Daily Intake

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | July 2, 2014

Ingestible products continue to play a minor, yet growing role in the overall beauty category.

You are what you eat. And drink. And how much sleep you get and how often you exercise, smoke or drink. And there’s also a bit of heredity in there too. Americans, in general, believe they make smart choices when it comes to their overall health—but even those with the best intentions fall short here and there.

Take that Lululemon mom on line at school pickup. Sure she rails against too many sweets at the class picnic but she often forgets to apply sunscreen for her mid-day boot camp class. She drinks plenty of water, but  lunch today was a grab-n-go protein bar rather than a salad with lots of dark, leafy greens. She glances in the mirror and wonders what to do about her split ends and she just spotted a new crease near the corner of her left eye.

There are thousands, if not millions, of women just like her, and they appear to be the perfect customer for nutricosmetics—the mash up of beauty and wellness that been forecast to bloom here in the US.

Research & Markets says the global nutricosmetics market will grow at a CAGR of 9.76% over 2013-2018, but makers of beauty benefit-based supplements, drinks and even candy have never experienced the frenzied excitement of BB crème. The category have been slower to gain favor with time-pressed and beauty-obsessed US consumers, and even brands that made a big splash seemed to have faded away.

Making Vitamins Sexy

But there’s a new brand that believes it has what it takes—evidenced by its quick entry into the hottest retail space in the beauty category. Hum Nutrition, a Los Angeles-based company that sells a dozen beauty-from within-products, just entered select Sephora stores and online at Sephora.com.

For founders Walter Faulstroh and Chris Coleridge, the premise was to make nutritional supplements less confusing with a highly-targeted, scientifically-proven and consumer-friendly brand that would address an array of lifestyle and beauty needs. They’ve had success before in the nutraceuticals market; the duo created V Water, a hot vitamin water brand that was scooped up by PepsiCo in 2008.

According to the company, the genesis for Hum was Faulstroh’s own struggle with problematic skin, which was solved by Gudrun Jonsson, one of London’s leading nutritionists and author of “Gut Reaction.” Gudrun’s approach centered on nutrition and ultra-specific nutritional supplements.

Hum’s taking a similar tact.

“Hum’s philosophy is that beauty starts from within and what you put into your body will have an impact on how you look and feel. As supplements form part of a wider nutritional regime, Hum offers a completely free nutritional online clinic via our website where consumers can take a nutritional quiz that the company developed with leading nutrition researchers in Northern California,” said Faulstroh.

He contends Hum is the first company to offer a comprehensive range of ingestible beauty products in the US.

“Traditionally, ingestible beauty has been sold alongside a range of either skin care or as part of a wider nutritional concept, thus lacking complete focus. Hum is different and has an extremely targeted line of supplements that are formulated, researched and made in California. Every Hum product makes you either look or feel great, hence the tagline ‘Beauty starts from within,’” Faulstroh said.

The current product line offers solutions for many beauty maladies—dull skin, acne, aging skin, dark circles, stronger nails and fuller hair. For example, there’s Red Carpet, a supplement that promotes glowing skin and fuller, shinier hair; Killer Nails, which delivers a powerful punch of 5000mcg of biotin; and new Smooth Operator, which contains a unique skin repair and protection blend with Types I, II and III collagen to reduce lines and wrinkles.

Hum, which was founded in 2012, has moved quickly from concept to Sephora counters, but executives contend the brand is built for the long haul.

“In our view, there is a combination of factors that led to poorly executed attempts in cracking this market,” said Faulstroh. “First and foremost the products must deliver the promised benefit, otherwise consumers will not purchase a second bottle. Many of the early beauty supplements were multi-vitamins with an increased dose of zinc and biotin and sold as Hair-Skin-Nail formulas.”

Hum’s approach, he said, is different with “ultra-specific” beauty benefits that are solved by highly concentrated and pure formulas. 
 Faulstroh believes Hum also addressed the key issue of compliance. “Supplements don’t deliver results overnight. Depending on the starting point and formula, it takes 4-12 weeks to see results. So we decided to pack our products in highly engaging and attractive packaging, which consumers can leave on the kitchen counter. It reminds them to take the supplement and our compliance ratio is extremely high.” 

Lesson Plan

Swisse Wellness is another supplement brand that’s paid close attention to the role smart, educational packaging can play in the category.

“Education is important in this category so that people understand the benefits of different ingredients and how they can help achieve desired results. That’s why at Swisse, we have very simple and modern packaging so consumers can easily identify the product that’s right for their health need,” noted Ulrich Irgens, executive vice president Americas/international business director at Swisse Wellness, which is a leading wellness brand in Australia.

According to Irgens, the US market is more primed than in years past.

“Beauty supplements have been popular abroad for many years and in the US, consumers are starting to accept that beauty can also start from within,” he said. “While maintaining good diet, nutrition and overall wellness are important, supplementation can help fill some of the inevitable gaps that pop up while living a busy lifestyle. As the market for beauty supplementation continues to grow in the US, we anticipate that consumers will continue to look for evidenced products with premium ingredients.”

The Swisse Wellness roster includes Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails, a supplement taken once a day with a meal.

“There are very few formulas as comprehensive and as readily available in the market as Swisse Ultiboost Hair Skin Nails,” noted Irgens. It contains a “blend of premium quality ingredients that support the formation of collagen and maintenance of healthy hair and skin. Key ingredients include vitamin C, riboflavin, biotin, iron, zinc, silicon and milk thistle.”

Inside Out

NuHair is another brand tackling thinning hair with supplementation. NuHair products are herbal-based formulas that are specifically designed to block the negative effects of DHT, while also providing intense nourishment for excessively thinning hair, receding hair lines and breakage around the hairline, scalp or areas that have poor hair density. The system teams topical treatments with specially designed ingestible tablets for men and women.

Jane Iredale has also added a new ingestible SKU—Skin Accumax—a supplement that helps clear the redness and irritation associated with acne breakouts. 

Healthy skin is the foundation of Iredale’s company, which has the exclusive distributorship for the supplement in the US.
“I’ve always said, the best cosmetic you can wear is a healthy skin,” said Jane Iredale, founder and president of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, Ltd. “At Jane Iredale, everything we create is designed to be a responsible extension of skin care that lifts the health and spirit and lets natural beauty shine through. Skin Accumax does just that.”

According to Iredale, thousands of men and women are seeking natural treatments for their adult acne. 

“I was lucky enough to find a product, Skin Accumax, originating in England that is a natural food supplement and targets all forms of acne, from heavy breakouts to occasional hormonal pimples. So, I decided to make it available as part of our line because we believe that beauty begins with healthy skin,” she said.

Iredale is a firm believer in the adage “you are what you eat.”

“I am passionate about organic and local food and know food’s role is critical in the overall health of the body, and is most visibly reflected in the appearance of the skin. The natural formulation of Skin Accumax effectively complements and enhances one’s topical skin care regimen, just like a proper diet. The unique formula combines vitamins A and C with a phytonutrient found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. It feeds the skin from the inside out.”

Vemma Nutrition Company, Scottsdale, AZ, is also looking to improve skin through a ready-to-drink functional beverage. New Vemma Renew is formulated with 20 milligrams of plant-sourced silica, known to help maintain healthy skin, nails and hair. The 8.3oz beverage is said to provide a full day’s vitamin and mineral support with the added benefit of appealing to the beauty-conscious consumer looking for a healthy approach to beauty from the inside out, according to the company, which was founded in 2004.

Bones About It

Even Bayer HealthCare is talking up inner beauty in the supplement sector via its new Beauty is Bone Deep campaign. The program, which enlists model and author Dayle Haddon, is designed to encourage women to focus on inner strength as the foundation of beauty—and consider adding Citracal, Bayer’s calcium supplement, to their daily  “age-defying health and beauty routine to support bone health.”

The Citracal campaign was unveiled just days before Bayer AG announced a $14.2 billion deal to purchase Merck’s consumer unit, including the Coppertone franchise, giving the company instant footing in a major personal care category.

Other beauty/personal care company see value in vitamins too. Helen of Troy Limited—ranked No. 36 in The Top 50—has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Healthy Directions, LLC, a US company touting premium doctor-branded vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) as well as other health products that are sold directly to consumers.

The company considers the $195 million deal a logical step as it “continues to capitalize on the health and wellness trend.” To that end, the company acquired Kaz (a maker of humidifiers and air filters) in 2010 and Pur (a water purification brand) in December. Helen of Troy pointed to Healthy Directions’ “strong, innovation pipeline” and “advantageous direct marketing and delivery capability” as additional reasons behind the acquisition.

Sunstar Americas—best known for its GUM oral care line—is making its foray into the US skin care market with Equitance, a complete regimen that includes a beauty supplement. Executives are bullish about the prospects for the line, which was unveiled in New York City last month  (For more on the Equitance range, be sure to check Happi.com in July).

P&G is playing a larger roll in the global vitamin category, too, following its Q4 2013 accord with Swisse Wellness. In the alliance, PGT Healthcare (a JV between P&G and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.) is partnering with Swisse to expand its VMS range to new territories.

At the time of the agreement, P&G described Swisse Wellness as the fastest growing OTC company in the world in the past five years and has led the VMS market in Australia to such an extent that the country is now the best performing in the VMS category outside of the emerging markets.

The alliance, according to Irgens, will see Swisse products sold in more than 20 countries around the world by the end of the decade.

That has company officials busy, but also a bit tight-lipped about the future.

“We are working on global marketing campaigns as we speak in a range of markets but none that we can share right now. Watch this space,” Irgens told Happi.

With big name beauty/personal care companies looking more closely at VMS, it could very well be a category to keep an eye on 2015.