Delivery methods, natural ingredients drive innovation in sun care
Everybody’s got an excuse. Even though people know they should use sunscreen to prevent sunburn, signs of aging and skin cancer, they will point to various reasons for not using protection. Some cite the thick textures of some of the lotions, while others point to ingredients that they perceive to be unsafe. Ease of application also is a factor, as parents cannot seem to get squirmy kids to stand still long enough to apply the products.
Still, consumers have a general idea that they need products with a sun protection factor to deflect UVA and UVB rays — which vary by wavelength, and both of which the Centers for Disease Prevention said can affect health. Manufacturers said they are working to bring innovation to shelves that can deliver what consumers want from their sun care products, and drive year-round sales for retailers.
“Consumer data shows many consumers cite aesthetics as a main reason they don’t wear sunscreen,” Ehsan Sarrafian, senior brand manager for Los Angeles-based Neutrogena Sun Care, said. Also, people are generally busy. “Consumers want sunscreen that integrate into their everyday routine, and their family health habits.”
Neutrogena, a brand of Johnson & Johnson, recently launched two products to respond to these consumer demands. One is a lotion that can be layered under makeup that comes in two SPF versions, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30 and Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50. Formulated with Helioplex technology and hyaluronic acid, the lightweight formula delivers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with a light feel for everyday wear, the company said.
Neutrogena also has introduced its line of Full Reach sunscreen sprays — Neutrogena CoolDry Sport Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30, 50 and 70 and Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, 45, 70 and 100+. The spray design extends the user’s reach, making application in hard-to-reach places, including their back, easier.
The Full Reach line’s innovative handle makes the spray more convenient, which is important in the popular segment of sun care sprays.
“Consumers are dissatisfied with sprays when spots are missed,” Sarrafian said. “We are constantly investing in education, and technology and innovation, to provide consumers with the best products and tools to enable them to live a sun-safe lifestyle.”
Sprays have been one of the biggest ways companies deliver on ease of use for consumers who want to make necessary sun protection touch-ups easier.
“Everyone knows they have to reapply every two hours,” said Karen Lesh, director of marketing for sun care at Edgewell Personal Care, which makes the Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic brands. “That’s hard to do if you are a busy mom on the beach chasing your kids.”
Beyond convenience, shoppers are increasingly looking for products that provide heavy-duty protection without feeling heavy, as well as sun care products that can do more than one task. These demands, which coincide with a focus on ingredients, have informed Edgewell’s latest sun care launches, which include Hawaiian Tropic Antioxidant Plus. Made with green tea extract to form an antioxidant protective layer on the skin, the product offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, the company said.
In an effort to deliver a simpler level of ingredients, Edgewell’s Banana Boat has rolled out Simply Protect, which provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection with 25% fewer ingredients.
“That claim alone catches the attention of so many consumers,” Lesh said, noting that it also is free of parabens and oxybenzone, and is available in a children’s version of the product.
Other manufacturers agree that ingredients are an important factor in sun care purchase decisions, and have been working to develop products that bring consumers’ need for natural to the fore.
“Consumers are looking for more transparency and information about what they put in and on their bodies,” Colleen Gilligan, marketing director at Salt Lake City-based Beyond Coastal, said. “Sunscreen companies need to be able to keep up with the information demand from the consumers, while continuing to push for the best ingredients and best coverage.”
Beyond Coastal’s Natural Sunscreen formula uses zinc oxide and titanium oxide to provide a natural, mineral-based, broad-spectrum protection that is water resistant up to 80 minutes, as well as hypoallergenic and nonirritating. The company’s active sunscreen formula uses octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene and avobenzone, which together create a chemical defense against UVA and UVB rays. And while those are the active ingredients, Gilligan pointed out that consumers also want to know about the inactive ingredients, which make up about 80% of a sunscreen. “You’d be surprised to see the harmful additives some companies use,” she said. Beyond Coastal’s sunscreens feature aloe vera, shea butter, vitamins C and E, green tea extract and Yerba mate.
Another trend, Gilligan said, is that consumers are concerned about the environment. They want formulas that do not harm coral reefs. Also, they are concerned about nanoparticles in sprays, so they want sunscreens that are effective with fewer spray applications. “Not only do we need to produce the best sunscreens for humans, but we need to account for the role of the sunscreens and ingredients in the world around the consumer,” Gilligan said, adding that Beyond Coastal sunscreen is rated one of the safest options on the market, according to the Environmental Working Group, which tested more than 600 sunscreens. The company’s Natural Sunscreen formula is reef-safe and cruelty-free.
