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we are makers

specializing in the personal care products that move us. We formulate, make, fill, and test some of the most trusted brands in skin, oral, and hair care.

Customers rely on our expertise to navigate supply chain workflows and keep product launches on track.


We design best-in-class formulations and provide continuous support from lab to launch

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Our FDA-certified facilities are designed to integrate seamlessly into your workflow

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In-house microbiology and analytical testing labs are fully equipped to ensure your brand’s reputation


Six Key Ingredients to Watch this Year

Formulation is the cultivation of ideas and ingredients to achieve products and efficacy so exemplary, it stands in a league of its own. Formulators can help lead a revolution with revolutionary ingredients, and here are six that will lead the way this year.

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Six Key Ingredients to Watch this Year

In sports, form is everything. Athletes that compete in the highest echelons have the skill and the control to turn a good performance into one that transcends.

In chemistry, ingredients have that power — the power to enhance products and transform formulas into products that are remarkable in their approach towards personal care.

Formulation is more than the act of developing or mixing a product — it is the cultivation of ideas and ingredients to achieve products and efficacy so exemplary, it stands in a league of its own.

As we identify areas of focus over the next decade — restorative hair therapy, nourishing skincare routines, addressing toxic pollution in our environments — formulators can help lead a revolution with revolutionary ingredients.

Here are six that will lead the way this year:

Ginger Root

Zingiber officinale

Ginger root is a strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, making it a versatile ingredient in skin and hair care formulations. It is typically sourced from warm, humid areas in Asia and Africa.

Extract from the ginger root brings anti-aging benefits, reduces redness caused by irritation, and repairs sun damage on the skin. It can protect hair follicle stem cells from harmful UVB radiation and can counterbalance the effects of pollution on the skin.

Ginger root's antioxidant and anti-irritant properties allow for an array of target problems including redness, sun damage, smog damage, and inflammation

SymVital® AR (Symrise) is a pure extract of ginger root and has been shown to even skin tone and fade dark spots. In a clinical study, the extract reduced redness after three weeks of use and smoothed wrinkle depth by 12% in six weeks in 83% of participants. SymVital was also shown to protect against environmentally-induced pigment spot darkening.1

The ginger root has been found to stimulate our natural antioxidant responses from the inside, boosting the natural capacity of the skin to repair itself. These properties help ginger root translate well to skin and hair care products, including serums, oils, and masques.

Rambutan Seed

Nephelium lappaceum

The rambutan plant — a tropical fruit plant aptly named after the Malaysian word for hair due to the seed’s shaggy exterior — is rich in antioxidants and minerals and ideal for a wide variety of hair care products. The seed of the rambutan can be extracted for use in shampoo and conditioners, providing moisturizing and repairing effects to damaged or malodorous hair follicles.

Rambutan is typically sourced from southeast Asian or South American countries like Vietnam, Thailand, or Suriname. Farmers who cultivate the rambutan plant normally only utilize the fruits, but the nutrients in the peels, leaves, and seeds can also be extracted for cosmetic products.

Rambuvital ® and Nephydrat™ (BASF) are extracts from the rambutan seed and peel, sourced through BASF’s Rambutan Program. The program is a socially-responsible endeavor to upcycle leftover materials and provide local populations with incomes, gender equity, health insurance, and safe working conditions.

Rambuvital detoxifies pollutants to protect sebum. In clinical trials, 87% of participants reported better scalp health, 64% said they experienced less splitting hairs, and 80% said their hair smelled better for longer.2 Nephydrat helps fight against the negative impacts of daily stressors on your body. It has been shown to fortify the skin’s barrier and improve hydration for more radiant skin.

All of this makes the rambutan seed an ideal extract for prestige hair care products like hair masques and serums.

Japanese Camellia

Camellia Japonica

Known as the rose of winter, Japanese camellia is an abundant plant with a pink or red flower and large brown seeds. It has been found to be a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, making it a prime ingredient for skin and hair products.

The camellia is native to China, Taiwan, and Japan, but is often cultivated around the world — it’s even the state flower of Alabama. Oil from its seeds, also called Dongbaek oil, is rich in fatty acids, providing nourishment for damaged hair. The extract from the flower and seeds help to protect the skin and hair from pollution and irritation.

K-Oleo (Clariant) is a compound of Japanese camellia oil and extract, castor seed oil, and the tea plant (camellia sinensis). In testing, researchers found smoothing of the hair cuticles and increased ability to retain moisture, particularly when tested under thermal and chemical aggressions — the kind of stuff our hair is exposed to in daily life. Results indicated a 21% increase in tensile energy and a 55% increase in hair shine.3

Due to the intense restorative properties of Japanese camellia, its practical use in shampoo, conditioner, and other hair care products are far-reaching. Look for this type of ingredient to cornerstone a prestige hair serum or treatment mask.

Round-Headed Bush Clover

Lespedeza capitata

Innovators are always in pursuit of counteracting the stresses we incur throughout our day. Research has shown that stress — both physical and environmental — disrupts our body’s natural circadian rhythm which has a direct impact on our overall health as well as our skin. Round-headed bush clover is an ingredient that can provide some respite.

Native to North America, bush clover is a hardy plant, tolerant to drought, and provides nitrogen fixation. It was originally discovered by Native Americans and has been used as a tea, medicine, and antidote.

