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Moisture moves: Skin care trends in 2022 focus on healthy skin, with an emphasis on hydration and antiaging

Retailers are making it easier for consumers to find hydrating skin care as well as ingredients to help halt the appearance of aging.

Harsh winter weather elevated the hunt for hydrating skin care solutions that were exacerbated by the past two years of slathering on drying antibacterial products. Consumers are ready for moisturization. 

Constant Zoom calls also made consumers face the reality of aging. “Attention to skin health during the pandemic made people more aware of skin hygiene and care,” said Lauren Brindley, group vice president of beauty and personal care at Walgreens. “That translated to increased sales of premium products to support regimens.”

ulta beauty at target

Recent IRI data supports the growth of hydration and antiaging. Facial moisturizer sales soared 15% in mass stores last year, and facial antiaging products jumped 6%.

Retailers are making it easier for consumers to find hydrating skin care as well as ingredients to help halt the appearance of aging. Many are remerchandising departments to cut through the confusion, while others are engaging the help of beauty consultants and pharmacists.

Consumers were introduced to mass skin ranges that are as good or better than pricier options. At the same time, the blurring of mass and class charges ahead. Retailers such as Target can now sell Clinique, MAC, Tula and Shiseido in select stores with Ulta shops. Kohl’s has rights to Tatcha, Drunk Elephant and Fenty via its alliance with Sephora. 

[Read More: Target adds 40 brands to beauty assortment]

It was the industry making the boundaries in the past, said Larisa Jensen, the NPD Group’s vice president and beauty industry advisor. “Consumers don’t think less of a brand if it is sold at mass,” she said. 

Perhaps no retailer knows the cross-shopping habits of consumers in skin care better than Ulta Beauty. “The consumer is not walking in and saying ‘this is a mass brand’ or ‘this is a prestige brand.’ They want to find great products that are innovative,” said Monica Arnaudo, chief merchandising officer at Ulta.

CVS is adding new brands that reflect the direction of skin care, which in tandem with hydration and antiaging includes folding in safer ingredients. 

Andrea Harrison, vice president of merchandising, beauty and personal care at CVS, used GoodSkin MD as a prime example. The lineup is safe for sensitive skin but has a whimsical side rather than an overly clinical look. 

[Read More: Ulta Beauty shares diversity, equity and inclusion commitments]

Heritage skin care brands, she said, have done an admirable job of stepping up efforts to deliver ingredients that many consumers crave, such as retinol and hyaluronic acid, and beauty from within in the form of vitamins and supplements.

At Walgreens, there is a focus on healthy skin, which requires both hydration and antiaging elements. “It is a great opportunity for dermatological-led skin care brands in the mass market,” Brindley said, noting the additional foot traffic for vaccines and other healthcare needs. 

Walgreens also has the advantage of pharmacists and beauty consultants, who are both trained in skin care and who collaborate to get consumers to the right solution. “Pharmacists give a warm handoff to the beauty consultant, who can walk with customers to find the right solutions,” she said.

At Rite Aid, Erik Keptner, chief merchandising and marketing officer, has seen the movement to consumers shopping by ingredients first rather than only brand. He said he believes 2022 will be the year of ingredients.

For the year-ended 2021 in mass stores, facial moisturizer sales soared 15%, the highest in the skin care category.
urban hydration peach and papaya collection

Brands are taking the ingredient story to heart. 

“Hydration is in our name,” said Psyche Terry, founder of Urban Hydration, a brand gaining shelf space across many retailers. Walgreens has the largest presentation in mass retailing, Brindley said. 

Urban Hydration is now extending its products beyond facial care to deliver the same plant-based formulas for the entire body, Terry said. In particular, the new formulas address the body equivalent of maskne — or “bacne.” The formulas include peach, papaya and vanilla, and range from hand creams to body oil.  

Versed is also taking its facial capabilities to the body with its new Firm Ground Retinol Body Lotion. The company said the daily body moisturizer is formulated to deliver retinol results from the neck down while hydrating the skin. It is sold online and in Target.

CeraVe has established itself as one of the powerhouses in mass skin care with its items topping the sales charts in almost every segment, as tracked by IRI. 

Its new CeraVe Skin Renewing Nightly Exfoliating Treatment has been a fast-growing addition to its Anti-Aging range, the L’Oréal-owned brand says. The new chemical exfoliator helps smooth fine lines and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Neutrogena was a trailblazer in hydration with its Hydro Boost range. Last year, the company initiated a groundbreaking campaign, For People with Skin, a campaign designed to lower the barriers posed to consumers due to race, healthcare access or their socioeconomic standings. The idea behind the concept was Neutrogena’s Skin Health in America survey, which revealed that 62% of American adults said they had been unable to access the skin care or information they needed. 

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

At Garcoa Laboratories, CEO Greg Rubin has a checklist of ingredients he said he believes will propel skin care sales, including those addressing the microbiome and ones with detoxing capability, ozone protection, collagen builders, hyaluronic acid and the venerable vitamin C.

“Let’s face it, everyone wants to cure wrinkles, blemishes, scars, dark circles, crepey necks and more. Masks and scrubs are superhot in the category, and we will see more simple ingredients soon taking over the category,” Rubin said. 

Adding to the hot ingredients for 2022 is bakuchiol, which is considered a “softer” alternative to retinol. It is featured in Sky Organics’ Youth Boost collection, which is suited for sensitive skin, according to the company. 

Ingestible beauty continues to create buzz. Yamit Sadok, senior director of marketing at Twinlab and Reserveage, said she is confident the market will be “very receptive” this year to using vitamins and supplements to benefit skin. The company is introducing natural, sugar-free, vegetarian gummy products.

“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.”
— Greg Rubin, CEO, Garcoa Laboratories
nature's beauty group

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Retailers are also enthused about legacy brands’ expansion into skin care, such as CoverGirl’s new Clean Fresh Skincare, an affordable, mostly under $15 line encompassing cleansers, moisturizers and more.

“CoverGirl is an icon in the makeup aisle with a deep heritage in skin-forward products, so breaking into the skin care category is a natural evolution for the brand,” said Andrew Stanleick, executive vice president of Coty North America.

Dove is also serious about helping consumers age gracefully with its Body Love collection. The Unilever brand is focusing on body positivity. One example is Age Embrace, a pre-cleanse shower butter peptide serum that brings together all of the sales drivers in skin care — hydration and positive ways to deal with the results of aging on the skin. 

[Read More: NYX Professional Makeup preps for 2022 with a Super Drop]

Retailers and brands concur that consumers have been complaining more about skin sensitivity. Lanaia Edwards, vice president of marketing at Alaffia, explained that this is resulting in a focus on skin preservation and transparency. The brand is unveiling innovations in skin care, bath and body this year, including an Authentic African Black Soap Facial Skin Care collection, inspired by its African Black Soap, which is handcrafted at its women-led Alaffia Village Co-op in Togo, West Africa. 

“We anticipate that ‘skin kindness’ and formulas that support the skin’s natural moisture barriers will continue to rise in demand as we begin to assimilate ourselves back into a more inclusive community lifestyle and venture outside into environments that are less predictable,” Edwards said.

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