Beauty Refocuses on Sensoriality and Experience

March 06, 2017

Beauty Refocuses on Sensoriality and Experience

By Elisabeth King

Sensory benefits such as scent, texture and sensation have always been vital attributes in the cosmetic and personal care industry. But in today’s highly competitive global market, sensoriality, with its associated aesthetic, performance and application capabilities, has moved to centre stage and consumers are rejecting formulas if they don’t have the right sensual appeal.

In November 2015, in-cosmetics hosted the first international technical summit dedicated to texture in personal care formulation. According to Cathy Laporte, the exhibition director of the London-based event: “We’re seeing plenty of innovation in the functional side of cosmetics. But there are many questions about how to incorporate new textures and sensory developments into current formulations”.

Global Demand and Building Brand Loyalty

Much of the current discussion has been sparked by the growing influence of Asia. But sensory benefits are important to consumers worldwide, reports leading researcher Mintel. For example, 32 per cent of Italian fragrance buyers are interested in scents that offer aromatherapy benefits. One of the major reasons French prestige brand, L’Occitane, focuses on three core brand values - Authencity, Respect and Sensoriality - rests on the fact that the textures and fragrances of its products offer a blend of well-being and sensory delight. A smart strategy in its home market where half of French fragrance buyers are looking for stress-relieving benefits.

Globally, 37 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men rate sensory benefits as a major influence when buying personal care products, says Datamonitor. Consumers also make a strong connection between the sensoriality of a product and how it works, says Mintel. Sixty per cent of UK female bodycare purchasers judge a body lotion to be hydrating if it leaves skin soft to the touch for hours.

Packaging deserves its longtime reputation as a ‘silent salesperson’, but the sensorial attributes of the product inside are crucial to building brand loyalty in an era when people of all ages have become so-called ‘promiscuous shoppers’. Another shift pushing the trend is that a luxury feel in skincare and hair products, once found only in prestige products, is now a virtual necessity in mass brands, too.

Asia Innovations to indulge in a face mask, so the Koreans have come up with splash masks to fast-track the effects of a normal 20 minute face mask to 20 seconds. Simply add water, pat onto the face and rinse off for glowing, more radiant skin. Both products also underline another strong trend. Different textures that dovetail within a beauty routine have become very important. Skin and haircare products that are sold separately but used in tandem such as silky serums and moisturising foundations. Estée Lauder’s Genuine Glow Collection is actually billed as ‘hybrid moisturising makeup formulas that have transformative textures’. The range works to hydrate, prime and tone the skin producing a fresh, natural glow by incorporating light diffusing technology and natural lecithin to balance excess oil.

Millennials & Body Care

Just the sort of look required by the selfie generation of Millennials, the other major driving force behind the renewed focus on sensoriality. By 2020, Millennials will comprise 50 per cent of the global workforce and are key drivers of growth in fast fashion, derma/health brands and skincare and makeup that offers lifestyle-oriented experiential benefits from radiant skin to shiny hair. Formulators are being charged to get creative with playful textures and sensory delights. New textures and refining products such as body creams with the feel of ice-cream which deliver instant moisturisation will increasingly fulfill these expectations. Oil formats without greasiness will continue to grow because of their appeal in Asia, South America and the Middle East, and the ongoing popularity will continue to flow on to other major markets, including the US and Australia.

Body care is a low priority globally. Europe still accounts for over 50 per cent of premium sales in the category. Widespread growth in all regions will rely on faster application and absorption times. Major launches such as Nivea’s In-Shower body care and Vaseline’s Spray and Go have enjoyed double digit growth globally because they offer lighter, faster-absorbing formulas which are also pampering. New emulsions are being developed that provide what’s called a ‘water break’, a feeling of water bursting onto the skin on application. Admittedly it doesn’t actually provide extra hydration but it gives the perception that it does to the consumer and therefore enhances the in-use experience. Exfoliating and enriched body washes have glamourised the basic body category, but scent and innovative textures are poised to propel the sector further, especially in Asia. Jergens’ latest ad campaign for its Wet Skin Moisturizer, for example, bears the legend – You’re More Than Just A Pretty Face. Men have not been forgotten in the push for an all-over sensory experience. Dove and Bulldog, the UK British brand recently acquired by Edgewell, the makers of Schick razors, has launched body lotions for men.
Men are becoming very susceptible to sensoriality marketing. A study by SAM (Sensory and Markets) reveals that if manufacturers label any moisturiser - anti-fatigue and energising and put it in a blue tube or bottle - men will buy it.

Transformational Textures

The major takeaway from in-cosmetics 2016 in Paris was - transformational textures and easy-to-use formulas with a wealth of benefits are the future for the face and body. Incorporating jellies and water to improve spreadability and absorption is poised to revolutionise the experience of hydrating colour cosmetics and makeup, predicts Mintel. Creams and oils with the ability to morph into a powder are another example of the shape-shifting textures today’s consumers are looking for.

Multi-benefit products such as Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip are also a signpost to the continued importance of sensoriality. A lightweight formulation with the colour payoff of a lipstick, the slip of a gloss and the comfort of a lip balm delivered in one swipe. L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator follows the same track and is described as the first multi-pressed powder that acts as a blush, highlighting and illuminating the skin with a velvet glow.

Sensorial benefits have also become a major force in suncare. Protection from UV damage is no longer enough. Suncare has become a beauty ritual because of new generation products with more spreadable, skin-hydrating benefits. Firming, body-shaping, tan acceleration and prolongation are also in high demand.




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