Diversify Your Portfolio

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | April 3, 2017

Multicultural shoppers are driving innovation in formulation and packaging of beauty products.

Multicultural consumers make up nearly half of the Millennial generation (42%) and drive 47% of the total US gross domestic product, according to experts. A new Nielsen report, “Multicultural Millennials: The Multiplier Effect” estimates the group influences upward of $1 trillion in total consumer spending. Multicultural Millennials are bridging the gaps between their birth culture, their own children and mainstream society.

Most of them are fully ambicultural, shifting from what was once a dominant family-based culture to a posture that blends a variety of cultures into a new mainstream, according to Nielsen. The profound influence on their peers as well as on both younger and older generations, deemed the “multiplier effect,” can be harnessed by marketers and advertisers to expand their market share. 

“In addition to the influence they command on their more non-Hispanic white peers, there is another reason marketers and advertisers should be interested in multicultural Millennials: many of them are first generation professionals who are in prime acquisition mode,” said Courtney Jones, vice president of multicultural growth and strategy at Nielsen. “A growing disposable income among multicultural Millennials is a ripe opportunity for companies that court them and make an effort to cultivate and earn their business.”

When exploring the top consumer categories that multicultural Millennials purchase, African-American Millennials spend more than average on ethnic hair and beauty products while Asian-American Millennials spend more on skin care preparations than the average consumer. Unfortunately, these shopping habits haven’t translated at mass.

In the mass market, multicultural beauty sales have stalled. Ethnic, Afro-American products stayed flat at $567.4 million, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) for total US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 17, 2017. In this category, ethnic Afro-American shampoos and conditioners also were even at $177.2 million. Ethnic Afro-American styling aids rose 2.3% to $197 million, ethnic Afro-American relaxers/activators fell 9.8% to $73.9 million, ethnic Afro-American hair color was flat at $42.4 million, ethnic Afro-American accessories increased 1.7% to $26.4 million and children’s products slipped 6% to $13.4 million. Ethnic Afro-American skin care decreased 2.9% to $37.1 million.

In the ethnic Mexican-American category, sales fell 5.2% to $211.1 million, reported IRI. The Hispanic hair sector slipped 2.9% to $43 million, Hispanic skin care rose 2% to $73 million and “other” Hispanic products slipped 11% to $95.1 million.

So, what will bring this consumer out to the stores? “Today, the multicultural market is heavily reliant on the internet shopper for researching the newest beauty products,” Julie Zepeda, chief executive officer of the National Latino Cosmetology Association, Las Vegas, NV, told Happi. “Between family responsibilities and work the highest percentage of shoppers research of beauty products is done on a home computer.”

According to Zepeda, today’s multicultural beauty consumers are “ incredibly astute shoppers” who “spend an astronomical amount of time researching their favorite products.”

Branching Out

A variety of outlets are reaching out more and more to the multicultural consumer. For example, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database recently added more than 1,100 products marketed to Black women in its online ratings. In case you are curious: fewer than 25% of the personal care products marketed specifically to Black women rated well in EWG’s Skin Deep database, compared to 40% of those available to the general public.

“We’ve assessed the health and safety of tens of thousands of personal care products for more than 12 years, but we wanted to broaden Skin Deep to include products specifically marketed to Black women,” said Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research, EWG. “As a Black woman, I was excited to see more of the products I use each day in Skin Deep, but disheartened to discover that there are fewer options for healthier, less hazardous products marketed specifically to women like me.”

EWG’s lowest-scoring products marketed to Black women are hair relaxers, hair color and bleaching products. But even in other categories such as concealers, foundations and sun-protective makeup, no product analyzed scored “low hazard” in Skin Deep.

Marketers are also reaching out more to the multicultural segment by way of community programs. To honor Black History Month, Colgate-Palmolive recently partnered with Black Girls Code on a campaign focused on helping more young girls of color learn computer programming. According to the National Science Foundation, women fill close to half of all jobs in the US economy, yet hold less than 25% of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs. More striking, African-American women make up only 2% of the country’s science and engineering workforce. This initiative included an online campaign encouraging consumers to share stories, with the goal of inspiring the newest generation of young women interested in technology.

As a nod to individual beauty, Redken global creative director Guido capitalized on each model’s individual hair texture at Kanye West’s Spring/Summer 2017 Show at Fashion Week.

“We’ve got 250 models here at the Kanye West show. All are African-American, so we’ve got lots of textured hair to play with. We’re really enhancing all the girls’ natural texture and we’re using Redken’s new Curvaceous line for each look, in different capacities. We’ve prepped the hair by shampooing it, then following up using conditioner and styling products. So really what we’re seeing is women embracing this natural curl that many of these girls have.

