Testing for wellness claims: Can we prove the feel-good factor?

By Julia Wray | Published: 21-Sep-2020

While there will always be a place for traditional clinical tests demonstrating an ingredient or finished product’s efficacy in reducing the appearance of wrinkles or cellulite, there is increasing pressure on brands and suppliers to support cosmetic claims in the wellness field. But how can we demonstrate that using a certain cosmetic makes you happier?

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It’s long been known that cosmetics contribute positively to the way consumers feel about themselves.

A well-applied face of make-up feels like ‘war paint’ for many women, enabling them to face the day with confidence. Equally, a cocooning body cream or a preferred scent might contribute to feelings of pleasure when applied by the individual.

However, it’s only recently that the wider beauty industry has sought to message about products’ feel-good factors on pack, a trend that has grown in line with the well-documented rise of the wellness economy.

Shan Godbille, Strategic Marketing and CMI Manager at Givaudan, notes that the “vision of holistic wellness as being multidimensional, encompassing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects, is more and more recognised”.

She highlights that the global wellness economy was worth US$4.5 trillion in 2018 and, within this, the beauty and personal care segment was the biggest, representing about 25% of total market revenue.

But where claims exist, proof is also required and the ways in which we substantiate claims for wellness beauty does provide a fresh angle for brands to promote.

“The cosmetics industry is about innovation – we constantly have new products because the market is there and the competition is there, and we have to say something new and different. And that’s the problem. We can make 50 anti-wrinkle peptides, but they will always have the same type of story and claim,” says Karl Lintner, independent cosmetic consultant and President of KAL’idées.

As such, “over the last five or six years, we’ve started to talk about the important aspect of what is a cosmetic really about?”

Lintner tells Cosmetics Business that, when strangers find out what he does for a living, they often ask him, what is the best cosmetic product? And his response is always: “The best cosmetic product for you is the one that you enjoy from the moment you buy it to the moment of using it in the bathroom in the morning or evening.”

Cosmetics, he stresses, “is not pharma, where you take a pill to reduce a headache and where there’s no pleasure involved; with cosmetics there is the headonist aspect, which is extremely important”.

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