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Natural beauty in sync with healthier lifestyle trend


In just the past few months, Walmart announced plans for a naturally positioned color cosmetics line called Found. CVS has pumped in more than 2,000 natural, organic and naturally inspired items, such as Organic Doctor and Burt’s Bees cosmetics into 3,000 doors. And earlier this year, Target substantially built out its natural assortment and dubbed natural skin care as a business contributing double-digit percentage sales lifts.  

Sales of natural beauty products expanded 9.2% from 2016 over the year before, according to recently published statistics from Kline. Natural beauty now accounts for 12% of the total cosmetics and toiletries market in the United States. 

Fueling that rapid ascension is a checklist of factors, according to Kline, ranging from consumers paying more attention to the ingredients they put on their bodies to overall healthier lifestyles. While formulas don’t have to — and often can’t — be 100% natural, what shoppers want are those that are “free from” many ingredients they deem toxic. Among those on the list are parabens, phthalates and formaldehyde donors.

Categories that are the fastest growing in the natural space include facial treatments, hair care products and personal cleansing, according to Kline’s Natural Personal Care 2016 report. A little slower to move the needle are deodorants and antiperspirants, makeup and fragrances. But that could change going forward, especially as more makeup brands debut with natural positionings.

An example of a promising new natural cosmetics line comes from the venerable Burt’s Bee’s franchise. The Clorox-owned brand has sold lip cosmetics for four years, but now has a full assortment of face, lip, cheek and eye. It rolled out in September to Walmart, CVS, and Whole Foods. It also will be sold on Amazon, and Target will test it early next year. 

CVS is going even deeper into natural makeup — it is testing Mineral Fusion, a line sold primarily in natural grocers, in 500 of its doors. Maly Bernstein, VP of beauty and personal care at CVS, said natural products don’t cannibalize from existing beauty lines, and she’s happy to offer mass market options to natural lines that specialty retailers stock. 

K-Beauty also is intertwined with natural because many of the lines are comprised of natural ingredients or better-for-you formulas. The natural and K-Beauty skin care business are riding off the growth of each other as they both have ingredients consumers are hunting for, retailers said. Unilever recently snapped up Carver Korea for about $2.7 billion, proving the powerhouse company wants in on the K-beauty boom. The newly minted CVS in Times Square includes a K-Beauty pop-up shop within the store, featuring nearly 500 Korean beauty products across skin care and beauty, including cosmetics, masks and personal care products. Earlier this year, CVS rolled out its K-Beauty HQ to 2,100 locations, featuring an assortment curated in partnership with Korean beauty expert Alicia Yoon of Peach & Lily.

Regulating natural brands

The absence of regulatory standards in the United States impacts the natural beauty landscape. But John Matise, co-founder and CEO of Éclair Naturals, is among those seeking to change the status quo. 

Offering a full range of body care products that are non-GMO, cruelty-free, vegan, soy-free and organic, Éclair Naturals is a key industry supporter of the Personal Care Product Safety Act, introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Susan Collins, R-Maine. Matise has visited Washington, D.C., twice to lobby for the bill, along with a mixture of major beauty companies and smaller entrepreneurial brands.

According to Matise, although the personal care products industry continues to grow rapidly, the current FDA regulations have not been updated in nearly 80 years. Fourteen hundred ingredients in Europe and about 600 in Canada are regulated in personal care. Currently, the United States only regulates 11, he said. 

“My hope is that the newly introduced act will serve not only as a safeguard for consumers, but as a catalyst for positive change in the personal care product industry. This piece of legislation sets forth a new and urgently needed standard of transparency and trustworthiness for businesses; and, once it is passed, I believe any company manufacturing products made with harmful ingredients would immediately search for alternatives just knowing that they are under review,” Matise wrote to the Senate in support of the Personal Care Products Act. 

The quest for natural is expected to continue to mushroom. Euromonitor International identified ethical and healthy living as two of its megatrends shaping personal care, and focused on probiotic-based beauty as an area to watch.

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