Expert's Opinion

50 Shades of Organic & Natural

August 18, 2012

Toniq's Cheryl Swanson predictsmore seductive and sleek color palettes for 2013 and 2014.

By Cheryl Swanson

There is nothing sexy or seductive about natural and organic packaging in skin care these days. The world of natural packaging seems to be stuck in earth tone hues. Obviously, earth tones equate to nature, and evoke feelings of health and wellness. But really, does organic beauty have to be stuck in egg cartons, cork, bamboo, and brown bottles and boxes? It looks clinical and serious. Natural and organic is one thing, but a little color may go a long way in this category.
Perhaps brands are just taking cues from the USDA Organic label, which is to no surprise, green, brown and white or vice versa. In any case, that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we need a category disruptor ­– a brand to really take the reigns of organic and natural skin care packaging to the next level in terms of design and use of color. This isn’t to say that there’s not amazing packaging in the category, but there’s room for something fresh – a little facelift, a brighter, bolder box, carton or bottle, and a more vibrant shimmer to the overall look.
Do you remember when L’Oréal first introduced Garnier Fructis into the mass hair care market with shockingly bright green bottles? It was 2003 and the hair care aisle went frizzy over this new color amidst the usual, comfortable sea of whites and blues. There were the skeptics and haters, yet there were also the believers and consumer leaders who were willing to bring this bright green bottle home and try it for themselves. After all, once they got your visual attention, Fructis was positioned as a salon-inspired line that was affordable but sophisticated and was derived from technology superior to what was available at mass. Today, that bright green bottle remains a leader in the category.

So who will be the Garnier Fructis of organic and natural?

Between 2005 and 2010 the US natural and organic beauty, hair and skin care market grew 61% to $7.7 billion and is expected to reach $11 billion by 2016, according to Packaged Facts.

With this huge growth in the market, there is an opportunity to be the standout brand by breaking the mold and becoming the color disruptor of the category. For 2013, we would love to see a natural and organic skincare company be brilliantly and seductively branded in a deep red, the color of Asian prosperity and the many fruits and berries now being used in organic skincare. Think pomegranate, cherries, red grapes, and plums. For 2014, we predict a turn to modern, bold and sleek; blacks and silver – taking natural and organic from earthy to luxury even at mass. As men grow as a bigger consumer group in the category, more unisex products will be introduced further pushing the color palette towards sleek metallics and glossy blacks.

About the Author

Cheryl Swanson is founder of Toniq LLC. Toniq is a brand strategy firm dedicated to creating "brand effervescence." Ms. Swanson and her staff bring life, energy and dimension to brands by blending traditional marketing with anthropology, sociology, the psychology of symbolism and innovative consumer research techniques.

For more information, please contact email us at,


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