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
  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • What

    What's In Your Formula?

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    A look at the ingredients beauty brands are using to fuel their formulations and capture consumers’ attention.

  • How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    How Green Is Your Surfactant?

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director ||September 1, 2016
    Suppliers offer a range of solutions to help household and personal care product formulators develop formulas

  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Active Agents

    Active Agents

    September 19, 2016
    On the surface, surfactants may seem staid, but the market, and the supplier activity driving it, is bubbling.

  • Expanding Erbaviva

    Expanding Erbaviva

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 13, 2016
    A farm-to-bottle organic brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new look, new products and plans to expand in the US.

  • Lauder’s Latest Patents

    Lauder’s Latest Patents

    September 1, 2016
    A composition with NIR light emitting material, a skin care device and more awarded to this beauty business giant.

  • ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 29, 2016
    All eyes are on Lash Star Beauty, a lash-centric beauty brand that recently made its QVC debut.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • Fro Yo!

    Fro Yo!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 22, 2016
    Project Beauty dishes out Hairgurt, a line of vitamin-rich hair shampoos and conditioning masques.

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • And Now for Something Completely Different…

    And Now for Something Completely Different…

    August 15, 2016
    Phlur is out to make you rethink fragrance packaging.

  • Individualism IS The American Way

    Individualism IS The American Way

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||August 15, 2016
    Why blue hair and BB creams still thrill US consumers.

  • Red, Black & Blue

    Red, Black & Blue

    August 8, 2016
    No matter who wins the US Presidential election, Americans expect their finances to get bloodied and bruised in 2017.

  • Athletes, Not Objects

    Athletes, Not Objects

    Nancy Jeffries, Contributing Editor||August 1, 2016
    Dove Unveils My Beauty billboard in Times Square.

  • Patent Update

    Patent Update

    July 28, 2016
    Three-layered hair product from Lauder, palm oil extracts for wrinkle treatment and more in recently awarded patents.

  • 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.