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Natural Antiaging

Abby Penning
  • Antiaging products are among those most in-demand, appealing to both baby boomers and younger consumers seeking more preventive-based antiaging care.
  • Natural and botanical ingredients are the hottest antiagers, offering antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in everything from facial skin care to color cosmetics to body care products.
  • Education and effectiveness are paramount for consumers when it comes to antiaging products.
  • Innovative scientific breakthroughs and continuing consumer demand keep the antiaging segment humming, pushing new products and market developments.

Antiaging continues to be one of the beauty industry’s largest areas of opportunity, with brands consistently hunting for ways in which to incorporate the latest antiaging ingredients into their products, as well as for methods to reach consumers with this information. With innovative ingredients and marketing techniques continuing to evolve each day, as well as the still-gaining natural trend’s growing impact on antiaging’s evolution, keeping consumers on board with your brand’s developments can be more difficult than ever, which is why it is vital to stay well-informed about the industry’s overall antiaging direction.

“What we see on the horizon for antiaging products is the bar being raised higher and higher,” says Tom Kovats, vice president of Centerchem, Inc. “Our customers—the manufacturers and marketers—want more efficacious actives to meet the demands of their customers, the consumer who wants the latest and greatest in antiaging. The fact is, baby boomers and those behind them are getting older, and they just don’t want to look or feel older.” Boomers are clearly the target of the vast majority of antiaging products, but they aren’t the only ones picking them up. “Baby boomers, along with 20- and 30-year-olds, are looking to retain a more youthful appearance. And consumers today are reading labels and are looking for products with ingredients they are familiar with,” says Ellen Delisle, technical sales manager with Bio-Botanica, Inc. The massive market reach of antiaging, as well as possibilities to encompass a more natural bent, make the segment one not to ignore.

Current Innovations

Much of the current innovation in antiaging ingredients is coming from an environmentally friendly angle. “We’re seeing a lot of companies continuing with the trend toward botanical ingredients, things like pomegranate or cactus flower extract,” says Kyle Einhorn, vice president of business development with Viachem, Ltd. “This also seems to fall in line with the ongoing preference toward incorporating, or at least marketing, green or organic ingredients. In the area of antiaging, five [growing ingredients] we’re seeing are bearberry, acai berry, red tea, argan oil and durian.” The free radical-fighting power of antioxidants also is making botanical ingredients hot. “Antioxidants occur naturally in botanicals, and they are being widely used in cosmetic and beauty products,” says Delisle. “Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant claims on products have never been more popular than they are today. Most of us are familiar with vitamin C, vitamin E tocopherol, licorice and green tea in our cosmetic products to offer either antioxidant or anti-inflammatory properties,” but, Delisle notes, other ingredients also are on the rise. “Exotic fruits are very hot in the cosmetic industry. These fruits contain high antioxidant levels for numerous antiaging benefits, and many of these ingredients are also being used in nutritional drinks,” she says.

Einhorn sees the rise of antiaging products that tout both inner and outer beauty benefits, as well. “We’re seeing more complementary pairings of internal and external ingredients, which also falls in line with the idea that ingestible ingredients are inherently good for topical use, as well,” he explains. “Consumers seem to have accepted that if it’s okay to ingest an ingredient, then it’s okay—and even better—to put it on your skin.” As an illustrative example, Einhorn offers, “In our marketing of vitamin A products for AGD Nutrition, we have called upon this principle that using a natural, identifiable substance found naturally in foods is often a safe bet for finding ingredients that are actually effective.”

“By customer demand, we also have developed a blend of grape seed extract and green tea extract in glycerin,” says Delisle, noting the level of popularity of grape seed and grape-infused products, likely due to reports of grape’s natural benefits. “Everybody knows that red wine is beneficial to your health due to the high levels of resveratrol (polyphenols) in red wine. We are now seeing this incorporated into cosmetics. The phytochemically rich muscadine grape has a higher level of total antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties than any other type of grape. Many of the phytonutrients present in the muscadine grape have been recognized as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents,” that are used in today’s cosmetic formulations, Delisle notes. The label-friendliness of these natural ingredients also has consumers more trusting of these products, in addition to their benefits.

Where Antiaging is Being Incorporated

Toward broadening the appeal and marketing significance of antiaging, innovation in the segment isn’t limited to facial products. Kovats says, “Just about all categories of the personal care market now benefit from antiaging ingredients. The primary ones are still facial treatments and eye treatments, but markets such as body care and color cosmetics are now using actives to a greater degree, and will probably continue this trend.”

Today’s savvy shoppers are looking for multifunctional products, and incorporating antiaging benefits is often a quality way to offer consumers that something extra. “For color cosmetics to have antiaging actives allows the consumer to treat wrinkles, dark circles, etc. 24/7,” Kovats says.

