New on-trend beauty launches keep consumers engaged and purchasing

BY Seth Mendelson

Lets get right to the point: Brands’ commitment to engaging with consumers through advanced, innovative technology via mobile, apps and social media will continue to drive the mass beauty business this year.

Such companies as Coty, which recently unveiled a new augmented reality try-and-buy experience where users can virtually wear five spring 2018 makeup looks from CoverGirl, and L’Oréal — which launched a wearable designed for the fingernail that measures UV exposure — look to push mass beauty to leadership levels to stay connected to consumers. In addition, such brands as e.l.f. and NYX continuously tap into their loyal communities for co-creation inspiration, which they can use to bring new items to market in as little as three months.

While there is much to be excited about from a tech point of view, overall mass beauty growth remains limited, with bright spots isolated to skin care. Nielsen scanner data through Feb. 24 puts mass makeup and nail down 1% on a 52-week basis; skin care up 6%; fragrance down 6% and hair care down 1%. Indie brands, not surprisingly, continue to perform better than legacy brands.

The sluggish sales growth has resulted in mass merchants, especially supermarkets and drug stores, investing in their beauty sections at a slower rate, though it appears that Walmart and Target are still pumping money into their departments at historical rates.

Challenges aside, while companies are creating ways to keep consumers engaged during their jaunt down the beauty aisle, innovative products are what looks to bring them to the point of purchase.

Here are some of the categories that look to keep consumers shopping mass beauty — and coming back for more.

Facial cleansing
Active lifestyles have been driving innovation in facial cleansing in recent years. In 2017, facial wipes were the go-to item to keep skin clear of dirt and makeup. But this year, sticks are the delivery method
of choice.

Yes To, the first company to launch a full range of natural single-use masks to the mass market, also was the first to dive into cleansing sticks in 2018. “I usually look at global product, ingredient and consumer trends,” for product inspiration, said Ingrid Jackel, Yes To’s CEO, at a recent brand event unveiling this year’s launches. “That’s how we approach new production innovation — we focus on what her needs are then look at how to apply the trends. For example, we launched a lot of stick formulas this year because it’s very popular, practical and functional, and applied the trend across many of our ingredient lines.”

One of those ingredient lines is its popular charcoal franchise, hence the Yes To Charcoal Detox Cleansing Stick, designed for deep-pore cleansing and made from purifying charcoal, natural exfoliating minerals and artichoke leaf. A Coconut Oil Moisturizing Stick, which is designed to maintain its solid form for up to a year, also is available.

To keep consumers engaged, the brand is expanding its digital presence with its largest 360-degree campaign, which includes digital media, social media, YouTube videos, influencer sponsorships, public relations and more, with the goal of reaching millennials on their turf and building the brand authentically.

Another player in sticks is St. Ives, which in the first quarter launched three variants of cleansing sticks that are made from 100% natural coconut oil and are paraben-free. Designed for on-the-go cleansing, the sticks twist up, are applied to wet skin, massaged into a gentle lather and rinsed off. St. Ives Cleansing Sticks are available in cactus water and hibiscus, matcha green tea and ginger and apricot and manuka honey. Each retails for $7.99.

E.l.f. Beauty is probably best known for developing trendy items at an affordable price point from concept to launch in as little as three months. And its model is working: the brand is expanding into all Ulta Beauty stores during the first half of 2018. Last year it gained 50% more shelf space at Target, and 20% more shelf space at Walmart. Since e.l.f. boasts 37 million followers and consumers engage with the brand on new products already have been vetted for their likeability. A notable 2018 launch was a cosmetics collection created in partnership with designer Chrisitan Siriano.

CoverGirl’s rebrand is in full swing, with the brand introducing 25% new products, new packaging and sharp marketing in the first quarter of 2018. Its new slogan, “I Am What I Make Up” also is resonating with consumers via TV spots and hashtags on social campaigns.

“What’s abundantly clear is that there’s no longer a singular standard of beauty, and that people are using makeup not just as a cosmetic, but as a powerful tool for creation, self-expression and personal transformation,” Ukonwa Ojo, CoverGirl senior vice president, said at the brand’s relaunch event. “CoverGirl has always been inclusive and diverse, striving to break industry norms, so that we had a responsibility to take our vision to the next level.”

The brand has said it is committed to staying true to its DNA of developing innovative mascaras and foundations, but will focus closely on such trendy items as primers, highlighters and metallics. Some new items meeting these trends include Melting Pout Metallics and a Vitalist collection dedicated to getting a healthy glow.

The Vitalist collection includes six items, each also designed to hydrate skin, from the Vitalist Lip Oil, Vitalist Healthy Powder, Vitalist Healthy Concealer, Vitalist Go Glow Luminizing Lotion, Vitalist Healthy Glow Highlighter and Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation.

As part of its brand DNA, NYX Cosmetics implements heavy digital campaigns to support all of its launches, many of which are co-created by its vast community of makeup artists, cosmetics enthusiasts and consumers alike. Its most recent efforts will support two new launches. A campaign will support the launch of Love You So Mochi Eyeshadow Palette and Love You So Mochi Highlighting Palette via swatch videos and interactive shopping on The highlighting offering is available in two palettes and the eyeshadow palette is available in two color combinations — pastels and peach-tones — featuring 10 eyeshadows in a range of matte and shimmer finishes.

