Photo via Pixabay
If you have a question about your skin or a skincare product, odds are you’re consulting Google even before you get on the phone with a dermatologist. Google may or may not have the answers you seek, but it definitely has one thing: data about what people are searching for.
The 2017 Google Beauty Trends Report tracked just that: skin care trends based on Google queries spanning three markets — the US, France, and Japan. By identifying and comparing rising and declining search terms, the report provides insight into the considerations and intentions of Googlers in regards to skin care.
For dermatologists, this kind of information often confirms what we already know thanks to our own experience with patients, but on a globalized scale. For our patients, it can paint a picture of rising and falling beauty trends, informing the types of treatment they may choose to pursue next. As it happens, what’s popular in one market now is often another market’s next big trend.
The study started by differentiating types of rising and decline trends, and what they mean. Keep the below definitions in mind to understand which trends are safe and steady, seasonal, or potentially short-lived.
Rising and Falling Trends in the US
Starting on the homefront, sustained risers in the US include epsom salt baths and dead sea mud masks. Similarly popular are the seasonal risers: bath bombs, face masks, and aloe vera. Rising stars that may or may not be indicative of a steady new trend includ charcoal masks, peel-off face masks, and sheet masks.
Clearly masks have caught the American public’s attention, leading to an abundance of Google queries.
Sustained decliners, on the other hand, include olive oil for skin, homemade facials, and manuka honey for acne; seasonal declines include almond oil and homemade foot soaks, while skin bleaching and seaweed lotion are listed among the falling stars.
The report spotlights Vegan Skin Care as a rising trend in the US. Searches in the vegan skincare category grew 83% year over year, with the average American 13 times more likely to Google for vegan skin care products than someone in France. In Japan, this trend does not exist yet.
Rising and Falling Trends in France
In France, sustained risers (translated into English) include organic coconut oil, organic aloe vera gel, and dermaroll; seasonal risers include marseille soap, face masks, and aloe vera gel. Blackhead masks and black masks are listed among France’s rising stars.
BB cream and argan oil for acne are declining steadily, while lemon for skin and aloe vera for stretch marks are on a seasonal decline. Falling stars include donkey milk soap and in-shower self tanner.
The report spotlights Cellulite Solutions as a top trend in France. Interest in this search term spiked in May, indicating that the onset of warm weather leads to more body-conscious Googlers — far more for the French than Americans (30x) and Japanese people (170x).
Rising and Falling Trends in Japan
Japan’s sustained risers include the terms cleansing, face rollers, and all-in-one gels. Seasonal risers include enzyme face wash, wiping lotion, and whitening cream, and rising stars include hot cleansing, carbonated face wash, and pore cotton swabs.
On the sustained decline are hand towel face wash, shea, and rice bran beauty; seasonal decliners include face fat and chameleon plant toner, while tofu cream, gelatin packs, and medicated soap were all listed among Japan’s falling stars.
Japan’s spotlight trend? Cleansing, the number one sustained riser. According to the study, the average person in Japan is 6x more likely to search for cleansing than the average American, and 13x more than someone in France. Supporting search trends support the idea that people in Japan are looking for cleansing properties that are both gentle and strong.
Cross-Market Trending Themes
The data of most interest is that which has larger implications spanning multiple markets. The Beauty Trends report was able to identify cross-market themes prevalent in all three nations to know and watch out for.
Cross-market trends to know and watch included:
Masks: You may have noticed that masks are trending in all three markets. Though most prominently searched for in Japan over the last five years, a recent spike in the US coincides with a decline in Japanese interest. Searches for masks include user concerns of acne, blackheads, and oily skin.
As masks gain and maintain popularity on Google, they are making a splash on YouTube too as educational and entertaining video content. Since Japan was a frontier market for masks, search results there could be indicative of what’s to come in the US and elsewhere. Since Japan’s search trends include masks for legs, heels, hands, and other areas beyond the face, non-facial masks could catch on in America in coming years.
Devices: Devices like facial brushes are another trend to watch. Facial brushes in particular appeared in all three markets, with France taking the lead, followed by the US and Japan respectively. American interest began to pick up in 2014, two years after France’s began.
Spanning all three markets, searches other devices like body brushes and “facial beauty rollers” have risen.
DIY: Do-it-yourself products are another skin care trend to watch, trending mainly in the US and France. In the US, “DIY” is the new “homemade,” as the latter keyword has recently overcome the former as a search term.
Brands should take note of this shift and adjust language accordingly in order to attract more Googlers.
Bathing: As an experience, bathing is a rising search trend both in the US and France, growing at double the rate as it is in Japan. Searches for “bath bomb recipes” have risen 72% year over year, and 80% for “DIY bath bomb.”
Since the English phrase for bath bomb is trending in France, and caught on there a year later than it did in the US, the trend likely originated in here in America.
Men’s Skin Care: Though low in comparison to other search terms, queries for men’s skin care products have increased in all three markets. It is likely to continue seeing growth in years to come.
The report points out that this trend is a great opportunity for brands, healthcare providers, and services to educate men (and anyone who shops for them) on the nuances of different skin products available.
What it all Means
The 2017 Google Beauty Trends Report is an in-depth look at three markets worth of search trends related to skincare and beauty product. The full report goes to even further detail with an extensive list of top volume skin care searches, for anyone looking for more granular data.
As it stands, there is a lot to be gleaned from this report about what and how people want to enhance and care for their largest organ: the skin. These trends are a great way to understand what people across the world are interested in or bored with; what’s gaining steam, and what’s losing it.
Those of us in the field of dermatology take this into consideration to learn more about skincare needs, and encourage our patients to consult us — along with Google — with any and all skin-related questions and concerns.