Millennials influence skin care trends

BY Seth Mendelson

It’s not your mother’s skin care aisle.

Today’s skin care segment is decisively ingredient-driven — but not with the typical substances that have propelled the category for the past 50 years. Formulas now contain such superfood ingredients as matcha, turmeric and kale, as well as such natural additions as charcoal, honey and mint to deliver efficacious results.

The simple fact about skin care? It’s undoubtedly benefiting — and being influenced — by the booming wellness and lifestyle phenomenon led by millennials. Natural continues to be on the rise as consumers become more knowledgeable and discerning about what they put on their skin.

“These ingredients, as well as new forms of delivery and applications, are what’s keeping the category interesting,” said Conny Wittke, CEO of nügg Beauty. “Multifunctional products and easy-to-use products that provide benefits faster and easier also keep rising in popularity, as do products that are multifunctional in the sense of helping consumers with topics, such as stress and antipollution.”

What does that mean for retailers trying to make their mark with this increasingly important category. The first takeaway is that millennials are behind many of the biggest trends surfacing in beauty. In mass skin care, these trends include face masks, single-use products and sticks.

“Face masks are now part of a millennial’s basic skin care regimen, so I’m seeing a variety of new mask forms, textures, benefits, ingredients and number of steps,” said Ingrid Jackel, CEO of Yes To. “Single-use products are also in high demand as they meet the needs of millennials who experience a variety of skin care problems on a day-to-day basis. And, they allow for flexibility and customization with less commitment than full-size skin care products. Finally, sticks are the newest form for skin care products due to their ease of application and their ease on-the-go, which meet the lifestyle needs of the millennial consumer.”

Burt’s Bees’ vice president and general manager, Matt Gregory, concurs, especially on the naturals front. “The natural beauty and personal care space continues to grow rapidly, at roughly twice the rate of conventional personal care,” he said.” As the demand for natural products grows, there’s an increased interest in individual ingredients within a formula, such as with naturally humectant honey.

“On the other hand, there is an increased focus on what’s not included, through ‘absence of’ or ‘free from’ claims. Finally, we’re also seeing the continual merge of the color and skin care worlds through multipurpose beauty products — items with an ability to nourish the skin, while also making the consumer look and feel beautiful. In fact, moisturizing ranks as a top benefit being sought after in makeup, according to a Mintel study.”

Hence, mass beauty sales are growing — according to Nielsen scanner data through March 24 — by about 5% gain in skin care. Categories that have typically been sleepy, such as acne, grew more than 40% in 2017, according to Kline. This is due, Kline officials said, to millennials’ desire for such DIY items as Neutrogena’s $34.99 Light Therapy Acne Mask and $19.99 Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment.

“Filling a white space on the mass mask market, coupled with Neutrogena’s marketing prowess, the brand reaped an estimated 30% of acne device sales in 2017, which no other brand in the acne category has ever been able to garner,” said Kelly Alexandre, senior analyst and the research lead in a recent report released by Kline.

Other acne innovations are being seen from one the hottest segments within skin care: masks. Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Sleeping Mask was one of the most buzzed-about masks in 2017, thanks to its lightweight cream texture, suitable for acne-prone skin. Beginning in April, the brand launched a single-use, peel-off version, as well as a SKU for brightening, Yes To Grapefruit Single Use Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Peel-Off Mask, in Walmart.

Jackel said the growth in natural is continuing to outpace the growth of mainstream by over 40%, based on the latest 12-week IRI data ending March 25. “I would expect this trend to continue given the growing desire for good-for-you beauty products, particularly among millennial consumers,” she said.

Proving that peel-off masks are the trend to watch in 2018, in April nügg launched several single-use, peel-off masks, including a Charcoal & Vitamin C Peel Off Face Mask for deep cleansing and a Tea Tree & Sea Silt Peel Off Face Mask to refresh and tone.

Earlier this fiscal year, Burt’s Bees launched a first-of-its-kind natural beauty collection at mass, which combined skin care expertise with professional makeup artist guidance to deliver high-performance beauty powered by natural ingredients.

“The beauty range is designed not only to make her look and feel beautiful, but to do so with ingredients that nourish and hydrate the skin. And, the line is made without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, silicones, talc or synthetic fragrances,” Gregory said.

