The Ethnic Skin Care Market

November 9, 2005

Despite a flurry of new products, the segment remains underserved.

No matter what color, all skin is vulnerable to a host of problems such as blemishes and scars. Though there are some distinctions, everyone must take care of their skin. But as supermodel-turned-actress Iman once said, ethnic women are not made of steel and are affected by sunlight, pollution and stress too.

The mass market for ethnic skin care products, totals $36.5 million according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), Chicago. The segment is growing steadily year by year to address the needs of consumers and for the year ended July 22, sales rose 11.8%. Still, many consumers remain leery of skin care products. Pamela Edwards, fashion and beauty writer for Essence magazine, noted that black women err on the side of caution when it comes to skin care.

"Black women are very conscious of hyperpigmentation since their skin scars so easily," Ms. Edwards said. "To prevent scaring, one thing women can do is combat acne, but that is not always the cause. The sun also makes hyperpigmentation worse. Most of the time, black people don't get the sun protection that they need."

To reach its diverse Asian audience, Shiseido uses a variety of languages, including Korean, in its print advertisements (shown here).

The Skin Cancer Foundation agrees. In the Foundation's The Melanoma Letter, Susan C. Taylor, MD of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University and Zakia Rah-man, MD, said it is a common misconception that blacks do not suffer from melanoma. African-Americans who develop melanoma tend to have a worse prognosis than Caucasians due to late detection and misdiagnosis. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests African-Americans educate themselves about their skin and seek an annual professional skin examination.

Ms. Edwards also insisted that dark skin is extremely sensitive and reacts to high levels of alpha hydroxy acids and microdermabrasion with skin scarring and hyperpigmentation. Irma Denson of the New York-based Irma Denson Day Spa said any situation where the skin can be irritated, be it squeezing blemishes, shaving or plucking hair, ethnic skin will produce more melanin and create dark spots. During pregnancy too, many dark-skinned women experience the "mask of pregnancy," or a darkening of skin around the neck due to hormonal changes.

Many new products address darkening of the skin in addition to the age-old problems of excessive facial oil, dry body skin and the right shades of foundation to match diverse skin tones.

Specialized Advertising
Advertising appeal is not shared among all ethnic groups. Since cultures differ, each one must be addressed in a particular way or the important messages of products will not reach the targeted consumer.

"African-Americans are generally looking for personal care products created for their particular needs and addressing the characteristics of their skin, such as noticeable discoloration-'created for you,' is a strong underlying message in many ads," insisted Valerie Graves, creative director of the Uni-World Group, a leading African-Ameri-can ad agency based in New York. "Manufacturers must also demonstrate they have an understanding of African-American skin and its differences."

For example, in cosmetics, Ms. Graves said a wide range of colors corresponding to many different skin tones is important. Dryness too is a major issue for African-American skin that more products now address.

"The number of products that are created specifically for women of color is definitely increasing," Ms. Graves said. "For example, it can be seen in a major hair care brand, Clairol, with the launch of Textures & Tones. For these women, there is an ongoing search for products that do the job. And more products will be developed because African-American consumers are willing to spend more."

Iman's Under Cover Agent lotion helps to control oily facial skin.

Asian-American advertisements are a different ballgame altogether. The Asian population in the U.S. is roughly 12 million people, according to Larry Moscowitz, director of strategic planning, Kang & Lee Advertising in New York, a Shiseido client. Half of them are women and many are second and third generation in the U.S., he said. Yet despite the sizable population, many Asian-Americans are neglected in advertising.

"Even though Asian-Americans are exposed to everything going on in the general market, this group, more often than not, feels out of the mix," said Mr. Moscowitz. "Most companies are aware of the Asian population, but they are not perceived as a critical mass."

Part of the problem is that there is no one definition of an Asian-American, or what beauty is, due to different social norms. But this can be addressed by either reflecting diversity in advertisements or tapping the channels each population relates to.

"The majority of foreign-born Asian-Americans have a preference for their native language," explained Mr. Mos-cowitz. "For example, some would rather see a Chinese soap opera than the Sopranos. And each group has a different language preference. Because of these preferences, there are many different media outlets in the U.S. to serve them, such as television, newspapers, direct mail or regional ads, which are virtually invisible to the rest of the population."

