Beauty brands rely on cooking ingredients | BoF Professional, The Business of Beauty, News & Analysis


Medicine cabinets look more and more like the kitchen counter.

After years of beauty brands positioning their competitive advantage on high-tech trends like biotechnology, scientific compounds, and trendy gadgets, there is a return to basics, with new entrants using food. everyday in beauty. These brands are launching products – or entire labels – featuring star ingredients like coffee, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar.

A number of players, both new and established, are tapping into the kitchen for ingredients. Beauty Thinkers, a line founded by former Tod’s executive Claudio Castiglioni, centers its brand around extra virgin olive oil and is launching this month. Meanwhile, Kosterina, a consumer goods company that makes high-end olive oil, vinegar and chocolates, is launching skin care products after founder Katina Mountanos saw customers buy branded olive oil for its health benefits. This summer also saw the launch of Testament Beauty, whose main ingredients are derived from coffees and teas. Earlier this year, DPHue, a hair care company sold through Sephora and Revolve, added a new apple cider hair rinse to the arsenal of vinegar products it has been making since 2014, while the company from salon products Fekkai launched a collection of apple cider vinegar.

The use of superfoods in beauty products is nothing new: Frank’s Body Coffee Scrub was one of the first Instagram favorites, while beauty brands like Upcircle and WonderValley, which respectively use coffee and olive oil, as key ingredients, have been top sellers for years, said Michelle Connelly, vice president of merchandising and planning at Credo Beauty.

But industry experts believe shoppers could welcome a new wave of food brands at a time when there is fatigue around other beauty trends like ‘clean’ beauty. The kitchen sink approach to beauty is an antidote to the clamor around science-sounding ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane. Ingredients like olive oil and apple cider vinegar are not only familiar to customers, but also have a good reputation.

“I think the idea of ​​using something familiar… will be a relief for a lot of people,” said Sophia Chabbott, founder of Testament Beauty.

Brands interested in using food ingredients must decide whether their products will also include a blend of more scientific ingredients. But regardless of the ingredient breakdown, shoppers of beauty products say brands can connect better with shoppers if they are able to involve them in the story of how their products are made, from harvesting to harvest. the ingredient in a farm to the science of its extraction. .

Food for your face

Entrepreneurs like Chabbott and Mountanos believe beauty products that highlight coffee, vinegar and olive oil could attract consumers who are already adopting them for their health and wellness benefits.

“Tons of people on Instagram are sharing their apple cider vinegar supplements or olive oil shots, so it makes sense that people want them for topical skin care,” said Leigh Quilhot, director. principal of merchandising at Bluemercury.

Mountanos added that it is important to also bring the historical perspective of the use of the ingredients, to demonstrate to customers the effectiveness of the ingredients.

“[Olive oil] has been used on hair and skin in Greece for thousands of years because it has powerful healing properties, ”she said. “It is the antithesis of the high performance scientific active ingredient.

Brands using food ingredients need to make sure they’re using the best manufacturers – even spending more money – to avoid diluting an ingredient for performance, said Donna Miller Pohlad, founder of DPHue. This ingredient, she added, may be the reason a consumer searches for the product. With his own brand, Miller Pohlad did extensive research on vinegar makers in the United States before settling on an artisanal vinegar in Nebraska.

“The color, the smell, everything is really important,” she said. “The awareness factor has increased dramatically and a great appreciation has developed for the hero ingredient, so there shouldn’t be a pinch of it.”

“[Olive oil] has been used on hair and skin in Greece for thousands of years because it has powerful healing properties. It is the antithesis of the high performance scientific active ingredient.

Culinary science

To stand out from the countless face oils on the market, Mountanos wanted to stick exclusively with food ingredients, creating a product made from a blend of extra virgin olive oil, squalane from olives and mastic gum, a sap taken from a tree native to Greece.

Others, however, take a more hybrid approach. Beauty Thinkers wanted their olive oil products, which include a $ 113 moisturizer and $ 78 face oil, to be more scientific than others on the market. Its main ingredient is hydroxytyrosol, an antioxidant ingredient that develops during the extraction of olive oil.

“Olive oil is [popular] around the world, but we felt the challenge was to take this ancient and noble ingredient and bring it into the 21st century by using biotechnology to transform these compounds, ”said Jeffrey Matsumoto, co-founder of Beauty Thinkers .

Testament Beauty also blends its food ingredients with popular beauty compounds like ceramides and niacinamide. As sacred as coffees, teas and oils are in health and wellness circles, Chabbott said she doesn’t think relying on them alone is enough.

“You want your beauty products to be different for buyers, but you also want them to work,” she said.

Focusing on the science and effectiveness of a product will help attract the camp of buyers who are interested in the “why” behind skin care, Connelly said.

“When we focused on retinol or vitamin C, [brands] had proven the science behind them, ”she said. “Where cooking ingredients can get interesting is the story behind them, as the science of beauty is still a strong trend. “

But to spark consumer enthusiasm for food-focused beauty new entrants, focusing on science won’t be enough. Buyers recommend that brands loop buyers through the entire ingredient harvesting process. Brands like Kosterina and Beauty Thinkers – both of which produce their oils on family-run olive farms in Greece and Italy, for example – intend to highlight the entire cultivation process on social media.

“The consumer… wants to know the credibility of the resource and understand its end-to-end production,” said Quilhot. “A brand can brag about an ingredient, but the story of how it all ends up in the bottle will be the most compelling.”

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