From head to toe: The fusion of wellness and beauty sets mass market retailers up for success in 2022

The new year is bringing hope of a return to robust sales with the range of innovation added to the drug store mix — and retailers are ready.

Pandemic-fueled interest in healthier living is boosting sales of self-care products, especially skin care, foot care and bath items. Layering onto that, the availability of vaccines, allowing people to return to work and social activities, is providing a much-needed boost to the makeup segment.

Retailers are ready.

“The additional foot traffic from people getting vaccinations gives us a chance to show off strides we have made in our stores,” said Erik Keptner, Rite Aid’s chief merchandising and marketing officer. Rite Aid invested heavily in elevating its beauty assortment to focus on wellness and clean brands. 

Lauren Brindley, group vice president for beauty and personal care at Walgreens, agreed that customers are seeing the range of innovation that has been added to the drug store mix. “It is a great time to be in beauty.”

[Read More: Beauty bounce: Work-from-home trends help propel skin care products]

rite aid beauty aisle

Beauty departments look markedly different in 2022 than pre-pandemic. Skin care, for example, earned more shelf space now allocated to dermatologist-supported brands, ingestibles, products for all skin tones and formulas without harmful ingredients. 

“We are seeing several of the most iconic names really take to heart the need for cleaner and healthier formulations,” said Andrea Harrison, vice president of merchandising, beauty and personal care at CVS.

The “better for you” message is spilling over to cosmetics. On the rise are hybrid formulas that have skin care qualities built into formulations, and more vegan formulas.

A healthy “no makeup look” will continue to be in style, said Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer at Ulta Beauty. However, she predicts the emergence of bold hues inspired by the 1990s as part of a move she calls “expressive revival.”

Retailers and brands are laser focused in 2022 on inclusive brands with commitments to dive deeper into BIPOC-founded lines. 

The buzzwords in skin care for the next year are microbiome, detox, ozone protection, collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, said Greg Rubin, CEO of Garcoa Laboratories, a leading producer of private label and control brands in beauty and personal care categories. “Less in a bottle but more effective formulations are the future. Private label is growing rapidly, and consumers are now trusting store brands to give a product as good as any national brand at more affordable pricing.”

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


There also is a push to promote healthy over perfection ala eliminating airbrushing of images or editing the use of the term “antiaging.”

Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing at Twinlab and Reserveage Resveratrol (supplements and skin care), said her company’s messaging is shifting to focus on personal definitions of beauty — not unrealistic images. That vision will be communicated on the brand’s website and marketing materials. Sadok said she thinks 2022 will be the year that supplements promoting healthy skin, hair and nails will achieve critical mass. 

“In our research, we’ve seen significant consumer interest for the approach of promoting beauty from the inside out and outside in. Consequently, we believe the market mood will be very receptive toward each of these new products,” she said, noting statistics that the global women’s health and beauty supplement market hit 53 billion in 2020 and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9% through 2028. 

Her company has a full pipeline of innovation for 2022, especially in the Resveratrol (an antioxidant found in red grape skin) sector. “It’s our foundational ingredient and in 90% of our assortment,” she said of the company’s Reserveage range. 

On tap for 2022 is the introduction of natural, sugar-free, vegetarian gummy products. “The global gummy supplements market is $5.9 billion, and projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025. Reserveage has decided to expand our offerings to include these gummy products since millennials have demonstrated significant interest in alternative supplement delivery forms like gummies,” she said.

[Read More: Men get back into grooming habits]

urban hydration aloe group

While ingestibles could drive incremental sales, the topical skin care market remains resilient and on an upward trajectory for the year. Sales for the 52 weeks ending Oct. 31, 2021 showed overall sales in mass doors climbing, rising 5.5% over 2020 levels. The biggest winners were moisturizers and acne treatments, up 15.5% and 12%, respectively. 

“We know consumers see the skin as a reflection of their overall health, so we anticipate continued growth in the category,” said Jaclyn Marrone, vice president of marketing, CeraVe at L’Oréal.

L’Oréal’s CeraVe range exploded over the past two years thanks to both dermatologist support and exposure on social media. 

