Multicultural beauty grows, some lean toward natural


A lot of brands, both indie and mainstream, are rethinking their strategies when it comes to beauty products aimed at multicultural consumers.

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Some more mainstream brands are entering the multicultural personal care market, such as Maybelline, CoverGirl and Revlon. L’Oréal recently created its own multicultural beauty division. Meanwhile, such brands as Carol’s Daughter and SheaMoisture are breaking the boundaries between general and multicultural beauty. SheaMoisture launched a campaign that challenges the beauty industry’s concept of standardized ideals by posing the short, yet powerful, question: “What’s Normal?”

“With SheaMoisture’s launch of #Break-TheWalls earlier this year, we furthered our 25-year mission to spark meaningful conversation and action toward true inclusion and a more empathetic mind-set in the beauty industry and our society, which includes bringing down both literal and metaphoric walls,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, which owns SheaMoisture. “Our forward track must focus on including everyone, embracing everyone and celebrating the beauty — and normalcy — of everyone’s differences.”

According to market intelligence consultancy Kline & Co., the multicultural beauty products market continues to outpace the growth of the overall beauty market, posting a 3.7% increase in 2014. And the multicultural beauty category is expected to produce a compound annual growth rate of 3.6% through 2019.

The growth in multicultural beauty can be attributed to a growing multicultural population, increased awareness, increasing discretionary income, generational preferences and changes in lifestyles.

Some of these multicultural consumers, who are increasingly millennials, are shopping more for natural and organic beauty products. For example, African-American consumers are embracing the natural hair trend and buying more natural and organic styling products. New research from Mintel revealed that sales of hair styling products increased 26.8% from 2013 to 2015, reaching $946 million, now comprising 35% of African-American hair care sales, a significant increase from the 16% it represents in the total hair care market.

SheaMoisture said the acknowledgement and recognition of different beauty needs and cultures have been at the core of the brand’s innovation strategy since the beginning.

“We have always focused on how to innovate and serve women according to their individual needs and where they are at any stage of their lives. This is why the women who use SheaMoisture have such a special relationship with the brand. She knows we are listening to determine what she wants, what she’s missing and what her hair and skin challenges are. She knows the products actually work for her because they were formulated for her needs — not an ill-defined normal,” Dennis said.

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