Styling products and tools remain hot in hair care as DIY beauty continues its growth. According to Jenna Levin, senior brand manager at TRESemmé, aside from DIY beauty, inspiration is coming from today’s current culture of influencers and Instagram. “People are looking to recreate styles and are seeking products they need to achieve their desired look,” she said. “There’s definitely a wave of creativity in terms of trying out different looks, and we see this a lot from hair to makeup. I think people are also recognizing that styled hair completes
the overall look and can help them feel extra confident.”

TREsemmé is delivering on its leadership ranking in the styling category with a new Compressed Micro-Mist hair spray that aims to deliver a mist with enduring hold. The reinvented hair sprays contain 50% less gas than TREsemmé’s traditional 11-oz. cans, and use an optimized blend of dual polymers, the substance that forms bonds, the brand said. The mists are available in four hold levels. “We know there is a stigma against hair spray, particularly with millennials, so we spent the past three years developing this breakthrough formula that delivers style without stiffness, crunch or crisp,” Levin said.

Beauty for nature’s sake
Natural beauty has been outperforming sales of conventional beauty for some time, taking market share in the process. According to Nielsen data, in 2017, natural products comprised $1.3 billion in sales, or 3.1% of the overall U.S. personal care market. That’s up from 2.1% in 2013, or $230 million in sales. But depending on how one looks at the category, natural’s growth is slowing. Sales of conventional cosmetics declined about 1% over the last year.

Looking at natural cosmetics — at least those claiming to be natural — for the lip, eye and face, sales declined 1.2%. Natural beauty care sales, which also include skin care, grew 9% in 2017, versus 11% in 2016. Natural personal care, which includes body care and deodorant, grew 9% in 2017 versus 10% in 2016.

Today it seems, what’s not in a natural product is as important as what is. For example, when looking at products made without such ingredients as parabens, sales grew 2.3%. And over the last two years, the number of facial cosmetics claiming paraben-free formulas grew to 54% of the category from 43%. In fact, just 35% of beauty products still contain parabens, down nearly seven points over the last two years.

Over the last year, Nielsen has seen similar natural trade-outs drive ingredient trends forward. Sales of health and beauty products with honey, charcoal and micellar, for example, are growing rapidly. So, what’s the next charcoal or avocado oil? It may well be seaberry or sea buckthorn oil, herbal oils believed for centuries to have anti-aging properties, Nielsen said. Sales of beauty products including these ingredients are growing more than 200% annually, primarily in skin care, but in hair care and cosmetics, as well.

Items meeting this trend forecast include Tree Hut’s Protecting Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30, which uses rosehip oil to help soften fine lines; carrot seed oil for its natural healing properties; pomegranate to protect against environmental stresses; and sea buckthorn, which is rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids to rejuvenate skin. In hair care, OGX Renewing Argan Oil of Morocco Renewing Treatment aims to renew hair’s cell structure and protect it from heat styling with natural vitamin E and antioxidants, including argan oil. And, Garnier’s Whole Blends Avocado Oil & Shea Butter Nourishing Shampoo uses South African avocado oil and West African shea butter to rejuvenate dried out hair. Items are paraben-free and gentle for everyday use.

Masking beauty
Sales of masks are fueling growth in mass skin care, and executives believe that sales will continue to increase further as the category still has room for consumer adoption to increase in the United States.

“According to a study by Euromonitor, still less than 30% of women use face masks 1-to-5 times per week,” said Conny Wittke, founder and CEO of nügg Beauty. “The percent is highest in the younger generations, which are making masks a steady part of their skin care regime, meaning continuous growth as the adoption and usage rates grow.”

But which masks are moving the needle?

“There is no single, one-size-fits-all mask, and the ‘right’ mask should address one’s skin’s particular needs,” said Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research, department of dermatology, at Mount Sinai Hospital. “Masks should be used intermittently to complement a current skin care regimen. The idea of a mask is not new, but they have become increasingly popular, perhaps because of the influence of social media on skin care.”

Yes To is the leader in mass masks. With more than 67% share in what is now the leading segment in natural skin care, Yes To just launched the first-ever mask in a stick, Yes To SnapMask Stick. The patented product dries in five minutes and is available in both detoxifying charcoal and glow-boosting grapefruit and vitamin C.

Today’s overnight masks are yesteryear’s night creams. Neutrogena’s new Hydro Boost Hydrating Overnight Gel Mask is one of the category’s newest, which wraps skin in a hyaluronic acid-infused gel cream so users wake up with hydrated, supple skin. “Hyaluronic acid is like a sponge that pulls in hydration to the outer skin layer from the deep, within the skin, or even the environment if the air is humid. It helps hydrate and plump dry skin,” Zeichner said.

There also is Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Facial Mask Gel Moisturizer, which is formulated with vitamin B3, mulberry extract and humectants, to help brighten and even skin tone over time.

Nügg has made masks its entire business, from masks for the face and for the lips. Wittke said the brand will continue its fast pace of innovation and launch two alginate-based, natural and alcohol-free peel-off face masks. One is a Charcoal and Vitamin C Peel Off Face mask to deeply cleanse and mattify skin and to help reduce the appearance of pore size, and the other is a Tea Tree and Sea Silt Peel Off Face Mask to refine pores and tone and refresh skin. Also on tap is a de-stress and anti-pollution gel face mask to nourish and de-stress skin. Lip will expand with a special-edition flavor for its very popular all-natural and vegan lip scrub and smoother.


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