Breaking Barriers

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | April 3, 2013

While “all-in-one” beauty products are all the rage right now in skin care and hair care, it pertains more to function as opposed to consumer demographics. That’s because African-American, Asian, Hispanic and multi-heritage women who live in countries where Caucasians are the majority are still having difficulties finding beauty care products that suit their specific skin and hair types, according to Rob Walker, senior analyst for Euromonitor International, London, England.

“It begs the question as to why manufacturers and retailers are not building stronger positions in multi-ethnic beauty care, given the rapid growth and dispersal of ethnic minority groups and their burgeoning economic power,” he noted.

According to Walker, the main reason why so many leading color cosmetics and hair care brands do not have a more comprehensive portfolio to suit all skin tones and all hair types ultimately comes down to cost. This “goes to the core” of why M&A deals presented the most attractive route into the US’s ethnic market for a cluster of mainstream beauty and personal care brands—notably, L’Oréal, Wella and Alberto Culver—in the past decade.

Shannon Brown, a veteran market analyst for Packaged Facts, Rockville, MD, and Marigny Research Group, Inc., New Orleans, LA, agreed that the variation of ethnic groups post a challenge to ethnic health and beauty care (EHBC) marketing.


WeAreOnyx.com is a new shopping program targeting African-Americans.
“Despite the huge number of Hispanic and Asian consumers in the US, the majority of EHBC products target African-Americans,” said Brown. “Although this may be easily explained by some of the unique needs of African-Americans—such as dry hair and skin with specific conditioning and moisturizing needs, or darker skin tones with specific makeup needs—the fact remains that US consumers of Hispanic, Asian, Arab and other racial and ethnic descent have their own product needs and preferences that are currently not being met in any substantial way by US EHBC marketers. Beyond language differences, these varied cultural groups also respond differently to product placement and advertising appeals.”

Still, the ethnic personal care marketplace isn’t hurting for business. While many agencies are having a harder time tracking the ethnic beauty segment as it is constantly evolving, Packaged Facts estimates that US retail sales of EHBC products reached $2.9 billion in 2011, representing a compound annual growth rate of 7% since 2007. The hair care category accounted for 55% of the EHBC market in 2011, up 4% to $1.6 billion in sales. Sales of color cosmetics rose 9% to $1.1 billion in 2011, for a 38% share, with skin care up 2% to $232 million, for an 8% share, according to data from Packaged Facts.

In 2011, barber and beauty supplies stores (B&Bs) and mass retail outlets (supermarkets, drug stores, and mass merchandisers/supercenters), claimed 40% and 35% shares of retail dollar sales of ethnic HBC products, respectively. All other channels combined, including prestige and “pop prestige” (e.g., Sephora and Ulta) outlets, accounted for one-quarter of the market’s sales in 2011, noted Packaged Facts in its findings.

In the salon segment, ethnic hair care products declined 2.9% in 2012 with sales of $325 million, according to Cyrus Bulsara, president of Professional Consultants & Resources, who blamed the trend toward more natural styles as well as purchasing shifts to OTC and mass market for the category’s decline.

Around the Bend

, which was launched in early 2013, is billed as the first online beauty platform dedicated to Black women, according to the company. The site lets users learn from beauty experts who look like them, shop recommended products directly from the video page and sample everything before they buy in the monthly OnyxBox—and membership is $20 a month. The site positions itself as a one-stop online beauty destination dedicated to Black women. Its mission is to celebrate the diversity of hair types and skin tones.

“We couldn’t help but notice this key demographic not having a place to go to for their beauty needs,” said Delali Kpodzo, creator of We Are Onyx, “so we felt it was our duty to create a platform to do just this.”

Kpodzo of We Are Onyx

Transcending barriers in the beauty marketplace as well is salon hair care brand Design Essentials, now bringing its Natural line within reach to consumers at Sally Beauty Supply Stores nationwide. An acclaimednatural hair care line among “Naturalistas,” this retail debut marks the first time that select Design Essentials products will be made available to consumers outside the doors of salons.

Manufactured by McBride Research Laboratories, Design Essentials has been renowned for more than two decades as a global hair care brand comprised of premium salon-quality products.

