Getting Ahead Curve Toiletries Innovation

We have seen the ingredients scrutiny in food, which has resulted in the removal of additives and other nasties. Now we are seeing increasing scrutiny of toiletries, cosmetics and the chemicals they contain. Some brands are already ahead of the curve and turned this trend into an interesting innovation opportunity. Should your brand be considering some reduced chemical solutions in its innovation pipeline?

There have been a number of scary articles, both in the UK and abroad, which are raising consumer awareness about the chemicals in everyday toiletry and cosmetic products such as shampoos, moisturisers, baby wipes, etc. and the damaging effect this can have on consumers’ bodies and health. (See links at the bottom of the article). Consumer awareness is on the rise.

Headlines for chemical free cosmetics and toiletries.Yet many marketers struggle with the dilemma of “what will it say about our current product range?” So what are the strategic options open to brands when investigating toiletry innovations with reduced chemical content?

1. Add claims to your current range:

Removing specific ingredients from all products and adding claims to packs is the ultimate goal. Timotei has removed parabens from across its range and silicones and colorants from its Pure range only. However, for most businesses this will probably be a longer term innovation especially if it believes it is vital to retain the same in use experience for consumers.


2. Launch a sub range:

This is a good shorter term innovation strategy. It enables a brand to offer those consumers concerned about chemical ingredients a range that answers their needs whilst leaving the rest of its range unaffected for consumers who are unaware or not bothered. This has been a successful option for several brands in the market. Sanex stretched its skin kind credentials to introduce Zero% shower gels and deodorants which have a number of chemicals removed or reduced. It plays on “Do you know what you are putting on your skin?”, taking full advantage of Sanex’s gentle positioning. Herbal Essences have introduced Clearly Naked shampoos and conditioners with no heavy residues, dyes or parabens. It is positioned in a natural space and focuses on the lightness of the product and encourages you to “Get naked” in a very on brand cheeky way. Very different takes on the same idea but equally compelling. And more importantly they have helped strengthen the parent brand rather than raise questions about their formulations and ingredients.

Sanex zero% and herbal essences, clearly naked toiletries

3. Launch a new brand:

Those brands with a positioning that is not capable of exuding credible natural or purity cues may have to look at the most resource intensive option…launching a new brand. Although not necessarily 100% natural, brands in this space tend to take a very ethical position alongside the more natural / reduced chemical claims. Naked is 97% natural and free from sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals, Aveda has a green ingredient promise to increase their use of naturally derived ingredients. With this option there is no previous knowledge for consumers to compare their  use experience against so there is more freedom to experiment with formulations.

naked and aveda natural ingredients toiletries

Whichever innovation strategy is right for your business, there is an exciting opportunity to innovate.