One in four go free from!

A new report from market analysts Mintel suggests that free from cosmetics are helping to fuel a growth in the facial skincare market.

Although based on surveys of American consumers, rather than British, the results are nevertheless fascinating – especially as we know when it comes to skincare, ‘trends’ often start in the US, before crossing the Atlantic and reaching our shores.

“42% of consumers seek products with multiple benefits,” say Mintel. “37% say they only purchase products from brands they trust and nearly a quarter (24%) are looking for facial skincare products that are “free-from” certain ingredients.”

Products with multiple benefits or functions are an interesting potential area of growth. We saw a huge diversity of product types among entries to the Free From Skincare Awards this year, and those which were multifunctional or multi-purpose were generally received well or were at least the subject of interesting discussions during judging – for example, Moa’s The Green balm (both a problem skin balm and as facial cleanser – for which it was commended and shortlisted respectively),  the Jane Iredale Just Kissed Cheek and Lip Stain,  bronze medallist in Make-up and Nail Care category, and indeed the overall winner, Barefoot SOS Face and Body Rescue Cream, which can be used anywhere on the body, and as a general moisturiser, or as a problem skin solution.

The issue of trust is also one that cropped up, often in the feedback that we received from our Beauty Bible Testers. Many a tester commented how much they trusted certain brands for the naturalness of their ingredients – and they tended to be brands that have been fixtures in the free from market for some years, even decades. Trust takes time to build up – but consumers are loyal once you’ve succeeded.

But of course, the fact that a quarter of consumers are now looking for ‘free from’ ingredients really caught our eye. This is a remarkable figure, far greater perhaps than the figure would be for free from food – but as we have said before, there are many reasons people look for free from skincare – to avoid allergens or sensitivity triggers, to avoid alcohol (perhaps for religious reasons), to avoid animal ingredients (for ethical reasons), to avoid ingredients they are concerned about from a health perspective, to avoid environmentally unfriendly or non-sustainable ingredients such as petroleum derivatives …. It goes on … and it has to be taken seriously.

What the press release from Mintel didn’t reveal, of course, was what kind of ingredients consumers are looking to avoid, and the reasons why. We have asked Mintel whether they have any data specific to this, but if it turns out not, we hope researchers – be it Mintel or another group – look at this at some point.

In the meantime, why don’t you tell us which ingredients you avoid – and why? Do you have multiple reasons and multiple ingredients to avoid – or even groups of ingredients (such as all artificial fragrances)? Do let us know …

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