty market?

to represent new french beauty brands: keyboard key with inscription digital natives

Firstly, we have innovative digital natives with sustainability strongly rooted in their company values from the get-goWith the fast growth of e-commerce and social media influence combined with the growing interest for green solutions and alternatives, a new beauty landscape blooms from emerging and innovative digital native brands of all sizes. This wave of new players is at the heart of a new dynamic, feeding into consumers demand for novelty and brands meeting their values.

Established brands may be driving a sustainability focused transformation but most of these news brands already have those values firmly rooted in from the start. For example

Respire is a digital native brand founded in 2018 by two former HEC students, a prestigious French business school. Their story telling is centred around Justine Hutteau, one of the co-founders, from her personal experience with benign breast cancer and the consequent search for harmless deodorant that led to the brand creation, to her everyday sports and professional adventures.

This company is a great example of how the new digital brands generation often born from the convictions and personal experience of a founder can resonate with consumers’ values in search of authenticity and meaning in his acts of purchase.

 

to represent new french beauty brands who offered simplified beauty routine

Typology founded in 2018 is another digital native, this exclusive e-brand is one of the first French beauty brands to offer what is called the skinimalism” approach, focusing on fewer ingredients with proven efficacy and safety. This approach answers consumers demand for a simplified skincare routine which only includes essentials, without sacrificing the results. Skinimalism is here to stay so read our dedicated blog “what is skinimalism? to discover our innovative solutions for you to embark onto this trend!

to represent new french beauty brands with sustainability strongly rooted in their company values from the get-go

One last example of a digital native is 900.care. Founded in 2019 by (yet again) two former HEC students, this one is all about environmental impacts, and one of the first brands that wants "removing single-use plastic from bathrooms" with the concept of solid tablet formats to be dissolved in reusable packaging.  The most recent edition of the Forces of Change research by Hearts & Science highlights that the “conscious consumer” is one of the fastest growing segments in the cosmetics market.For consumers, the environment is a priority, and their buying decisions reflect that. With 39,900 pre-orders in a few weeks, the success of 900.care’s crowdfunding campaign already clearly expressed this trend a few years prior in 2019Another environmental aspect that consumers have become considerably more aware is the importance of water conservation within their beauty products. Discover our blog to know more on our water conscious beauty - sustainable personal care solutions.

From niche positionning to mainstream

Then there are French beauty brands with strong rooted values and niche positioning that have grown into mainstream such as Gallinée, the first brand to focus on “planet you” as they refer to microbiome. Founded in 2015 by Marie Drago, who already had over 10 years professional experience in personal care, its processing approach attracted Unilever Ventures who took a lead investor stake in the company in 2018. In line with the values of today's beauty consumer, promoting a holistic beauty synonymous with harmony, health and wellbeing is still relevant in 2022. You can know more on the subject in our dedicated blogSkin microbiota and holobiont” and discover Sederma's solutions to protect the microbiota.

 

Next on our list is Lamazuna, this waste reducing brand founded in 2010 by Laëtitia Van de Walle, started by offering reusable cotton pad alternatives and quickly ventured into solid cosmetics, being the first beauty brand in France to bring visibility of this now super trendy format, Arom-zone the DIY and aromatherapy champion in France, is a family business founded in 2000. It is a perfect example of a French beauty brand that operated for many years within a niche segment, that have gone completely mainstream. Its popularity within the gen-Z population is huge and extends all the way to baby-boomers. It very recently attracted the tidy sum of 410M€ from the investment group Eurazeo.

This is only a peak and the many French beauty brands on the market that represent a new paradigm in cosmetics have a significant sense of community, togetherness, and empowerment. Most of those brands rely on a community of followers with crowd-funding and co-creation elements to their story. As opposed to bigger or established players moving independently, those brands often co-opt each-other in the likes of Instagram contests or LinkedIn posts. The leading French actors and cosmetics associations play their part in this new eco-system with business incubators such as the Cosmetic Valley’s BeautyHub, L’occitane’s Obratori, or Station F - the world’s biggest start-up campus where both L’Oréal and LVMH have established business accelerator programs.

This wind of change has consumers and sustainability at its core and is exciting and stimulating. I look forward to seeing what is coming next for the French beauty market, as it is infused with creativity and cooperation areaFor now, to know more on the new beauty brands, take a look at our previous blog “key consumer expectations for Indie Beauty Brands in the upcoming post-covid era.

References:

(1) https://www.lsa-conso.fr/l-oreal-signe-des-resultats-historiques-en-2021,403376

https://www.respire.co/

https://global.typology.com/about-us

https://www.gallinee.com/

https://prose.com/

https://www.secretsdeloly.com/

https://www.lamazuna.com/en/

https://www.aroma-zone.com/

https://www.beautyhub-france.com/

https://obratori.com/

https://www.lvmh.com/news-documents/news/reinventing-luxury-at-station-f-discover-season-7-of-la-maison-des-startups-lvmh/

https://www.lhttp:oreal.com/en/articles/science-and-technology/partnership-with-station-f/

Conscious consumerism. Forces of change research by Hearts & Science. July 2021

 

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