“The spectrum of antiaging opportunity seems to be much broader for skin care products because preventive maintenance is such a major theme these days,” says Einhorn. “Take UV protection: It not only encompasses sunscreens, but also extends to facial lotions, liquid cosmetics and face powders. Producers recognize the need consumers have for UV-protective benefits in their skin care products, and as a result, are now regularly incorporating zinc oxides, titanium oxides and benzophenones.” The antiaging benefits of UV protection also factor into an innumerable amount of products, urging sun care and antiaging often into the same category of care.

The delivery of these beneficial ingredients is an important factor in offering antiaging elements, as well. “I view ingredients as a delivery system through the skin,” says Tzeira Sofer, founder of Pomega5. “That’s what I keep learning and understanding—that the skin is just another way of feeding our bodies. So whether you apply to the delicate skin under your eyes or on your chapped lips, it doesn’t matter. It’s about the technology that is serving the skin as a delivery system and those micronutrients that are absorbed by the body and benefit the different locations and different skin types.” As an example, Sofer explains, “We use orchid extract and essential oil and colloidal minerals for the eyes because of the specific delicate skin there and the tendency for fluid retention and darkness. The neck or hands have much sturdier skin that requires a higher concentration of essential fatty acids and can take a higher concentration of rich oils and antioxidants such as verbena and citruses that cannot be applied under the eyes. The philosophy is the same, but what you combine them with and how you make a finished product—that is different.” Knowing the benefits of specific natural antiaging ingredients, as well as their strengths and weaknesses in terms of application and use, can be the difference between a successful product and a failure.

Marketing Antiaging Ingredients, Innovations

The presence of label-friendly natural ingredients that offer the antiaging benefits consumers are looking for is really a marketing boon for beauty brands. “What’s fascinating about this trend, in terms of the current antiaging market, is the inherent marketability of the actual ingredients,” Einhorn affirms. “We saw this trend first emerge with antioxidants, but now we have natural and botanical ingredients that are inherently consumer-friendly because of their names. As consumers are reading ingredient labels and actually researching products, they are exhibiting a greater willingness to accept botanical ingredients rather than more chemical-sounding alternatives.”

Of course, ingredients with consumer familiarity and easily recognizable names will likely do nothing for your products and brand if they don’t exhibit any results. “It’s tremendously important to ensure the innovation you’re offering actually matches the benefit you’re promoting,” Einhorn cautions. “While consumers are willing to attach themselves to trends such as botanicals, [brand owners] should be wary of incorporating ingredients with no proven benefit.”

“Consumer education is definitely a must if this market is to continue to expand and live up to its promise,” explains Delisle, and Einhorn heartily agrees, saying, “The marketing of an innovative product is tantamount in importance to the actual creation of the innovation. Antiaging innovations are spurred by new research and popular culture. It’s nice for chemists to assume the entire antiaging industry is driven from a laboratory. However, the reality is that unless an ingredient or innovation gains the acceptance of consumers, no matter how effective it is, then it can easily be forgotten and fall in the clearance bin at Walgreens.

“The best way to educate consumers is through a mix of sampling, packaging, product promotions and media,” Einhorn continues. “Word-of-mouth is extremely powerful in the antiaging market, as is the Internet—search engines, online news outlets, blogs and of course, social media. What are people saying about the respective innovation?” However, given the grand scale of the antiaging market, it’s imperative to be specific and precise with all development and marketing initiatives. As Sofer notes, “Antiaging innovation is a big word, and everything is under this big umbrella. It can be very difficult for a brand to develop proprietary technology and stand apart from the rest. It’s about education and experience of the product.”

On Antiaging’s Horizon

A continually evolving market, antiaging is something to constantly keep an eye on—as innovations are happening all the time, spurred on from all directions, from scientific breakthroughs to consumer demands.

“Our suppliers create antiaging innovations from basic research such as peptides from combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput screening assay,” Kovats explains. “Molecular genetics is also used, and allows precise methodologies to be used to study gene expression in cell cultures. They will then match up the molecules or extracts to what our customers and the consumer market are looking for, usually antiaging ingredients that will work better and faster.”

Einhorn sees continuing opportunity, saying, “More, more, more—more products, more creative innovations and more applications of those innovations. People are living longer than ever before, and, at all income levels, they’re willing to spend money on products and benefits to look and feel good throughout their lives. Additionally, people are starting to spend on antiaging at a younger age, creating more opportunity in the preventive maintenance category.”

Natural, botanical elements will likely continue to be a key to antiaging innovation, according to Sofer. “I personally believe this industry is going to be infused with many more botanical innovations,” she says. “I do see that, somehow, the usage of natural ingredients or botanicals will be elevated to a higher discipline of being clinically tested and proven in the future. We are going to have to recognize that we can utilize those hundreds of thousands of species of botanicals—leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, peels and petals. They all carry an enormous potential for creating products that are going to make consumers healthier and more beautiful.” And ultimately, a healthier, more beautiful consumers is the goal of every antiaging ingredient, product and beauty brand.

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