New for 2022 is the CeraVe Hydrating Toner and Hydrating Makeup Removing Plant-Based Wipes designed to give consumers more options to tailor their routine to their own unique skin and develop a gentle yet effective double cleanse, Marrone said. 

Green beauty with a heart is the cornerstone of Urban Hydration. Its assortment spans more than 100 products, all of which are free of sulfates, parabens, silicones and phthalates. “We set out to build a brand that used effective and recognizable ingredients people could understand and love,” said Psyche Terry, who founded the brand with her husband. The founders give back a portion of sales to build wells in communities in need.

Urban Hydration recently launched a new bath and body collection that taps into its expertise in skin care, Terry said. The company also ventured into sun care and plans to expand into household products.

Clean, green and fair trade beauty brand Alaffia is geared up for growth in 2022, especially with expansion into Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

[Read More: Multicultural mindset: Retailers, suppliers grow their focus on diverse needs]

“The additional foot traffic from people getting vaccinations gives us a chance to show off strides we have made in our stores.”
— Erik Keptner, chief merchandising and marketing officer, Rite Aid.
alaffia group

“The importance of skin preservation and transparency will continue to drive market trends, and we’re happy to say that we’ll continue to be at the forefront of this movement by leaning into our clean and effective plant-based formulas,” said Lanaia Edwards, vice president of marketing at Alaffia. 

The company is building off of its flagship African Black Soap product with an Authentic African Black Soap Facial Skin care collection. The African Black Soap is handcrafted at the brand’s women-led Alaffia Village Co-op in Togo, West Africa. 

Plant-based, clean products are also where Nancy Duitch, CEO of Sera Labs, a CURE Pharmaceutical company, is putting her confidence. “But there needs to be better delivery systems developed for these product lines so that the products are actually absorbed into the skin,” she said. Her brand has a P3P complex featuring a tripeptide delivery system that boosts absorbency by reaching the lower dermal skin layers. Nicole Kidman will appear in a campaign to promote Sera Labs’ new Seratopical Revolution. 

Alikay Naturals is a trailblazer in an emerging segment of self-care — feminine health. The company, founded in 2009 by Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell when she was only 22, has extended its lineup of skin and hair products into feminine wellness with HER by Alikay Naturals. It is one of the first Black and woman-owned feminine care brands.

[Read More: Beauty from the earth: Plant-based beauty makes mainstream waves]

natures beauty group

Skin care isn’t only about facial products, and Garcoa’s Rubin pointed out the potential of a new line launched at Walgreens called Nature’s Beauty that includes both stress and sleep ranges. The collection includes body lotions, body butters, detox bath bombs (a fast-growing category, he said) and a sleep spray. 

Feet can’t be overlooked, Rubin said, noting a new program called Bene-feet that addresses everything from pain from high heels to issues related to diabetes. 

Hair care remained a stable category over the past year, but retailers are now taking a hard look at SKU allocations, Rubin said. Scalp care has moved to the front burner, especially in regard to dandruff solutions. He recommended retailers eyeball the assortment to ensure there are ample choices. “Dandruff sales are very strong, but the national brands are over proliferated,” he said, noting shelf space could be better used for category innovators including private labels that serve up high margins. “At the end of the day, quality will win your customers’ hearts and pocketbooks.”

The key ingredients that will drive hair care sales in 2022 include keratin, biotin and panthenol, Rubin said.

The new year is bringing hope of a return to robust sales in the cosmetics side of sales too. Buyers are betting big on launches in cosmetics including Maybelline’s The Curl Bounce Mascara, CoverGirl Clean Fresh, L’Oréal’s refresh of Lash Paradise and NYX Thick It. Stick It! Brow Mascara. 

The emphasis on BIPOC brands also is expected to build transactions at mass doors. Arnaudo noted that Ulta Beauty has doubled the number of Black-owned brands with deeper selections in the bath/body area such as Homebody, Luvscrub, Nude Sugar and Sunday II Sunday. 

“Sales are back in all beauty categories,” Arnaudo said.