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Beauty bounce: Work-from-home trends help propel skin care products

The preoccupation consumers have with skin care hasn’t changed, but the products they’re reaching for have.

Skin care emerged as the darling of the beauty industry during COVID-19. With time on their hands, Americans purchased more products to perfect their complexions, often hoping to look better on video calls. 

The obsession with skin care hasn’t abated, as the global skin care industry is on track to exceed sales of $165 billion by 2025, according to artificial intelligence provider ProQuo. The United States represents almost 30% of total spending. 

What has changed is what people are buying. Supplanting last year’s heroes, such as cleansers, face masks and antiaging facials, are acne remedies, body lotions and facials devices. 

IRI data for the 52-week period ending Oct. 3, 2021 in mass outlets illustrates the shift. Cleanser volume is down 1.4% versus double-digit gains throughout 2020. Conversely, acne sales during the same period jumped 11.4%, hand and body rose 5.3%, and devices chalked up gains of 35%. 

[Read More: Beauty disruptors: Brands making waves in the sea of beauty products]

Spate, which tracks Google searches, offers a snapshot of what’s to come in skin care as retailers prepare for 2022 planograms. Armed with research completed in September 2021, Spate pinpointed the biggest search action in acne, hybrid skin care products like tinted moisturizers, body care, solutions for sensitive skin, derm-backed formulas, genderless brands and sunscreens. 

Industry observers and retailers identified other beauty trends on the radar, including conscious/clean formulas, sustainable packaging including PCR and refillables, buzzy ingredients and celebrity-endorsed entries. 

The high-wattage faces behind skin care include Nicole Kidman for Sera Lab’s Seratopical, Alicia Keys with E.l.f.’s Keys Soulcare, Fenty Skin Care by Rihanna, Rare Beauty from Selena Gomez and Cindy Crawford Meaningful Beauty. The star spigot hasn’t been turned off with Ellen DeGeneres debuting Kind Science in October and Meghan Markle reported to be in the market to launch her own brand in the coming future. 

Courting Younger Consumers
Social media has a monumental impact on skin care. Whether it’s a dermatologist touting an ingredient or TikTokers posting skin care hacks, exposure from the social phenomenon can triple sales, according to Sarah Lee, founder of Glow Recipe, which couldn’t keep its watermelon-based products in stock after such posts. 

Jumping onto product trends featured on TikTok is viewed as an avenue for mass marketers to court younger shoppers. An Aug. 3, 2021 NPD Group study found that 62% of Gen Z consumers said TikTok influences their skin care purchases. 

[Read More: Milani Cosmetics’ Color Fetish Matte Lipstick line goes viral on TikTok]

That’s not lost on Walmart, which is adding younger brands to its product mix including teen, natural and genderless bubble skin care. Musab Balbale, merchandising vice president at Walmart U.S. Beauty, said his team first spotted the line on Teen Vogue. Walmart also was the first to launch DermaGeek, a brand created by Procter & Gamble and targeted at the TikTok generation. 

TikTok is one of the reasons for the explosion of acne medications, experts said. Whether festered by stress or the environment, blemishes are plaguing Americans — of all ages. There have been few advances in product innovation in acne until recently. 

CeraVe was on the plus end of social media posts. The brand is the top seller in almost every mass skin care subsegment. Now, the L’Oréal-owned line is entering the acne race, bringing innovation to a category that has long been dominated with formulas that are decades old. 

The entries, Acne Control Cleanser and Acne Control Gel, were developed with the aid of two dermatologists and feature 2% salicylic acid to help clear and prevent acne where it starts while also restoring the skin’s natural barrier with three essential ceramides.

A Clear Breakout
The status quo of acne also is being shaken up with the introduction of “pimple patches,” either those that blend into skin or stand out with shapes and colors. Searches for the patches are up 68%, according to Spate data. One of the most popular is the Mighty Patch from Hero Cosmetics, an indie line created by Ju Rhyu.

[Read More: Virtual roundtable: Women beauty leaders discuss the category]

Rhyu just added a Rescue Balm and Lightning Wand. “Rescue Balm was inspired by people’s use of Neosporin for pimples and the Lightning Wand pen format was inspired by the desire to have a post-pimple hyperpigmentation product that was very targeted,” she said. The brand is sold in more than 8,000 doors, including Target, Walmart and Ulta Beauty.

Patch technology also is used in The Good Patch, a collection of wearable “wellness” patches recently launched by CVS, that fuse skin care with ingredients that can help with sleep or pep users up after a night out.

Skin care consumers, on the hunt for the foundation of youth, tend to jump quickly on new ingredients.

Trendalytics, the predictive data and retail analytics platform, offers a glimpse into which ingredients will spark sales in the next few months. In order they are: chlorophyll, postbiotic, pyrrolidone carboxylic acids, bakuchiol, winter cherry, volcanic ash, makgeolli, tulip, CBD and probiotic. Chlorophyll was nudged to the top spot by frequent mention of the ingredient as a remedy for acne on TikTok.

Sky Organics has a jump on bakuchiol, a key ingredient in the brand’s Youth Boost Bakuchiol Night Serum. “It is a more gentle option to retinol,” said Christine Keihm, the brand’s chief marketing officer.

Scoring in the top 10 is welcome news to the plethora of brands containing CBD. The buzz CBD beauty created in 2019 was tamped down during the pandemic, but appears to be gaining traction going into the next year. Consumers are researching ingredients more often with many interested in CBD, CBN and hemp-based choices.

[Read More: Q&A: Reserveage Nutrition wants to aid beauty, inside and out]

"The obsession with skin care hasn’t abated with the global skin care industry on track to exceed sales of $165 billion by 2025."

Conscious Skin Care
“We’re hungry for better choices in the name of health,” said Emily Heitman, chief marketing officer at Leef Organics.

 “Inquiring minds are digging deep into ingredient decks and seeking understanding of how and why an alternative approach to skin care can work effectively,” she said. Leef’s Revive, a skin care balm, contains a simple, plant-based approach to skin care and is just one of the brand’s top sellers, she said.

The quest for conscious skin care has also been a boost to lines like Alikay Naturals and its new Her feminine care, OKAY Pure Naturals, Pacifica, and PURA D’OR.

Products for below the neck are putting up above average numbers. Reserveage, a wellness and beauty supplement brand, just revealed its Pro-Collagen Booster skin care collection. In addition to traditional eye creams and face creams, the range zeroes in on necks, hands and feet. “The line is designed for the whole body,” said Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing at Reserveage.

[Read More: Clean formulas, clean hair: Hair care brands emphasize ingredients]

Olay said it hopes to leverage its brand equity in the face category with its Olay Body Lotion Collection. “With the addition of this new collection to our body care lineup, we close the gap in her hydration needs,” said Selina Phillips, senior brand director of Olay Body. The products feature some of the same ingredients beneficial to faces and overall body, such as niacinamide, collage, hyaluronic acids and vitamin C.

Even as consumers look to bring self-care skin care to their entire bodies, there is a movement to more simple regimens. During the pandemic, there was time to experiment with as many as 10 steps. Now Spate data points to fewer and more efficient options, such as tinted moisturizers that perform double duty.

Brad Newcomer, co-founder and director of product development at the plant-powered skin and hair care brand Dr. Tusk, said the simplification is catching on. “This was a trend in men’s grooming for years, but women have embraced the idea as of late.” He also brings good news to retailers looking to boost the men’s shaving sector “Men’s shaving has begun to shift back from beard care to shave,” he said. That could help turnaround the languishing shaving cream, razor and blade market. 

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