“With more than 20 years in the black hair care industry, we thought it would be fitting to have our natural products within reach of women who are embracing and making a statement through their natural beauty,” said Tracey Gibson, director of marketing for McBride Research Laboratories.

“Throughout Black History, we’ve seen so many icons like Pam Grier, Angela Davis, Chaka Khan and more recently, starlets like Chrisette Michele, Solange Knowlesand Jill Scottshowcase their natural beauty to the world. With the retail launch of Design Essentials Natural, we are proud to give consumers access to our salon-quality products so that they too can bask in their natural glory.”

Gibson told Happi that there’s been a steady shift in the ethnic hair care space as it relates to the stylist, the consumer, the styles and the ingredients that are used in the various products. “The category once previously dominated by relaxers has shifted exponentially with over one-third of the multi-cultural consumer base embracing their natural hair,” she said. “The multicultural consumer has moved beyond the traditional relaxer, color or perm. She desires products that are made with her in mind.”

Ahead of the Curve

Popular on HSN as well as major retailers like Macy’s, Carol’s Daughter is expanding its empire with a variety of hair care launches this spring. Lisa’s Hair Elixir Collection is a first in its category said to work to restore scalp and hair by harnessing the power of “unique elixirs” to take hair to a whole new level. In the scalp spray, natural sugars exfoliate the scalp to shed old layers and wash away impurities from both the follicle and scalp, while a precise blend of cedar leaf, rosemary and camphor oil creates an elixir that conditions and soothes, eliminating redness, irritation and tightness. A restorative hair oil follows this SKU in the treatment plan.

Also new from Carol’s Daughter is the Monoi Sacred Strengthening Serum as well as a Lavender & Vanilla bath and body collection. A lover of flowers, Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, learned about an ancient Polynesian ritual passed down from mothers to daughters involving her favorite gardenia flower. The Tiare flower is praised for its softening, purifying and soothing abilities, and the Coprah coconut oil, which is referred to as “the white gold of Tahiti,” is celebrated for its moisturizing and nourishing properties. After 15 days, the Tiare buds blossom, and their naturally extracted oils are blended with monoi to create an oil that is said to be unmatched in its natural power to heal and repair. It also contains a blend of Mirabelle plum seed oil, which is said to improve hair health; as well as kukui and rose hip seed oils to seal in moisture.

SheaMoisture, available at Target, recently expanded its hair color collection.

SheaMoisture, which has been targeting ethnic hair since 1912 and is now available at Target, recently debuted its Three Butters Hair Collection for Men. Each product features a unique formula that includes shea, mango and avocado butters to provide hydration and control. SKUs vary from shampoo to pomade. The brand also recently added on to its at-home hair color range.

Aveda also bulked up its textured hair offerings with the Be Curly Curl Controller and Be Curly Curl Enhancing Hair Spray, each with a naturally derived formula designed to help guests achieve their ideal curl while reducing frizz.

“Frizz is a concern for three in 10 women, so we’ve taken steps to address these guests’ need for products that give them the curl they want with serious frizz control,” said Antoinette Beenders, Aveda global creative director. “Our Be Curly collection is greatly enhanced with the addition of Aveda Be Curly Curl Controller and Curl Enhancing Hair Spray, with are designed for guests with a variety of curl patterns and styling preference. They enhance or elongate, refresh and defend against humidity and frizz.”

The Curl Controller’s liquid formula’s organic babassu oil smoothes and elongates tight curls while fighting frizz and conditioning hair for soft, touchable curls with natural movement. The babassu oil in Be Curly Curl Controller is certified-organic and sustainably sourced from an indigenous women’s co-op in Brazil. The hairspray utilizes wheat protein and an organic aloe curl-enhancing complex that expands when hair is wet and contracts as it dries to enhance curls, according to the company.

Meeting the Melting Pot

Different ethnicities shop for different types of skin care products, noted Mintel in its report, Impact of Race/Hispanic Origin in Facial Skin Care. For example, Hispanics and Asians are the most likely to use a range of eye care products, particularly those that help treat the visible symptoms of aging; while black respondents are the most likely to report being loyal to one brand of facial skin care, from cleansers and moisturizers to anti-aging products.

