Part 2 Of 2

Developing naturals for an upscale market

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Kahina Giving Beauty is an all-natural skin care line inspired by Morocco and made in the US using 100% organic and fair trade argan oil.
Kahina Giving Beauty is an all-natural skin care line inspired by Morocco and made in the US using 100% organic and fair trade argan oil.

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Cosmetics Design caught up with Katharine L’Heureux, founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, to take a closer look at where the naturals category is headed, how big brands are getting involved, and what formulators can do to keep pace.

In the first part of our conversation with Kahina Giving Beauty founder Katharine L’Heureux​, Cosmetics Design looked at how sophisticated packaging can elevate a natural skin and body care product lines to the upscale department store level.

In 2010, Kahina was the first certified organic line of skincare sold at Bergdorf Goodman. Since then, the place of natural beauty and personal care in department stores has shifted.

Natural progression

“Customers are recognizing that [organic brands] are brands they can trust and that all-natural ingredients work as well, if not better, than their counterparts and so are seeking them out,” ​L’Heureux tells Cosmetics Design.   

Consumers are more interested not only in products formulated with natural ingredient but also in smaller, more exclusive brands. The niche brands let shoppers feel like they’ve discovered a gem among the familiar name brands and often have a brand story that shoppers can connect with on a personal level.  

It follows then that, “today, all-natural and niche brands have a stronger presence on department store shelves. Buyers are recognizing that there is a demand for these products,” ​L’Heureux explains.  

Catching and keeping the attention of discerning personal care consumers that are new to naturals remains a challenge: “Natural brands need to work harder at communicating the message that products are effective first, organic or all-natural second,” ​recognizes L’Heureux.

Industry transformation

“True respect for customers and the environment is a big shift in thinking for the beauty industry and customers are paying attention,” ​asserts L’Heureux.

“Niche brands are more able to be truly responsive to the needs of their customers and to have a smaller environmental footprint,” ​she explains.

Nonetheless, up-market naturals stand out as a category of opportunity for beauty brands. “Corporations are noticing the trend and are making efforts to clean up their products and production methods,” ​L’Heureux tells Cosmetics Design.

Doing better

Consumer expectations are shifting beyond wanting brands to do no harm. “An additional expectation of a luxury brand today is some level of charitable giving and more and more brands in the space are looking for organizations to partner with in order to give back,” ​says L’Heureux. “At Kahina Giving Beauty we donate one percent of our revenue to programs that support the impoverished women of rural Morocco.” 

She expects this will not only help cultivate loyal consumers but make a social and economic difference too. “As more beauty brands incorporate charitable programs into their business plans, the overall impact will be tremendous.”

Future formulations

The category has plenty of room for growth. “The all-naturals market is only getting started and will continue to get stronger over the next five years,”​ predicts L’Heureux. Though she anticipates that DIY brands will fade out and consumers will be looking “for more sophisticated formulations and varied ingredients.”

“I see an increase in the number of very effective all-natural and organic ingredients becoming available for use in formulations which will serve to make these products even more interesting,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design.   

“Product formulators will need to stay informed and ahead of trends in ingredients to satisfy an increasingly informed public,” ​she says. Keeping up with responsive niche brands and the new products developed by these smaller personal care and beauty brands is a must for formulators looking to be on the cutting edge of naturals.

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