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Multifunctional and customisation set to re-shape the cosmetics world

By Simon Pitman+

28-Jan-2014

Multifunctional and customisation set to re-shape the cosmetics world

The growing multifunctional and customisation trends are about giving consumers more choice and greater versatility, while providing manufacturers with a greater number of premium level SKUs.

Although the multifunctional trend has been firmly on the industry professional’s radar for some time, customisation should also be there as jointly these trends are set to be the biggest to hit the cosmetics industry in decades. 

It all began with the modern reincarnation of multifunctional BB creams in South Korea, but as more and more consumers have taken to a product that combines skin care and make-up to promise a plethora of functions, the phenomenon is now set to spread like wild fire to permeate every category in a variety of manifestations.

BB creams offer everything from anti-ageing and moisturisation, to sun protection, skin whitening and anti-blemish properties. Consumers in Asia lapped them up, and the phenomenon grew, spreading into other countries in the Asia Pacific region, and then worldwide.

First there was BB creams...

In the last few years, BB creams broadened into CC creams, providing Colour Control for the skin, as well as DD creams, which have the same type of properties but target the body and feet and are often marketed as self-tanning products.

Product developers have witnessed the rise and rise of this product category and its fast expansion into new sub categories, prompting them to reflect on how they can translate this concept into success for other brands and categories.

But the multifunctional one-product-fits-all approach simply may not work for other types of skin care products, sub-categories or categories.

For some product types, particularly in the colour cosmetics category, multifunctional will be the way forward, but for categories such as hair care or certain product types, customisation is likely to be a better route to take.

Hybrid products lead to the 'mixologiste touch'

Market research group Mintel identified the ‘mixologiste’ trend at the end of last year, predicting that a rash of new hybrid products, similar to the BB cream concept, promising  the consumer the added value they want, as well as providing additional marketing opportunities through the creation of new sub-categories and brands.

But where hybrid products will not work, customization is an alternative means of providing consumers and manufacturers with what they want.

Although it could easily be adapted to the skin care and colour cosmetics segments, customisation first appeared in the hair care category with the launch of several smaller brands such as the UK-based Concoction and Shampyou hair care ranges during the course of 2013.

The Shampyou range is a base formulation that can be blended with two of a choice of eight super serum shots, while the Concoction range is also marketed around a similar idea, using shots to create the consumers’ desired formulation and results.

L'Oreals Redken launch see customization go main stream

Although these are smaller niche brands, last week L’Oreal announced a major product redesign and rebranding for its Redken professional hair styling products that is also based on the customisation concept.

The new range springs from eight different styling effects, including texture, volume and smooth, together with a choice of holding strengths on a scale from 1 through to 30.

Anticipating that consumers will want to buy at least two to three products to combine styling effects, L’Oreal has taken the unprecedented step of designing the packaging jars so as they all click together, ensuring a more cohesive product image and allowing consumers to better organize their bathroom cabinets.

While the customisation trend offers consumers a lot more control over the type of products they use as part of their personal care routine, what it shares with the multifunctional trend is tapping into the consumer desire for added value and more choice.

Either way, bear all of this in mind and watch how more and more brand redesigns and new product launches incorporate elements of both of these trends in the future.

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