By Jennifer Hermitage

‘Skintellectuals’ and The Rise of Savvy Beauty

Last year saw the rise of the ‘skintellectual’ – consumers who take the time to understand their skin type, the individual needs of this, and research the best raw materials to meet those needs. There is an emergent trend of realism amongst these consumers, instead of the desire for ‘perfect’ filtered looking skin, there will be a shift towards skin which looks naturally healthy and glowing. Current Google search trends show that searches for “barrier function” have markedly increased as a result of savvy individuals looking for materials to improve this area of skin health, along with hydration – another indicator of healthy skin. The most searched for raw materials include Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid, Retinol, Ceramides, Niacinamide and Lipids. 

It’s not just skincare that is attracting the demanding modern consumer. Haircare trends are also becoming more technical, with treatments previously reserved for professionals working their way into the mainstream, seen through the continued rise in the skinification’ of haircare

Boots’ Grown Alchemist collection comprises a range of innovative, plant-based formulas that utilise clinically proven ingredients that deliver healthier-looking skin. The range includes Detox Serum, a lightweight, oil-free formula designed to make skin look firmer, more youthful, and radiant. It blends Boots Antioxidant+3 Complex with Ashwagandha to fight free radicals, known for their ability to contribute to skin damage and premature aging. It also features Niacinamide, a multi-tasking bioactive ingredient known to visibly improve the complexion and the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and pores.  

Cornelius can help: ADAPTONYL® from SILAB is obtained from Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic plant with adaptogenic properties. This protective, anti-stress active acts on all factors of cutaneous exposome – environmental and lifestyle – related aggressions. It neutralizes cell stress and restores their metabolism. The global quality of the skin subjected to the exposome is thus improved: the cutaneous microrelief is smoothed, the skin grain is refined and complexion radiance enhanced.  

 The Ordinary’s brand philosophy is to bring science-backed materials to the market in affordable formats – a very popular concept for ‘skintellectuals’ who want efficacy without the heavy price tag. Their new Multi-Peptide Eye Serum has a higher price point than many of the brand’s other products, this is due to the high concentration of actives required to address multiple eye area concerns at once. The water-based formula utilises multiple peptide technologies, including Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, combined with Niacinamide, caffeine and Fraxinus Excelsior Bark Extract. Clinical results show improvement in the look of crow’s feet wrinkles; improvement in the look of under-eye area wrinkles; improvement in the look of skin luminosity/brightness of the eye contour; improvement in the look of skin texture of the eye contour; reduction in dark circle appearance; and decrease in the look of dark circle colour intensity. 

Cornelius can help: Amongst its offer of 120+ active ingredients, SILAB suggests two dedicated solutions to tackle problems with the eye area. By stimulating lymph drainage, EYE REGENER® reduces fluid to lessen the surface of under-eye bags. Tone and firmness are improved thanks to a boosting effect of collagen synthesis. ACTIFLOW® is an anti-dark circle active which remodels the capillary network by stimulating neovascularization and by increasing the capillary resistance.   

Image: The Ordinary

Avène’s new Hyaluron Activ B3 range is based on natural origin Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide to plump skin, improve barrier function, and reduce the signs of ageing. Certain products in the collection also contain Haritaki Extract, which is known for its skin health benefits.

There are four products in the new collection. Concentrated Plumping Serum with 6% Niacinamide and 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid, which provides an immediate smoothing effect and a visible tightening effect which can be seen after 15 days of continuous use. Triple Correction Eye care contains Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, Dextran Sulphate and Haritaki extract and is hydrating, restores radiance to the eye area, depuffs the eye contour, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Cellular Renewal Cream, containing 0.2% natural origin Hyaluronic Acid and 6% Niacinamide, is said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in two weeks – skin feels firmer and looks radiant. Multi-Intensive Night Cream combines Haritaki, high weight and low weight natural origin Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide and Retinaldehyde to act on the causes of ageing – there is said to be an improvement in even deep wrinkles in 15 days of use and skin feels firmer with improved elasticity. 

Cornelius can help: Bloomage Biotechnology have a large portfolio of Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid grades. They come in a variety of molecular weights ranging from high to very low. They also have a selection of special blends and materials blended into oil formats which are suitable for formulating anhydrous systems. Many grades are COSMOS certified. 


As personalised beauty rises in acclaim, more brands are catering for desires to create unique solutions for individual consumer requirements. Largely an online phenomenon, personalisation is gradually breaking into the high street. US based haircare brand Function of Beauty launched into selected Boots stores this February.

Their products allow you to create the perfect mix of shampoo and conditioner for your unique hair type, hair moisture level, and hair goals. Products can be boosted by mixing in up to 3 out of 10 available Hair Goal booster shots. For example, Anti-Frizz, Deep Condition, and Strengthen Hair Goal boosters are recommended for wavy hair types. These can be added to the Custom Wavy Hair Shampoo and the Custom Wavy Hair Conditioner. Options for straight, curly and coily hair are also available – in every instance, they consist of a straight shampoo and conditioner to which the booster shots can be added. Booster shots target a variety of Hair Goals: curl definition, volumize, strengthen, shine, anti-frizz, deep condition, colour protection, lengthen, soothe scalp, and thermal protection. All products are suitable for sensitive skin, have been dermatologist tested, are sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and 100% vegan. Bottles are made using recycled materials and are recyclable. 

Cornelius can help: Our Customising Concentrates are potent shots which are added to a base moisturiser to target individual skin concerns. Ask your Cornelius representative for further details. 

Rita’s BTMS 225 is a blend of Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol. This cationic quaternary compound is an excellent conditioner for hair and provides an anti-static effect, suitable for all hair types. 

