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CEW Hosts Skin Care’s Power Players

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: June 23, 2014

Three skin care executives from beauty industry powerhouses Clarins, Clinique and Elizabeth Arden shared their insights on the fast-growing skin care category at Cosmetic Executive Women’s (CEW) Beauty Insider Series event held June 18, 2014, at New York’s Harmonie Club. Carlotta Jacobson, president of CEW, remarked on the uniqueness of the event, saying, “Where else would you be able to hear from the top three skin care leaders—and competitors—under one roof?”

Jacobson, who also announced the upcoming launch of CEW’s new social media site for members, said the site will be an interactive membership directory that will enable members to form communities within it and better communicate with one another. The social media hub will allow the CEW’s 6,000 members across the nation an opportunity to join discussion groups, gain career advice, and enable mentorships through the site.

Trends and Demographics

CEW chairperson Jill Scalamandre moderated the evening’s panel, which included Maria Dempsey, executive vice president of regional marketing, Americas, Clarins; Agnes Landau, senior vice president of global marketing, Clinique; and Kara Langan, vice president of global marketing, Elizabeth Arden.

Scalamandre began the discussion with a look at the paradox of the skin care market, noting its global acceleration and local decline, and Dempsey whose successful product launches include Clarins’ Vital Light Serum and the rebranding of Total Eye Concentrate, said, “It’s a dynamic industry. This is a little bump in the road for skin care. It’s a slight slowdown, no need for panic.”

Landau, who has been the guiding force behind Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector and Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector, also provided some perspective on the changes, saying, “Three to three and a half years ago the whole hyperpigmentation category was created. Now this is leveling off. That might explain some of the slowdown in the U.S. But, we look at opportunities too—for example, online is growing double digits, and we want to understand online growth.”

A look at shifting consumer habits prompted Langan’s reply. “Looking at different channels is important. Spas, dermatologists and plastic surgeons all have different dynamics, so we need to understand them better,” she noted.

Dempsey also addressed the BB cream category, saying it created excitement for the consumer and “shows us that customers want multi-benefit. It’s dynamic.” And Langan said it was a great way to introduce the younger market to skin care benefits. “This is a great market for us to concentrate on,” she said.

Landau also weighed in on this topic. “Industrywide, consumers are looking at benefits. The CC cream consumer wants to feel that she is not wearing anything,” she noted, explaining her mother-in-law felt the CC cream she used was so light it hardly qualified as a cosmetic, let alone a foundation. “The insight of simplicity is an important one. Consumers are telling us something about wanting to simplify their routines.”

Key trends discussed to get more traction back in skin care centered around both product integrity and tools. Dempsey said, “At-home beauty care is really important, like Clarisonic and other at-home tools. At Clarins, we believe that your hands are your best tools for applying makeup, massaging and more.”

And Landau referred to a new cleansing device that will be launched soon for Clinique, saying, “The cleansing category is the heart of this brand. It is its DNA for Clinique. A device is like a great car, like a Ferrari, but you need a great driver. So, designing this with a dermatology/device synergy is key for us at Clinique.” Langan expanded the topic, noting, “Customization is also something we’re starting to see more of—like 3D printers, customers want to be able to create something for themselves,” she said.

Landau also noted that the environment continues to be something to look at. “Global warming is here, allergy season is significant. How we design products to address this changing world is important,” she said.