Online Exclusives

What Drives the African American Beauty Market?

By Nancy Jeffries, Correspondent | June 28, 2010

Essence magazine takes a closer look at the issues surrounding the segment.

Corynne L. Corbett, the new beauty director at Essence magazine, provided a timely overview of what is new, what is next, and what you need to know about the unique attitudes of the African American market. In an Essence Smart Beauty Insiders Breakfast, held last month at New York’s Time Warner Center, Corbett provided an upbeat look at what drives the market, from spending and investing in skin care, hair, and makeup, to fragrance and cosmetic procedures.

Ultimately, this audience is looking for products that work, observed Corbett who cited statistics gleaned from recent research, which revealed that 85% of African American women believe looking good is part of life.

According to Corbett, this consumer is passionate about well being, while remaining practical and thirsty for additional information. She noted that 41% of African American women will pay more for a product consistent with her image. Moreover, 53% of Essence readers surveyed try a variety of ways to style their hair, yet, that same reader has no desire to conform to any other’s ideal. In fact, 74% believe her style is unique.

Personal Choices

This consumer wants to know what’s new, what’s hot and what’s next. She also wants to understand the context of a product or service; that is, how it will perform for her. She is interested in the latest in skin care technology and hair care innovation, and wants to visit skin care professionals who are knowledgeable about her needs.

Corbett noted, “She wants to be inspired, to be included, and to find herself. Beyond that, she wants to know how she fits in the overall beauty world, wants to be innovative, and wants beauty companies to recognize that.”

In research results of readers surveyed, 49% of African American women say they want to be the first to take a look at products on their own.
 
Corynne L. Corbett, beauty director, Essence Magazine (left), with Angela Burt-Murray, editor in chief, Smart Beauty Insiders Breakfast, presented by Essence Magazine.
“At Essence, we share an intimate bond with our readers and we distill many sources of inspiration for her." explained Corbett."We are acting as a clearing house for products and enabling our readers to make the best choices, as we deliver information and vital service to her, from the right laser treatment, to lipstick, makeup and nails.”

“Our reader really wants to know if the color on the lipstick will look the same on her lips. Her nails also express her style, whether she selects mattes, suedes, other finishes, or overlays,” added Corbett.

Also important, is the ability to achieve radiant skin at home, and while the discussion will address aging, enlarged pores and skin tone are more important issues than wrinkles, and plastic surgery is not high on her list.

As far as fragrance, the African American woman sees scent as an extension of her personality, and has, on average, six fragrances on her counter. These may represent classics rewound, or imagery and attributes she admires. The other category rivaling skin care for African American women is hair care, with 33% of total purchases found to be devoted to hair care.

In September, Essence will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a new design, a new dedicated hair care section. October will be the Hot Hair issue, with styles, trends, color, and getting and maintaining healthy hair as the focus.

“We are offering a 360-degree beauty experience across multiple platforms, with essence.com, makeover magic, video content, and beauty blogs, from such notables as Iman," explained Corbett. "Essence is also launching their first iPad application, offering the ability to try on styles."

In answer to an audience question about the luxury shopping experience, Corbett noted there will be as much luxury as mass, saying that the African American consumer is as much a luxury shopper as she is a mass shopper.

“For her it’s about the beauty experience. It’s the experience at the counter, how she is treated as a customer, and how the product works for her. This is most important,” she said. Corbett reiterated, “We need to cut through a little of the ‘beauty speak’ and deliver the bottom line without the flowery language. If our reader knows we are trying the product, we can give her insight into our experience. Talking about the experience and talking about the results is an important driver, more so than statistics,” she said.

Corbett, a veteran journalist with more than 20 years experience, and the former executive editor of Real Simple magazine, recently joined Essence to spearhead the exciting changes that will support the magazine’s strong and clear voice for beauty. The overview emphasized not only the quantitative results of research that revealed the diverse and distinct preferences of African American consumers, but the individual and personal expressions of style that inform consumer choices for women with a wide range of skin tones, hair styles and makeup needs.

Editor in chief, Angela Burt-Murray closed the program, saying, “Our 8.3 million readers will see a bold, refreshed magazine, with new columnists, and we will take the fashion and beauty conversation much deeper. We will be debuting the 40 most fierce and fabulous African American women in the September issue, as well as emphasizing live events and new technologies.”

More info: www.essence.com

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.

