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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Anti-time in a bottle

Flawless skin. Silky hair. Lustrous lips. Anyone who has ever walked a drugstore beauty aisle is aware of the promises made by the array of lotions and potions populating store shelves. Cosmeceutical marketers are working hard to deliver on these promises, investing research and development dollars to create products that offer not only beautification of the outside, but actual treatment of skin and hair conditions from the outside in.

As reported in Packaged Facts’ Cosmeceuticals in the U.S. (April 2012), consumers are looking for skin care, hair care and color cosmetic products that will improve their appearance virtually overnight (in the spirit, if not at the cost, of the surge in quick-fix plastic surgery) while also demonstrably delivering long-term improvements to skin and hair health.  According to Packaged Facts’ March 2012 online consumer survey, 28% of respondents purchase anti-aging-specific skin care or cosmetic products, and 15% purchase skin care and cosmetic products due to their antioxidant content claims.

Prompting the growth in demand for these products is the “graying of America” and Boomers’ desire to keep the effects of aging at bay.  Also influencing growth in the cosmeceuticals market is the insistence of recession-battered consumers on getting more for the money—and indeed cosmeceuticals typically offer the performance of standard products plus extra health benefits, usually in the form of added marquee ingredients. 

Typically these marquee ingredients are "natural," and many hail from the food and beverage aisles, capitalizing on headline food and nutrient trends.  Marketers have long worked the overlap between the natural cosmetics market and cosmeceuticals, as consumer demand for natural but functional ingredients to replace undesirable chemicals in their products has risen to an all-time high. 

Particularly strong sellers are mass-market versions of high-end products at price points more palatable to middle-class shoppers.  Many consumers are willing to buy more expensive mass-market moisturizers and conditioners when they are presented or perceived as a relative bargain compared to department store and salon products (if not to old school, standard formula mass-market personal care).
So what do cosmeceutical consumers want?  Paradoxically, instant and long-term anti-aging that's natural--and affordable.  Convenience is taken for granted.

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