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Seeing is believing: Managing consumer expectations for beauty from within products

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Dietary supplement

When consumers use beauty-from-within products they expect to see the effects in the mirror, and sometimes quickly, but this is actually more of an opportunity than a challenge, say experts.

“Unlike many of our supplement products where we’re working towards wellness goals and assuming a lifelong outcome, a beauty protocol should produce tangible results in a reasonable period of time,” ​said Barry Ritz, PhD, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs at Atrium Innovations. “That’s one of the great opportunities in this category.

“As an example, our Douglas Labs brand has an Ultra HNS (hair, nails, and skin) product that we launched in 2012, so I consider that a long standing product, and it’s still of our top selling products, not just in beauty but across all entire line. So to me that has to be a reflection on efficacy. Certainly the healthcare practitioners that we work with wouldn’t continue to endorse a product like that if it didn’t work.”

Dawna Nevzon, PhD, RDN, principal research scientist in nutrition research and clinical investigation at Nutrilite “The way in which we are constrained in doing clinical trials – we have to use healthy people and we’re using natural substances – is much harder to show efficacy than it would be in a pharmaceutical trial. With beauty from within we can actually show benefits, but the caveat is that we really need to longer term studies.”

Dr Venzon added that it can be tricky to do a nutricosmetic study, and measures of things like wrinkles and UV protection are common. However, some non-invasive measures of skin health like moisturization measurements are becoming more popular. Imaging devices also offer an opportunity to take skin scan images and assess changes over time. “We can then use that data to educate the consumer that there is science behind these products,”​ she said.


Douglas Labs Ultra HNS
Douglas Labs’ Ultra HNS brand. “Healthcare practitioners wouldn’t continue to endorse this product if it didn’t work,” said Dr Barry Ritz.

Attracting the consumers also depends on where and how the products are positioned – should beauty from within products sit in the supplements aisle or the cosmetics aisle?

“The vast majority of these products do seem to end up in the dietary supplement section – that’s a very large mix of products and it can be very confusing for consumers,”​ observed Carl Freund, president, North America for Unistraw Corp, which offers a straw delivery system for collagen for skin care. “You don’t get the whole tie-in with skin care that you’d like to see. The consumer is not seeing the overall picture. They’re not seeing supplements alongside high end serums or skin creams. I think retailers see a huge opportunity but they’re hesitant because it hasn’t come as quickly as they thought it would or as quickly as the industry was telling them it would happen.”

Atrium’s Ritz worked on a joint project on this back in 2010 for a beauty-from-within line that was only supplements but was positioned next to the high end cosmetics lines. “We had dietitians endorsing, on-site education, and we got a lot of attention, we had some launches in high end retailers but the concept struggled. And over time the company migrated into topicals. It speaks to one of the challenges, which is that topicals are engrained in the minds of Americans when it comes to beauty. For me, the concept of physical appearance being a reflection of health really resonates, but there’s a bit educational curve we have to go up.

NOW Solutions HSN
NOW’s hair, skin and nails products are formulated with Cynatine HNS, a form of solubilized Keratin, as well as vitamins A, C, and E plus B complex vitamins and the minerals zinc, copper, and sulfur (from MSM). The product also includes include hyaluronic acid.

Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Amber Cerda, Marketing Communications Manager for NOW Foods, which offers the NOW Solutions Clinically Advanced Hair, Skin & Nails products, told us: “Dietary supplements to promote ‘beauty from within’ will not typically provide short-term benefits that some topical products might, such as overnight firming of skin. That said, many consumers know the real benefits of certain vitamins, minerals, collagens (and other proteins), and nutritional oils to support the health of their hair, skin, and nails.

“The use of internal nutrients to supplement topical formulas is the wise way to support skin health, including structural integrity and moisture retention to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as some internal protection against oxidative damage from sun exposure or other causes,” added Cerda. “The fact that some of these nutrients also support hair and nail health is a nice potential bonus to taking these ‘beauty from within’ supplements.”

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