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Innovation-Spotting: Imogen Matthews Shares Thoughts on Premium Beauty Product Development

Posted: August 7, 2014

Beauty trend tracker Imogen Matthews shared an article titled “Is Innovation in the Premium Beauty Markets Dead?,” speculating on the development of truly innovative products at the higher end of the beauty market spectrum.

In describing what she feels innovation means, Matthews writes, “I believe it means challenging norms and daring to come up with an idea or concept that no one has done before.” And she says that, although difficult in a market as saturated as beauty, it possible, “…but it sometimes requires lateral thinking.”

Matthews shares some recent beauty products and concepts she’s found to be truly innovative:

  • Scalp exfoliators—“Scalp health is a strong trend in hair care nowadays, and there are plenty of brands to treat this condition,” she writes. And she goes on to point to a particular product, explaining, “The product that impressed me most is Hydrafoliant Scalp Scrub [from Salon Science], which contains exfoliants you rub into the scalp to remove dead skin cells. It’s a simple concept for consumers to understand and an example of how to transfer something that is widely used and understood in one field into another.”
  • Fragrance discovery box—Subscription boxes are hot in beauty, but there does seem to be a glut of them. However, in the realm of fragrance, Matthews found, “The Perfume Society Discovery Box containing sample fragrances with postcards of smelling notes and a booklet of blotters so that you can try out the fragrance the way that fragrance experts do.” She also says, “I love this idea because rather than trying to bluff something new into a crowded market, the innovation has come in the way the consumer interacts with the product.”
  • Sunscreen featuring a built-in applicator—Matthews shares that people have long found sunscreen difficult, including in knowing the correct amount to apply and in having its sometimes-tacky substances smeared all over their hands or missing spots using a spray application. These issues brought her to the thought, “A packaging innovation I believe could overcome these issues would consist of a container which dispenses a metered dose of sunscreen into the sponge top. The user knows they are applying the right amount of product to be safe in the sun and doesn’t need to get their hands dirty.”

Matthews also encourages beauty industry members to share their thoughts and discussions on her website.