Shiseido has several different divisions and lines promoted in stand-alone stores nationwide. These are carefully placed in regions that cater to local women. Most of these cultures put a high premium on keeping skin light, especially East Asians, but on the whole, there is little known of the purchasing and retail habits of these women, Mr. Moscowitz revealed. Al-though many personal care manufacturers have major operations in Asia, the Asian population is often not targeted in the U.S. because it is an incremental market rather than the usual mass market, he noted.

Toiling with Oil
African-American women have several skin concerns. Though the main difference between light and dark skin is pigmentation, black women also tend to have oily facial skin, which can be compounded by more than just the skin's natural oils.

Palmer's new Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion for Stretch Marks offers women a preventative product.

"Many dark-skinned people have oily facial skin," noted Claudia Torelli, vice president, marketing, Black Opal, a division of BioCosmetic Research Laboratories. "This is partially caused by the oily hair care products which are used to style the hair, which aggravate the skin."

Iman launched a cosmetic and skin care company to address the varying skin shades found in the U.S. Every item in the Iman collection was specifically formulated for this growing market. Color Me Beautiful, Inc., Chan-tilly, VA, markets the Iman line, which is sold in JC Penney.
Iman's best-selling skin care product is an oil-controlling agent, Under Cover Agent, which is a lotion designed to control excess facial oil. Tissues are also available to either blot over the makeup or to use as a face matte. This product was developed to simplify the skin care needs of ethnic women, who tend to have oily facial skin.

"Ethnic consumers are looking for a very basic regime such as a cleanser, a toner, a basic oil-free moisturizer and other products with oil control," said Sharon Boone, vice president of marketing, Color Me Beautiful Inc., owner of Iman, Flori Roberts, Interface Cosmetics and Patti La Belle.

L'Oréal's Carson recorded ethnic shaving product sales of $7.6 million last year, according to IRI, making Carson the leader in the ethnic shaving category. Carson's Clear Essence Skin Care line offers a range of products to address the various needs of African-American and Latin consumers, such as uneven skin tone, oiliness and blemishes. The line includes products with antioxidants to ward off free radicals; alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate dead skin cells, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, reduce acne and restore elasticity and razor bump remedies to exfoliate and prevent further discoloration.

Battling Dryness
Color Me Beautiful's Ms. Boone ex-plained that African-Americans' facial skin is very oily, but their body skin is very dry. Flori Roberts recently launched the Shea Nut body butter as a perfect companion product to the brand's facial care lineup.

"Clearly body care is where there is a huge potential in the market, which has only been addressed recently," insisted Ms. Boone. "The ingredients must be recognizable to consumers. As this category grows, it is important to make the ingredient story front and foremost. The African-American consumer is more interested in moisturizing ingredients with African or natural roots, like shea nut butter."

In keeping with African tradition, Flori Roberts introduced Shea Nut Body butter. Shea butter is derived from the nuts of the Magnifolia tree found in western Africa.

Another point of difference between Caucasian and African-American consumers is the issue of aging. As dark skin ages, the higher melanin content and facial oil do not cause the skin to age as quickly as lighter skin.

"Most of the technology today is focused on anti-aging," Ms. Boone said. "Dark women are more concerned about skin tone and the clarity of the skin."

Color Me Beautiful Inc. acquired Interface in June to expand its upscale brand portfolio for African-American and Hispanic consumers. The company plans to continue Interface's high tech heritage to deliver the unmet skin care needs of the ethnic consumer. In the past, Interface was the mastermind behind the Interface Skin Care System that included core (oily, normal and dry) and specialty products (tone, texture and blemish control) to target skin care problems. In 2002, Interface plans to introduce a retinol product.

For expectant mothers, E.T. Browne Drug Co., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, has introduced Massage Lotion and Cream for Stretch Marks under its Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula brand. E.T. Browne is the most successful ethnic skin care brand with sales of $18.3 million for the year ended July 22, according to IRI. This product follows the trend in the marketplace for more natural-based products, especially for expecting mothers.

"Cocoa butter is a natural alternative, an intensive skin moisturizer and a skin protectant," said Debra Nichols, senior product manager, Palmer's Cocoa Butter. "It is one ingredient that has a lot to offer to the consumer."

Vovi offers a Fade Cream and Milk to lighten dark spots.

During pregnancy, the skin is stretched and striated, which is very noticeable on darker skin. The lotion and cream contain collagen and elastin, which work with the body's own collagen and elastin to moisturize the skin and make it more elastic, preventing the stretch marks from forming.

Ms. Nichols also noted that dry, flaky skin, often referred to as ashiness, is particularly noticeable on dark skin. Cocoa butter effectively deals with dry skin and is a familiar ingredient to many African-Americans.

