Personal Care is Natural

January 5, 2006

The increased awareness of a healthy lifestyle has contributed to the growth of the natural personal care products market.

Natural is in. Consumers’ increased interest in maintaining both body and mind is causing the natural personal care products market to grow at a significant rate. The U.S. Market for Natural Personal Care Products report by the publishing division of MarketResearch.com, Packaged Facts, found that by combining grooming and beauty products free of synthetic ingredients with nutraceuticals and stress relief programs, extraordinary gains in the market are taking place. Natural personal care products are being boosted by flourishing organic food and health products, and are more popular than ever, with items that satisfy concerns with skin, hair and cosmetics.

From 1998 to 2004, sales of rose 51.9% to surpass $2.6 billion. In 2005, the market rocketed to $4.3 billion and may reach $6.6 billion in 2010, a jump of more than 50%, according to MarketResearch.com.

Little Falls, NJ-based Kline & Company has cited many trends via it’s Cosmetics & Toiletries Annual Service. The company noted that the organic/natural emphasis is becoming more prevalent, particularly in the mass segment.

L’Occitane seeks out traditional techniques and ingredients once used in the Mediterranean region to ensure the well-being of the body, mind and spirit.
Virginia Lee, senior research analyst for Euromonitor International, Chicago, IL, noted that strong sales growth of natural products have prompted retailers to expand their selection of these products. “Mass marketers like Target, CVS and Walgreens carry some organic and natural products. Old Navy, not known as a ‘natural’ retailer, partnered with Kiss My Face to introduce ONBody natural body care line this fall.”

She added that manufacturers too, have been busy introducing more natural and organic products.

Juliana Lipe, co-owner, Essencia Aromatics for the Skin, LLC, Shreveport, LA, agreed that the growing popularity of natural personal care products market is evident through the entrance of corporate giants into the market.

“Products purporting to be enhanced by the use of natural ingredients can now be found on the shelves of many drug and grocery stores. It is obvious that research studies conducted by such companies have indicated that the forecast is favorable in this area of consumer demand,” she said.

Bed, Bath and Bouillon

Awareness of natural products began in the food industry. Due to growing consumers’ desire for a more natural, holistic approach to living, increased awareness of the environment and their bodies and the belief that natural products are better for them, the trends in the food market have expanded to the personal care market. This has resulted in more lifestyle changes.

Tom’s of Maine’s mouthwash uses naturally sourced fluoride to strengthen tooth structure.
“In general, the American consumer is becoming more interested in exploring the benefits of natural products and is focused on well-being,” said Christine Burke, vice president, marketing and merchandising, L’Occitane en Provence, Manosque, France. “A new health-conscious lifestyle movement is sweeping the country, evident in the rise of natural foods, organic clothing companies, the increase of fitness clubs and the introduction of hybrid automobiles.”

She explained that the rise of pollution, global warming and various illnesses have prompted consumers to seek more natural and environmentally friendly alternatives. “As consumers become more aware of the benefits natural products provide, their desire for them will steadily increase as well,” she added.

Consumers are more concerned with the ingredients in the products they use. As a result, they have become more particular with the products they buy.

Steve Saute, president, Zerran International Corporation, Pacoima, CA, agrees. “The growth of the natural products industry has paralleled the growth of natural personal care products. Consumers’ increasing concern about the environment and what they are using on their bodies has sparked interest in natural products.”

“Awareness is increasing due to the general health and wellness trends, prompting consumers to eat more organic foods,” added Ms. Lee. “Growing concern about what they’re taking in internally is leading some consumers to examine what they’re applying topically.”

All of L’Occtane’s cosmetic products are formulated with the most natural ingredients, according to the company. Pure essential oils and vegetal extracts are used as active ingredients.

“The selection of natural and traceable ingredients is the very core of L’Occitane’s product development,” expressed Ms. Burke. She explained the company’s partnership with local producers across the Mediterranean region. “These farmers harvest the finest ingredients, such as organic and essential oils for our use. We also support sustainable development in Burkina Faso, Africa, with our Shea Butter products. The native women who harvest the shea nuts are the co-producers of our complete Shea Butter Collection.”

Natural Confusion

While consumers remain interested and eager to try natural products, some confusion occurs with what is natural and what is not. Consumers tend to presume that natural ingredients are not just more effective, but safer. However, finding products that are “all-natural” can present problems because many companies manipulate the term to benefit their sales. Some marketers include the words “pure” or “natural” in a product’s name, which can cause consumers to believe that the product is made from natural ingredients when, in reality, it is not. Many products even claim to be natural, although they only include some natural ingredients.

