Multi-functionality has its beauty. The consumer has demanded versatility, and beauty product marketers are responding. Borne out of both an economic impetus with consumers seeking to reduce their expenditure and the simple pragmatism of retailers optimizing finite shelf-space by rationalizing their inventory, the market’s embracing of mass non-professional branded multi-functional beauty products is attracting a growing number of professional brands keen to remain competitive.
Categories more readily adapted to consumers’ cautious spending, such as hair styling or skin care cleansing products, were among the first targeted by professional beauty manufacturers to propose multiple-benefits. The multiple-benefit product trend has been gradually expanding to encompass a wider range of professional hair care and skin care products. Since 2011 and following their notable success in the mass market, tinted moisturizers and more recently BB (Blemish Balm) creams have been making their way into the professional skin care market. For example, in early 2013, Algotherm (Groupe Batteur) launched BB Marine Cream, claiming to treat dark spots and skin imperfections while hydrating and offering 30 SPF protection against UV rays.
The number of benefits that a given product might address has grown significantly. While most professional products still continue to have one main function, many offer peripheral benefits. The more popular “added” benefits within skin care products include sun protection, and anti-aging properties, and skin hydration. Similarly, within the salon hair care sector, shine, sun protection, and volumizing are among the most offered benefits. Seizing on this trend, many marketers have re-launched products with “improved” formulas by typically adding enhanced properties. For example, within the last year, French skin care manufacturer Yon-Ka Paris (Multaler Laboratories) reformulated the majority of its products by adding ingredients with anti-aging properties. Similarly, Decléor Paris re-launched its hydrating body milk, System Corps Gradual Glow, with a tint.
Active ingredients suppliers are in turn responding to the demand from manufacturers for the multi-functional. At in-cosmetics held recently in Paris, several chemical suppliers focused on launching new ingredients with multi-functional claims. For example, Momentive introduced Silsoft E-Pearl PF emulsion which combines moisturizing, fine line correction, and skin brightening claims. Similarly, Schülke launched sensiva PA 30, a multi-functional alternative to preservatives that combines antimicrobial activities with skin boosting properties. Additionally, BASF debuted Shadownyl, a brown seaweed extract, which claims to fight wrinkles and dark circles around the eyes, while working as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Within the mass market, product multi-functionality is an important element swaying product purchase. Findings from Kline’s Consumer Insights of Personal Care Innovation USA study indicate that multi-functionality is one of the top five criteria sought by consumers. Conversely, in the professional channel, multi-functional products have not been met with great enthusiasm by consumers, the premise being that a professionally used product should be a dedicated, uncompromising, product, while secondary benefits may be perceived as a dilution of the primary function. To successfully bring value to the consumer, additional product properties need to have a direct connection with the product’s main functionality. An example could include a moisturizer targeting hyper-pigmentation enhanced with sun protection properties.
Despite product multi-functionality being largely underappreciated by consumers in the professional channel, these products have been welcomed by professional stylists, estheticians, and dispensing physicians as they yield benefits that exceed the product’s ostensible attributes. Professionals have tended to appreciate the convenience afforded by the product, by simultaneously saving time and cost, and limiting shelf space requirements.
An example of the multifunctional product uptake in salons is the highly successful uniqone by The Colomer Group. Launched in 2011, it made a splash among salon hair care professionals. Introduced as a unique product brand, uniqone is an all-in-one leave-on treatment which – the marketer claims – has no less than 10 proven benefits including dry and damaged hair repair, shine and frizz control, heat protection, and in-built UVA and UVB filters, among others. Two years after its launch in France, uniqone is becoming a must-have back-bar product for hair stylists across Europe and has prompted several similar launches by Henkel in 2012/2013 with Innova Wonder Treatment (Indola), and Osmo Wonder 10 (Clynol).
The practical and near universal advantages of the multifunctional beauty product for the consumer and professional alike, assure the genre’s continued success and even greater applicability and marketability. Kline’s industry-respected expertise allows you the market-intelligence to better access the markets and categories serviced by multi functional beauty products.