Ethnic beauty goes green

Antoinette Alexander

Whether it is through the elimination of harsh chemicals, the use of eco-friendly packaging or the infusion of proprietary ingredients, the ethnic personal care segment appears to be embarking on a path of greater innovation.

“Marketers have thus ventured beyond the usual hair relaxers, the few darker tints of makeup and heavy moisturizers, to offer premium-to-high-end beauty and grooming regimens sold through pop-prestige outlets, such as Sephora, as well as through TV home shopping networks [like] HSN, QVC and others,” stated market research publisher Packaged Facts in its recently published report titled “Ethnic Hair, Beauty and Cosmetics Products in the U.S., 7th Edition.” The report noted that organic formulations also are driving ethnic HBC sales.

Ethnic hair care, makeup and skin care products are a $2.7 billion business. As for the effect of the challenging economy, the market achieved mid-single-digit increases during the global recession of 2008-2009, and is expected to return to double-digit progress as the recovery proceeds.

One example of new product innovation is ethnic hair care company Green-Wonders, which is expanding its product line with the new Naturalaxer Kit-In-A-Jar. The product is positioned as the first multi-ethnic hair relaxer that is organic, nontoxic and chemical-free.

While the products, including the new Naturalaxer Kit-In-A-Jar, currently are available only online at, the company is looking to take the Green-Wonders line into retail chains and beauty supply stores next year.

This fall, Johnson Products is launching a new touch-up relaxer system and maintenance line called Ultra Care. The new relaxer system not only promotes the company’s Moisture Blend complex—designed to battle dryness and hair breakage—but also uses eco-friendly resins and recyclable packaging. The kit comes in regular or coarse, and has a full maintenance line that includes a shampoo, conditioner and serum.

“The ‘new’ Johnson Products Co. will provide us with a platform to bring product innovations and promotions for Ultra Care and other JPC brands to a unique multicultural consumer group,” stated Eric Brown, CEO of Johnson Products.

To address the specific problems of skin of color, there’s the new Fade systems by Black Opal that shipped in September. The Black Opal Maximum Strength Plus system is specially formulated for skin of color to deliver maximum fading benefits along with conditioning. With the highest concentration of hydroquinone in a nonprescription product, the Maximum Strength Plus system promises to result in a more rejuvenated complexion.

The Black Opal Sensitive Skin system is specially formulated for skin of color to care for reactive skin. It is formulated with Sepi-White, a fading agent derived from lipoamino acids, to target the root of hyperpigmentation and fade dark spots and discolorations.

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