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The New Alchemy of Multitasking Makeup

Emily Katz
  • As consumers continue to seek more bang for their buck in today’s new economy, beauty products that multitask are seeing more and more attention and market share.
  • Everything from eye shadow and concealers to lipstick and foundation can now offer elements of skin- and beauty-enhancing benefits, primarily through ingredient innovations.
  • Marketing these products with convenience, efficacy and economy in mind is the smartest way to appeal to consumers and their pocketbooks.

Editor’s note: This article originally ran in the April 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine. All rights reserved.

As a little girl of 3, I recall climbing up to my mother’s vanity and pulling out a beautiful, crystal-encrusted lipstick case that a friend had just brought from France. I’ll never forget how I wanted the lipstick within that case—it smelled of roses. It was then that I must have realized the power of makeup. Not only did I love applying it to my lips, but the scent also sent me to the moon. A love of makeup born within me, and it was the harbinger of recognizing that lipstick wasn’t just color—it held a world of magic.

Flash forward decades later … lipstick still captivates me; it is chock full of all kinds of good stuff for your lips, and is getting even more advanced in staying power and benefits.

The Quest for Efficiency and Youth

Currently the quest is for the ultimate in multitasking cosmetics, particularly in a culture obsessed with efficiency and youth. Consumers are seeking a means to get as much done as possible while wanting to simplify and streamline. In fact, according to a recent NPD Group Inc. report, approximately 86% of makeup users have used a makeup product that contains a skin care benefit in the past year. This idea culminates in beauty products that are a hybrid of convenience, results and color all in one. Herald the arrival of an amazing array of color treatment combinations and multitasking/multipurpose products such as powders that finish makeup and act as sunscreens; primers with benefits for aging skin, oil absorption and sebum control; and tinted sunscreens.

“[Combining color and skin benefits] is becoming a research and development necessity and is already a consumer demand with significant point-of-product differentiation,” explains Casi Morris, owner and principle of Casi Morris Consulting, a Los Angeles-based independent consultant, developer and formulator of skin care and beauty products. “The economy has placed a burden on most Americans’ spending, so consumers have chosen to cut back on nonessential personal care products, such as eye shadows, primers and illuminators and spend on items that necessitate a critical part of their daily regimen.”

This trend has been in effect for a number of years and is steadily taking over what could now be construed as commonplace makeup. “It started 10 years ago with an emphasis on anti-aging in beauty; with all the potions and serums available, it is only natural that color would want a piece of the pie. Pure color is a hard sell these days, but I really believe that skin care benefits should only enter into it when it makes sense,” explains Cristina Bartolucci, vice president of innovation at Roberts Cosmetics and co-founder of DuWop Cosmetics. And it isn’t just lipstick.

Foundation sales have been as recession-proof as lipstick this time around, even though lipstick has historically been the benchmark of sales in a bad economy. Now, with foundations that offer additional benefits, they are working to become a leader in international sales. This is due in great part to skin care benefits that consumers desire, derived from active anti-aging and skin-enhancing ingredients.

What Consumers Seek

Brand owners often come up against consumer expectations and concerns, including how consumers can get the most impact for their dollar and how they can minimize the amount of time they’re spending on skin care and makeup while still achieving an excellent result. Because of these concerns, the economic aspect that one product covers an array of results that once involved an entire skin care regimen is very appealing. These products can be very effective, but be conscious of the language and marketing approach you take, as some products are more temporary while others take a more cosmeceutical approach.

Foundations and lipsticks have been the forerunning products that include additional benefits, and now eye color products are taking on the hybridization, as well. The majority of these hybrid products address anti-aging, and it is becoming more and more important companies substantiate their claims of efficacy with clinical trials. Following is information on a variety of makeup types and their common additional benefits.

Lip products. “Lip products with SPF and antioxidants plus peptide-enhanced formulas help hydrate, protect and minimize fine lines around the mouth,” explains Morris.

Eye products. “Eye shadows in cream or liquid bases often include anti-aging benefits through an emulsified formulation that a powder base does not allow for,” says Morris. Eyeliner pencils with retinol target lines and wrinkles in the eye area, and technologies in concealers don’t just cover, but actually minimize puffiness, fine lines and dark circles. According to Hana Zalzel, president and founder of Cargo Cosmetics, “Botanical ingredients can be used to help reduce puffiness and dark circles by draining excess fluids and stimulating collagen synthesis to improve skin tone and firmness. Peptides and flavanoids work to reinforce the thin, fragile, transparent under-eye skin and help eliminate darkly pigmented by-products and oxidized blood cells, the root causes of darkness under the eyes.”

Concealers are another eye product that are offering skin care benefits. “Concealers have the ability to provide multiple benefits. Not only is this feasible, but it is also a necessity. They are an ideal mechanism for transferring anti-aging, “depuffing” agents and dark circle-reducing ingredients.

Including these problem-solvers, the consumer really experiences both immediate gratification and long-term skin improving benefits,” says Morris.

Complexion. “Primers and illuminators serve even more than two purposes,” explains Morris. “Lately, foundation primer can include hyaluronic acid and peptide complexes infused with natural botanicals. Some also create a velvety, mattifying and anti-acne treatment via the infusion of oligopeptide-10, a specific acne-fighting, collagen-enhancing amino acid.”

Another common complexion product that is beginning to include skin benefits in blush. Now, a cream blush not only adds color, but also includes a skin plumper or brightener to treat skin while luminizing concealers and bases.

Marketing Multitasking Products

If you do decide that these multitasking cosmetics have a place in your brand’s lineup, the next step is marketing them to ensure they are a profitable addition. Education combined with curiosity are what drive people to discover new products that can work to simplify their lives, and informing consumers about product benefits through demonstrations and advertising is a very good way to connect with consumers and show them what the product does before their very eyes. Additionally, providing demonstrations and events where people are able to see the visuals and compare notes on products help generate excitement among groups. There is no better recommendation than another woman saying: “Wow, that looks great!” When your consumers recognize the value you are introducing to them—financially, and for the skin and well-being—it will encourage sales.

It Makes Sense

It makes sense to use color products infused with active ingredients because they help consumers achieve results via product delivery. “Innovation” and “convenience” seem to be the current buzz words for color and treatment, and these products with multiple benefits in one piece are just plain smart.

Emily Katz is a film and television industry makeup artist with more than 20 years of experience, including as the makeup department supervisor for the TV series Lost. She received a Beauty Genius award in 2009 from Elle magazine and is currently working on the show The Nine Lives of Chloe King on ABC Family.

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