Even in the face of the tough economic conditions currently affecting the developed markets in Europe and North America, natural and organic cosmetics have continued to power ahead, driven by the fact that consumers want products which have been developed without the use of synthetic ingredients in the belief that they are purer and less likely to pose any potential risk to health.
The category that has flown the natural flag with the most pride is undoubtedly skin care. Most consumers feel that if they are going to apply a product directly to their skin, it is even more important to ensure that it is safe to use. However, the more the natural trend evolves, the more it is having an impact on other beauty and personal care categories, including oral care, deodorants and even colour cosmetics.
Skin care products make no compromise on functionality
As consumers are choosing natural products for their perceived heightened safety, they are also becoming increasingly less willing to sacrifice this for functionality and efficacy. This means that, like never before, there is demand for natural-based products which also offer other all-important features such as moisturising, anti-wrinkle functionality, lightening and UV protection, together with all the necessary sensory attributes, including consistency, skin feel and fragrance.
In the US, Pacific Specialty Oils has reformulated its HTY Gold branded Night Gold Cream formula, claiming that the new product has improved anti-wrinkle capabilities while also being free from synthetic-based ingredients. It is said that the inclusion of tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E which naturally accumulates in the skin cells to provide a barrier against UV rays, helps to prevent oxidative stress, skin damage and, ultimately, signs of ageing.
Clinique has turned to brown algae for its latest anti-ageing product, Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream. It contains a Mitostime stem cell extract from brown algae which has been derived using biotechnology. Similar to the apple stem cell technology that has been sweeping the anti-ageing skin care category in the last year, the extract is said to increase essential energy to skin cells, in turn enhancing collagen and elastin synthesis. The product will be launched worldwide in March 2012 and Clinique is expected to market it around the algae-based stem cell technology. This is an interesting departure for Clinique given that its products are not usually marketed on the strength of specific ingredients.
In recent years the skin care category has seen a variety of launches based on animal or insect-derived ingredients. Snail slime, frog skin and snake venom have all made their mark. Now, it is the turn of bee venom. New Zealand-based Manuka Doctor has launched a range of anti-ageing, moisturising and cleansing skin care products under the name Apitherapy, based on purified bee venom (PBV). Alongside the venom, the formulation also contains a combination of minerals, peptides and amino acids. It is said to boost cell regeneration and collagen production, which gives it its anti-ageing properties. In addition, clinical trials have also underlined PBV’s anti-bacterial properties, showing it to be particularly good at fighting the bacteria that causes acne. The company’s PBV products are offered in three different skin care ranges – apiclear, which is focused on blemishes, apinourish, which targets moisturisation and skin cell regeneration, and apirevive, which is an antiseptic gel.
In North America, a natural-based deodorant is being launched by Californian-based Zion Health which uses a type of clay known for its absorption properties. The product is marketed on the strength of being an aluminium-free deodorant, a claim that forms the basis of most natural-based deodorants. Called ClayDry, the formulation is based on Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, which is more commonly known as Adama. The deodorants are the latest extension to a complete line of Adama-based products that also include skin care, body care, hair care and detox supplements.
Novel formats stand out from the crowd
Likewise, natural does not necessarily mean bland products packaged in dreary colours with images of plants and fruits. Some funky and fun natural-based products are starting to hit the market, trying to gain a competitive edge by being a little different and standing out from traditional and sometimes rather predictable ranges.
One launch that underlines this is a dill pickle-flavoured lip balm that contains real dill pickle extract. Launched in the US by Van Holten, a renowned purveyor of pickled products, the lip balm was launched to coincide with the US holiday season and clearly targets consumers’ penchant for fun products that break the mould and inject some humour into the festive season. The product contains an SPF of 15 and the packaging contains Van Holten’s well-recognised pickle-in-a-pouch character.
The fun theme continues with a US children’s toothpaste that changes colour as the user brushes their teeth. Although this conjures up ideas of all sorts of nasty synthetic ingredients, it is claimed the effect in Wright’s Vortex Color Changing Toothpaste is actually achieved by using simple optics, rather than any sort of chemical reaction. When initially dispensed the toothpaste has blue and red streams, but once tooth brushing begins it slowly turns to a bright shade of purple. The purpose of this is to encourage the child to brush their teeth for the minimum suggested time to appreciate the full colour change.
All of these product launches underline the fact that in order to remain competitive and grab the attention of consumers, natural-based beauty and personal care products are having to go that extra mile to remain relevant and competitive in a market where product claims are constantly being stretched to new limits.