Unfortunately, in the U.S., there are no regulations for calling a product “natural.”  The term has not been defined in the FDA’s regulations, nor the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. At the same time, there are national standards for the use of “organic” and many consumers think that these regulations governing the use of “organic” apply to personal care products, but they don’t.

“Indeed the word ‘natural’ has not been adequately defined, although the International Association of Natural Product Producers is working on it,” said Darrin C. Duber-Smith, president, Green Marketing, Inc., Nederland, CO.

Burt’s Bees defines natural as materials that come directly from nature, not naturally derived materials.
The International Association of Natural Product Producers is working to create guidelines and recommendations for the use of the term “natural” when used to label ingredients or finished products for both internal and topical uses. More information can be found at www.ianpp.com.

Mike Indursky, chief marketing officer, Burt’s Bees, Morrisville, NC explained that “some companies define ‘natural’ as being materials that are naturally derived, which are materials that start out with natural ingredients but then are processed with chemicals. The end is a synthetic chemical that has no natural value to it anymore.”

To clear up any confusion, Burt’s Bees labels all of its products with a “natural bar,” which depicts the amount of natural materials in a product.

Burt’s Bees recently introduced new earth-friendly natural products. The Honey Lip Balm (SRP $2.50) is formulated with honey and beeswax, as well as shea butter, almond oil, cocoa butter and coconut oil. The company’s lip gloss and lip shimmer both contain vitamin E, as well as other natural ingredients. The grapefruit and sugar beet shampoo and conditioner contain grapefruit and sugar beet extract to detoxify and keep hair soft, and marula oil and soy protein for shine and strength. Other new products include the new citrus and ginger root body wash and the peppermint foot lotion.

Tom’s of Maine defines natural through a stewardship model that can be found on its website. It accounts for every aspect of what goes into the products, how ingredients are sourced, how they are packaged, etc.

“What’s different about Tom’s of Maine is the serious science and research that goes into finding and using effective ingredients from nature,” said Susan Dewhirst, media relations manager, Tom’s of Maine, Kennebunk, ME.

Planet Botanicals offers pure skincare products based on plant herbs and oils.
Tom’s of Maine’s newest product is its Natural Whole Care Fluoride Toothpaste and Toothpaste Gel. The 5.2-oz. Natural Whole Care Toothpaste comes in cinnamon-clove, peppermint, spearmint and wintermint. The Natural Whole Care Toothpaste Gel comes in a 5.5-oz. tube of cinnamon-clove, peppermint, spearmint, wintermint and orange-mango. Both reportedly maintain good oral health by delivering cavity prevention, tartar control, whitening and clean, fresh flavors using only natural ingredients.

“Our products do not contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, flavors, or animal ingredients; are tested for safety and efficacy without the use of animals; are biodegradable; and are packaged in earth-friendly ways,” added Ms. Dewhirst. 

Consumers like what they see. Ms. Dewhirst said the company’s sales are growing faster than the overall market. The company is also the No. 1 deodorant brand in the natural category, with a 23% market share, and is driving growth in the category as of the week ending June 11, 2005.

According to the Natural Marketing Institute, within the natural and organic personal care categories, 8% of the general U.S. population uses natural oral care.

Mother Nature Knows Best

Science and technology change, but in the personal care products market, consumers and marketers are going back to their roots—when there weren’t any synthetic products available to use.

Essencia’s Rosewater Body Milk is packed with all-natural ingredients and essential oils.
“Science continues to offer us new and ever-changing ways to improve our skin, yet Mother Nature is still the best provider of the skin’s most powerful protectors,” said Margaret Ancira, founder and chief executive officer, PCA Advanced Skin Care Systems, Scottsdale, AZ.

“The skin is a live tissue and absorbs what we aply to it, so we should be concerned with the products that we use. We believe that Mother Nature has provided us with all the vitamins, nutrients and emollients needed for healthy skin,” said Michele Gilfoil, president, Planet Botanicals, New York, NY.

Planet Botanicals uses unrefined shea butter in most of its products. Ms. Gilfoil explained that shea butter has been used traditionally for centuries in Africa to hydrate dry skin, soothe itchy skin, heal small wounds and reduce inflammation from injuries, colds and insect bites, and soothe itchy skin. She noted that unrefined shea butter has a high level of unsaponifiables that contain vitamins, catechins, triterpenes, karitene, allantoin and polyphenols, each with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and regenerative properties.

“We produce all-natural products because we believe that nature provides all we need for healthy skin and that natural ingredients cause the least harm to ourselves and the environment,” she said.

“Consumers purchase these products because they believe that all-natural products are safer, healthier and better for the environment,” said Mr. Duber-Smith. “In many cases, this perception is true. Synthetics are often unsafe, unhealthy and bad for the environment and many consumers will pay a premium for natural products.”

