Boost from luxury organic onslaught on skincare market

Organic cosmetics are not necessarily new, but they do appear to be coming up trumps with the second part of the consumer product mantra – ‘improved’.

While there is still scepticism surrounding the use of organic products, as opposed to scientifically proven ranges, a fresh wave of natural and ethical – yet luxurious, good-looking and effective – cosmetics are starting to appear.

The latest research from Mintel’s global new products database shows that there have been about 200 new organic and all-natural beauty products launched in the UK so far this year. This is a 170 per cent increase on the 73 products launched during the whole of 2006.

As part of their positioning, these organic and ethical products may feel the need to step up to the mark with their packaging using the ‘reuse, reduce and recycle’ model, as well as being visually appealing.

One such product is Nude skincare, the brainchild of Fresh & Wild co-founder Bryan Meehan, with brand identity, logo, packaging and Web design by Pearlfisher. This claims to be organic and ethical, and is a product that actually has the desired effect for skincare.

The design has a minimal look and feel, while the packaging is simple, with directions printed on a 100 per cent biodegradable sleeve.

‘”Natural” has been around for a long time and it has previously been a bit worthy,’ says Pearlfisher creative partner Jonathan Ford. ‘With food and drink, it is a big thing, but skincare lagged behind at times. It has been about a lot of packaging and science, and is a bit hokey and backwards. People don’t believe that natural products are as effective as scientifically enhanced products. Before, organic appealed to people who had hardcore support for natural products, but there is a growing conscience with our ethics, and elements of style are the missing link. We are advancing because we have great-performing, natural products that work with your skin, in stylish packaging.’

Additionally, fashion designer Stella McCartney has unveiled her new Care skincare range, again pitching 100 per cent organic products at a luxury level. It features a natural theme throughout, from product to packaging and graphics. This range has minimal and biodegradable packaging, created by the in-house design team at Yves Saint Laurent.

‘From a design perspective you need to come up with a way to communicate the brand message and values using less surface area, as well as less, or recyclable, packaging,’ says Nica Lewis, head consultant of cosmetic research at Mintel. ‘There is a balance between communicating the organic message while appealing to the consumer. The Stella McCartney range is one organic brand that manages to communicate luxury. If it is organic, people will argue that there should be minimal packaging if you are going to take it seriously. But it does need to appeal, there has to be a balance.’

According to Steve Gibbons, creative director at Dew Gibbons, who has worked on Boots’ Mediterranean range, it is complex. ‘I don’t think there should be visual cues for organic, I think it is a mistake to go down the worthy, open-toed sandal route, I think people want a more contemporary and modern take. They don’t want to feel that they are making a compromise. It needs to work well in terms of packaging, with a balance on organic,’ he says.

• The UK has seen an explosion in organic beauty products, including Stella McCartney’s Care, Organic Apoteke and Nude
• There have been about 200 new organic and all-natural beauty products launched in the UK so far this year, an increase of 170% on the 73 launched during the whole of 2006
• In the future, there will be more emphasis on the provenance of ingredients, with packaging highlighting where they originate from – a trend already seen with food, according to the report

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