OLVEA have an extensive range of natural oils, each with its own unique set of characteristics which make them beneficial to different types of hair and skin. For example, coconut oil is good for dry and curly hair types, Borage oil is good for processed and oily hair and jojoba is a good choice in hair loss treatments. For a full list of which oil for which kind of hair, contact your Cornelius representative. Most oils in the portfolio are organic approved. 

The ‘Skinification’ of Hair

Haircare is evolving. As this sector takes inspiration from skincare, we are seeing more technologically advanced formulations emerging, as well as some traditional skincare actives appearing in haircare formulas. 

Unilever’s Michiru brand brings the ‘skinification’ of hair to the mainstream. Rooted in the Japanese principles of simplicity and balance, Michiru was created to help care for the scalp – the philosophy being that healthy hair requires a healthy scalp. To deliver results, scientific and natural ingredients are combined to ensure scalp health and hair renewal. The formulations are free from sulfates and silicones and contain efficacious Japanese-sourced ingredients: Peony root has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and is known to protect from free radical damage while promoting blood circulation. Yuzu is renowned for its cleansing properties, being packed with Vitamin C and antioxidants. Senburi is used in traditional Japanese medicine to improve blood circulation and promote hair growth. The range consists of a Strengthening shampoo and conditioner, a Fullness shampoo and conditioner, Clarifying shampoo, Hydrating conditioner, Scalp Tonic, and Minoxidil Topical Solution 2%, a medically proven raw material for effective hair regrowth in women. 

Cornelius can help: Our new Scalp Relief Treatment combines anti-dandruff and hair regrowth actives to provide relief for the symptoms of dandruff whilst stimulating hair growth. It is part of our new Savvy Beauty trend kit which features other formulas to appeal to ‘skintellectual’ consumers. Contact your Cornelius representative to find out more or request a sample. 

Bond repair has recently exploded into the mainstream and L’Oreal Elvive have a four-step collection. Each formulation contains a Citric Acid Complex to target damaged hair and rebuild broken bonds from the inside out. Products are said to restore hair to its original strength delivering up to 98% less breakage, 90% more shine, 82% stronger hair and 12 times fewer split ends. The Pre-Shampoo Treatment contains 12% Citric Acid Complex and should be left on hair for 5 minutes before shampooing; the shampoo is sulphate free and enriched with 5% Citric Acid Complex; the conditioner contains 10% Citric Acid Complex and is designed to seal the cuticle for maximum care as it rebuilds inner broken hair bonds – it should be left on hair for three minutes before rinsing; Leave-in Serum has 20% Citric Acid Complex and protects hair bonds whilst enhancing softness and shine.  

Further evidence of ‘skinification’ in the mainstream is seen in L’Oreal Elvive’s Hydra Hyaluronic 8 Second Wonder Water which is said to transform hair – leaving it looking plumped and shiny with 18 times more hydration. The ultra-lightweight, silicone-free formula is powered by breakthrough Lamellar Water Technology and infused with a shot of Hyaluronic Acid. It forms a film of care around the fibre to smooth hair and maintain a healthy look. Hair is visibly transformed with an instant and intense feeling of hydration, a glassy shine, and a silky touch. It is part of the Hydra Hyaluronic range which also features a shampoo, conditioner and serum.  

Multi-Functional ‘Skinimalism’

Getting value from personal care products is very important in the current economic climate. This, coupled with a desire to de-clutter and reduce waste for environmental reasons has led to a ‘skinimalist‘ consumer movement and an increased demand for effective multi-functional products.    

New brand Gntl have combined skinimalism, multifunctionality and sustainability in their one and only product. Skin Wash can be used as a makeup remover, face wash, body wash, hand soap, shaving gel, feminine wash and bubble bath. The brand’s tagline, “All you need is less,” encapsulates its ethos. Founder Sydney Dake emphasises Gntl’s mission is to “reduce waste and limit clutter and take care of all of your skin from head to toe.” Skin wash is sold in a large bio-based recyclable pouch. The larger size is designed for convenience so that consumers can decant into smaller, separate vessels if they choose. During development, Dake sent prototypes to over 100 testers, including friends, family, beauty industry insiders, influencers and editors in order to receive candid feedback and to verify the product suited a wide range of people. The final formula is pH-balanced for every skin type

Dove’s latest body wash continuously nourishes skin and improves its moisture barrier for a full 24 hours after use. To boost and retain skin moisture, the formulation utilises proprietary nanotechnology – 24-hour Renewing MicroMoisture – to produce millions of moisturising microdroplets that help boost and retain skin moisture. The micro droplets deposit onto the skin, fitting into the gaps and crevices of dry skin for a silky-smooth finish. Stearic and Palmitic fatty acids penetrate deeply within the stratum corneum and work with the skin’s natural renewal processes to visibly reduce dryness by 50% after every shower. This formulation is Dove’s first PETA approved vegan body wash. It features a 98% biodegradable formula and uses 100% plant-based moisturisers.  

Cornelius can help: Intelligent Wash is another new product in our Savvy Beauty trend kit. This multi-purpose wash creates a rich creamy lather that leaves skin soft and smooth. It contains Pationic ISL which has data showing how it holds moisture in the skin and binds to damaged hair, mending splits and breaks. 

If you think that ‘skintellectuals’ might be a suitable consumer group you or your customers can formulate for, then we will be proud to share with you our latest Savvy Beauty trend kit, featuring 5 products using gender neutral fragrances.  

Contact your Cornelius representative to find out more, to request a sample or to talk through some of the ideas mentioned in this savvy beauty trend summary. If you are new to Cornelius. then you can contact us at:

We look forward to hearing from you!