Some of the more unusual cosmetics launches in 2009

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Human skin color Skin Perfume

Driven by the economic downturn, cosmetic product innovation has never been more imaginative or eye-catching than in 2009.

The problem many manufacturers and developers have had to face is a saturated market exacerbated by a consumer spending power diminished by the economic crisis, particularly in Western Europe and North America.

In response many companies have developed increasingly dramatic and off-the-wall products, designed to stand out on retail shelves weighed down by competing products that often look very similar to one another.

A parfum de toilette for men shaped like the number one, a 3D anti-ageing skin mask, a soap launched by a lingerie company and a nanotechnology-based skin care cream from a pharmaceutical company are some of the products that market researcher Mintel clocked up on its Global New Products Database (GNPD) during the course of the year.

Packaging is definitely one way of ensuring that your product stands out from the crowd, and that’s what Russian company Zao NPO Khimsintez has done with its Creation L’Amis fragrance for men.

The frosted glass bottle is in the shape of the number one, with a hinged plastic overcap, while it is held in a corrugated carton, which is in turn placed in a Hessian bag, giving it a bold rustic look that sets it apart in a sea of sleek chrome and glass-packaged products.

Japanese cosmetics giant Kanebo has also turned heads with its Concentrate 3D mask, claimed to be the industry’s first three dimensional face mask containing anti-aging serum.

Kanebo claims the mask moisturizes, firms and brightens the skin, with a low and high molecular weight hyaluronic acid, as well as raffinose and yam root, algae and clove extracts to create one of the world’s most expensive products in its category.

Taking a completely different approach to skin brightening, Guerlain has launched a new skin care whitening treatment for the China market targeting the production of melanin, the Perfect White Melanin Diet Intense Treatment.

The product is a 14-day treatment that claims to act on both ‘the production and migration’ of melanin. The first week of treatment is a ‘de-stock’ diet to eliminate excessive melanin, while the second week is a ‘shock’ diet, to eliminate physical side affects, which manifests itself in sun spots and darker areas of skin associated with signs of ageing.

While there have been a plethora of products designed to ‘stand out in the crowd’ launched in the course of the year, there have also been an increasing number of products launched using brand names not usually associated with the cosmetics world.

One particular example of this is the Japan-based Sato Pharmaceutical company, which has launched a nanotechnology-based anti-ageing skin care product, based on technology used for an anti-cancer treatment.

Sato’s Excellula face cream is based on a moisturising siratro extract, which is derived from the Purple Blush Bean plant and is being used in a cosmetics product for the very first time.

As well as examples of new names breaking into the cosmetics world, there have also been several examples of companies breaking into new niches they have not traditionally been associated with.

One example of this is a soap from Victoria’s Secret, which marks a departure from the company’s traditional image as it taps into the fast-growing market for natural products.

Its Pink Energizing Body Bar is made from natural, organic and 100 per cent vegan ingredients, combining citrus peel to exfoliate dry patches of skin, as well as organic mint to refresh it.

Undoubtedly the innovation and new direction that has characterized the cosmetics market in 2009 has been driven by the tough economic climate, but with market conditions continuing to look challenging, look out for some equally ground-breaking product launches in the year ahead.

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