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Surveys say shoppers seek natural options


One solution for stalled mass market skin care sales has been enlarging natural product choices. Although “natural” is hard to define without true regulation, consumers are at least looking for products with the fewest harmful ingredients.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

In surveys, shoppers use terms including clean, vegan and organic as what they seek in food, and that’s translating into beauty, too. The general thought is that what goes on the skin makes it way into the body.

Kline & Co. tallied the natural beauty and personal care market at $36 billion in 2015, an increase of 10% over the previous year. In comparison, most traditional health and beauty care categories were held to less than 3% growth.

There’s no denying Korean skin care has made a mark on the beauty business. Euromonitor traces much of the mounting demand for natural ingredients as being endemic to the Korean lines. Korean brands dovetail with shopper demand for ingredient information.

“Natural and organic skin care is growing quickly, accelerated by K-beauty’s influential emphasis on botanical ingredients and coupled with increased concerns about the use of harsh chemicals. Many consumers are demanding paraben-, sulfate- and phthalate-free products, and in Euromonitor International’s 2015 Beauty Survey, 21% of U.S. respondents reported having sensitive skin, compounding these concerns,” said Eleanor Dwyer, research associate at Euromonitor International.

Some of the natural- and organic-positioned growth stories pinpointed by Euromonitor included St. Ives Naturally Clear, with sales growth exceeding 40%, and Simple, which is not natural per se but promises safe ingredients and has expanded 13%. A glance at some of the top sellers according to IRI across multi-outlets for the 52-week period ended May 15, proves natural is gaining traction. Burt’s Bees was the fifth-largest facial cleanser for the period, expanding 21%, and Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing is the third-briskest seller in hand and body.

Oils are perceived as having natural attributes, experts said, propelling demand for Emilia Personal Care, which Euromonitor noted is available at Rite Aid, as well as Physicians Formula’s Argan Oil range.

In the past, one roadblock to natural skin care acceptance has been fear of inferior results.

That’s changed. Makeup artist Amanda Hume, who runs a natural beauty store in Denver called Vert , thoroughly researches every brand that goes on her shelves and is creating her own vegan line. “I felt uncomfortable not being able to give the true answers when people asked me about ingredients,” she said. “Finding out the FDA does not regulate a lot of the ingredients was terrifying.”

Some of the harmful ingredients found in other products, according to Hume, include dimethicone, an endocrine disrupter; paraffin, which causes a slowdown in normal cell development; and a preservative called phenoxyethanol. Instead, Hume’s Vert line will feature ingredients that help sooth and nourish the skin, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil, carnauba wax and green tea.

Ingrid Jackel, CEO of Yes To, agreed that natural is “exploding.” She attributed the most recent spurt to millennials who are now the major consumers in stores. Ten years ago, she acknowledged, there was skepticism. “Products are a lot more effective now; there are better raw materials. All stars are aligned,” she said. She’s putting money behind it with the biggest media investment ever for Yes To.

Another brand getting a warm reception because of its natural positioning is Skinfix. Several chains, such as Ulta Beauty and Rite Aid, are adding shelf space in the more serious sector of skin care, especially for care of eczema.

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