  • Preserve & Serve

    Preserve & Serve

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Suppliers with innovative preservatives provide staying power for formulations.

  • Pushin’ the Cushion

    Pushin’ the Cushion

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 26, 2016
    AmorePacific, the creator of the cushion compact, continues to improve its unique product.

  • Senior Skin Care

    Senior Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 19, 2016
    McCord Research and Product Quest Manufacturing roll out new hospital-grade skin care kits for seniors to use at home.

  • An Antioxidant Arsenal

    An Antioxidant Arsenal

    July 11, 2016
    BioRewind is Dermarché Labs' new anti-aging regimen that delivers broad-spectrum antioxidant protection against free radicals

  • Enter Éclair

    Enter Éclair

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 5, 2016
    A new naturals line rolls out in Rite Aid stores nationwide.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 30, 2016
    J&J's anti-aging patent, LVMH and cannabis essential oil, transdermal botulinum toxins and more in recent patent news.

  • Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    Start Stuffing The Ballot Box (Again)!

    June 28, 2016
    Vote on the finalists in Happi's reader's choice Anti-Aging Product of the Year contest!

  • What

    What's Next for the UK?

    Sarah Boumphrey, Euromonitor International||June 27, 2016
    Euromonitor weighs in on how Brexit could impact consumer product companies.

  • The Future of Innovation

    The Future of Innovation

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||June 27, 2016
    Fashion Institute of Technology graduate students tackle a far-reaching topic for their Capstone project.

  • Problems for Preservatives

    Problems for Preservatives

    June 20, 2016
    David Steinberg details the issues surrounding this critical ingredient category.

  • Voyage to Better Skin

    Voyage to Better Skin

    June 13, 2016
    Skin Inc. rolls out new light-based device to US market.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    June 9, 2016
    Avon’s use of melicope extract, skin care with SPF and chicory root, microdermabrasion cream and more in recent patents.

  • Exploring Green in Vegas

    Exploring Green in Vegas

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||June 6, 2016
    Cosmoprof North America sets the stage for brands dedicated to the growing and evolving eco-friendly beauty space.

  • We

    We're Surrounded!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 30, 2016
    Industry experts explain the important role that the skin microbiome plays in human health.

  • Luxury Re-Coded

    Luxury Re-Coded

    Nancy Jeffries, Online Editor||May 25, 2016
    Consumers have new expectations for beauty.

  • Procter Reels in Doctors

    Procter Reels in Doctors

    May 16, 2016
    The Procter & Gamble stand was abuzz during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  • If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    If You’re Going to San Francisco…

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||May 13, 2016
    Be sure to contact the Bay Area Beauty Association.

  • Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Kitchen Counter Cosmetics

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||May 2, 2016
    LOLI box marks the convergence of natural and organic ingredients, subscription service and DIY cosmetic chemistry.

  • Mapping Out Multicultural Beauty

    Mapping Out Multicultural Beauty

    April 25, 2016
    Agnieszka Saintemarie of Kline Group about current trends and challenges in multicultural beauty.

  • At a Loss for Curls?

    April 22, 2016
    Amplixin, a Miami-based maker of hair strengthening products, has a solution for hair loss.

  • Why Look Good, When You Can Look Perfect?

    Why Look Good, When You Can Look Perfect?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||April 4, 2016
    A new way to try-before-you buy is capturing the attention of consumers and the beauty industry.

  • NYSCC Explores Product Innovation

    NYSCC Explores Product Innovation

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 14, 2016
    New product development, formulation expertise and proper preservation are topics of discussion at February monthly meeting.

  • Battling Pollution via Skin Care

    Battling Pollution via Skin Care

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||March 7, 2016
    Canadian start-up turns to crowdfunding to help launch a new anti-pollution moisturizer.

  • Texture on the Runway

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||February 22, 2016
    Au Naturale by Dark and Lovely, Cantu, Creme of Nature, Design Essentials and Garnier create head-turning hairstyles.

  • Arm

    Arm's Reach: skin care line with unique packaging

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 15, 2016
    Chemist brothers create a skin care line with packaging that helps consumers cover hard to reach spots.

  • Buy the Sea, Buy the Sea, Buy the Beautiful Sea

    Buy the Sea, Buy the Sea, Buy the Beautiful Sea

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||February 9, 2016
    Nova Scotia Fisherman makes a boatload of products that contain sea kelp and a raft of natural ingredients.