By Elisabeth King
L’Occitane’s ambition to reach a younger audience was kickstarted last year by the introduction of the new Sunshine Concept store design. A fresh, new look with a bright yellow decor where the key shopping areas are arranged according to need from skincare through fragrance and home.
Millennials love fresh trends, colours and storytelling in their beauty selections, says Robinson, and that’s why the media launch event was so groundbreaking for L’Occitane. The cool blue product colours and packaging of Aqua Réotier really play well on Instagram, says Robinson. “The range is also the first time we have linked a skincare launch so closely with water and hydration. So where better to make a publicity splash than at Icebergs Dining Room & Bar at iconic Bondi Beach surrounded by water. We invited key influencers and media, focusing on those with younger audiences such as Cosmopolitan magazine. Millennials are heavy buyers of cosmetics and skincare and YouTube, beauty bloggers, Facebook and Instagram are the top influencers on their buying decisions. To really reach out to this demographic, we have engaged in more digital partnerships”.
Asian skincare has long featured hydrating essences, toners and gel/cream formulations because maximum hydration is mandatory to producing fresh, glowing skin. A landmark study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that women with well-hydrated skin develop wrinkles more slowly than those with dry skin. Digging deeper, the research showed that for a 28 year old woman with dry skin, visible wrinkles increase by up to 52 per cent by the mid-thirties. If skin is well-hydrated, though, less than half that amount of wrinkles - about 22 per cent - would appear over the following eight years.
If younger women don’t keep their skin well-hydrated, it might not matter what else they do. That’s where the Aqua Réotier excels with its scientifically-proven routine. An easy, four step approach that hinges as much on skin health as beauty. The Water Gel Cleanser cleanses the skin thoroughly but doesn’t strip it of oils. The Moisture Prep Essence soothes the skin as it intensifies hydration. “In terms of delivery, we offer two moisturiser formats”, says Robinson. “The Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel and Ultra Thirst-Quenching Cream. To keep up the feeling of intense moisturisation all day, women can spray on the Fresh Moisturizing Mist, a refreshing spritz that heroes the star ingredient of the range - Réotier spring water”.
Millennials are more likely than women overall to cite ethical claims from beauty brands on their path-to-purchase. Spring water with added minerals has been used for centuries to treat skin sensitivity and concerns. In 2015, L’Occitane signed an agreement with the commune of Réotier in the Hautes-Alpes region of Provence to use the thermal spring water from its ‘petrified fountain’ in skincare products. The water, which has been filtered through layers of dolomite and gypsum, is rich in calcium - long known to be beneficial to the mechanism of the skin.
Réotier is recognised by the European Union as one of the Natura 2000 nature protection areas, the largest network of protection areas in the world, and L’Occitane is the first cosmetics brand to use this incredible water source, says Robinson. “Millennials demand sustainability programs from beauty brands these days. The agreement at Réotier limits our use to 0.04 per cent of the spring’s annual production of water to minimise the environmental impact”.
The water from the Réotier spring is 10 times richer in calcium than other French thermal waters. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, not only in the bones but also the skin. It is an important regulator of skin health and essential to the natural regeneration of the skin’s defensive barrier. Applied topically, calcium-rich skincare helps to produce natural sebum so that the skin retains moisture and it is also vital in skin cell turnover which leads to more youthful-looking skin. A natural active ingredient that boosts the performance of the Aqua Réotier range, helping to restore and enhance the skin’s natural radiance.
According to global market researcher Mintel, Millennials are most likely to prioritise products that provide good results and to buy products based on their benefits. So how does a hydrating skincare range achieve plumper, more hydrated skin? By trapping moisture on the skin so the cells stay hydrated, which is why drinking lots of water does not hydrate skin from the inside. Regular use of L’Occitane Aqua Réotier Water Gel Cleanser, Moisture Prep Essence, Ultra Thirst-Quenching Gel or Cream and Fresh Moisturizing Mist preps, protects and nourishes the skin for up to 24 hours. The calcium-rich Réotier water is also backed by two other key hydrating actives - hyaluronic acid to restore the skin’s vitality and retain moisture and glycerin which captures water molecules on the skin’s surface for a plump, smooth feel.
Aqua Réotier is a new line for new customers, says Robinson. “The colours and textures appeal to younger customers, but the easy four-step user journey will keep them coming through the door. L’Occitane really broke through in the skincare category with the Divine franchise. With Aqua Réotier, young women no longer have to apply a hydrating moisturiser and hope for the best. All skin types need hydration and the range appeals to media-savvy Millennials who want to put their best selfie face forward”.
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Asia remains the dominant player in global skincare sales, with consumers across the continent “obsessed with” seeking to achieve flawless skin that is clear, luminous and seemingly transparent. To help cosmetic manufacturers tap into this growing trend for the appearance of glass-like, cloudless skin, in-cosmetics Asia (trade show) has announced hydration and haircare as two of these major focuses of its Spotlight On areas this year.