Overall, Wittke said, mass skin care is becoming better and better, both in setting trends and in following prestige trends. “Indeed, they’re becoming so good that I think we should stop separating between ‘mass’ and ‘prestige’ in describing brands in each space,” he said. “Consumers are getting fantastic value for their money from brands and retailers operating in the space; they are understanding that more and more.”

Experience crucial to success
Creating new and innovative delivery systems to enhance the consumer experience goes hand-in-hand with unique ingredient and benefits stories.

Beiersdorf is using tech to reach consumers with its Eucerin brand. In late 2017, the brand launched a skill through the Amazon Echo’s digital assistant Alexa that’s designed to help users find their ideal skin solution. The skill is full of informative tips and product recommendations for Eucerin’s full product offering, including face, body, hand and cleansing lines.

On the experiential side, Rocio Rivera, assistant vice president of scientific communications at L’Oréal Paris, said that while consumers are still interested in claims, such as speed of results, there’s a growing desire for sensory experiences.

“Masks and cleansers are performing well in the category, driven by innovative sensorial formats and distinctive product experiences — everything from unique texture to product packaging,” Rivera said, noting that vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and retinol are the high-trending ingredients she’s seeing. “These coincide with what top dermatologists recommend and have long stood behind.”

L’Oréal Paris is capitalizing on these trends in several ways. For example, cleansing is a top-growing category, with consumers using more cleansing products than ever before. Recently, the brand launched Pure-Sugar Scrubs, which are formulated with naturally derived sugars to not only effectively cleanse skin, but also provide a great sensorial experience.

Stephanie Robertson, Olay brand director at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, agreed that ingredients are having a moment. Now, more than ever, women are honing in on power ingredients. The hot, powerful ingredient of the moment is B3/niacinamide, she said.

“Niacinamide isn’t new,” Robertson said, adding that just about any brand can put niacinamide into their formulas. But it’s different to optimize the delivery to the skin, as well as the activity in the skin — something her company is working to optimize.

“P&G has over 100 patents granted around the use of and formulation of niacinamide,” she said. “Olay began using it 18 years ago with the launch of Total Effects, and it’s been a go-to ingredient for our brand ever since. Most recently, we have included the ingredient in the new Olay Whips collection.”

Olay’s Whips, which do include B3/niacinamide, are formulated with the company’s Active Rush Technology, which Robertson said is meant to hold and quickly release 1,000 times its weight in hydration and active ingredients. Whips transform from cream to liquid on contact, flash absorbing into the skin. They are available with and without SPF under the Regenerist, Total Effects and Luminous sub-brands.

The enhanced consumer experience behind Olay’s Whips also debunks the common misconception that in order for a skincare product to deliver powerful results, it must be heavy.

“There has been a direct rise of foams, whips, cloud creams — you name it. The launch of Olay Whips has been a turning point for the brand, and women, as there is now a skin cream that finally offers great results with a light, matte finish,” Robertson said.

Mass dermatology
Dermatologist-backed lines have experienced a resurgence, largely propelled by the wellness trend and boosted by consumers’ expectations that formulas meet specific concerns.

“Over the last few years, there’s been increased interest and request for skin care products that offer relief for specific skin concerns, such as extremely dry skin, or conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis. It’s no surprise given that according to the American Academy of Dermatology, today skin conditions affect 1-in-4 Americans,” said Diana Jagannath, brand manager of Dove DermaSeries — the Unilever brand’s first dermatology inspired line.

The collection marks the brand’s first fragrance-free and hypoallergenic skin care regimen designed to provide instant relief and lasting comfort for those with extremely dry skin, Jagannath said. The line includes a body wash, body lotion, hand cream, face wash, face cream and eczema relief body lotion, and uses such specific ingredients as colloidal oatmeal in its Eczema Relief Soothing Body Lotion and PPAR’s — a protein found in skin — in moisturizers to address specific skin concerns.

“We’ve also formulated our products so they are more enjoyable to use, with beautiful textures instead of the more frequently found heavy, leave-behind residues that don’t fully absorb,” Jagannath said. “We don’t want people to have to choose between beauty and therapeutic offerings today.”


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