Cosmetics Business reveals the top 5 bath and body care trends of 2023 in new report

By Jo Allen | Published: 1-Nov-2023

From the rise of active-based body care to the influx of luxury fragrance 'ancillaries', the bath and body category is looking very different in 2023

This article was originally published in the Bath & Body Trend Report. Receive your copy here

Glycolic acid masks, retinol serums and niacinamide cleansers might sound like a list of the latest facial skin care launches, but it’s the rest of the body that these products are now targeting.

As consumers pay increasing attention to the skin below the chin, body care and cleansing is looking very different in 2023.

This has resulted in brands developing more elevated offers and pushing products in an efficacy-based direction.

“Innovation is as key in body care as it is in facial skin care products, as consumers are treating their body care as an extension of their skin care regime,” says Janet Milner-Walker, founder and Managing Director of Bespoke Advantage.

Fiona Glen, Director of Projects at The Red Tree, adds: “Certainly the influx of active-based body care is the biggest element we’re seeing.

“It was a natural development for the skintellectual movement to trickle down into the body care category as consumers are more aware and willing to spend on results-driven products.”

The most significant shift recently for the category has been to offer increasingly targeted care, and this trend has translated to more specific skin care claims in the latest product developments.

One brand that has had a stellar year with its ingredient-led body care range is Naturium.

With viral products such as The Smoother Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash, and its accessible price positioning, the US brand has grown by a CAGR of 80% over the past two years, entered the UK in April and was acquired by e.l.f. Beauty in August for $355 million.

Naturium’s latest launch,  3-in-1 exfoliant KP Body Scrub & Mask, highlights a growing trend for products to tackle more specific body skin concerns such as keratosis pilaris (KP).

But while skin benefits are behind much of the innovation, fragranced body care has always been an important segment, and some vibrant trends are emerging here too, towards more luxurious and indulgent perfumed products that can be worn all over the body.

This is a category in which consumers are looking for products that deliver on their claims, and are backed by science, but beyond functionality and efficacy, they are also looking for an emotive benefit.

“Brands need to consider that this category is a ‘ritual’ that is not only a daily necessity but that can bring pleasure, and a sense of calmness and relaxation,” says Milner-Walker.

Here, Cosmetics Business gives a taster of the latest bath, shower and body care trends that are shaping the industry and providing opportunities for brands.

Trends will be revealed in detail throughout November exclusively to subscribers, so don't miss out and subscribe.

Trend 1: The revival of body mists

Given the distinct note of nostalgia that has wafted across fragrance and beauty in 2023, it is little wonder that body mists are also experiencing a resurgence.

The format – a favourite with teens in the 1990s and 2000s led by brands including Impulse and Charlie – has been upgraded in recent years with luxury and niche brands moving in with sophisticated yet ultra-wearable versions.

And they are soaring. Sales of prestige fragranced body mists have grown by 185% during the first half of 2023 in the US, according to Circana.

But the revival of body mists goes beyond 90s nostalgia; it marks the return of a more casual way to scent the body, and a counter-trend to intense edps and elixirs and the 'beast mode' longevity that has been gaining mass appeal in the perfume market.

Trend 2: Face care equivalents for the body

One of the biggest body care trends in recent years is to treat the skin on the body with the same care as the skin on the face.

Demand for harder-working body care products has soared as consumers have extended their beauty routines southwards, and this has been accompanied by a sophisticated league of ingredient-led products.

Now, brands are going a step further by responding with high-level formulas usually reserved for the face.

Rather than being separate entities, these new products are equivalents, using the same high-level technology and active ingredients used in face care innovations, but in an optimised format for the body.

Trend 3: Perfume brands are zeroing in on fragranced body care

From hair mists to perfumed body oils, a more playful and flexible approach to wearing fragrance has picked up in 2023.

Consumers are becoming more experimental with their use of scent, while also looking to extend the sillage of their favourite scents.

As they do, brands have been honing in on fragranced body products to meet demand.

This trend explores why a whole-body approach to wearing fragrance is one that more perfume brands are exploring.

Trend 4: Dermatologists are calling 2023 the ‘Year of the Neck’

Thou shalt not neglect thy neck: it’s one of the ten commandments of skin care.

But while neck care products have been around for decades, the segment has never achieved the same mainstream investment as other targeted skin care such as the eye area – from either brands or consumers.

This is now changing. Dermatologists are calling 2023 “the year of the neck” due, in part, to the sheer volume of questions they are now receiving from patients about the skin on this area of the body.

Coupled with this is the rising awareness of neck care in the media and on TikTok, and in this trend, Cosmetics Business reveals out how the brands are gearing up to develop the category further.

Trend 5: Repair balms are the next wave of therapeutic body care

Therapeutic body care is big business.

There may have been a surge in sensory self care products that offer mental and emotional comfort, but brands that are meeting the pain points of consumers with sensitive skin issues are driving much of the growth in the body care category.

Jonny Philp, co-founder of Nursem, a range of therapeutic skin care products developed by nurses, explains: “People are becoming much more open and real on social, addressing these issues head on; eczema alone brings up millions of views on TikTok.

“Peer to peer and social recommendations for therapeutic body care with actives is helping to drive the market forward.”

The result is a boom in repair-focused body care, in formats such as concentrates and balms that work intensively on areas of concern.

Read here: Therapeutic body care balms are soaring, and this is why

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