"Cocoa butter is a very popular ingredient," insisted Ms. Nichols. "Some may use it because their grandmother used it; others hear about it from friends, especially during pregnancy."

Another E.T. Browne brand, Black & Beautiful, is introducing five new moisturizing body care items. Cocoa Butter Dip is a rich 12-oz. lotion for the body. Body Sheen body oil contains almond, avocado and tea tree oils. Black & Beautiful's Cocoa Butter stick is a new solid moisturizer. E.T. Browne is also introducing two shea butter products, a solid jar formulation and a body lotion.

Africa's Garden, a Beverly Hills-based skin care line, was developed to meet the consumer demand for quality massage oils. Founder Almond Sum-mers, a former spa massage therapist, said most of the oils available were not aesthetically pleasing and their origins were unknown to spa workers. When she tried to develop her own oil mixtures, the prices were outrageous, so she began to buy directly from suppliers. When colleagues began buying oil blends from her, she decided to form her own company.

Though Africa's Garden has a broad consumer base, Ms. Summers said the company is geared toward African-American consumers and their heritage. This is a unique position in a spa market that is predominantly Euro-pean-based companies, with few black-owned companies like her own. Raw oils and herbs are imported from Africa and added to bar soaps, shampoos and lotions. The company offers more than 130 essential oils, which are unique to the market. For example, there is an orange oil from Africa, that smells slightly different than orange oil from the U.S.

"We use unique versions of different plants from Africa to open people's minds and offer something new, or an alternative to a favored scent," Ms. Summers revealed.

Africa's Garden thouroughly re-searches an ingredient's history during the formulation process. Ms. Summers' most recent discovery is that the watermelon originated on the African coast and the fruit will be incorporated into future products. Africa's Garden has recently launched an Aloe shampoo, made from the Zimbabwe aloe tree. Designed for African-American hair, the product contains extra moisturizers such as sweet almond oil, to decrease hair frizz. Also new is the Moroccan Peach body wash containing golden bath beads and panthenol. Though Ms. Summers' skin care line is not skin-specific, she works to fill that void.

"Products on the market do not cater to the African-American person," she said. "There is an emptiness because they are not geared to African-Americans. This is not intentional; it is what it is. But there is a gap."

The Ways to Fade
Black Opal's Ms. Torelli said the three major concerns for women of color are fading dark spots, controlling oily skin and blemishes and preventing ashy skin. Fading is the most challenging category because ingredients used to fade dark spots, such as retinol, hydroquinone and glycolic acid, are irritating to the skin. But Black Opal plans to offer the best of all worlds.

Real Cosmetics' newest lipstick shades are geared toward the Latin woman.

"Most companies are still searching for that breakthrough fading ingredient," said Ms. Torelli. "Black Opal, however, is creating a system of skin care using products that work together as part of a regimen."

For Black History month in February, Black Opal will introduce the Daily Fade cleanser, with two phases-a gel and a cream. The gel is designed to exfoliate the skin to prepare it for fading. The cream phase has botanical fading ingredients. The cleanser should be followed by Daily Fade lotion SPF 15 to protect the skin from sunlight. The other product in the regimen is the Advanced Dual Complex Fade gel for the nighttime to fade the skin with hydroquinone and glycolic acid.

Unizones, a product line designed to lighten skin, is new from Thalgo Laboratories, a French pioneer in the field of marine biology. The Thalgo range includes products for normal to aging skin. The algae used in all of the products, predominantly brown algae, is extracted using a patented centrifugal extraction process that makes the organism's trace elements easier to absorb by human skin. Thalgo also has a medical patent for the use of algae for treating psoriasis, arthritis and other conditions, executives said.

"Algae has many healing properties," said Susan Sakara, director of business development and education, Thalgo, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. "Mainly, it helps to detoxify the body, taking away things that stress the skin. If processed correctly, algae is more efficient to use and offers trace minerals."

But ethnic skin has specific needs, so the company developed Unizones. Ms. Sakara noted that skin hyperpigmentation can be attributed to tanning, hormonal fluctuations or direct sun exposure after a chemical peel. The Unizones line features Skin Lightener, which contains active yeast cells to modify pigment development, reduce brown melanin production and prevent free radical damage. The Unizones Protective day cream contains allantoin, wheat germ oil, chamomile and SPF 15 and soothes, hydrates and protects the skin from UVA/UVB rays and premature aging. The whole Unizones program should be carried out for eight weeks and then followed up two or three times a week afterward for maintenance. Both Unizones products retail in a 30ml size for $58 and are sold in Nordstrom's Spas, resort spas, day spas and in the professional market.

