Consumers expect cosmetics and toiletries to offer health and well-being benefits in addition to beauty benefits, and use products for the mind as much as for the body. The beauty benefit of what is ingested is now considered to be as important as that of what is applied, spawning a whole new category termed nutricosmetics. “The pressure to look good all the time is pushing consumers to find an arsenal of beauty measures,” says Diana Dodson, senior industry analyst for cosmetics and toiletries, Euromonitor International.* “Increasingly, the trend is toward a more natural look, and beauty-from-within is better aligned with this ideal than the short-term fixes topical products provide.”
Nica Lewis, head of cosmetics research, Mintel,* maintains that nutricosmetics have also not met with great success in France. “Several factors have been holding back the market—including indifference, skepticism, perception that consumers don’t need vitamins and limited distribution,” she says. “The problem with oral supplements is that people take them on faith, as it is hard to see that they are working. With exfoliators and serums, they are more likely to see a result.”
The launch of innovative nutricosmetic products by major non-C&T multinationals may influence the way consumers perceive the segment. French dairy brand Danone has launched a vitamin-fortified yogurt called Danone Essensis, designed to integrate into a regular skin care regimen to supplement skin from within. It was first launched in the cosmetics department of Printemps before rolling out to supermarkets. “Yogurt has many known health benefits, but now it is continuing to gain ground for its beauty benefits,” says Mintel’s Lewis. “The active live cultures are responsible for most of the benefits, and eating yogurt has been shown to support digestive health, improve immune system function and prevent imbalances in the body’s yeast levels. More recently, yogurt has also been linked to promoting healthy skin and hair.”
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola may be looking to inject health benefits into both its products and image by partnering with L’Oréal to produce a tea-based skin care drink called Lumaé, scheduled for launch sometime in 2008. The intention is to distribute the brand through upmarket cosmetic retailers, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, rather than the usual soft drinks channels. In a separate initiative, Coca-Cola launched a nutricosmetics drink in Japan called Aquarius Sharp Charge drink, which contains GABA (gamma-aminobulyric acid), a neuroinhibitory chemical that stops pain impulses from reaching the brain and is produced in the body as a natural muscle relaxant. In food products, GABA is added to enhance calmness and relaxation. It is now being used more extensively in skin care products for its line-reducing capabilities; for example, in Dr. Brandt’s Crease Release Rapid Wrinkle Reducer and Freeze 24/7 products, whose formulations claim to produce a line-smoothing effect similar to Botox.
Food ingredients in beauty products are now very much in vogue and used for their smell and sensual textures—chocolate, mushrooms and ginger, for example. “Ginger is a traditional Ayurvedic ingredient used for centuries to prevent as well as cure diseases such as skin disorders, fever and digestive problems,” says Lewis. Although popular for many years in bath, body and foot care products, ginger is now appearing as a key ingredient in radiance and anticellulite products, according to Mintel’s research.
Japanese brand Menard was the first to use Reishi extract from mushrooms in its Embellir range, back in 1986. Black Reishi is said to eliminate toxins that slow cellular renewal, while red Reishi stimulates cell production and helps repair UV damage. Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins was one of the first premium Western brands to use fungi in skin care—notably in its Planti-dote Mega Mushroom range featuring three varieties of mushroom. Estée Lauder has also used Reishi mushroom in the reformulation of its Re-Nutriv sun care line.
In 2006, French company Sensation Chocolat Paris launched a skin care range of cocoa based products marketed for their textures, scents and antioxidant action. Products include Le Fondant O Chocolat face cream, La Moussee O Chocolat facial mask and Le Granit O Chocolat body scrub, and its massage candles can be used as a body moisturizer or massage oil when melted.
Euromonitor predicts a bright future for nutricosmetics. “Nutricosmetics are expected to become more sophisticated in their market positioning, targeting a wider range of select consumer groups,” says Dodson. “Besides segmenting the market by age and gender, ethnic-specific products—catering to the unique qualities of skin and hair of different ethnic groups—could also be an area for development.”
*Euromonitor, Kline & Company and Mintel will participate in the marketing trends presentations at in-cosmetics held in Amsterdam, April 15–17, 2008. For further information, visit www.in-cosmetics.com.
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