Monday, May 01, 2006

Beauty Bits - Top 10 Trends of 2006, Part 1

The Beauty Brains have moved. Come see the all new Beauty Brains.

The “researchers” at The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) have reported on what they believe will be the Top Ten Health and Wellness Trends. While we can’t verify their prognosticatory prowess, the trends they mention do link up with what we hear from our industry sources.

1. Changing Demographics Create Health and Wellness Opportunities. People are living longer so the population is getting older. No kidding! You already see products marketed for these older (but not old) folks such as Pantene Silver Expressions or Olay Regenerist. A quick review of the label shows that while they look different than “normal” products, they are not much different than the regular formulas.

2. Organic Versus Natural: The Balance of Price and Benefits. How many of you have noticed the proliferation of new Organic/Natural aisles in your grocery store? This is no accident. It is a response to the tremendous growth of Whole Foods whose Organic/Natural positioning has struck a chord with their consumers. Cosmetics are part of this trend. Look to see more launches in the near future. Don’t look, however, for any great new products. While you can make a fine product using “natural” ingredients, they will not work better and they are not better for you. There may be some merit to the benefits of organically grown food but for the things you put on the outside of your body, not so much.

3. Energy and Vitality: Future Platforms for Growth. You’ll probably see products launched claiming to give you energy and improve vitality but keep your skeptical glasses on. This is a promise that cosmetic manufacturers can’t possibly deliver on. At best they can create nice smelling products whose odors could brighten your mood. However, that alone could be a good enough reason to buy it. It’s why I like Axe body wash.

4. Ingredient/Nutrient Drivers. Ingredients to sell products? What a surprise. While specific ingredients like Aloe, Protein, Vitamins or Omega-3 Fatty Acids will get top billing on the front of the cosmetic bottle, the ingredients that do the real work are the less sexy sounding Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, and Petrolatum. All the manufacturers put the feature ingredients at extremely low levels just so they can claim they are in there. This is specifically because of cost issues and because the feature ingredients generally don’t have much beneficial effect even if they were used at high levels. Vitamins for hair may make sense and sound good, but even taking a bath in pure Pro-Vitamin B5 won’t make your hair feel better.

5. The Proliferation of Heart Healthy Products. Look for your cosmetic makers to start selling “healthy” products. This one might be a stretch but don’t be surprised if you see a skin product that claims it will make you and your skin “healthy”. Of course, the skin products are designed never to make it into your body (they don’t penetrate the skin far enough) so the notion of making you more healthy from your skin is just silly.

In part 2, we’ll look at the rest of the emerging trends.
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