“Although it’s such a large group, each with their own unique style, the general theme would be embracing natural texture. When talking about natural texture, whether that be on African Americans or anyone who’s got wild curls, what we’re looking for is a great shape in your hair. The ideal cut will allow you to let those curls really come out and you’ll feel more comfortable in letting your hair dry naturally. I think women sometimes get a little bit uncomfortable because they think it looks messy. But if hair is well shaped, then the style has a good foundation,” said Guido about the hair look at the show setting trends for the upcoming season.

Hair We Are

Textured tresses are celebrated in the hair care segment. While most brands offer some type of product for curly hair, niche companies are still on the rise as they offer the full “kit and caboodle” that brings the shopper back for more with complementary products.

For example, Pantene is branching out with a new line of hair care to nourish textured hair with its Pro-V formula called The Gold Series. It includes a curl defining pudding, hydrating oil, co-wash, leave-on detangling milk and more.

Carol’s Daughter—entrepreneur Lisa Price’s cult beauty brand now owned by L’Oréal—is adding two new collections this season. With the new year in full swing and fitness goals underway, the brand suggested women get their hair into a healthy, balanced routine with Rhassoul Clay. The company’s new hair care line was created to draw out impurities and balance moisture. The line is formulated with Moroccan rhassoul clay, aloe juice and cactus flower to restore essential moisture and add touchable softness, according to the company.

Carol’s Daughter also launched the Pracaxi Nectar Collection exclusively at Sally’s Beauty Supply. This “Styling By Nature” line includes three products made with natural pracaxi (pra-ca-shee) oil, the conditioning “miracle” nectar of Brazil, so hairstyles last and stay soft to the touch without flakes or residue. The collection was born when Price traveled to Brazil and came across the miraculous nectar.

Farouk Systems rolled out CHI Deep Brilliance Olive & Monoi Line, a hair care line and relaxer system, which is enriched with both olive oil and monoi oil for “ultimate hair rejuvenation,” said the company. The restorative line includes everything from a masque to a sheen spray. Each product is enriched with olive oil, monoi oil, shea butter and silk that collectively work together to revitalize chemically treated tresses and prevent damage from daily styling. Olive oil is notable for its ability to permeate the hair shaft to condition the scalp thus improving the elasticity of hair. Monoi oil, consisting of a lavish blend of coconut oil and tiare gardenia flowers, offers deep conditioning and ultimately reverses damage caused by thermal styling. Shea butter serves as a natural conditioner, eliminating dryness and breakage and ensuring more manageability. Lastly, the key ingredient, silk, is a protein that revitalizes weakened hair strands and provides optimal shine.

Natural hair care brand Curls is now available inside 7,200 CVS locations nationwide. CVS is stocking the brand’s Crème Brule Whipped Curl Cream, Goddess Curls Botanical Gelle, Lavish Curls Moisturizer and Passion Fruit Curls Control Paste, as well as select products from the Blueberry Bliss Collection.

“My initial goal in creating Curls was to give curlies everywhere that perfect product to give them beautiful and healthy hair,” says Curls Founder Mahisha Dellinger. “In today’s economy, it’s important to me to offer our affordable, yet results-driven products at accessible retailers like CVS.” 

Vogue International, the team behind the award-winning OGX hair care line and inspired by the islands of Hawaii, debuted the next big wave in hair care at Ludlow Studios in NYC this winter. Maui Moisture is billed as a refreshing and reparative line specifically for multicultural hair developed with exotic botanicals and plant essences found on the tropical islands. This new collection, comprised of handcrafted shampoos, conditioners and hair treatments, is the first in the marketplace to use pure aloe juice as the first ingredient, replacing deionized, chemically-treated water, and infuse all formulas with pure coconut water, according to the company. Using aloe juice as its base, each Maui Moisture product is super rich in minerals, electrolytes and vitamins. The result is a deeply nourishing and restorative hair treatment from root to tip for hair that’s soft, shiny, healthy and strong.

Phyto Specific recently celebrated the launch of its Curl Legend Spray enriched with protein-packed botanical caviar to refresh textured hair. According to the company, this curl-refreshing spray creates sublime, full-body curls without the weight. Elasticurl, a natural curl enhancer, redesigns curls and holds their shape. There is also a sister product, Curl Legend Gel, to style the hair.

Alikay Naturals has posted tremendous growth during the past year. In February, the company launched Alikay Naturals Honey & Sage Deep Conditioner, Lemongrass Leave-In Conditioner, Shea Yogurt Hair Moisturizer, Knots Be Gone Detangler and Essential 17 Hair Growth Oil in select CVS stores. The Alikay Naturals line is currently available at select Target, Sally Beauty and Rite Aid, to name a few.

To continue the momentum of its 45th anniversary, Dark and Lovely named R&B singer Justine Skye as its newest Haircolor Ambassador and muse behind their newest Go Intense! hair color shade, Passion Plum.

Dark and Lovely is also incorporating more nourishing components into its products with the new Color-Gloss Ultra Radiant Color Crème collection featuring its first, no-ammonia, shine-infusing conditioning hair color that provides natural-looking results while delivering a gorgeous, glossy shine.

The nourishing formula deeply conditions to provide softness, leaving hair feeling as good as it looks. It also protects hair of all textures, from naturally curly to relaxed, from damage while delivering beautiful, radiant color.

Dark and Lovely Color-Gloss collection is infused with three key ingredients: shea butter, used for centuries to soothe dry, itchy scalp and dandruff on African hair; coconut oil, high in vitamin E and other nutrients; and pomegranate seed oil, a revitalizer and protector against chemicals and other environmental damage. The range includes six natural hair color shades spanning from Golden Brown to Rich Black; one application lasts up to 28 shampoos and works for all hair types.

“Naturalistas shouldn’t fear coloring their hair,” said Mezei Jefferson, director of education, Dark and Lovely. “The new Color-Gloss hair color was made with natural hair in mind. We know how important it is to keep the integrity of your natural curl pattern and Color-Gloss has nourishing ingredients that help to retain moisture in your hair, which allows curls to bounce back.”

Hair issues for African-American women include fragility and hair loss, as bald spots and breakage are so common, observed Skin of Color Society president Dr. Amy J. McMichael, who is also professor and chair, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest Baptist Health Medical Center. For breakage, Dr. McMichael recommends moisturizing shampoos and conditioners with lower levels of detergent as well as co-wash formulations. Coating agents such as silicones also prevent knotting in multicultural hair types. For 2017, she is excited about a number of treatments now in development for hair loss, including oral and topical solutions currently in trials.

Love the Skin We’re In

Meanwhile, according to Dr. Seemal Desai, secretary/treasurer for the Skin of Color Society, as well as president and medical director for Innovative Dermatology, in Plano, TX and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern, there are an increasing number of scientific breakthroughs in treatments for a host of pigmentary disorders, including hyper-pigmentation, melasma and vitiligo, with special emphasis on key considerations and risks in treating skin of color. OTC beauty products combined with prescription products work to solve these issues—especially melasma, which impacts hundreds of thousands worldwide, according to Desai.

“In over-the-counter, for retinol I like Neutrogena products, Ambi for hydroquinone and EltaMD for sun care,” he told Happi. “For prescription, kojic acid and azaleic acid (Finacea) as well as soy-based products and SkinMedica Lytera Skin Brightening Complex are ideal for treating melasma as well as chemical peels.”

Marketers specializing in multicultural personal care products are seeing success by reaching out to consumers’ specific needs. Leading brand Palmer’s rolled out DJ Khaled x Palmer’s capsule collection, a limited-edition, three-product lineup of the brand’s popular Cocoa Butter Formula Lotion. For more than 15 years, Khaled has been a fan of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula products. In 2015, he called out his love for the brand in a tutorial on his popular Snapchat channel, touting the brand’s trademark lotion as a “major key” to his glowing skin. The video quickly went viral leading to frequent fan requests for Khaled to sign their Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula products. Palmer’s took notice of the social media frenzy and a partnership followed.

Now, the DJ Khaled x Palmer’s capsule collection offers three different collectible varieties of Khaled catchphrases made notable on his social media channels, including “We The Best Glow,” “Live Life Smooth” and “They Block” and also feature DJ Khaled’s trademark gold key and signature on the packaging.

Another leading name in multicultural beauty is Sundial Brands, manufacturer of SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage and Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture. Recently, Nubian Heritage debuted its new packaging featuring textile patterns that celebrate the different cultures of its global community—the healers whose time-honored recipes inspire the brand’s remedies, the places where it finds ingredients and the people who embrace its award-winning collections.

Each collection’s packaging pays homage to the diversity of healing traditions and cultures that are represented in the Nubian Heritage family. Its offerings include African Black Soap facial care, and 13 bath and body care collections with body wash, lotion, hand cream, hand and body scrub, infused shea butter, bar soap and deodorant in Coconut & Papaya and Abyssinian Oil and Chia Seed.

Originating in Nubia, abyssinian oil was made famous by the Queen of Sheba, the ruler of ancient Ethiopia. Chia seed oil and amaranth extract, ancient superfoods, have been cultivated since the 16th century while ginseng, rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, is used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Since ancient times, the coconut palm tree has been a vital source of nourishment for millions in South America, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. Papaya has long been revered for its skin-rejuvenating properties throughout South America.

New this season is SheaMoisture’s Dragon’s Blood & Coffee Cherry collection. The body, hair and skin care collection nourishes and thickens fine, thin hair, and intensely moisturizes and revives dry, stressed skin.

SheaMoisture’s new range of products contain certified organic shea butter and dragon’s blood and coffee cherry extracts. Dragon’s Blood, called Sangre de Drago, is a resinous sap sourced from the Peruvian Amazon.

When applied topically, the sap dries quickly to form a protective barrier, much like a second skin. Providing reparative benefits, it helps to renew and protect skin from daily stressors. It coats the strands, adding density and volume to hair, making it look fuller and thicker.

Coffee cherry extract, rich in invigorating caffeine and antioxidants, helps boost skin’s natural cellular functions and strengthens the hair shaft, according to the company.

By way of cosmetics, Shea Moisture is launching a new line of Pure Perfection foundations available in 18 shades, a new mineral illuminating powder highlighter, shea butter lipsticks and face primers at Ulta.

In addition, Ulta served as the launchpad for the company’s first prestige skin care line, Nyakio.

Inspired by her family of medicine men, farmers and educators, founder Nyakio Kamoche Grieco, a first-generation American of Kenyan descent, partnered with Sundial Brands to bring global secrets of naturally ageless beauty to the US. Based on Nyakio’s family recipes, as well as beauty traditions from 13 countries across the globe, each formula evokes “a luxurious, culturally transcendent experience,” according to the company.

The 16-SKU line draws ingredients including manketti, neroli, maracuja and yangu oils, red ginseng and quinoa from such countries as Kenya, China, Brazil, Spain, Egypt, India, Morocco and Peru.

Rhythm & Heat is the theme of CND’s Summer 2017 range. Art deco design and endless beaches set the scene for the season. The bright hues are inspired by Caribbean destinations and range from Mambo Heat to Shells in the Sand and are available in both Vinylux and Shellac nail formulations.

“This season’s trend story is rooted in nature with a sultry blend of color and design,” said Jan Arnold, CND style director and co-founder.

Next Steps

By 2050, more than 50% of the US population will have skin of color. This multicultural marketplace comprises the majority in California, New Mexico and Texas…and soon will be the mainstream in Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, New York and Florida. The Skin of Color Society is expanding its global outreach—specifically in India, Australia and Africa, according to McMichael.

New Beauty Partner At Moroccanoil
Moroccanoil partnered with Portuguese supermodel Sara Sampaio as the brand’s new beauty ambassador. She makes her debut as the face of the brand’s new print and digital advertising campaign shot by top photographer Norman Jean Roy.

Some of Sampaio’s favorite products include Moroccanoil Shimmering Body Oil, Moroccanoil Sun Lotion SPF 30 and Moroccanoil Treatment, the brand’s signature hair product, which ignited the global buzz on argan oil.

“We’re thrilled Sara is joining us on this exciting journey as we continue to innovate and grow our brand footprint,” said Moroccanoil co-founder Carmen Tal. “Her global influence and captivating beauty make her the perfect partner to engage our community and invite new audiences to embrace the brand’s luxurious head-to-toe experience.”

K-Beauty Is Still A-OK
• The K-Beauty boom is showing no signs of slowing down. Shoppers are still clamoring for its novel take on color cosmetics, skin and hair care. Here’s a look at some launches in the marketplace for 2017:

Nordstrom recently unveiled its latest shop concept, KPOP-IN@Nordstrom. The limited-run space offered more than 500 cult favorites for women and men of the “coolest and most exclusive” products like banana milk masks and egg extracts to masks fortified with extractions from volcanic islands. Brands included Too Cool for School, Cool Enough Studio, Crème, DTRT, Huxley, Hanahzo, ID.AZ, ONNU, ONEOSEVEN and IPKN, among others.

• The FaceTory subscription service delivers curated boxes filled with Korean sheet masks right to subscribers’ doorsteps. Every month, subscribers will receive a variety of unique masks ranging in purpose and functionality. These sheet masks are included based on a curation process by a team of fun and knowledgeable sheet mask junkies sampling and testing out the products themselves. From news to tips and how-to videos, FaceTory informs its subscribers about products in a fun and engaging way while still allowing the personality of the company to shine through. This allows consumers to discover the hard-to-find, new and trending sheet mask brands in the comfort of their own homes.

• In 2017, Target introduced a collection of Korean beauty products specially curated by Alicia Yoon, licensed esthetician and founder of K-beauty retail platform Peach & Lily. Products spanned from deep facial treatments to snail eye repair. Started in 2012 by Yoon, Peach & Lily is a retail platform that provides US consumers with innovative and high-quality skin care products from East Asia. 

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