Routines and rituals: There’s ‘good opportunity’ to connect beauty and immunity, says Mintel

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Active skin care offerings, protective hair care products and sleep-promoting kits are just some of the ways beauty (and food, drink and nutrition) brands can play into the immunity space [Getty Images]
Active skin care offerings, protective hair care products and sleep-promoting kits are just some of the ways beauty (and food, drink and nutrition) brands can play into the immunity space [Getty Images]

Related tags Mintel immunity Beauty active beauty wellness holistic beauty Skin health ingestible beauty active skin care

There are plenty of opportunities to address immunity in the beauty and personal care space, particularly in developing active topicals, nutrient-dense ingestibles and combined kits that plug beauty routine needs and target holistic health, says Mintel.

As interest in wellbeing and holistic health across beauty continued to soar worldwide, the spotlight had now started to shift more specifically to immunity. And the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had been a key trigger, said Andrew McDougall, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel.

Speaking as the keynote for CosmeticsDesign’s Immunity & Beauty​ webinar this week – part of NutraIngredients’ Immunity Broadcast Series and now available to watch on-demand​ – McDougall said: “Because of the COVID-19 outbreak, this has reinforced the importance of having a healthy immune system for a number of consumers, as staying healthy has been the focus for the last year. And so, products that effectively communicate that and how they can support the immune system health will ultimately capture consumers’ attention.”

And whilst plenty of immunity innovation had happened in food, beverages and supplements, he said there were clear opportunities to incorporate active ingredients into beauty and personal care products too as consumers looked for “holistic ways”​ to look after mental and physical health.

Holistic wellness routines in beauty – relaxation, sleep and protection

McDougall said there were some key areas in beauty that could be targeted to address this rising holistic wellness interest. Products that helped beauty consumers relax and sleep better, for example, or products designed to protect had proven especially popular in recent years and would continue to prove popular, he said. According to Mintel data, 34% of Spanish consumers were interested in beauty and personal care products that helped them relax and 60% of US consumers took a preventative approach to beauty and skin care.

McDougall said that if these product innovations were designed to fit into a consumer’s daily beauty routine, even better. “We shouldn’t underestimate just how important the beauty and personal care routine is to our daily mental wellbeing and the positivity it can have on our days.” 

Andrew McDougall, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel
Andrew McDougall, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel

In Germany, 86% of consumers still spent the same amount of time on their beauty and grooming routines since the COVID-19 outbreak, for example, and 7% spent even more time now, Mintel data showed.

Resurrecting evening wellbeing and wellness rituals, therefore, was an exciting avenue for innovations that reduced anxiety and improved sleep, he said. Birchbox was a good example of existing efforts in this space, McDougall said, with its Complete Sleep Kit containing a relaxing eye mask, sleep-enhancing pillow spray, overnight hair mask and CBD supplements. “This is appealing to beauty and emotional needs that consumers have, so tapping into that wellness and beauty crossover.”

Immunity strength via skin care, hair care and makeup

However, more explicitly targeting immunity in the beauty space was also possible, and happening already, McDougall said. RD Alchemy, for example, had developed an ‘immune boosting’ body lotion and The Nue Co had developed ‘defense drops’ – both touting adaptogen herbal blends as actives that could boost the immune system response to pathogens.

In hair care, the University of São Paulo had also designed a dry shampoo that promised to sanitise the hair whilst maintaining hydration and shine, he said, offering up a “really interesting”​ product concept that took health and immunity balance beyond the skin.

“Expanding these sanitising concepts to hair care and other beauty and personal care categories such as makeup is going to be really welcomed by consumers, because they’re going to align with brands that work to make the process of interacting with their surroundings a lot easier, smoother and make them feel a lot more reassured and safe.”

McDougall said there were also plenty of skin care brands making more microbiome claims and emphasising skin health and how the skin barrier as the body’s first line of defense. Finnish indie brand Erisan+, for example, had a range of natural skin care products for sensitive skin made with prebiotics said to strengthen the skin’s natural immunity, he said.

Future innovations in this space, McDougall said, would likely come from beyond just traditional skin care brands. “Skin health has definitely been one of those trends we’ve seen in the beauty space where more derma brands and skin health brands are emerging now, as opposed to traditional skin care brands.”

However, any immunity-focused beauty innovations would have to be substantiated and backed by sound science, he said. “It’s important we have that substantiation because people are trusting science more and more now anyway, so that’s definitely important going forward.”

Beyond beauty – drinks and supplements ‘to watch’ in immunity self-care

McDougall said that beyond beauty brands, there would also be plenty of innovation in the immunity and beauty space from other players, like food, drink and supplement brands, which would be “exciting to watch”.

“…There is a good opportunity to make that connecting link between beauty and immunity. Beauty in itself is big business, as we know, but for VMS [vitamins, minerals and supplements], the step into beauty could be shaped around the thought that the solution is not just addressing the problem; it’s addressing the root of the problem as well,”​ he said.

Combining ingestible offerings alongside topicals would therefore prove promising in beauty and immunity, he said. “We are seeing this merge of health focus with beauty, and there are these connecting links (…) As such, people are turning to vitamin, mineral and supplement products or functional foods combined with topical skin care to help maximise those benefits.”

Catch up on-demand for full Mintel insight on Immunity & Beauty 

Missed our Immunity & Beauty webinar and want to hear more from Andrew McDougall on the future of this category? You can still register to watch his full presentation and listen to our Q&A with him here​. You can also download the slides from his presentation via Mintel’s website here.

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