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Non-binary beauty – 61% feel underrepresented by the beauty and grooming industry

New research from sustainable razor brand Estrid has explored the impact of frequently gendered practises and products within the beauty industry. Almost two thirds (61%) of those surveyed admit they have struggled to find products they can relate to, with almost half (43%) choosing not to make a purchase for that reason.

Estrid wants to challenge the binary mindset of the beauty industry. By commissioning the research report, Estrid aims to make real change and help create a more inclusive world where gender isn’t even considered a targeting factor. We’re all just humans after all.

Binary beauty 

The beauty industry has a long-standing history of dividing products into binary gender categories, with 92% claiming the majority of products in the category feel predominantly marketed towards women.

Bathroom staples such as hair products and razors were voted top of the list when it came to items commonly viewed as overtly gendered, with moisturiser (67%) and face wash (54%) voted as the most targeted towards women, whilst razors (50%) and deodorant (33%) were thought of as more geared towards men.

Top 5 – most gendered products towards men

Top 5 – most gendered products towards women

Razors (50%)

Moisturiser (67%)

Deodorant (33%)

Hair products (66%)

Shower gel (28%)

Shampoo (57%)

Vitamins and supplements (17%)

Face wash (54%)

Face wash (13%)

Vitamins and supplements (30%)

Whilst the binary approach impacts consumer choices and shopping experiences, over two thirds (62%) agreed they would be interested in non-gendered products for future purchases, supporting the preference for de-gendering the beauty space.

Underrepresentation in the beauty industry 

The report also revealed that feelings of exclusion impact people’s ability to enjoy the range of products available, with 61% admitting to feeling underrepresented by the beauty and grooming industry. Heavily impacted by this, genderfluid (80%) and non-binary people (70%) made up the biggest proportions of those missing out on purchases due to lack of representation.

For some, the impact of feeling overlooked or ignored can be extremely emotional, leaving feelings of embarrassment, frustration and disappointment. Almost half (48%) of those identifying as transgender felt isolated by being unable to find the right products for them, with feelings of segregation (37%) and victimisation (25%) also common amongst this group. For Black and mixed-race people however, a fifth (20%) were unsurprised by being unable to find the right product for them, highlighting the wider, long-lasting issues with representation faced within the industry.

Shifting self-care 

The research commissioned by Estrid reveals almost all (84%) people now think beauty, grooming and self care products should be gender-free, with favour growing for a more unisex or degendered approach.

With demand rising to move in a gender-neutral direction, self-care lovers and beauty fans want to see more progressive changes from the industry, arguing more inclusive marketing is needed (45%) – including visibilibity of diverse ambassadors such as non-binary and BIPOC (42%).

Various points of branding are also key elements for change, over a third want to see developments in packaging and product design (36% and 37% respectively), with visuals acting as a key driver of many pre-purchase decisions.

With the rising demand for a less gender-specific offering, research suggests the industry is evolving, albeit slowly, with more than two thirds (69%) agreeing that the beauty world is becoming less gender focused, but not fast enough (35%).