To conceal scars, Dermablend launched the Reflections line with Melasyn designed to mimic the skin's pigment.

"The Unizones line uses active yeast cells, which go into the melanocytes and modify pigment development," explained Ms. Sakara. "It essentially reduces the production of brown melanin. The follow-up product, the day cream, helps protect skin from the sun and repairs it."

Ms. Sakara noted most consumers of lightening products are Asian women who want lighter complexions, especially on the face, neck and shoulders. In the African-American community, there are skin extremes where some people have very oily skin while others have very dry skin, she said. The company offers the Thalgo Derma line for oily skin and the Anti-Aging line to rehydrate extremely dry skin. Thalgo also recently introduced Thalgo Stretch Mark cream, which can be used for pregnant women, after birth or for people who have experienced sudden weight gain.

Vovi, a division of North Wales, PA-based Alpha Medical Systems, offers Complexion Milk and Fade Cream containing hydroquinone. Executives in-sisted that the products are not only used by ethnic consumers, but also aging Caucasians to address freckles, age spots and scars.

These products are specifically targeted for people with a need for even skin tone and removal of dark spots, noted Isaac Ukwu, vice president, Alpha Medical Systems. The company is also currently developing a Razor Control product, primarily for African-American men, to help control razor bumps. In addition, Alpha Medical Systems is developing fragranced creams and body lotions.

"African-Americans tend to use more fragrance than the rest of the population; Asians use much less and prefer skin care and cosmetic products," said Mr. Ukwu. "Caucasians have a greater incidence of allergies to fragrances. Our fragrances are a nice compromise for those who want a light fragrance."

Vera Moore's cosmetic line is based on the premise that skin care comes first.

As Alpha Medical Systems expands strategically, a hair-lightening product will be the third item introduced. Vovi products can be found in New York, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit and Wash-ington D.C. in drug and beauty supply stores. Vovi Complexion milk retails for $6.99 (8-oz.) and Vovi Fade cream sells for $4.99 (4-oz.).

E.T. Browne Drug Company recently introduced Palmer's Skin Success Eventone Fade milk. Recent panels revealed that many consumers use the Skin Success Fade cream as a body cream. The new milk is designed to spread easily. The company has also repackaged its Skin Success products, and updated its Eventone formulation featuring the skin lightening ingredient hydroquinone, in addition to alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin C.

"Primarily, African-American consumers are concerned with uneven skin color," explained Rebecca Brown, senior product manager, Palmer's Skin Success and Black & Beautiful. "Any minor abrasion can leave a darkened mark for at least a year before it lightens. Skin Success products even skin tone and blotches."

Since sun exposure can affect pigmentation after fading, all of the fading products contain low-level sunscreen protectants. But the sun protection is so low, the company recommends the use of an additional sunscreen, Ms. Brown said.

Soon, E.T. Browne will introduce several new complexion products. "Skin care in general is growing, though most buyers understand the needs in hair care much better," noted Ms. Brown. "But complexion care is an area that is severely underserved."

Cosmetic Wonders
In the stores, foundations that perfectly match the skin are some of the most difficult items to find, especially for ethnic consumers. Ethnic cosmetic brands are available, but their products are far fewer than Caucasian makeup lines. Ethnic cosmetics are so limited, these companies are stepping up their efforts to be compatible with all ethnic skin tones.

North Arlington, NJ-based AM Cosmetics' Black Radiance, the No. 1 ethnic cosmetic brand in unit sales according to executives, offers African-American women all the products they want at the right price.

"Black women are very educated consumers and are looking for problem-solving products, especially for oily or sensitive skin," said Claire Dennis, brand manager of Tropez and Black Radiance, AM Cosmetics in North Arlington, NJ. "Ingredients on the label must also speak for the products."

Ms. Dennis noted foundations should be specialized to match the underlying skin tones. African-Americans also tend to have very oily skin, so products should be oil-free. Additionally, titanium dioxide can cause an orange-like dull film on the skin.

"Right now, more attention has been paid to African-Americans because it is a viable market," Ms. Dennis said. "The market was there before, but limited. AM Cosmetics has increased its lines to fill this need."

Due to the predominantly white-colored clothes fashions this spring, Black Radiance is launching the Rain Forest color collection with contrasting vibrant colors.

