Skincare: A snapshot of French and American trends

Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation (Photo: Cottonbro / Pexels)

14 June 2022


To announce our new partnership with Spate, Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation kicks off a series of updates from the Google search specialists with a deep dive into the latest consumer data analysis from the French Beauty sector.

We have been using the Spate US [1] tool to support our Trend reports for two years now - it has become an invaluable asset as it allows us to enrich our research and observations with reliable, and insightful data. We are thrilled that the company is extending into France and other countries, to bring a much clearer understanding of cultural trends and consumer shifts, on a global scale,” explains Leila Rochet, Chief Inspiration Officer of Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation.

Understanding cultural specificities through country-specific data analysis is an incredibly useful tool - particularly in the case of France and the US where cultural and historical differences are more marked. The latest data from Spate allows us to better understand the differences and similarities trending in both countries.

French hooked on the classics

The laser focus on skincare propelled by the pandemic is in decline, as French consumers shift their focus onto beautification. Yet, within the skincare space, what is emerging from Spate’s data is a picture of a French consumer who is hooked on classic products and brands, but with an eye on innovative ingredients that blend science with nature.

In the US market, novel and on-trend formats, such as face mask sticks (with an increase of more than 168.4K average monthly searches) and gua sha oil (+7.2K average monthly searches) are proving popular, while in France it is the trusted, classic products that are driving the most traffic. Serum tops out the most searched for in the face category (with a search volume increase of +4.8K average monthly searches), with consumers looking for serum-based solutions to target spots, hyperpigmentation and blemishes. For the US consumer, anti-aging is the top concern with searches for ‘face serum + wrinkles’ averaging 21,000 searches per month.

Brand searches confirm natural and derma-brand interest

Confirming the dominance of the classics in the French consumer psyche, Clarins is the most popular brand (+7.4K increase in average monthly searches), followed by other tried-and-tested brands including Caudalie (+7.2K avg monthly searches) and La Roche Posay (+3.7K avg monthly searches). The most popular Clarins product is the Clarins Double Serum, reflective of serums as the top change driver amongst French consumers.

Ingredient appeal - tech vs nature

Despite interest in scientific ingredients being less prevalent amongst French consumers compared to those in the US, what is emerging is a rising interest in alternative plant-derived ingredients. Notably, carrot oil is experiencing a surge in France (searches are +7.75% YoY, averaging 2.3K per month). Spate notes that in France, searches for ‘huile de carotte peau claire’, (‘light skin carrot oil’), suggests consumers are using the ingredient to treat skin discoloration or lighten the skin.

Scientific actives are also having a bit of a moment (albeit more tentatively than when these ingredients began to spike in the US some years ago), represented in search volume increases for salicylic acid (+856 avg monthly searches), spironolactone (+357 avg monthly searches), and bakuchiol (+281 avg monthly searches). Also in ascendance is niacinamide, which has had a search surge of +35.8% YoY alongside skincare in 2022.

The CIC x Spate Take

The classics reign in France. While US consumers are trend-led, French consumers are more comfortable with familiar, tried-and-tested brands and products. Yet, rising interest in scientific ingredients and innovative plant-derived alternatives presents an opportunity for brands to inspire consumers by revamping popular formats with exciting new ingredients.

Join Cosmetics Inspiration & Creation’s Leila Rochet for a unique Beauty Talk with Spate’s Analytical Lead, Julien Lutz, at Makeup in Paris on June 17 at 2:00 pm.

Register here for your seat.


[1] The Spate dashboard analyzes over 20 billion online search signals to answer crucial questions for the beauty and wellness industry. They launch their French data set this month. The figures in this article and the report include France & US Google Search from April 2021 to March 2022 vs. April 2020 to March 2021. Don’t hesitate to download the report


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