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Gaining Consumer Confidence by Finding Common Ground

By: Kayla Fioravanti
Posted: June 3, 2010, from the June 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Old is new again. Rely on ingredients with long-term historical use in cosmetics. Back to basics will not only create effective natural skin care products, but also buoy consumer confidence. Brands can’t go wrong with ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, green tea, rooibos and essential oils. According to Mintel, “Because consumer confidence worldwide this year has taken a hit, 2010 will see increased consumer demand for proof or results.” Natural ingredients have centuries of results, and consumers can feel the difference immediately. The undeniable effect of shea butter on dry skin speaks for itself and natural-positioned products.

New Trends in Natural Ingredients

Whenever possible, keep it simple. Beyond just looking for results, consumers are seeking products that use ingredients which have naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidant properties. Rooibos extract is the perfect example of an ingredient that carries with it a natural apothecary for the skin. Consumers are sold on the value of superoxide dismutase, but place a higher value on the natural source found in rooibos extract.

There is also a growing interest in exotic natural ingredients that can be easily tied to current trends in other industries. Ingredients such as broccoli seed oil, pomegranate extract, coffee butter, usnea extract and carrot seed oil are catching consumer’s attention due to the crossover of information from the food, herbal and aromatherapy industries.

A Place for Natural, Naturally Derived and Synthetic

Here is the rub in the natural segment—you simply cannot make every beauty product out of ingredients picked directly from the earth. The most heated debates in the industry are centered on surfactants, emulsifiers and preservatives. While there is a place in the market for the ultra natural brands that avoid all three categories, there simply are not enough consumers willing to do without traditional beauty products. There is a large base of consumers who desire natural products, but not at the price of beauty. This is where the fluency of common sense must prevail in naturals. Many already agree that ingredients such as cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, decyl glucoside, phenoxyethanol, and even on some lists, sodium lauryl sulfate have a place in the natural industry. The vital function of ingredients that act as surfactants, emulsifiers and preservatives simply cannot be achieved using natural substances in all cases.

Raw material suppliers can play a vital role in bringing a long list of acceptable ingredients to organizations such as NaTrue and The Natural Products Association by submitting their ingredients to their certification process. Many suppliers have already had their naturally derived and synthetic ingredients certified by these organizations, which can only aid cosmetic chemists in creating and marketers positioning products that consumers are confident in.

The Impact of Fluctuating Standards and One-up-man-ship