2 June 2021 --- As advances in biotechnology ingredients, product sustainability, local sourcing, green packaging and supply chain transparency drive beauty and personal care (BPC) brand strategies and product portfolios, we explore some of the opportunities and materials that are offshoots of the natural trend as we move into the age of conscious beauty.
Rooted in nature as its name suggests, the naturals trend is both long-standing and innovative, having given rise to many other trends. Evolving from what was once a niche category into one that has firmly found its place in the major BPC sphere, naturals is now a mainstay in the industry. Today, naturals impact product formulations, packaging design and label claims on a global stage.
“Natural and organic is the industry trend that has consistently provided double-digit growth opportunity for more than 15 years now,” reveals Innova’s Top 20 Industry-Wide Trends report released in September 2020.
During this time, there have been significant leaps forward in formulations, progressing natural actives, shifting the trend towards premium, generating authenticity through certification, and prompting greater focus on ethical and sustainability efforts in BPC.
For BPC brands in today’s evolving natural environment, there are a wide variety of segments, campaigns and product opportunities to access and run with, especially as it lends itself to such interesting innovation, captivating storytelling and collaborative campaigns.
“One of the things I absolutely love about conscious beauty is the freedom it promotes to all people about making the personal care and cosmetic choices that are best for them to feel more beautiful,” shares Belinda Carli, Cosmetics Chemist and Founder of the Institute of Personal Care Science (IPCS). “When a person feels more beautiful or empowered by their choices, they are more confident about their appearance, and this shows!”
Opportunities in conscious beauty
Click to EnlargeConscious beauty is the evolution of natural beauty and personal care.For BPC brands in the conscious beauty space, there is a wide range of opportunities available. “For brands, this means opportunities like customization and personalization or even innovative products that suit more minority groups and their choices,” adds Carli.
Brands can create strong offerings with materials that have sustainability at their core, such as products that are developed to reduce their carbon footprint as well as upcycled materials. “There is an ever-expanding amount of these types of ingredients to choose from,” says Carli.
With advances in biotechnology ingredients set to increasingly shape the BPC industry moving forward—and in a nod to the growing level of anticipated acceptability of lab-made ingredients, especially those that mimic nature—innovation in materials is already taking place.
Cosmetics chemist, Carli, also points out that the BPC industry is currently seeing “interesting and sustainable methods to produce normally synthetically produced materials,” noting some specific examples:
- Solvay’s Rhodapex ESB-70 NAT (sodium laureth sulfate), which originates from 100% sustainable carbon sources and is even certified 100% natural by Ecocert.
- Sustainable and natural sources of isoparaffin such as Lexfeel WOW range by Inolex.
- Sustainable and natural sources of alkanes such as the Emosmart range by Seppic and Lexfeel WOW range by Inolex.
“We are seeing the functionality of these traditionally synthetic materials achieved using sustainable and totally natural sources—innovative solutions to deliver sustainable options without compromising performance,” states Carli.
A word on direction
Currently, however, the definition of conscious beauty is open to interpretation and can be decided by each independent brand. “We think the definition of opportunities may need clarification,” confirms Ehrin Ziccardi, co-founder of online beauty portal, UNDRGRND Beauty.
Variations between brands when entering, making progression in, or transitioning towards conscious beauty may also look different depending on the size of the BPC player. “Though to a larger company with a portfolio of brands, the opportunity may lie in developing another revenue stream via clean, green, sustainable retailers, for the independent brand founder whose conscience is part of their brand's DNA, the opportunity grows as major retailers embrace the concept, and welcome these brands to their shelves,” says Neil Petrocelli co-founder of online beauty portal, UNDRGRND Beauty. “As they do, the reach grows beyond the 'stands for something' apothecary,” Petrocelli notes.
The shift to evolving naturalsClick to Enlarge
As we look ahead to the conscious beauty movement, Carli highlights that for BPC brands looking to leverage opportunities, appeal to consumers and achieve success, there are several core elements that conscious beauty needs to be: Conscious that regulators are ensuring consumer safety with cosmetic ingredient regulations, conscious of individual beauty, and conscious of the planet and its resources.
In recent years, the rise of natural-based active ingredients and associated technologies helped to make natural products more effective and move beyond the first generation of products. Increasingly, new brands are emerging onto the scene, progressing product development and increasing their cost, which sees more brands moving into the luxury and prestige end of the BPC market. Elegant branding, packaging design and stylish products are helping to bolster the sophistication of these products and secure their positioning, further evolving the naturals trend.
“The natural and organic movement has done more to reinvent the cosmetics and personal care industry than any other trend in recent years,” Innova’s Top 20 Industry-Wide Trends report says. As it moves into its next era, we wait to see whether the evolving naturals trend continues to have this same impact in the near future.
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist