Why It Pays To Have Skin In The Game


October 22, 2020

by Andrew Wardlaw

It’s 2020, and skin care is the runaway star of the beauty portfolio. So, if you’re in the skin care game, it’s time to evolve your product range and drive a closer association to wellness. This article is adapted from a new eBook Higher Purpose Beauty, which is available FREE from the link below.

Skin care has been playing the role of cash cow in recent years. This key sector in the wider world of beauty and personal care delivered its fourth consecutive year of global growth in 2019 – up 6.8% to $144bn*. In the UK women spent £570 on skin care annually. In the US some 1.6m women spent $500 in just three months! **

*Source: Euromonitor **Statista

Such success can be attributed to the pace at which skin care responds to emerging demands – such as more natural formulations, protection from environmental pollution and demand for greater sustainability. On top of this, brands have been working hard to stay in tune with societal changes around diversity and inclusivity.

But now, there are new dynamics to chase. A pandemic that's created a run on products linked to wellness – everything from gut health to surface cleaners – and skin care.

When reporting on a decline in overall beauty sales for the first half of 2020, L’Oréal was keen to point out that this was not the case in skin care, where its brands La Roche-Posay and CeraVe “are well positioned to meet expectations for hygiene and daily skin care.” Sales across the company’s ‘Actives’ skin care brands were up 13.2% despite the chaos caused by Covid-19.

For La Roche-Posay specifically, it’s all about a thermal spring water, which functions as a prebiotic, or a fertilizer-type ingredient for our skin biology. The water has been shown in clinical studies to cultivate the growth of healthy strains of bacteria, boosting skin immunity, while keeping bad bugs at bay.

With the increase in noise around wellness, it is becoming clear that more people are beginning to appreciate the role of the body’s largest organ, our skin ‘barrier’, and our overall immune health.

So, stand by for a wave of innovation that drives alignment between skin care and wellness. Innovation that lands with new lifestyle positionings and innovative formulations offering ‘peace of mind’ against disease.

Here are some of the most interesting developments:


UK £6 / US $9

Whereas most anti-bacterial skin care is for hand use, Revolution Skin Care Anti-Bacterial Hydrating Essence Spray is designed for the face. Containing an anti-bacterial agent and hyaluronic acid, this essence spray claims to hydrate and defend.

Given what we know about how viruses can enter the body, it is likely that we’ll see more products like this entering the market.


US $10

With anti-bacterial sanitizers now an essential part of our daily routines, we foresee an evolution of this sector beyond function - shifting towards lifestyle solutions that offer ‘social kudos’ – or simply something that brings a little joy and comfort to an otherwise joyless act.

Maapilim Hand Sanitizer is a smart, quick-drying gel made from a ‘relaxing blend’ of bergamot, jasmine, cedarwood oils and aloe vera to keep hands moisturized with a signature aroma. This is hand warfare for the more discerning shopper who has an eye on mental health.


UK £18 / US £29

And with people increasingly taking a more holistic view of their health, we see new opportunities for beauty products that support the skin barrier from within. Enter The Beauty Chef, which has created a ‘Well Spray’ that promises to nourish skin from the inside out.

Bondi Beach-based Carla created this 'edible skin care' product after years of concocting remedies from her kitchen and growing herbs in her garden. It’s a mouth spray that supports immunity, wellbeing and skin with a ‘clever combination’ of bio-fermented superfoods, mineral essentials and herbal extracts.

Future challenges

Despite strong sales in recent years, the continuing success of skin care was far from assured. Recently, MINTEL reported that over 1 in 4 consumers 20-29 years were simplifying their skin care regimes – and sourcing fewer products.

But with COVID creating a sense of urgency around wellness, and rising awareness of the role played by our own unique skin microbiome, there is renewed energy in the sector.

Success will come to those brands that find the correct balance between science and nature – in positioning, but also in product experience.

Right now, that balance is tipping towards the science, meaning that everything we learned about natural needs repointing. Yes, people will still want to see a reduced set of ingredients (more natural and less likelihood that something added will irritate), but they will increasingly respond to products that drive home efficacy claims with well chosen and often non-conscious sensory cues. After all, this is efficacy against an invisible enemy.

Getting the detail exactly right will heighten your chances of becoming one of the iconic products of our revised future. Total conviction at point of use.

If you've enjoyed this article and want to read more about trends, new products and opportunities, simply click here and download your FREE copy of MMR's Higher Purpose Beauty book.

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