The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Anita Roddick. The inspiration was a small shop in Berkeley, California, selling naturally scented soaps and lotions, and employing immigrant women from countries that Anita visited on her many travels around the globe. With a vision to sell products with natural, ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients, The Body Shop grew quickly and blossomed into a movement toward social and environmental causes, including a campaign to raise self-esteem in women. The Body Shop was before its time and kicked off an obsession with all things natural for many that continues to grow by generation.
The world has gotten decidedly more complex, well-traveled, healthier, wealthier, and age and beauty obsessed, although the definition of the latter has broadened significantly given campaigns such as Dove Real Beauty and spokespeople such as model Winnie Harlow. Consumers around the globe are creating their own definitions of beauty which look beyond age, gender and body type, and they don’t just want to look good, they want to feel good too.
The consumer’s concern about what goes onto their body as well as into their body has become more acute. It’s as much about what’s not in a product as what is. The presence of parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, hydroquinone, phthalates, animal products and allergens, all factor into evolving consumer demands. Brands labeled with the new “Clean at Sephora” sticker will be free from these and other sketchy ingredients. Increasingly stringent government rules on allowable ingredients may also rein in some of the sector’s less reputable operators.
Interestingly, governments in the European Union and Canada have banned upward of 1,300 ingredients from use in cosmetics, whereas the US has banned only 11, leaving consumers to fend for themselves when it comes to vetting product safety (“10 US Cosmetic Ingredients Banned in Other Countries — Are Beauty Chemicals Safe?” Cosmopolitan, 2016).
The US, however, is more stringent on cosmetic products with certain medicinal effects, requiring extra regulatory hurdles because they are classified as drugs. Some of these substances include sunscreens, anti-caries toothpastes, and lip balms. Even though color additives are not classified as over-the-counter drug actives, they are also subject to more regulatory scrutiny in the US than in Europe (Cosmeticsinfo.org, 2018).
The global market for cosmetic ingredients has been growing at a steady pace. The pursuit of beauty with increasing consciousness of physical appearance, rising awareness of skin health and growing interest in anti-aging formulations has fueled the demand.
The global cosmetic ingredients market was worth US$22.89 billion in 2016 and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2017 to 2025, increasing to US$33.8 billion by the end of 2025. Asia Pacific is set to lead growth — the region accounted for US$7.33 billion (32%) of the 2016 total, ahead of Europe which came in second, and North America third (Transparency Market Research [TMR] Analysis, 2017).
According to TMR, the strengthening economy of Asian countries has increased the disposable income of Asian consumers. With the increasing purchasing power, consumers are willing to spend on high-end expensive cosmetics. China has surfaced as the most prominent for ingredients thanks to the presence of a large pool of cosmetics manufacturers and the availability of low-cost raw materials.
Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxyl acids and talc are some of the examples of commonly used cosmetic ingredients. Among all these product types, surfactants are expected to hold the market dominance throughout the forecast period, however, conditioning polymers are projected to grow at the highest CAGR between 2015 and 2025.
The cosmetic ingredient market is highly regulated in Europe. Manufacturers need to prove and document the safety and efficacy of product, and show good practice in terms of supply chain, processing, use, availability, Corporate Social Responsibility and traceability. Ingredients buyers also have increasing demands, especially in terms of traceability and sustainability. In addition to that, European legal requirements make gaining entry to the market harder every day.
China, India and ASEAN countries are the key regions driving the cosmetic ingredients market in Asia-Pacific. That said, there have been some new developments in recent months to more heavily regulate those markets as well. For example, earlier this year the Indian government announced a move to make animal ingredients disclosure mandatory for cosmetics packaging.
Hot on the heels, Indonesia will become the second largest contributor to skin care’s absolute growth, replacing the US in thirdplace, according to Euromonitor International.
Meanwhile, personalization is set to reach new heights as brands strive to embrace total inclusivity. When it comes to ethics, it will be imperative for brands to have a personality that is genuine and a viewpoint that clearly communicates their positioning. Finally, “developments in biometric monitoring will see brands drive unprecedented customization of the shopping experience” (Mintel Reports, 2017).
Read more: What's New in Beauty? 10 trends to watch