Beyond products with a focus on natural ingredients, another segment that is gaining popularity is water- and sweat-resistant sunscreens for active people. This segment also helps grow the category to a year-round purchase, as people who participate in outdoor activities in the winter are learning they should use sunscreen. According to IMPACT Melanoma, a Concord, Mass.-based nonprofit, in its 2016 survey of 1,016 participants, 86% said they use sunscreen always or sometimes in the summer months. The rate dropped dramatically when the weather cooled. Among men, 12% said they always use sunscreen in the fall and 20% use sunscreen in the winter, while the rate remained the same at 13% for women in the fall and winter.
The survey results highlighted opportunities to increase sunscreen usage in what was once considered the off-season. “From a consumer trends standpoint, you are seeing longer use throughout the year,” David Kulow, president of Newport, N.H.- based All Terrain, said. The trend has regional differences. In the South, he said, retailers keep the sun care section stocked throughout the year, and the Northeast is beginning to follow that merchandising strategy. “What you’re starting to see is even though it’s a smaller set, they keep sunscreen year-round.”
All Terrain offers AquaSport, TerraSport and KidSport sunscreen lotions, sprays and face sticks. Among the newer products is KidSport SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion and AquaSport SPF 45 Sunscreen Lotion. The products provide broad-spectrum protection — with a combination of non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide — and are oxybenzone and paraben-free.
“There is rising demand for natural,” Kulow said. “Millennials and females especially believe natural products are safer than regular products.”
Beyond Coastal also offers its new Active Face Stick, which the company said is effective for winter, spring and summer activities. The stick easily slides into a back pocket, and the slide-on application is mess-free and easy to apply, even with gloves on. SPF 30 effectively blocks 97% of sunburn-causing rays, while avobenzone blocks UVA rays. The face stick nourishes skin with coconut oil, beeswax and Yerba mate, and acts as a wind chap to keep
Looking forward in the category, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a final rule for the Sunscreen Innovation Act. According to the FDA website, the SIA was enacted on Nov. 26, 2014 “to provide an alternative process for the review of safety and effectiveness of nonprescription sunscreen active ingredients.” The FDA has not approved a new active ingredient in sunscreen since 1999, and the SIA will establish a process for the review and approval of over-the-counter sunscreens. The final sunscreen monograph — a sort of rule book of accepted ingredients — is scheduled to be issued in November 2019.
Private-brand beauty taps into new palette of innovation
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times — it’s not your parents’ private-brand landscape anymore. Retailers can no longer be successful simply by filling their shelves with lower-cost “me-too” alternatives placed next to national brands. That applies not just to food and beverage, but also to the health-and-wellness space, including beauty and skin care.
Thanks to a confluence of consumer trends — including growing interest in health and wellness, as well as increasing brand agnosticism — the stage has been set for drug, grocery and mass-market retailers to successfully innovate and differentiate in the beauty and skin care space.
One retailer already leading the way is Walgreens Boots Alliance, which operates Walgreens and Duane Reade banners in the United States and Boots banners internationally. The drug chain recently launched two new private-brand lines in the beauty space: CYO, a trend-forward makeup line aimed at younger Generation Z consumers, and Your Good Skin, a skin care line designed to promote “preventive” skin health.
Both lines represent innovative forays in the world of drug store private-brand beauty care. For example, the Your Good Skin line is promoted as being more about having everyday healthy skin, not just going after a specific problem, such as anti-aging. This is a new approach for the mass consumer.
The CYO line also steps out of the usual drug store beauty mold by using an edgy hashtag — #MixLayerHack — to encourage consumers to make the brand their own. Where the Sephoras of the world have helped democratize access to higher-end skin care and beauty products, this line is getting into that territory at a lower pricepoint.
Another area that remains ripe for private-brand innovation is clean-label beauty and skin care. Just as consumers have become empowered to take control of their health through food, more also are seeking out beauty and personal care products that are free from lab-made chemicals, heavy metals and other ingredients they believe are potentially harmful. While some natural and organic products already exist in these categories, many are from smaller, niche brands. There’s nothing to any great degree in the private brand space — an opportunity that’s being overlooked.