According to the report, black consumers who use facial skin care are most likely to use them for cleansing and treating/preventing dry skin, as skin ashiness remains a common problem. Meanwhile, Asians and Hispanics are very likely to use facial skin care for wrinkles and dark circles/age spots.
“For skin, evening skin tone and minimizing dark marks remains an important trend and realizing that the sun makes dark marks darker, more women of color are using sunscreens,” observed Susan C. Taylor, MD, founding director, Skin of Color Center, St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York. “This is helped by the introduction of sunscreens that no longer leave a white hue on the skin. For example, sunscreen companies are getting more innovative with L’Oréal Sublime Oil SPF 55 and Anthelios Primer SPF 60 (for more on sun care, read the March 2013 issue of Happi).

Palmer’s Eventone Dark Spot Corrector

In general, personal care marketers are continuing to tap into the illustrious ethnic consumer demand with a diversity of rollouts for 2013. Palmer’s is expanding its Cocoa Butter empire with two new skin care items, Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone BB Cream and Cocoa Butter Formula Eventone Dark Spot Corrector. Both feature Palmer’s exclusive Tone Enhancing Complex, an advanced blend of “tone perfecting” ingredients including cocoa butter, niacinamide, soy, licorice extract, synovea and vitamin C. The complex works to keep skin looking brighter and more uniform in tone by diminishing discolored surface cells and inhibiting uneven pigment formation, according to the company.

Also set to launch this Fall in the mass market, Iman Cosmetics enters the BB crème category with its first multifunctional skin care product, Skin Tone Evener BB Crème SPF 15. According to the company, it “takes the lead” in shade selection and product formulation that addresses the specific needs of tan, olive and brown complexions. Inspired by Ayurveda and botanical elements, Skin Tone Evener BB Crème SPF 15 is formulated with a combination of high-tech and natural ingredients to brighten, hydrate and protect skin.

According to the company, it utilizes a unique skin tone evening complex, vitamin C and licorice root extract to brighten the complexion and fight hyperpigmentation. Vitamin E, sweet almond oil and aloe hydrate and heal skin while anti-aging properties of grape seed oil, açai and vitamin A fight fine lines and wrinkles. SPF 15 protects skin from further darkening and environmental damage and mineral-rich pigments derived from iron oxides provide a light, satiny coverage to hide imperfections. Shades vary from Sand Light (available exclusively online and internationally) to Earth Medium to Deep.

Iman offers a range of BB creams for a variety of skin hues.
Estée Lauder taps into the burgeoning Asian marketplace with new skin whitening SKUs for 2013. According to the company, the new Cyberwhite HD Advanced Spot Correcting Collection continues to build on decades of studying Asian skin with new research that shows that not only UV, but pollution too, is a key contributor to the formation of dark spots and that Asian skin is particularly vulnerable.
Inspired by these new findings, Estée Lauder introduces the next generation of advanced spot reducing and brightening with new range of skin care.

This brightening system is empowered by new HD-90 Technology, which features a potent, unprecedented level of 90% active Baicalin, an ingredient formulators at Estée Lauder derived from a botanical known for its exceptional brightening power.

Deep Shades

To complement clean and healthy skin, color cosmetics companies continue to lure the ethnic consumer with face powders, eyeshadows and lipsticks made in hues perfect for darker skin tones. Makeup lines are also branching out to include colors that match darker skin types as well as complement earthy tones. After all, a certain shade that pops on fairer skin might not work for a woman of a darker complexion.

Known for catering to darker skin tones, Fashion Fair Cosmetics celebrates its 40th anniversary with the new Sam Fine Fashion Fair Supreme Color Collection, which is out now. Fine, Fashion Fair Cosmetic’s creative makeup director and makeup artist, has a following for creating beautiful looks for all skin types. The range features two eyeshadow quads, eight lipsticks and a lipgloss all in hues that make darker skin dazzle.

