26 May 2021 --- Wellbeing is a crucial driver in beauty and personal care in 2021. As consumers increasingly value wellbeing, it has become a fundamental theme that influences consumer choice and change, explaining and predicting the key behavioral shifts that are likely to impact consumers, not only today but in the years ahead.
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. It is the ongoing journey toward all-round good health that encompasses our physical, mental, social, environmental, spiritual and psychological wellness. When we combine wellness and beauty, we can explore, embrace and enjoy experiences that enhance our self-care and feelings of support, love and good health.
Connecting wellness and beauty
Click to EnlargeThe wellness beauty economy is estimated to be worth $1.1 trillion. The global wellness economy is a $4.5 trillion market, with BPC making up the largest piece of the wellness economy, valued at $1.1 trillion, recent figures from The World Health Organization show. It is clear wellness beauty is highly sought-after. Skin care, body care, makeup, fragrance and personal care products epitomize the meaning of wellness beauty and contribute to a self-care revolution.
The concept of total wellness has become integral in consumers’ everyday beauty routines. At-home practices, tools and materials that simulate the spa experience through relaxation and effective results dominate our wellness efforts, especially during the pandemic.
As stress and mental health lead the conversation, brands have an opportunity to build normality through routines with consciously-created products that support self-care. Mental Health Awareness Week, took place in the UK between 10th-16th May, with the beauty of nature and the environment this year’s key theme. The importance of taking time for self-care is an area many BPC brands are highlighting as part of their wellness beauty efforts by emphasizing that the self-care act of beauty routines is a way to soothe stress and contribute positively to our mental health.
“There is definitely a mental and skin connection,” confirms Belinda Carli, Cosmetics Chemist and Founder of the Institute of Personal Care Science (IPCS) in a recent Beauty and Personal Care Conversation podcast exploring wellness beauty and claims. “When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, you feel good,” Carli adds.
Entering wellness beauty
Click to EnlargeThe connection between wellness and beauty is ever-growing with brands making it a key part of their communication strategies. Its burgeoning economy is a testament to how many consumers are actively turning to BPC brands for guidance on how to use wellness beauty to support their self-care.
In an industry that has been dogged by concerns over greenwashing and its subsequent impact on industry and consumer confidence, BPC needs to avoid the era of ‘wellwashing’ erupting in its place. Protecting consumers, bringing value to purchase decisions, and building trust in brand relationships is crucial to creating confidence throughout the BPC space. Consumers actively want to engage with brands with a social conscience that create socially-conscious products.
Making wellness claims
Click to EnlargeAs well as there being a strong link between looking good and feeling good, there are also some active ingredients that have proven evidence to support the mental wellbeing of the mind-skin connection. The visible results are a reduction in fine lines, redness and a more glowing complexion. However, brands need to carefully consider how they market these claims to ensure they stay compliant with cosmetic regulations.
Once this compliance is in place, there is the opportunity for BPC players to positively and genuinely support people as they seek feel-good self-care options to contribute to their wellness journeys.
So what do brands need to do to ensure they are compliant?
For brands wanting to enter or launch a product in the wellness BPC market, Carli stresses: “You can’t talk about physiology at all; it has always got to be: What do I see in the skin?”
Emphasizing the definition of cosmetics, which is “a topical-based application for appearance-based changes”, Carli highlights that as BPC brands, “we can only talk about cosmetics in relation to what we are seeing this product do rather than what this ingredient is actually doing.”
While as chemists and industry experts, BPC industry insiders like Carli can talk to brands about product development and how individual ingredients can help to modulate the response, reduce skin inflammation and skin sensitivity, and lower the appearance of aging brought on by anxiety and stress, the question is then one of communication. “How do we then tell the consumer this message because we can’t talk about how a cosmetics ingredient or product is going to reduce the effects of aging brought on by stress?” Carli asks.
“It is a really hard story to tell,” highlights Carli. “Even though the science is there to prove that there is a benefit from these ingredients,” Carli adds.
Advice for BPC brands
“Anything you do or say in connection to your product whether you make a sale or not is considered advertising when directed at a consumer,” says Carli. Brands also cannot link to third-party information if it does not comply with cosmetics regulations.
“There is no gray area, please don’t try and find a gray area,” continues Carli. “The strongest recommendation to brands is to work with the rules, knowing the regulator is very black and white.”
It is possible to support consumers by highlighting the use of beauty routines as a way to tackle stress and anxiety to help bring normality during uncertain times and drive long-term value for consumers. Brands can do this by talking about consumers’ beauty routines and making skin look and feel good. “We know personal care does this because of personal hygiene,” adds Carli. What brands cannot do is talk about this link between wellness and beauty “if it relates to physiological processes and the way ingredients and products work for a mental connection,” Carli adds.
Opportunities are abundant for wellness BPC brands. And consumers are a captive audience.
By Natasha Jolliffe-Spencer, BPC Insights Senior Journalist