Use As Needed

Unlike the winter snow, piercings or fad diets, natural products are here to stay and will grow with consumers’ lifestyle changes. Many natural personal care marketers are aware of the increasing interest of healthier lives and are banking on the belief that natural products are healthier and more effective.

The Natural Marketing Institute noted that, within the natural and organic personal care categories, 22% of the general U.S. population uses natural skin care and 18% uses natural hair care.

“Natural products are moving from a niche market to the mainstream. Consumers have expressed their demand for products that not only work well, but are also formulated with the finest natural ingredients available,” said Jack Davies, co-founder, Collective Wellbeing, Irwindale, CA. “Our products contain high concentrations of botanical oils and butters, like shea butter, illipe nut butter and jojoba oil. We use certified raw materials if they are of high quality and available from a reliable source. We use only essential oils—not synthetic fragrances—and natural colorants. Collective Wellbeing has formulated its products to specifically meet the needs of this new, more sophisticated natural shopper.” 

Kline & Company noted that products with botanical or natural ingredients continue to be popular, especially in categories such as bath additives and hand and body lotions.

“Rich, plant-based oils combined with therapeutic essential oils provide the perfect compliment to our skin,” said Ms. Lipe. “Pure, botanical ingredients provide vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids which encourage healthy, hydrated skin. The fat soluble molecules found in these botanical substances are easily absorbed into the skin to heal and nourish.”

Rosewater Body Milk, Essencia’s signature lotion, is specially formulated for the face and body. The rich moisturizer claims to relax the mind and hydrate the skin. The aromatherapeutic lotion is loaded with all-natural beneficial ingredients including rose hydrosol to hydrate and balance the most delicate facial skin and aloe vera gel to soothe and heal, according to the company.

“Many synthetic ingredients used in skin care products, due to their molecular structure, create a barrier that prevents any beneficial ingredients from penetrating the skin’s surface,” Ms. Lipe added.

The Zerran Equalizer, a leave-in conditioner, combines extracts from fennel, orange peel and licorice to provide hair with deep conditioning to tone and soothe the hair and scalp. The product is used by Hollywood stylists and retails for $3.20, $9.99, $15, $20 and $70, for 2-oz., 8-oz and 16-oz., one liter and one gallon, respectively.

“Raw material suppliers are making more and better materials for personal care products, which enable chemists to formulate better natural products with greater appeal to the consumer,” said Mr. Saute.

Raw and natural ingredients are also being found in the anti-aging segment. These ingredients claim to be just as potent and effective as high-tech products, but from a natural standpoint.

Juice Beauty products are based on a powerful, patent-pending organic juice solution, which is rich in potent antioxidants, essential vitamins and hydroxy acids. In addition, the company sources multiple ingredients from organic farms that certify that they forbid the use of any synthetic chemicals or pesticides. Juice Beauty products work to minimize aging and skin issues.

The company’s soap-free cleansing milk gently cleanses, leaving a moist complexion. A 6-oz bottle retails for $22. The Juice Beauty redness reducing serum ($36) helps alleviate redness, calms circulatory stress and restores healthy skin tone. The nutrient-rich moisturizer ($36) replenishes moisture lost to indoor heating, and harsh, winter air; the SPF 30 tinted moisturizer ($29) is recommended for “ski burn”; and SPF 15 tinted lip moisturizers are mineral-tinted lip moisturizers. Three 4.5-oz tubes retail for $15. The company’s hydrating mist balances skin’s natural moisture. A 6-oz. spray bottle retails for $22. Juice Beauty products blend certified organic ingredients, such as aloe vera, grapeseed oil, bearberry botanicals, fatty acids and grape, carrot and pomegranate juice.

“Many beauty products use ingredients that have harmful toxins and known carcinogens in them,” said Ms. Behnke. “Many activist websites have been created to educate the public regarding these issues. Juice Beauty has signed the Safe Cosmetics Act guaranteeing that our products only contain the most pure ingredients. Our organic juice solution feeds the skin with vitamins and antioxidants to combat free radical damage to the skin. It rejuvenates skin, protects cells from the aging process, promotes healthy circulation, increases cell turnover, stimulates skin rejuvenation, soothes and moisturizes.”

Personal care manufacturers have differing views on the education of consumers. Many insist that consumers are well informed about all-natural products, while others say that consumers still have much to learn. Despite the conflicting views, all agree on one thing: There is a growing interest in the natural personal care products market.

“Consumers perceive natural products as being better for them than mass-marketed products,” noted Imogen Matthews, independent market research consultant, Oxford, UK. “However, consumers are becoming more clued up and are able to see through empty claims. They want ingredients in natural products to be there for a purpose.”