To win over today’s skin-care-obsessed customers, cosmetics brands have to sell more than surface-level makeup.
The natural cosmetics brand W3ll People, for instance, has positioned itself as a “hybrid cosmetics” company. Its products are non-toxic, and they’re also sold as being beneficial to overall skin health and appearance. Its Altruist Foundation Powder, for example, is made with ingredients like aloe, freshwater pearls and an algae complex, all of which come with skin-care benefits. Its Nudist Multi-Use Cream Stick is said to “nourish and improve skin quality,” along with provide coverage.
“We’re not only creating a color brand, we’re creating a color brand that’s good for you and good for your skin,” explained co-founder Shirley Pinkson of the line, which sells at retailers like Target and Whole Foods.
E.l.f. Cosmetics is angling for that same hybrid appeal with its recently launched Beauty Shield collection, which sells products like a primer meant to fight against environmental aggressors and reduce the appearance of fine lines, and a “nourishing” lipstick formulated with sunflower seed oil and vitamins B and E.
Legacy brands are in on it, too. Neutrogena’s new makeup line, created in collaboration with Kerry Washington, is said to be made with “good for you” ingredients.
“When I think about Neutrogena makeup, I want it to be more than something that just sits pretty on the face; it multitasks and leaves skin better than we found it,” the brand’s makeup leader, Jennifer Gomez, told WWD.
With the color cosmetics category slowing down over the last year, these repositioning efforts are an effort to capitalize on the skin-care segment’s comparable success: Prestige skin-care sales grew by 9 percent in 2017, reaching $5.6 billion in sales, according to NPD. Skin care, on the whole, is expected to grow at a rate of roughly 5 percent from now until 2023, when it will be worth around $130.7 billion.
“Consumers are making more of a conscious effort to take care of their skin than before,” said Alison Gaither, a beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel, who noted that younger consumers ages 18 to 22 have become especially concerned with preventing signs of aging.
Mintel’s data, for example, shows that 44 percent of women are interested in anti-aging benefits as well as hydration in their makeup. Products that even skin tone or fade dark spots are also said to be of interest.
“I think a lot of this interest comes from the Korean beauty movement, which really taught consumers to treat their skin well and take care of it,” said Gaither, pointing to BB and CC creams in particular as the catalyst of this blurred-category trend. “They were able to provide consumers with the best of both worlds.”
Now, more and more brands are angling to co-opt some of that success.
“There are definitely brands that are piggybacking off of skin care and its popularity,” said David Yi, the editor of the men’s grooming site Very Good Light. The expected result, he said, is more bang for the brand’s buck: “Brands are touting multiple uses for just one single price, and consumers feel they’re able to get more out of their dollar, so they’re willingly paying for products that provide many uses.”
However, many beauty products are already multipurpose, he argued, pointing to items like balms, that can be used not just to nourish lips but other areas of the skin. “Brands just haven’t been educating consumers efficiently,” he said.
It’s also a helpful way for brands to stand out in an increasingly crowded space, as Gomez conceded, saying that Neutrogena would continue to work in ingredients like hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid to give their new products’ added appeal.
“With makeup, there are no rules; so by adding skin-care benefits, brands have another way to push the boundaries of the category and differentiate their product,” said Gaither.