We suggest you start paying attention to the frequency of all-natural, non-toxic beauty product launches now, because brands have caught on to it as the next big market opportunity, and we're doubting they're going to let it go any time soon. That much became clear during the beauty roundtable at our "How to Make It in Fashion" conference, which included Yahoo Beauty Managing Editor Britt Aboutaleb, Beautycounter founder Gregg Renfrew, Restorsea CEO Patti Pao, and Rouge NY co-founders Stephanie March and Rebecca Perkins.
Renfrew said that one of the biggest shifts she's seen in the industry has been increased awareness about ingredients, including all those parabens, sulfates and phthalates that have been getting so much bad press recently. Of course, Renfrew, whose brand focuses on entirely safe ingredients, is one of the movers that has been pushing for that tidal change. Consumer awareness means that shoppers are starting to demand more from manufacturers.
"The white space in the beauty industry is all-natural products that are clinically proven to work. That's really the way I think the market is going," said Pao.
The Restorsea founder also predicted that the beauty industry's current focus on numbers and sales figures will, over time, make more room for the creativity and artistry that guided business decisions in the '80s.
"The '80s was very creative, instinctual. It was run by the people who founded the company," Pao said. "Business is now very much about CPG, consumer packaged goods. They look for MBAs."
"There are lots of numbers, and it's a good thing, but I think the industry needs to come to the center," Pao added. "I always say, 'The 'Mona Lisa' wasn't painted by numbers.' You need that artistry back in."
As a side note, every single one of the panelists agreed that it is under no circumstances OK to sleep in makeup. (A chorus of "noooooos" instantly erupted from the stage.)
March put it best: "Sober up. Wash off. It takes three minutes."