Mind-skin connection: Consumers seek-out ‘neurocosmetic’ solutions

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

© Coffee and milk / GettyImages
© Coffee and milk / GettyImages

Related tags Beauty from within Nutricosmetics neurocosmetics Collagen Skin skin health

Consumers are looking for innovative beauty care solutions that treat their appearance and mind together, but soaring retail prices mean big expectations.

The UK beauty supplement market is booming, with a 57% increase in products across hair, beauty, and personal care markets as of Q4 2023, compared to Q1 2021, according to a recent report​ by data analysts Centric Market Intelligence.

E-commerce data collected from retailers Boots, Sephora and Space NK, showed discounts plunged by 44% across all supplement categories throughout the year in response to higher retailer cost and higher overall prices have led to high expectation. 

“It is clear there’s a pressure from consumers who are actively reaching for supplements that specifically address their beauty needs, as they increasingly embrace the blurred line between beauty and health,” Elizabeth Shobert, director of retail market intelligence and research at Centric Market Intelligence stated.

Hair care

Hair growth supplements have seen a 100% year-on-year increase in searches since 2021 according to Centric Market Intelligence, indicating a substantial surge in interest. 

With popularity comes the ability to put a higher price tag on products, and hair supplements were the most expensive category in beauty supplements in the UK, with an average price of £39.90.

But price doesn’t appear to be putting consumers off, with Centric Market Intelligence data showing a 76% hike in searches for ‘biotin supplements’, the B vitamin gaining notoriety for scalp health. Similarly searches are up 43% ‘keratin supplements’, the protein popular for repairing damage to dry hair.

Confirming this, Mintel data ​showed that women aged 25-34 show a high interest in beauty supplements that prevent hair loss, indicating a specific consumer need within the ingestible beauty market, Andrew McDougall, director of beauty and personal care at Mintel told NutraIngredients.

Holistic Health

Consumers’ increasing understanding of the impact of wellness is creating an opportunity for ingestible beauty products, McDougall noted. 

“Globally, there is an understanding that overall wellness, including good physical and mental health and an active lifestyle, reflects in beauty,” he stated. “Now, the concept of holistic health has reached new levels, with consumers incorporating lifestyle habits to support their beauty goals.”

According to Mintel’s 2024 Global Beauty and Personal Care report​, 79% of consumers agree that a healthy diet plays an equally important role as beauty products in enhancing beauty.

This can inform how brands position themselves, McDougall explained, noting that ‘ingredients that are natural, vegetarian, organic, and Ayurvedic are particularly appealing to both current and potential users.’

Communicating the use of clean ingredients on labels can help mitigate consumer concerns that a beauty supplement may have side effects, he added. Being able to recognise ingredients will be encouraging to those consumers seeking holistic solutions. 

Collagen

Healthy aging continues to be a concern for consumers, according to Centric Market Intelligence data, with ‘collagen’ leading in ingredients searches throughout the UK - the report shows a 51% year-on-year increase in searches for “collagen powder”. 

And ‘collagen tablets’, albeit at a slower rate of growth, have seen a 20% rise in searches. This is influenced by widespread on-the-go trends where shoppers are seeking alternative ways to introduce collagen into their diet more conveniently, according to the Centric Market Intelligence report. 

Georgie White, director of customer experience and insight at retail giant Holland & Barrett affirms this, forecasting that collagen will continue to be the ‘hero ingredient’ this year.

Collagen will continue its popular trajectory through broadened format options, she explained to NutraIngredients, and its new application area will be in protein beauty bars.

Some examples are already hitting the market. VeCollal has just launched a white label ‘high protein beauty bar’ concept​ which provides its ‘biomimetic’ vegan collagen in a white chocolate raspberry flavour bar.

Mind-body connection

As consumers continue to take a wider view of ‘inside-out beauty’, new developments in the beauty-from-within market will continue to serve as savvy add-ons to the foundations of good skincare, White noted.

“As research into psycho-dermatology and the brain-skin axis gains traction, beauty supplements infused with cognitive enhancing ingredients could be on the horizon,” she stated. 

According to the Mintel report, consumers are increasingly aware that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety and mood through mindfulness, meditation can positively impact the appearance of skin and hair and enhance overall well-being.

With 89% of adults ‘actively seeking ways to reduce stress’, this could lead to an increase in neurocosmetics focusing on the mind-skin connection, and products that incorporate routines and rituals such as aromatherapy and positive affirmations.

“Brands need to acknowledge that personalized approaches to beauty and wellness are necessary so that individuals can tailor their routines to meet their specific needs,” the report reads. “This could include personalized supplement plans, skincare regimens and self-care practices.”

Future forecast

According to the Mintel report, technology will play a vital role for brands including mental well-being practices as part of their customer offering.

Artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) applications can personalize beauty experiences by tracking well-being metrics and offering virtual wellness consultations, and wearable devices provide real-time feedback on stress levels and skin health, strengthening the mind-skin connection. 

It is suggested that advanced data analytics, DNA testing and personalized algorithms will enable brands to innovate customized beauty products and regimens tailored to individual mental and physical needs. This trend is forecast to drive scientific research into neurocosmetics, leading to evidence-based practices and products.

Consumers are increasingly interested in what technology can offer​ this area, with 77% of UK adults reporting that technology has a positive impact on accessing information, and 28% of US consumers saying they would be interested in trying personalized products developed through biometric data (eg DNA), and would be willing to pay more for them.

Some brands are already seeing this opportunity, like the collaboration between vitamin makers Nourished and skincare brand Neutrogena​ which used biometrics to deliver 3D-printed, personalized beauty supplements.

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Content provided by Bioiberica | 23-Oct-2023 | Insight Guide

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