Consumers are absolutely looking for clean label, including natural and identifiable ingredients, as well as organics. And one real benefit that private brand has when it comes to winning and owning this space is that they can be a lot faster with speed to market. If a retailer is behind it, it can launch relatively quickly and capture relevant trends, while there’s still a lot of interest.
That said, it’s important for retailers to remember that they can’t simply “launch it and leave it.” Just as consumer input needs to be part of the development process, retailers have to keep the conversation with consumers going even after the brand and assortment have been launched. If you keep that conversation going outside the store, you’re building both brand awareness and that loyal base of customers who feel like their voices are being heard and responded to. Though many retailers aren’t used to doing this with their private brands, you have to in order to keep up with the rapidly changing retail environment.
Rebecca Young is senior manager for health, beauty and baby at Daymon Worldwide.
Betting on beauty
Mintel report breaks down global trends for 2018
Just as the seasons change, so do the latest beauty trends. One minute everyone was recreating Cara Delevingne’s full brows, and the next they were on to Kylie Jenner’s overlined pout, or the contouring and highlighting trend.
Those trends may not have fallen to the wayside yet, but soon they may exist within a beauty space with a strong showing from natural products, personalized marketing, brands with consumer-aligned values and new technological tools, according to Mintel’s Global Trends report for 2018.
Consumers are putting an emphasis on wanting to know what exactly goes into creating their favorite bold, red lipstick. Many are opting out of purchasing the big-name brands and choosing to shop smaller companies with a focus on ingredients.
“These efforts appeal to those who want products that reflect who they are and where they live, and that instill a sense of pride and guardianship for ingredient sourcing and production, as well as manufacturing processes,” Mintel’s report said.
Among the consumers Mintel surveyed, 50% of U.K. customers admitted that when purchasing beauty products, they often searched for ones made with natural ingredients, and 45% of those surveyed in China revealed that they planned to use products crafted with natural herbs and plants more often, as it improves their skins’ conditions.
Mintel’s report highlights that beauty consumers also are changing what they want from companies marketing products to them. Brands who don’t target a shopper’s age, sexuality or gender with advertisements were seen in a much more favorable light than those who did.
“In the past, brands had sole control over what defines beauty; however, perceptions of beauty based on age, gender, skin, hair and body type are changing, and control has shifted,” the report said. “Now, the consumer dictates what beauty is to the brand. An influx of information online has educated consumers, and they believe they know their skin/hair/body best and appreciate that everyone is different. They want their individual needs to be answered with options or customizable beauty.”
Among companies responding to these new demands has been Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. With its tagline “Beauty for All,” the line — whose foundation offerings include 40 shades — focuses on creating universal products for all skin tones, even ones that have traditionally been hard to match.
In order to win over most consumers, companies also need to be transparent. Thanks to the power of the internet, people can now find out exactly how their favorite tube of lip gloss was manufactured. Was it tested on animals? Created ethically?
Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed by Mintel admitted to stopping to buy products from a brand or retailer if they believed their practices were unethical, and 37% of U.K. consumers revealed that they considered whether or not a product is tested on animals when shopping.
“Younger generations in particular don’t like labels and increasingly strive to live in a society that’s free of ‘isms.’ When purchasing products, they want to be sure their brand choices are aligned with their personal values,” the survey said.
As companies respond to demands for natural and cruelty-free products, they also are focusing on technology as a tool to facilitate customers’ shopping journey.
“Looking ahead, the days of social media being purely social will have long since passed as companies transform these online interactions into shopping opportunities,” the study said. Less foot traffic means fewer shoppers sampling shadows and palettes in person, which is why such big-name brands as Estée Lauder and L’Oréal have looked to augmented reality applications, including YouCam Makeup and ModiFace, which L’Oréal acquired in March. The AR-powered apps allow consumers the opportunity to sample products straight from their phones — cutting out in-person swatching.
Another big trend is shoppable posts on social media, in which Instagram plays a key role. Now when consumers see a lip color they like in the app, all they need to do is tap on the post and add it to their shopping cart. And the service is meeting a need, as 30% of Spanish-speaking consumers who viewed beauty content on social media told Mintel they would be interested in buying directly through the social channel.
“Over the next three years, holistic approaches to biometric data and the blurring of lines between social media and online retail will encourage brands to drive unprecedented customization of the shopping experience, giving consumers more control over where, when and how their data is used,” the report said.