In March, Black Radiance will introduce several items under the Conversion line, including liquid lip color, crème eye shadow wand, crème blush stick, glitter dust, blotting tissues and a transfer-resistant, oil-free crème-to-powder foundation. Prices range from $2.99-4.99. Also in March, Black Radiance will introduce the Sun Set body collection including shimmer pump, eye-lighter (eye shadow), shimmer dust and shimmer crème rub to add a gleam to the face and body.

AM Cosmetics' Tropez brand, a line for young multicultural women, will introduce the Canary Islands color collection in March with sun-kissed, and warm hues. Tropez has a more expansive range of shades than Black Radiance, especially for Latina women, but Ms. Dennis insists that Latina women do not want to stand out from the crowd. This may explain why Latin-focused brands such as Scott's Liquid Gold's Belleza Latina and the independent Ella cosmetics line were unsuccessful because they over-emphasized their Latin elements.

"Hispanic women want to assimilate and fit in and do not want to be targeted," said Ms. Dennis. "Black skin looks different at first sight. Latin skin looks much like skin found around the world and is light enough for many traditional lines. Hispanic women remain very loyal to their favorite brands."

Astarté, a manufacturer of ethnic-specific products, was born out of the need for cosmetic lines to match darker skin tones, especially African-Ameri-can and Hispanic tones. Mari Aldin, the founder and current president of Astarté, began a modeling agency that was one of the first to accept models of different ethnicities in the late 1960s. A decade later, Ms. Aldin had developed the Astarté line to give the ethnic person as wide of an array of colors as Caucasian consumers have available to them. Astarté has 12 shades of foundation based on four basic colors and three shades for each color, matching 80% of the skin tones in the world, executives said. Astarté also owns exclusive cosmetic patents that en-hance the color of the skin, rather than cover it up.

"Ethnic skin tones have yellow and beige undertones as well as minor subtleties in the undertones," said J.T. Lescher, chief operating officer and spokesperson for Astarté. "Every foundation shade can match many different shades of skin tone. The shades do not interfere with the color of the skin, but rather work with a person's true color."

All of the formulas are gentle to the skin and do not contain oils, alcohols or scents that can irritate or clog pores, said Mr. Lescher.

The foundations, pressed powders and blushes are formulated with oil and moisture absorbers to mitigate the effects of UV rays, humidity and cold weather. Astarté's lipsticks are heavily pigmented for darker lips, but create an even color since often there is natural variation between the upper and lower lip. Astarté products are sold in retail outlets on the East coast and will soon be sold on the web at my-shade.com and astarte.com.

This November, Black Opal will introduce Mellow Drama, a new color cosmetic collection with shades of varying intensities. The collection features Eye Kits, each containing a range of five long-wearing and blendable colors. The kit selections include Demure/Diva (browns and spices), Flirt/Femme Fatale (plum and mauves) and Classy/Sassy (blues and grays). Mellow Drama also features three Shimmer Powders in Coy (cool blue), Racy (sheer shimmer) and Swanky (pearlized pink). Lip products include Lip Kits in Girly/Glam (browns and spices), Sweet/Tart (pinks and purples) and Angel/Vixen (reds and oranges) and Sparkle Lip Gloss in Ingenue (clear iridescent), It-Girl (sparkling lavender) and Irresistible (sheer gold). Price points range from $3.95-5.95.

L'Oréal's Posner brand, a colorful line of ethnic cosmetics, will soon launch its holiday collection, Mystique, and new PlexiShine wand lipsticks in colors such as Illusion and Whisper. Posner executives insist this line is specifically designed for the African-American woman, which is a rarity in the marketplace.

"Posner offers products only for women of color, making the entire selection much wider," said Pat Neglia, vice president of marketing, Derma-blend. "African-American women cannot shop traditional lines, where they do not find their true shades. Posner is targeted to the African-American consumer to find colors to match their skin tone or complement it."

In addition to brightly colored palettes, Posner offers a choice of different product forms. The brand will soon add darker foundation shades to continue to meet the diverse needs of the African-American consumer, Ms. Neglia said. Along the same lines, L'Oréal's Dermablend is extending its shade portfolio to match Asian, Latin and Indian skin tones.

Dermablend recently launched Re-flections, a water-based line containing Melasyn designed to mimic the skin's melanin in the presence of light to effectively conceal traumatic and post-surgical scars, under eye circles, bruises and blemishes. The products include a foundation with SPF 8, concealer with SPF 8, self-tanner with SPF 14 and face and body bronzer.

