DSN Retail Excellence Awards — Beauty

It’s no secret to retailers that the beauty category is on fire right now. Driven largely by demands for better-for-you products and ingredient transparency, the growth of the beauty aisle has created a lucrative market — one that has no shortage of brands.

As the category has grown, manufacturers — some established players and others category upstarts — have been quick to innovate, bringing new and unique products to market. In an effort to recognize the standouts, this month Drug Store News’ Retail Excellence Awards are focused on beauty and personal care brands that have stood out with their products.

DSN also would like to recognize the following manufacturers that were unable to provide extra information by press time: L’Oréal, Coty and Revlon.

The REX Awards winners are:

Australian Gold
For nearly 30 years, Australian Gold has been an innovator in sun care, both in the United States and abroad. During the past three decades, officials at the company said they have seen a lot of changes in how people use sunscreen, particularly how frequently they are applying it.

The desire to have products that are natural, chemically-free and environmentally friendly has escalated in recent years, officials at the Indianapolis, Ind.-based company said. With this in mind, Australian Gold created a line of mineral-based lotions and chemical-free continuous sprays. “Scientists have known for years about the unique protection and unreactive nature of minerals, but technologies to create viable products that consumers would like have only recently become available,” said Thomas Kurnava, vice president of U.S. sales for the brand.

As is the case with all of its formulations, Australian Gold extensively tested the new product line throughout the development process to ensure it was both safe and included quality ingredients with unique benefits. Kurnava said the company takes great care in evaluating the d Dioxide, both of which are considered reef safe. Australian native ingredients, such as Kakadu plum and eucalyptus add vital nutrients, as well.

“Our consumers remain loyal due to the fragrances and exceptional feel of our sun care products, and this new line will not disappoint,” Kurnava said.

Bee Bald
Cleveland-based Bee Bald manufactures and distributes a line of grooming, shave and skin care products marketed to bald men.

“Men without hair actually need to take better care of their skin than their hairy counterparts,” said Dennis Fisher, president of the company. “Given that more of their heads are exposed to the elements, and in particular, the incredibly damaging effects of exposure to the sun, it is important to protect this part of their body.”

Bee Bald’s line includes a daily cleanser, pre-shave scrub, premium shave cream, post-shave healing balm, daily moisturizer and daily moisturizer with SPF 30. In addition to those core essentials, Bee Bald has created two-, three- and five-piece kits with combinations of its products, as well as cleansing wipes that come individually and in a flat pack.

Bee Bald sales and store distribution continue their strong growth trend, tripling in each of the past several years. Although sales in the overall category are slow, smaller, niche companies like Bee Bald appear poised to break through, bringing incremental sales along with them.

“We’re committed to getting our message out to the more than hundred million men who need us and who need to up their grooming game,” Fisher said. “Our social media presence is starting to explode, and we’re constantly expanding on the innovative ways in which we engage with our customers and audience.”

Edgewell Personal Care
Edgewell Personal Care is best known for its portfolio of such established brand names as Schick, Wilkinson Sword, Edge, Skintimate, Playtex, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Bulldog, Jack Black, Diaper Genie and Wet Ones.

Company officials said that innovation is inspired through shopper insights and intellectual curiosity grounded in delivering unique solutions that challenge category conventions. “Edgewell strives to deliver quality products that exceed consumer expectations while delivering category-driving solutions,” said Jeff Henderson, vice president of sales at the Shelton, Conn.-based company. “Within our sun care strategy, for instance, having a multiyear plan, which combines education, awareness and innovation with the right balance of promotional execution, has been instrumental in driving household usage and category growth.”

In January 2018, Edgewell launched Schick Intuition f.a.b., a first-of-its-kind women’s razor with a cartridge that contains bi-directional blades that let consumers shave in both directions. Edgewell worked with retail partners to launch this disruptive innovation by creating innovative display vehicles, featuring a
battery-operated razor that moved up and down.

Scott Pakula, executive vice president of sales at New York City-based eos, said the first thing people think of when they hear the company’s name is innovation. He is referring to the fact that several years ago when eos introduced its lip balm in the shape of a sphere, it disrupted an entire category with something that was completely distinct.

“It is not very often that there is an opportunity to enter a category with an innovation that turns business as usual upside down,” Pakula said. The company’s initial line was a certified-organic lip balm, and today eos offers five other lines ranging from medicated to color-enhancing choices.

While most know eos for its lip balms, the company also has a line of women’s shaving creams, as well as hand and body lotions, both of which feature the company’s trademark signature fragrances. “Whether it is our lip balm or shave cream, our brand stands for a combination of style, quality and performance, something other products in these categories don’t necessarily bring to the table,” Pakula said. These features, he said, are particularly appealing to eos’ core audience of women age 25-to-40 years old.

Most recently, the company introduced eos Crystal Lip Balm, a 100% wax-free, clear, paraben- and petroleum-free lip balm that contains shea, coconut, avocado and other natural oils. Eos also introduced two benefits-based SKUs of women’s shave cream, one for dry skin and another for sensitive skin, bringing the total number of SKUs to six in that line. Packaged in soft-touch plastic pump bottles, the shave cream can be used wet or dry.

Procter & Gamble
CPG giant Procter & Gamble has earned a REX Award for two of its brands — Gillette and Olay.

Executives said Gillette has been a household name for more than 100 years for one simple reason — it has constantly pushed to improve and perfect men’s grooming. “While we’ve seen the category explode with a quantity of brands offering similar benefits, Gillette stands apart with a focus on quality and answering the needs of what men really want from their shave,” said Pankaj Bhalla, brand director at Gillette and Venus North America based in Cincinnati. Offering features at every price point and giving shoppers a wide range of choices also have played a key role in its success, he said.

As Bhalla pointed out, while all blades may look alike on the shelf, Gillette’s proprietary technology creates a long-lasting blade that is thinner than a surgeon’s scalpel. “In fact, if you look at a blade under magnification, you’d see that the tip is shaped like a gothic arch to optimize the strength. This improves the closeness of every shave and means most cartridges last an average of one month — a value equation that pays off when you calculate shaves-per-cart,” he said.
Stephanie Robertson, Olay brand director North America, described the brand as a worldwide leader in skin care that has been trusted by women to bring them healt