This season, Bobbi Brown reinvented her corrective powders of the past and included darker tones too. Developed with a sheer, light-transmitting base, this innovative powder instantly brightens and illuminates skin while reducing excess oil, said the company. Plant-based ingredients, zea mays starch and zinc stearate, and natural mineral powders help soothe and calm skin while absorbing excess surface oils to reduce shine. Rose gives deep skin tones a healthy flush of color; while brown warms up dark and rich skin.

Korres is also expanding on winning SKUs with a new line of anti-aging foundations in its Quercetin & Oak family. Featuring caramel and amber tones, this foundation is touted as a natural alternative to retinol. Korres Quercetin & Oak has the first and only exclusive, patent-pending quercetin and oak formulation to address the signs of aging caused by the decline in proteasome function. Quercetin is derived from the oak tree, which is its secret to fortifying itself, never appearing to age for hundreds of years.

Finally, ethnic beauty is striking the burgeoning nail category as well. Salma Hayek extended her Nuance brand at CVS with Nuance Salma Hayek Nail Lacquer. Available in 30 shades, the line also includes a protective base coat, formulated with bamboo extract, and a chip-resistant topcoat. The products have also been placed in the trendy Nail HQ specialty kiosks that promote “must have” nail SKUs for the season.

Expanding the Melting Pot

Packaged Facts expects the US market for EHBC products to remain on a healthy growth trajectory through 2016, with increases in the 5-7% range bringing sales to $3.9 billion. Moreover, this growth could be substantially higher should more marketers begin to target the largest and still fast-growing group of EHBC consumers: Hispanics.

“As of 2042, the terms ‘ethnic’ and ‘minority’ will no longer have the same meaning in the US,” said Brown. “That’s the year the Census Bureau forecasts that the current racial and ethnic minorities will cease to be the minority in this country, outnumbering the white population.”

She said that this population boom among ethnic and racial minorities bodes well for the EHBC industry as the growing population holds great dollar potential, and will continue to do so “for generations.”

Brown also noted that minority groups are increasingly hanging onto their cultural roots, creating additional opportunities for EHBC marketers.

According to Euromonitor, it is probably only a matter of time before the burgeoning spending power of ethnic groups in the UK, US and parts of Western Europe push ethnic beauty care to the forefront of strategic planning among the world’s biggest beauty care manufacturers, and jettison ethnic-specific products away from the margins of retailing and onto the mainstream store shelves.

“The opportunities for generating new business are too good to miss,” said Walker.

New Hang Tags Talk To Shoppers
• M&M Products Company, maker of Sofn’free Nothing But hair care, believes in the power of words and put them to print on colorful hang tags on its ethnic hair care products. Each hangtag features an expert’s nod of approval for one of seven Nothing But products.

Products featuring quotable hang tags will be distributed to every store that carries Nothing But products, including all Sally Beauty Supply, and select Wal-Mart, Kroger, Rite Aid and independent beauty supply stores nationwide.

Among the quoted expert sources is Real Health, a leading health magazine for African Americans; Essence.com’s online beauty editor Nicole Melton; celebrity natural-hair stylist Felicia Leatherwood; and natural hair and scalp expert Dr. Kari Williams. Popular beauty bloggers from Lexi With The Curls, Hairscapades, and Toyaboo Tresses on YouTube also give Nothing But kudos with their own quotations.

“Within ethnic hair care, natural hair is definitely en vogue, although I hesitate to call it a trend, per se,” said Will Williams, director of product development and education at Atlanta, GA-based M&M Products Company, which also makes Bump Patrol. “’Fashionistas,’ who are natural primarily for aesthetic reasons rather than health, green or budget purposes, continue to drive the category.”

He insisted that product development, too, is a Fashionista issue, since they’ve created a demand for style flexibility that only temporary straightening offers.

“Naturalistas, those who are ingredient-motivated, are also a driving force, as companies continue to bring cleaner products to the market, like those without petrolatum, sulfates, mineral oil and colorants,” he added.

That’s actually the basis behind Sofn’free Nothing But—to eliminate ingredients that women with natural hair have called into question and to offer “nothing but” the good stuff that natural hair needs.

More info:www.NothingButHairCare.com