Cosmeceuticals adopt ‘clinical’ look for premium status

‘Sexy, plump lips without injections’, enthuses PureLogical’s Lip Plumper blurb, summing up the excitement the skincare industry’s expanding ‘cosmeceuticals’ niche wants to provoke in consumers.

Two reports published by Datamonitor last month predict that, as cosmetic surgery continues to gain popularity, alternatives to surgery are ‘the next step in this progression’.

There are signs that the market is already growing quickly, as packaging and branding designers in the cosmeceuticals sector begin to develop a highly specialised linguistic and visual lexicon.

‘A lot of people are nervous about going under the knife and are turning to products that claim to have the same benefits as surgery without the hassle, the worry and the danger,’ begins Two By Two founder Ashwin Shaw, who designed the latest packaging for skincare brand Elemis, now rolling out in the UK.

Elemis began life as a natural spa range, but is now repositioning itself firmly in the cosmeceuticals category by introducing ingredients such as collagen.

The brand’s new look is heavy on the silver, a colour that translates as ‘age-defiance’ in the skincare world. Meanwhile, ‘White and the pared-down look express clinicalness, because people want to be reassured by science. Black is another popular colour in the sector, since it denotes a premium product,’ explains Shaw.

White, silver and black: this restricted palette means that some brands are finding it hard to differentiate themselves. UK skincare brand PureLogical also appointed Two By Two in 2006, to try to stop competitors snapping at its heels after going through two dramatic redesigns in four years, only to find itself dogged by ‘copyists’. A DNA strand now snakes across an otherwise Minimalist packet, evoking science just as the serious, quasi-scientific language that cosmeceutical brands employ also attempts to do.

Some brands diverge from the stereotype. ‘We use fun names and light-hearted copy to balance our serious, scientific approach to branding and packaging,’ says Rodial founder Maria Hatzistefanis.

Boob Job, a new product being launched in April, is a good example of this direct style of communication. It joins a stable of products including Tummy Tuck and Glamotox – both of which are popular with Rodial’s male customers, who make up 5 to10 per cent of its customer base.

Rodial designs its branding and packaging in-house, overseen by Hatzistefanis herself. She believes that airless pump bottles provide the best packaging for a serious cosmeceutical brand.

‘They immediately make the product look premium,’ she says. ‘They also keep the contents fresh after the package has been opened, which high-paying customers demand.’

Venturing into the cutting edge, a few beauty brands use pipettes and even syringes in their packaging to endow their products with an unflinchingly surgical look and feel.

But perhaps the future of cosmeceutical branding and packaging can be seen in the Freeze 24-7 & Go Instant Smoother & Brightener.

Eschewing the clinical look, Freeze 24-7’s in-house branding uses a red circle and a retro typeface.

US beauty packaging group Zorbit Resources designed the Instant Smoother bottle. It features a mirror, applicator and smoothing tool, encased in a red, pod-like case. But even Freeze cannot resist the pull of language redolent of the medical. It talks about a ‘metered dosage’ – as if applying too much cream in one go could be fatal.

As product and packaging continue to converge and the demand for alternatives to cosmetic surgery rises, designers could find the cosmeceuticals sector throwing up some of the most challenging and engaging packaging projects.

Body of facts

• Almost 50% of consumers in Europe and the US are concerned about the signs of aging• Two in three adults are concerned about body shape
• Datamonitor expects spending on cosmetic surgery in Europe and the US to top $28bn (£14bn) by 2011
• The fastest-growing area of cosmetic surgery is minimally invasive procedures, such as Botox injections
• Around 20-30% of women in Europe and the US have considered cosmetic surgery

Source/ Professional & Expert Personal & Oral Care Solutions and Anti-Aging & Beauty Attitudes And Behaviors, both published by Datamonitor

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