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For the Ages: Ingredients Targeted to Different Generations

By: Abby Penning
Posted: May 29, 2014, from the June 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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“We can work and play with the stories of the ingredients that we are supplying. In not so many cases will we develop one product for a niche,” says Jean-Francois Molina, global sales and marketing manager, Solabia. “But we can adapt. If I have a good moisturizer, I can sell it to a brand as a product for people who are in their 20s or 30s or over 60. It’s adapting the ingredients to fit.”

Additionally, different things besides ingredients attract different target markets. “Different age demographics respond to different product textures. For example, a heavy moisturizing cream in an overnight cream is often more appealing to a mature woman seeking to rehydrate whereas a teenager may prefer a light, sprayable moisturizing body milk,” explains Jennifer Donahue, marketing manager, skin care and color cosmetics, Croda, Inc. “Croda’s Sensification system provides product developers with a structured approach to enable them to create products that address the age demographics by offering the sensorial attributes desired by consumers at different life stages.”

From the perspective of Active Organics, Lubrizol and Lipotec, actives can be used in specific age groups to target issues specific to the group, but product developers also can use other ingredients to create specific visual aesthetics targeting various age groups. By adjusting the aesthetics of a product, product developers can improve the daily use of a product, which will allow the actives in a product to be effective, Bentley, Ollagnier and Canadas say.

Connecting with Brands and Consumers

As Donahue shares, “The Sensification concept is very engaging for beauty brands because it gives them a way to create a unique sensory experience for each targeted consumer so they feel like the product is made for them.” The feeling of customization is very big in beauty right now, and products with targeted ingredients, textures and options for specific demographics helps better engage consumers.

Regarding what different age demographics expect from skin care products, Anthonavage shares, “With your baby boomers, you’re talking about a population that is rather savvy in terms of the way they spend their money, so they also are going to look for the cutting-edge technologies that work. And there’s another layer of complexity—the market that you’re selling in. For instance, in prestige, I would say the expectation for deliverables on the product’s performance is much higher.”

Ingredients that are more eco-friendly also engage different markets. “Botanicals are more in vogue with the younger people, as they’re being brought up on botanicals and what’s organic,” Kovats comments, and Anthonavage notes, “You’re going to find there’s a [sub] category interested in eco ingredients in each of the age brackets.”

However, on the customization trend, Hurst says, “I don’t see so much of the [age] targeting, but I do see targeting in skin care concerns. Like somebody would like to have something for anti-glycation, maybe for diabetic skin. Somebody might like something for chronic inflammation. Somebody might like something for hormonal-induced skin aging. Somebody might like something for stressed skin. Somebody might like something for skin that is extremely sensitive, or extremely dry. Or somebody might like to combine something for blemishes and anti-aging… I’m seeing much more like that—not just anti-aging; usually it’s a specific anti-aging need.”

Age as Just a Number?

Does age segmentation in beauty product development go any farther from here? As Kovats asks, “Is somebody then going to start taking the risk and targeting products for people 75 and older?”

Most likely, the stretch will be into other beauty categories. Bentley, Ollagnier and Canadas agree: anti-aging ingredients are found mainly in the skin care segment, but are increasingly expanding in other beauty categories. There’s a current trend, for example, of ingredients targeting anti-aging in skin care being formulated into various hair care products. With the increase in multifunctional products such as BB and CC creams, they note, active ingredients also are incorporated into more color cosmetics categories, targeting blemish and wrinkle control.

So expect new, innovative ingredients to continue to be launched in the coming years, offering new benefits for specific market segments and targeting some concerns that may be unknown even today.