The Evolving Beauty Category  7/21/2018

Retailers in ECRM's panel discussion on beauty product trends discussed new product innovations that are driving the category. From left to right: Moderator Faye Brookman, Contributing Editor - Beauty, Women's Wear Daily; Tracy Abbott, Senior Director of Retail Merchandising, Massage Envy Franchising, LLC; Maria Rush, VP of Business Development, Beauty Collection Stores; Dawn, Norvell,  Sr. Buyer - Hair Color, Hair Acc & MultiCultural, Walmart; Quintin Bean, Executive Director, Sunpac (Pty) Ltd.

During ECRM’s recent Beauty Week sessions in Las Vegas, which consists of our Skin, Bath, Cosmetics and Natural Beauty EPPS and Hair Care & Multicultural Hair Care EPPS, I had a conversation with a buyer from a national retail chain, and – as I usually do with buyers – I asked her if any products in particular “wowed” her. She mentioned a skin care supplier that had a product made with peat (as in peat moss) as a key ingredient. The reason this caught her attention was because it was an ingredient that is not found among the products they currently carry, and that her customers were always looking for something new, particularly innovations around healthy, functional ingredients.


While this is not particularly new – buyers are always on the lookout for fresh innovations, but according to retailers in attendance at the session, the pace in which these innovations have been developing has definitely been stepped up a notch or two. Based on our conversations with these retailers, here are a few key product trends that are grabbing their attention:


Natural 2.0

Having natural, organic or vegan ingredients is not so much of a trend as it is a cost-of-entry in today’s beauty business, but now many suppliers are taking natural a step further with more unique ingredients that are aimed at delivering specific results. In addition to suppliers tapping bogs for the nutrient-rich peat mentioned above, other popular ingredients include dead sea salts and minerals, charcoal clay, infused oxygen, volcanic ash, turmeric and rose hip, to name a few. What’s more, these ingredients are making their way into all product segments, from facial masks to skin creams, shampoos/conditioners and even bath bombs.


Bright & Metallic Colors

Color cosmetics are becoming even more colorful, shiny, metallic, with a hint of glitter thrown in, particularly with cosmetics aimed at young girls. One buyer in particular noted glowing eye shadow and holographic makeup – which are great for selfie-friendly Millennials. The Unicorn and Mermaid effect is still going strong in this category.


Masks – Metallic, Men, Hands & Feet

While retailers and suppliers have cited facial masks as a popular trend over the past couple of years, these products continue to evolve and now are available in many options, including those with natural ingredients like activated charcoal. Metallic facial masks are a newer trend, as well as masks infused with essential oils to provide an aromatherapy experience. Some masks even include compression points and hyaluronic acid micro points. The effectiveness and popularity of facial masks has even driven demand for applications that can be used on other parts of the body, such as the feet or hands, and men are getting on the mask action, too, and this growing demand has led many suppliers to develop masks for them.


Men’s Grooming

And speaking of men, other men’s grooming products, such as skin care, beard/hair care products were offered by many suppliers, who have added or expanded their lines of men’s products, often bundling them into kits along with beard combs and other grooming items.


Multicultural Beauty

At this year’s Multicultural Beauty EPPS, products for textured hair were everywhere, and a key topic during the Global Beauty Alliance panel discussion, which was moderated by Carol Sagers and included presentations from texture Media’s Michelle Breyer Essence Magazine Fashion & Beauty Director Julee Wilson (with a guest appearance from Sundial Brands’ Richelieu Dennis. Skin and hair products aimed at the particular beauty needs of ethnic consumers are also becoming increasingly mainstream, though many feel they still have more work to do in integrating these products into beauty assortments.


Bath Bombs

Bath bombs have exploded in popularity, and are not only appealing for their moisturizing benefits to the skin (as well as for providing an excuse to take a long hot soak in the tub), but the colorful swirls and bubbles of these products – some of which change as the bath bomb dissolves – make them truly Instagram-worthy. Indeed, the hashtags #bathbomb and #bathbombs bring up approximately 2.5 million results on the social media platform, offering brands and retailers lots of opportunities for social media engagement.


Cleaning Up

Eventually, all of these innovative products must eventually be removed, and here too beauty buyers found lots of innovation, including cleansing sticks and balms -- which are rubbed on the face then water is added to remove dirt, oil and makeup.


ECRM's Multicultural Beauty Panelists (from left): Julee Wilson, Fashion & Beauty Director, Essence Magazine; Michelle Breyer, Founder & CEO - TextureMedia, Natural Curly Brands; Special Guest Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial Brands and the CEO of Essence Ventures LLC; and moderator Carol Hillsman Sagers, Director - Global Beauty Alliance  

What’s interesting to note is that many of these innovations we’ve seen at the session are coming from new and emerging indie brands, many of which were previously only on Amazon and RangeMe, or else have a limited distribution at a few retailers. So it’s important for beauty buyers to stay vigilant and explore every opportunity if they hope to stay ahead of pack when it comes to adding innovation to their assortments.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Drug Store News. Coverage of the ECRM/Drug Store News Buyers Choice Award Winners can be fournd here: 

Skin, Bath, Cosmetics & Natural Beauty Winners

Hair Care & Multicultural Hair Care Winners


ECRM Buyers Choice Awards

Three types of ECRM meetings

The ArtNaturals After-Party was Awesome!

Fireside chat with ArtNaturals' Joseph Nourollah and Michael Elefant


Tony Giovanini

SVP of General Merchandise

Tony can be reached at (440) 528-0416

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