Skincare has long been associated with the pursuit of youthful, glowy skin. However, the skincare industry has experienced a shift in recent years due to an increasing emphasis on self-care, overall well-being, and inclusivity in the beauty space. Additionally, the pandemic fueled the makeup-to-skincare transition, which pushed skincare brands to adapt to consumers’ diverse needs and preferences, such as offering clean beauty products and extensive product lines.

Given the complexity of the industry, CivicScience took a deeper dive into the latest skin care trends shaping this billion-dollar market. In particular, we looked at how skincare differs among men and women, current product and retail preferences among consumers, and the connection between well-being and skincare routines.

Skincare Routines and Comfortability Among Men and Women

Recent data show that consumers say time is increasingly valuable to them, and some may find it challenging to dedicate time to a skincare routine with a busy schedule. According to new CivicScience data, 46% of the Gen Pop have a skincare routine, but only 22% adhere to one daily (24% report doing skincare less than daily). Conversely, 12% don’t have a skincare routine but want to start one, and 43% say they’re not interested in doing one. 

Women are more than two times as likely to have a skincare routine than men (62% vs. 29%) and three times more likely to do one daily (32% vs. 11%). Conversely, nearly 60% of men report they’re not interested in skincare, which more than doubles the percentage of women who say the same (26%). However, intent levels among men and women are nearly equivalent.

Comfortability with skincare products – including knowing which products to use and when – likely influences skincare routine interest levels. Data show that women are much more likely to say they’re ‘very comfortable’ with using skincare products than men – who are twice as likely to report they’re ‘very uncomfortable’ knowing which skincare products to use. Men overall are less comfortable with skincare products, which could indicate an opportunity for brands to educate about skincare products and their benefits. 

Skincare Product and Retailer Preferences

The number of products consumers use also looks different among men and women. Data show that men tend to use fewer skincare products than women. Sixty percent of men report they currently use 1-2 products (vs. 46% of women). Even though most use under two products, women are more likely to say they currently use 3-4 products (36% vs. 23% of men). However, when it comes to those using 5+ products, usage between men and women is the same (17%).

Which products are consumers most likely to reach for? CivicScience data show that consumers have the most experience with facial cleansers (50%) and moisturizers (49%). Following behind by a considerable margin are face masks (34%), retinol/anti-aging products (31%), serums/treatments (30%), and neck and chest treatments (20%). However, neck and chest treatments have the highest intent levels (26% don’t use these products, but plan to), followed by treatments/serums (22%) and anti-aging/retinol products (22%).

Looking at six different types of retailers, big-box retailers (e.g. Target) are by far the most popular type of retailer consumers turn to to purchase skincare products (excluding those who answered ‘other’) – 32% have purchased skincare from them over the last six months. Online (e.g. Amazon) and drug stores/pharmacies (e.g. CVS) rank as the next most popular retailers for skincare (20% and 18%).

The Connection Between Mental Well-Being and Skincare Routines

Skincare is more than just a beauty regimen for consumers today; it’s a way to promote personal wellness and practice self-care. CivicScience data tracking shows that well-being equates with taking care of skin. For example, those who typically report stronger negative feelings – fear, sadness, stress, and worry – are more likely to practice a skincare routine daily than those who report feeling negative emotions less strongly or not at all. 

Conversely, consumers who report feeling positive emotions more strongly – happiness and excitement – are less likely to have a daily skincare routine. This could hint that consumers are more likely to tap into skincare as a form of self-care when experiencing negative emotions.

Both women and men who express higher levels of negative emotions are also more likely to take care of their skin, although data show a stronger correlation between overall well-being and skincare among women than men.

Overall, CivicScience data show that:

  • There are growth opportunities in the skincare industry, given the gap in comfortability using skincare products among men and women. 
  • Consumer intent is the highest for neck and chest skincare treatments.
  • Big-box stores have a leg-up on other retailers that sell skincare products.
  • Well-being could play a role in how often consumers take care of their skin.

Want to see more insights like these? CivicScience has a constant pulse on the latest skincare trends and can see how your consumer segment is responding to them. Get in touch.