Naysayers have reason to be skeptical; the nutricosmetics category has had its share of high profile launches and failures during the past decade. Borba and Nestlé are just two firms that tested the waters with gummies, drinks and powders that promised an inner route to better looking skin and hair. Was it too much too soon for US consumers?
A better explanation might be that their customers were just too young.
Today, marketers of inner beauty products are pinning their hopes on Millennials. These consumers, born somewhere between 1983 and 2001, exhibit a greater commitment to eating healthier and exercising, and experts contend they view wellness in a much broader sense than Boomers and Gen X. Plus, their focus on wellness seems to seep into other aspects of their lives, from what they wear (think FitBits and Fabletics) to the foods and beverages they choose to consume—and that has nutricosmetics and beauty-from-within marketers bullish about the future.
“I think today is a much better time for beauty-from-within than 10 years ago. Consumers are much more educated and understand that you can get value added and benefits from your food,” said Camille Varlet, who is founder of All Beauty Water LLC, New York.
Varlet launched her zero calorie, zero sugar skin care drink about two years after finding a chemist and landing a co-packer. Today, All Beauty Water SKUs are sold at select brick and mortar locations in New York City, on Amazon and inside New York Athletic Club. Soon, shoppers at Shaw’s supermarkets in Massachusetts will also be able to purchase these flavored drinks that are designed to help hydrate, increase elasticity and replenish skin cells to help skin look younger.
Each bottle contains two glasses of water, “SkinVitamins” (namely A, C, D, E, B12, B6, B3, D and biotin) and “SkinNutrients” (selenium, green tea extract, magnesium, manganese, calcium, potassium and zinc). The formulas are three flavors, Cucumber Aloe, Pomegranate Rose and Strawberry Açaí.
“I wanted flavors that evoked beauty and were accessible—but the combination would be unique to us,” said Varlet, who has worked in brand management at both Dannon and L’Oréal.
“We have seen Millennials approach health and wellness differently,” Chris O’Connor, vice president of Nature’s Bounty, told Happi in a phone interview. The brand owner, which has sold hair, skin and nails supplements for more than 15 years, believes consumers are connecting the dots between health and beauty. (As is its parent company, NBTY, which acquired skin care line Dr. Organic last year.)
Nature’s Bounty recently rolled out new inner beauty products within its Optimal Solutions health, beauty and wellness line. Additions include the Healthy Hair Keratin formula, which promotes shiny, lustrous hair and contains 500mg of Cynatine HNS Keratin Complex and 100% Daily Value (DV) of biotin, zinc, copper and B6; Radiant Skin Ceramosides, which is formulated to nourish and hydrate with a European-sourced wheat that helps support skin’s moisture; and Ageless Eye Advanced Verisol Collagen, which helps with the appearance of fine lines around the eye with a formulation that contains bioactive collagen peptides and an absorbable form of collagen.
Taking It All In
Absorption is what matters most in the supplement sphere, according to Jason Camper, co-founder, co-owner and co-CEO of Le-Vel Brands, LLC. The Dallas-based company recently rolled out Form, which it bills as the world’s first “sequentially absorbed collagen protein gel.” In layman’s terms, it is a hybrid dietary supplement that delivers broad-based support to the body, including firm and healthy skin, as well as weight management, lean muscle mass, post-exercise recovery and repair, and strong bones and joints.
For Form, Le-Vel combined a proprietary hydrolyzed collagen protein with a proprietary delivery system to maximize absorption.
“A product is only as good as the amount you are able to absorb. “This is the issue that all nutritional products have; [consumers wonder] am I really absorbing it?” said Camper.
UK-based Minerva Research Labs sells Pure Gold Collagen, which is a drinkable collagen supplement that nourishes skin and targets the visible signs of aging associated with collagen loss. Pure Gold Collagen is a sugar-free blend of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, vitamins B6, C and E, zinc, copper, biotin and borage oil. One shot is said to be 20 times more effective than using collagen skin cream or pills, according to Minerva, which showcased the product at the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine’s 20th World Conference in November.
Today’s consumers can find collagen supplements in more traditional retail settings. For instance, Bulletproof is now stocking several products, including its Upgraded Collagen Protein at Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Pacific, South and Northeast regions of the US. One of the benefits of this dairy-free protein source is revitalized skin, according to Bulletproof, which is based in Bellevue, WA.
With an uptick in trendy—and more restrictive—diets, even supplement makers need to keep pace with consumers’ desires for products that fit their lifestyle choices. To that end, Reserveage Nutrition recently unveiled Plant-Based Support Collagen Builder, a vegan-friendly alternative for supporting collagen synthesis, with ceramides for skin hydration and softness.
“This is monumental in the category. Collagen is a building block of healthy skin. Individuals living a vegan lifestyle now have a choice for supporting collagen production,” Naomi Whittel, Reserveage Nutrition’s founder and CEO, said in a press statement when the new formula debuted last September at Natural Products Expo East. “It combines collagen co-nutrients including amino acids, silica and vitamin C to support pro-collagen, the precursor to collagen production.”
