House passes Microbead-Free Waters Act
Korean beauty moves into mass
Snails made big beauty headlines in 2015.
(To view the full Category Review, click here.)
Snail creams, which gained traction in Korea, crawled into the U.S. market this year and websites, such as Peach and Lily, couldn’t keep them in stock. At first, Alicia Yoon, CEO and founder of the online site, which sells Asian beauty items to North America, was reticent to add snail extract creams. But after she took a chance with what she considered the best of the genre, Mizon, she had a sales bonanza on her hands. “And no snails were harmed,” she added.
Yoon is at the forefront of an explosion of interest in Korean beauty, an industry she said she’s not surprised is expanding since Korean women take pride in skin and beauty regimens. Emerging in addition to snail creams are more cushion applicators, hydrating masks, Botox-in-a-bottle products and more stick formulations.
Specialty stores embraced Asian beauty trends early, adding such lines as Dr. Jart+, AmorePacific and TonyMoly.
Asian beauty products are filtering into the mass market, too. Of course, the BB cream invasion a few years ago was a tease of what was to come. Cushion technology is used in the Laneige skin care collection sold at Target. Water formulas are seemingly everywhere after success in Asia, as seen in such mass items as Boots No7 Hydrating Water Spray and, once again, Laneige Water Base CC cream. And at this summer’s National Association of Chain Drug Store’s Total Store Expo, several drug store buyers noted lines with Korean heritage.
In addition to a bevy of masks and water formulas inspired by Asian beauty, retailers also singled out Absolute New York, a color collection from Nicka K.
Alex Chung, director of marketing for Nicka K, said the company takes its cues from Korea, but adapts for the U.S. market. Some styles are too bold for America, he added. Nicka K is sold in Ulta Beauty and CVS, among other stores. The Absolute collection encompasses 300 SKUs and retails for between $4.99 and $12.99.
Retailers anticipate mass skin care extensions inspired by Korean concepts in 2016. But some cutting-edge experts noted they are already onto other countries for inspiration. “There’s so much attention on Korea, but I’m finding my customers interested in what’s selling well in Australia now,” said Jessica Richards, founder and beauty brand adviser for the curated beauty emporium Shen Beauty.
Apps let shoppers try before they buy
Makeup apps and virtual makeovers are gaining traction in the mass market. The new ways to sample beauty are taking many forms, both in store and via smartphones.
(To view the full Category Review, click here.)
“Selecting the wrong shade and then being disappointed at home is the No. 1 problem with self-service makeup,” said Diana Dolling-Ross, who oversees beauty at City Chemists in Brooklyn, N.Y. While personal attention is the best, the apps can help solve that issue, she said.
Many credit L’Oréal’s Makeup Genius as the app to harness the potential. In October 2015 alone, there were 160,000 downloads of the app, which lets women virtually try colors and styles before buying.
But where Makeup Genius sticks to the thousands of items in L’Oréal’s stable, other virtual makeup choices, such as ShadeScout, sample a wider swatch. This app is particularly helpful in stores, said a beauty adviser at a major drug chain, because it helps her direct her customers to mass versions of pricier products. With ShadeScout, a user can use take a photo of a product they like, such as Chanel, and get a match that is a similar shade — in a mass choice, such as Cover-Girl. Recently, ShadeScout added a nail color matching platform, too. The app also helps women find new shades when a favorite is discontinued.
Early this year, Sally Hansen got into the app game with Mani Match, which allows users to try on more than 200 Sally Hansen nail polish shades in real time. The app is promoted on shelves with items tagged with the app icon to try live in the store.
ModiFace is an innovator in apps — both in store and on smart-phones. In stores, the ModiFace Mirror mimics makeup effects on a live video using iOS and in-store kiosks. Consumers can see makeup — more than 2,000 actual SKUs — on a 3-D screen as they move from side to side, pause the video to zoom in and explore products. The retail version enables a glance-based recommendation, which prompts product suggestions as someone looks at the screen. A consumer can be identified eight to 10 feet away from the mirror. Then, it begins scanning the user’s facial features to find the best items for his or her complexion in less than one second. The technology shows the products used alongside a live preview. If the user steps toward the kiosk, then the full interface opens up and allows for customization; the user can search by color, product type or brand. The platform will be an avenue to increase sales through magic mirrors, said Parham Aarabi, CEO of ModiFace, which has been used with Cover-Girl products in drug stores. “In our early tests, we saw 20% of shoppers stop to walk over to use the initial mirrors. With the glance-based recommendations, we are hoping for this number to be closer to 50%.” ModiFace also offers applications for smartphones, including a new selfie feature.