For centuries, beauty was viewed as something you lost with age. That’s begun to change in recent years as new technologies have shifted the focus from masking the exterior to more holistic and technical skincare and self-care.
Kevin Shapiro is senior vice president of U.S. marketing for consumer beauty at Coty, where he manages a large stable of consumer brands, including CoverGirl, which recently repositioned its Simply Ageless line. He explains how the notion of “aging gracefully” is taking on a whole new meaning.
Kate MacArthur: What does “aging gracefully” mean today versus what it could mean tomorrow?
Kevin Shapiro: I believe the term, and the future we’re in already, is representing increasingly active lifestyles and a focus on longevity through a wellness lens. In terms of beauty, aging gracefully means bringing an increased level of understanding of the biological changes going on in our body, being at peace with them, but also adapting our products and routines that we use as consumers to better meet the needs of our body, skin and hair as they change. I think we’ll also see less terminology around anti-aging and products in general, and more shifts toward nomenclature like “ageless” or “better, not younger.”
MacArthur: There’s been a shift from avoiding age to embracing age. Where does it go from here?
Shapiro: Consumers are really thinking of pro-aging as being proactive about skin renewal, even starting at a younger age. With CoverGirl’s Simply Ageless, we have a renewed focus on the health of skin. All the products in the Simply Ageless line have hyaluronic acid and that does a variety of things. One is it accelerates cell renewal and not at levels high enough that are going to cause irritation for most consumers. Now we're seeing even Gen Z consumers discovering products from Simply Ageless because of these skin benefits.
MacArthur: What does age and being male mean in the beauty world now and in the future?
Shapiro: Most of our portfolio is catering to women, but when we look at men, aging has been traditionally more holistic, tying back to wellness. We’ve seen this with the launch of products around men’s sexual health and virility; those are all things that tie into how someone feels and therefore how they look. More recently, we’ve seen growth in new brands emerging in men’s grooming and hair color and, very importantly, an emergence of gender-free beauty products that suit anyone.
MacArthur: What is most influential now for how beauty and aging are defined, and will that shift going forward?
Shapiro: We're starting to see some positivity around aging, because it's less of a mystery, right? The positive sign that we see overall is that the self-perception will be more positive and allow an openness for consumers to adapt and follow what's a very normal human biological process.
MacArthur: What about social media filters and how they affect the way people think and feel about themselves?
Shapiro: Whether it's filters, lenses or avatars, consumers are already choosing avatars that present either an aspirational representation of themselves or enhance aspects of them in a way that makes them be seen how they want to be perceived by others. That's true even for younger consumers. It becomes a norm that you can use virtual makeup, virtual fragrances, virtual looks to enhance something that you that feels close to your heart and that you want to represent to the public.
MacArthur: We’re seeing more injectables and beauty devices being marketed. How do those fit?
Shapiro: We're not in the injectables business. But as a consumer and a trendwatcher myself, I'm seeing injectables rapidly becoming the new norm. We see them living in harmony because injectables are really about shaping, so there are still skin needs. That’s where our products come into play. Even with something like our CoverGirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk, niacinamide is part of the ingredients because it's known for hydrating skin and promoting skin elasticity. I don't think that the benefits of cosmetics products are replaced with injectables. It's all really under the umbrella of “skinification.” We've launched formulas that have good-for-skin ingredients, blend some of the great ingredients from what you would traditionally have seen in skincare serums into foundations or other tinted formulas, and even products for lip, like our lip balm on CoverGirl Clean Fresh.
MacArthur: Is there something that, that I haven't brought up that you think is important to talk about?
Shapiro: For me, the main theme is really that people are becoming more educated and comfortable with aging. Therefore, I think it really enhances self-acceptance. That awareness of what's happening and being connected to our biology in that way is more dominant than specific age markers or single-event things, which is how I think aging was experienced in the past.
For more highlights from this interview, please listen to our podinar.