"Dermablend's Reflections line is not positioned as an everyday cosmetic, but rather an everyday corrective cosmetic for people who have a need to conceal birthmarks, scars or any other skin affliction," explained Ms. Neglia.

Dermablend is also launching a series of treatment products: Vitamin C serum with a 10% vitamin C concentration and an airless Valois pump; Eye Revitalizing Complex to eliminate dark under-eye circles; Hydrating Complex crème to restore the skin's natural moisture balance; Daytime Derma-blend Advanced Enzyme Moisturizer Photosomes which contains sea-derived botanical enzymes that use the sun's energy to revive UVB damaged skin and Evening Dermablend Ad-vanced Enzyme Moisturizer with Ultrasomes with milk-derived enzymes to increase moisture and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Pakistani-American model Lubna Khalid also said traditional cosmetic lines lacked the right shades for her skin. On the catwalk and in the department stores, it was difficult to find the right colors to suit her complexion. Makeup artists often made her skin look too light. So she took matters into her own hands and started Real Cosmetics based in New York.

Real Cosmetics satisfies the needs of women with yellow, olive and blue undertones.

"Real Cosmetics was founded because there is a total lack of options for women of color in cosmetics," Ms. Khalid explained. "I got tired of searching and paying double for expensive custom blends. The final nudge was how the fashion and cosmetics industry continued to neglect my needs as a woman of color."

Real Cosmetics products provide the appropriate undertones, from olive to golden, yellow to blue, in its foundations, pressed powders and lipsticks for Latin, South Asian, East Asian, African-American, Native American, Middle Eastern and mixed race wo-men. The company recently launched foundation, powder and lipsticks for Latin women. All foundations are named after international cities, while the lipsticks are named for women of color. New lipsticks include Dalia, Lola and Aurora. The company is also offering seven new shades this fall for darker complexions, or African-American women.

The products are sold online at www.realcosmetics.com. Free trial size samples are available so women have a chance to try the product for both its color and texture. Also, Real Cosmetics has recently entered a partnership with Nordstrom department stores.

Vera Moore, founder of Vera Moore Cosmetics, Woodbury, NY, was one of the first black actresses on a soap opera, Another World. On the show, she realized that the cosmetics that were mixed to match her skin tone were of very poor quality. "I didn't want to buy five-and-dime products either, which were greasy, chalky and oily," she recalled. So Ms. Moore launched her own line in 1980.

The line initially had eight foundation shades. Soon, Vera Moore Cosmetics will have 25 foundations in different variants such as cream (stick) foundations and the existing liquid foundations, pressed powders, loose powders and collage powders. But Ms. Moore insists it is not the accurate colors that count, but rather the skin underneath, which is addressed in her extensive skin care lineup.

"Perhaps what was lacking more than proper skin shades, was skin care and skin care education," noted Ms. Moore. "After being in the theater, I learned the importance of taking care of skin. The premise of my line is that skin should be clean and soft looking, not painted to look like somebody else. Makeup should be used to enhance, not cover up."

Recently, Vera Moore Cosmetics launched the Body and Bath line to pamper consumers. Its featured product, Hydration mist, is designed for traveling or after the gym. Also new is Aroma Scents, de-stressing aromatherapy herbal blends for pressure points. The company has launched six lip gloss wheels, combining six lip colors in each pot. A new Spa line will soon be added which includes gels, berry lotion and body exfoliators.

Vera Moore's Body and Bath line features pampering ingredients.

Keeping a Watchful Eye
As Kang & Lee's Mr. Moscowitz noted, many ethnic groups are poorly tracked by market research firms. The main reason is that they do not shop for their personal care products in food, drug and mass merchandisers. African-American women, for example, tend to shop in beauty supply stores, which are not tracked for sales. This makes it particularly difficult for entrepreneurs to find a niche and remain successful in that niche. It also makes it difficult for some consumers to find exactly what they need.

"Ethnic consumers do not buy products in traditional mass markets," said Black Opal's Ms. Torelli. "Some products are only sold regionally. Increased distribution and more products could help this category."

But perhaps the most important way to hear this audience is to listen to surveys and panels. Executives at E.T. Browne and Drug Company do just that, so there will no doubt be more and more developments in this market as consumers continue to voice their skin care concerns.

"It is important to address consumers' concerns," said Palmer's Ms. Nichols. "I think skin care companies are doing that more often and listening and taking action based on consumer comments."

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