“Natural” personal care has gone from a niche industry to a mainstream consumer expectation.
Research shows that more UK consumers want their products to be “natural” than ever before. Claudia Fiannaca, Personal Care Ingredients expert at Ingredion, discusses this phenomenon and how manufacturers and retailers could respond.
The “natural” trend is attracting consumers and inspiring companies everywhere, from small retailers to big stores. And the numbers show that this isn’t just a fad, but shows signs of being a long-term industry trend.
By the end of 2014, UK sales of organic health and beauty products hit £44.6m, which was up 20% on the previous year, with similar growth expected the following year, according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market Report 2015.
The boost in sales is largely the result of a growing focus on natural and organic beauty, with 42% of UK consumers now preferring natural and organic personal care products better for the environment, according to a (2025 Trends report by Mintel).
And it’s not gender specific either; 50% of UK men believe that facial skincare products with natural ingredients are better for their skin.
What started this trend?
When did demand for more “natural” products start? Like many consumer movements, the “natural” trend in personal care products started with a concern for safety. In 2005, a media campaign linked ‘parabens’ (which are common cosmetic preservatives) to health issues.
What followed was a social stigma and a consumer rejection of parabens; this then became a catalyst for many companies shifting to ‘paraben-free’ messaging.
In the following years, other ingredients came under suspicion as being unhealthy as far as consumer perception was concerned, such as synthetic fragrances and phthalates.
So, whilst ten years ago food where the pull for natural was strongest, consumers are now becoming equally mindful about what they are using on their bodies and in their homes as well. As a result, manufacturers and retailers are now taking conscious decisions to ’clean up’ their formulations and more to more natural ingredients.
How can manufacturers meet this trend?
Many manufacturers rely on synthetic ingredients to create products with a sensory experience consumer love. What can manufacturers do to ensure consumers enjoy the same sensory experience but with natural-based products? Manufacturers can now look to replace synthetic chemicals in personal care products with naturally-derived, sustainable alternatives without impacting on the sensory experience.
These more ‘natural’ ingredients can help attract shoppers who are now actively looking for the absence of certain ingredients, and instead look for natural claims which these ingredients may contribute towards.
What can natural polymers do to enhance the sensory feel of cosmetics?
Using natural or bio-based polymers can improve the feel and aesthetics of personal care formulations in many ways. For instance, by incorporating them into lotions and creams, or into powder-based products such as dry shampoo or make-up, they have the ability to reduce greasiness produced by oils, leaving the soft, matte finish on the skin or hair that consumers love
Nature-based polymers also represent an alternative to talc. They not only help create cleaner labels, but also ensure consistent, high quality performance and in some formulations, can even contribute to a reduction in water usage.
While it may take a while for some companies to catch up, in general, there’s no doubt that moving to more natural products is positive shift for Personal Care. Consumers are largely leading this shift by demanding more purity – especially those who are sensitive to certain ingredients. Things are definitely looking positive for the nature-based personal care industry.
Ingredion is a leading global ingredient solutions provider with decades of experience in the Personal Care market.
One of our leading experts in Ingredion Europe is Claudia Fiannaca. Ingredion’s Personal Care ingredients may help manufacturers and retailers make natural-based claims and can contribute towards simple ingredient lists on products’ labels that consumers feel confident to use, while still ensuring consistent quality.
To find out about how Ingredion can help you create natural-based, simple label products, or to find out more, visit http://emea.ingredion.com