Cosmetics & Personal Care

Trends in cosméticos

By Sarah Harding, PhD

Latin America’s pulsating cosmetics and personal care market has famously given rise to a number of beauty trends. In part

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Latin America’s pulsating cosmetics and personal care market has famously given rise to a number of beauty trends. In particular, the realm of beauty — its inspirations, trends and innovations — has been significantly impacted by Brazilian culture. From Brazilian blowouts (keratin smoothing treatments) to the Brazilian wax, few places spark longing in the heart of beauty fanatics quite like Brazil.
Amazonian beauty
Added to this is the enigma of the Amazon. A number of companies are finding huge success through providing natural ingredients that are sourced from the Amazon rainforest and other ecosystems. One such example is Beraca, an innovative Brazilian company that offers natural, organic oils, butter, clays and multi-functional ingredients for use in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and personal care industry worldwide.

Similarly, O Boticário’s product lines of body and facial care, sun care, makeup, deodorizing colognes, deodorants, soaps and shampoos include extracts from Amazonian plants such as açaí (pronounced “ah-sigh-ee”), cupuaçu, carnaúba, guaraná, cashew and passion flower. CativaNatureza, recognised as one of the key players in the Brazilian organic industry, offers formulations with unusual concoctions and ingredients such as yerba mate mulateiro extract and coriander oil.

The discovery of these ingredients is not accidental. Marguerite La Corte, Global Trend Tracker & Cultural Anthropologist (pictured) is currently celebrating 15 years of travelling the globe and providing unique market intelligence to the personal care, over-the-counter pharma, and food and beverage industries. Through exclusive ‘innovation research treks’ undertaken for clients who are hungry for new product development ideas, La Corte integrates herself with indigenous people, such as those found in the Amazonian rainforest, seeking local intelligence and ingredients, unique regimens and rituals, and untapped rainforest botanicals not yet known outside local cultures. Credited with bringing the açaí berry (can you remember how to pronounce it?) to the western world 16 years ago, as well as other rare ingredients that cannot be disclosed yet, her research frequently translates into product innovation concepts, and new raw materials, ingredients and rituals that are far from mainstream.

The key to her success, says La Corte, is her ability to relate to people of different cultural backgrounds, and to earn their respect and trust. “Most of them generally do not want to divulge their local regimens, but once they connect with me they open up and share unique rituals they grew up with using local ingredients from nature,” she explains. “And of course, we want to learn how they use some of the these magical ingredients and remedies from these regions, such as which part of a fruit or vegetable, pulp versus the rind or seeds.”

Focused on spotting trends before they become trends, most of La Corte’s treks are funded by forward-thinking R&D Head, as well as Global Marketing, who are looking for something… well, something different. “My intel is based on learning from locals their regimens, remedies and usages, alternative ways to protect skin, hair, eyes , digestive health,  etc. These things are not found in a book, they are unique insights shared with me by locals and uncovered on my treks,” she adds. Having already spent much time in the Amazon, La Corte is planning to bring back the Brazil trek this November after focusing on Asia and India for the past few years. We’re intrigued to see what she’ll bring back this time!

Buying beauty
In 2017, Brazilian cosmetics company Natura acquired The Body Shop – formerly the flagship of British natural cosmetics and personal care – demonstrating the country’s dominance in this field. However, while Brazil is a striking representative of the Latin American market, and its impact on driving the overall market in the region is noteworthy,1 other countries mustn’t be overlooked. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Chile also show dynamic and robust beauty markets and, owing to stable economic growth and development, the region as a whole offers a promising market for active cosmetic ingredients. Furthermore, since most of the countries in the region are developing markets, the market for active ingredients for cosmetics is projected to increase.
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In fact, according to MarketsandMarkets,1 the market for active ingredients in Latin America is projected to grow from $225.1 million in 2016 to $283.5 million by 2021, at a CAGR of 4.7% (Figure 1). This is a sizable portion of the global market, which is predicted to reach a value of around $3.6 billion by 2021.1  Although Europe and the Asia Pacific are likely to remain dominant for the foreseeable future, the Latin American region is being seen an increasingly important market, predicted to make up an important share of the global market by 2026 (Figure 2).1
Driving beauty
The demand for active ingredients for cosmetics in the region is driven by skin lightening agents, anti-aging agents and conditioning agents, and other skincare applications. As in other parts of the world, Latin America is seeing a push towards sustainability and ‘free-from’ products, while demand for enhanced functionality and multiple benefits from a single product is steadily increasing. For instance, BB (Blemish Balm) cream, which is promoted as multifunctional product, claims to treat various skin related problems like anti-aging, skin brightening, and sun protection. From BB, CC, and DD creams, to post-shave moisturizers with sun protection from UVA and UVB rays, there is increasing demand for products that target two or more concerns at the same time. Consumers in Latin America are particularly keen to go for skin care products with sun protection features, as they are aware of the harmful effects of UV radiations. Also, the number of people using fairness and whitening products is growing, further driving the growth of these multifunctional products.
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The sector is also impacted by the changing structure of the retail industry. The middle class has grown by 50 million people in Latin America over the past decade, and an explosion of retailers is ready to meet their needs and desires. Of course, this includes e-commerce – the number of people on-line in Latin America is growing and, while many consumers are still hesitant to buy on-line, this is changing. So much so that experts predict a ‘mobile boom’ in Latin American retailing in the near future. All this is driving the cosmetics retail market in Latin America, which in turn supports the growth of active ingredients.
In conclusion, the Latin American region is a hot-bed of exciting new ingredients and trends, many of which are yet to be discovered by the western world. The Amazon, in particular, is a rich source of natural ingredients, many of which can be applied to the cosmetics and personal care industries. As well as providing a unique source for such ingredients, the region offers a strong market for their use, as the active ingredients market for cosmetics in South America is expected to witness a healthy growth rate in years to come. Factors such as the positive macroeconomic factors, growing retail industry, and an increasing demand for multifunctional ingredients are all likely to support the growth of the sector in this vibrant region.
  1. MarketsandMarkets. Active Ingredients Market for Cosmetics, January 2017 (
Thanks to:

Marguerite La Corte, Global Trend Tracker & Cultural Anthropologist, for talking to us about her work. Her remaining 2019 programme includes innovation research treks to Asia-3 (Indonesia, South Korea, Japan) in August and Brazil 5 States or LATAM 2–3 Countries in November. In spring 2020 she will embark on a trek to India. For more information, and to find out about owning one of the proprietary categories, visit or email

MarketsandMarkets for sharing their data with us and providing source information for this article. MarketsandMarkets provides quantified research on 30,000 high growth opportunities/threats which will impact 70% to 80% of worldwide companies’ revenues.