Regardless if one is vegan, gluten-free or Paleo, everyone’s dietary plans come under attack in the mid-afternoon. But, beauty supplement company Hum Nutrition contends it has created a perfect pick-me-up that also benefits one’s appearance.
According to a survey of 10,000 women in the US conducted by Hum, 2:55pm is when women reach their daily energy low; it’s the witching hour, so to speak, when women typically reach for snacks and drinks high in sugar to sustain them through the rest of their day. Rather than coffee, diet cola or an energy drink that would offer a fleeting boost of energy at best, Hum suggests Raw Beauty—its new super food blend that it says provides a healthy alternative to weight-gaining habits, but also nourishes the skin and optimizes metabolism.
The green powder is designed to be mixed with water, milk, smoothies or juice, helping stave off the afternoon slump and deliver a proprietary blend of daily fruits and veggies, super foods (including organic chlorella, spirulina, goji, acai, matcha), adaptogenic herbs, digestive enzymes and plenty of probiotics.
And while it’s natural for today’s consumers to seek out these healthy ingredients in their diet, they won’t sacrifice taste. To that end, with mint, cocoa and coconut sugar, Raw Beauty offers the taste of “mint chocolate chip ice cream without the guilt.”
It took Hum Nutrition almost 18 months to develop the product—“since we packed in so many superfoods, 39 to be precise, and still managed to make Raw Beauty taste delicious with a mint chocolate chip infusion. We are really proud of it with initial sales already surpassing expectations,” said CEO Walter Faulstroh.
In fact, Faulstroh told Happi that Raw Beauty, which hit Sephora in February, has been the firm’s most successful launch to date.
Despite stories of brands that have gone bust before them, Faulstroh is banking on the future of inner beauty and his brand.
“Since we launched Hum a few years ago, I have seen many brands come and go in a very short time span.”
“Because they didn’t listen to consumers and were priced way too high,” he explained. “Lastly, many of them use anecdotal evidence versus true research.”
Faulstroh is convinced that beauty-from-within is here to stay.“The research is overwhelmingly suggesting that the connection between what we put into our body is directly correlated on how we look and feel, and there’s also a growing trend, among consumers and the medical profession, to look at health in a holistic way.”
Like others, he pointed to the Millennials as a reason for the positive outlook.
“Most importantly, Millennials are really into food and wellness. The fact that Giulia Enders’ book ‘Gut’ has been on The New York Times bestseller list says it all,” said Walter, citing the book which Self describes as “everything you ever wanted to know about the gut (and then some), chattily and accessibly written in a uniquely Millennial and matter-of-fact way.”
Hair’s the Thing
The role supplementation can play within personal care has been bolstered with a new launch from Galderma Laboratories. This dermatology-driven brand recently rolled out the qilib Hair Regrowth + Revitalization System and an accompanying supplement that addresses hair thinning and loss.
The qilib system is made of up a treatment that contains prescription-strength minoxidil specifically formulated for men (5% minoxidil) or women (2% minoxidil), and the Hair Revitalizing Solution formulated with natural botanicals. The former works by helping to awaken and restore dormant hair follicles so new hair can grow again, while the latter nourishes the skin of the scalp with natural botanical ingredients, vitamin C, proteins, lipids and antioxidants. qilib Health Reinforcement Biotin + Multivitamin Supplement has 5,000mcg biotin and multiple vitamins, including the daily recommended dose of vitamins B12, C, D3 and E, according to Galderma.
Another follicle-focused beauty-from-within product is SugarBearHair, a chewable gummy that contains vitamins A, C, D, E, B6 and B12, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid, iodine, zinc, choline and inositol to help fuel growth and strengthen locks. Each contains real berries for flavor, as well coconut oil and a dash of sugar, according to the company, which is garnering the attention of Millennials with help from the some über Millennials: the Kardashian clan. Both Khloe Kardashian and her sister Kylie Jenner have shared their love for the light blue-hued gummy bears via social media, which has no doubt helped SugarBearHair attract 572,000 Integra followers.
Others brands and entrepreneurs are hungry for Millennials and their estimated $1.3 trillion spending power. Ryan Lowry, the man who co-founded Method, is part of the C-suite at Olly, a start-up nutrition brand that inked a deal last year with Target.
With a modern (Method-like) vibe, the Olly stable features daily vitamins for men, women and kids, in addition to so-called “wellness boosts” that include two beauty-centered SKUs. Olly’s Undeniable Beauty has biotin, vitamins C and E, and borage oil, and Vibrant Skin, which is just hitting Target now, touts hyaluronic acid, collagen and sea buckthorn. Both come in gummy form.
Social media buzz and hip packaging can help lead to success in the beauty and personal care space. But the question remains whether or not these new brands will help the beauty-from-within sector break through once and for all.