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Looking for a Bigger Bite—Selling Beauty from Within

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: March 3, 2010, from the March 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Recent studies on green tea supplements were conducted at the University of California on behalf of NuSkin. Despite being previously thought to have beneficial properties in healing sun-damaged skin, the researchers in the double-blind trial reluctantly concluded that “there were no statistically significant differences in the clinical or histological parameters of photoaging.” This was reported in the beauty industry press, which could be damaging for the beauty supplements industry—although what really counts are the studies that end up in the mainstream consumer media.

Perhaps out of fear of investing money in costly trials only to end up with similarly disappointing results, many nutraceutical brand owners shy away from carrying out similar tests. While, on the one hand, this prevents products being discredited, the downside is that it hardly helps to convince shoppers to try a product. It is clear that when it comes to persuading people to part with their cash for products that will enhance beauty, there is no better convincer than a clinical trial, especially in an area such as nutraceuticals where skepticism is so prevalent. The hype surrounding Alliance Boots’ Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum is one that is rather old hat in the U.K. market, but the point it proves is clear globally. By subjecting, in this case, the antiager to independent scientific trials and proving its efficacy, the product instantly shifted from one of many in an overcrowded market of antiagers to become the must-have among consumers, selling out in shops and enabling Alliance Boots to increase the serum’s retail price.

Trials; Regulations Should Help the Segment

Ultimately, the nutraceuticals brand owners that are brave enough to let their creations undergo tests are likely to reap the rewards in the long term, and raise the credibility of the industry as a whole. The stringent nutraceutical tests in Japan have actually served to make the country the world’s biggest nutraceutical market, and the same can happen in other key beauty markets if the industry overcomes its reluctance about testing.

Carrie Lennard is a research analyst at Euromonitor International.