Stressors — like exposure to blue light from electronic screens — causes an increase in reactive oxygen species and weakens our skin’s natural detoxification process, making our skin look tired and dull.

B-Circadin™ (Clariant) is a leaf and stem extract that contains key actives, like carlinoside and isoschaftoside, which help maintain and regulate our circadian rhythm, fighting against blue light damage. In a clinical study after four weeks of use, a 35% improvement in skin complexion was observed and over 75% of volunteers reported they felt their skin looked radiant.4

Citrus Unshiu

Citrus unshiu

Unshiu is a fruit that goes by many names — unshu mikan, cold hardy mandarin, naartjie — and is rich in synephrine and hesperidin, which help to regulate eotaxin synthesis and histamine release. Citrus unshiu extract can help to combat many skin abnormalities, including atopic-prone and hypersensitive skin, often caused by pollution and allergens. It has also been shown to strengthen the skin barrier and provide hydration.

The fruit is grown over several regions, most notably in South Africa, South America, and Asian regions like South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Eosidin® (Clariant) contains citrus unshiu peel extract, which Clariant touts for its green footprint since it is extracted from the juicing process’s leftover waste. Normally discarded, the peels are upcycled and the raw materials are extracted, contributing to a more sustainable supply chain.

Unshiu’s practical applications include any kind of prestige skincare product — including serums and liquid-based masques. In a clinical study, 88% of participants observed a decrease in itchiness, and 100% experienced a decrease in dryness.5 With pollution on the rise and more skin sensitivity due to a variety of allergens, this type of skincare can make a big difference.

The oil of the baobab seed is yellowish in color, has a light nutty smell, and is easily absorbed into the skin with no oily feel.


Adansonia digitata

Known as the “upside-down tree,” the baobab is a deciduous plant native to Africa and Australia and is considered the largest succulent plant in the world. An individual tree can live more than 2,000 years in dry climates, due to its ability to store up to 37,000 gallons of water. The baobab has a long history in pharmacology, having been used as a treatment for fever or as an agent in wound care therapy.

The seed pods of the baobab are extremely rich in vitamins A & E, as well as phytosterols and fatty acids, which provide a variety of benefits, such as moisturizing effect and anti-irritation. This combination of nutrients makes the baobab an attractive ingredient for hair and skin applications, like leave-in conditioners, skin rejuvenators, and masques.

Phytolea™ Baobab EC (Crodarom) is an oil extracted from baobab seeds via cold pressing. Its composition of fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids, make it an ideal ingredient for beard oil or other hair treatments to improve dry, brittle, damaged hair, as well as nourish the skin underneath.6

The Influencers The Beauty Care Industry is Thriving on a Network of Social Ambassadors

Influencers are social media users who have firsthand knowledge in a particular niche and help to shape the conversation of beauty care online. Their posts cover hair, makeup, fashion, grooming, styling, and overall well-being. Through the memes, photos, and videos they upload across social platforms, these trendsetters amass millions of followers.

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The Influencers The Beauty Care Industry is Thriving on a Network of Social Ambassadors

It was not long ago when brands and celebrities were the winning formula for product endorsements and primetime tv was where we found our product placements. As our digital world grew, social networking became a part of our routines. It has facilitated the rise of a new kind of celebrity: the influencer.

Influencers — social media gurus with firsthand knowledge in a particular niche — help shape the conversation of beauty care online. Posts cover hair, makeup, fashion, grooming, styling, and overall well-being. Through photos and videos uploaded across social channels, these trendsetters amass millions of followers who are very loyal and very engaged.

Influencer reach overall is so expansive, most online transactions can be traced to having had some influence from an influencer.

The job of an influencer seems simple. Snap a pic and post. In reality, though, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes in order to make all of the carefully curated posts represent the influencer’s brand and following. Professional photographers, camera crews, agents, and Photoshoppers can all be part of the entourage. Content needs to be added every day for follower counts to keep climbing.

Influencers are overwhelmingly trusted by their followers, a result of the open two-way relationship they have with their online connections. Influencers are open about their values and beliefs, appear down-to-earth, and are pretty accessible — most reply to comments or respond when direct messaged.

They also provide something many other marketing channels can’t: insight. Every tweet, post, or pic can be traced by marketers and connected by and actual social profile.

Influencers can be found across industries and consumer markets, and generally fall into one of three categories:

Mega Influencers

Most often celebrities (but oftentimes not), these influencers have followings of millions of users. Their posts command top dollar for a single post — often in excess of $1 million. Most have built a sophisticated network of production and distribution across various platforms. Many have agencies dedicated to making advertising partnerships with companies.

Macro Influencers

Consisting mostly of micro-bloggers with an angle, these influencers have 40k to 1 million users. Macro influencers tend to be more accessible, offering glimpses into their personal lives or responding to comments and messages. They are often topic gurus specializing on a specific consumer niche.

Micro Influencers

With followers under 40k, these influencers don’t have a cult-like following, but they can be more effective with brand recommendations due to their integration in the social-sphere. Micro influencers have been known to grow from relative obscurity to full-fledged A-list celebrities in a very short time period.

A 52 Billion-Dollar Industry

No longer an upstart industry, social media is so integrated into our lives that the simple act of checking one’s feed is as routine as brushing your teeth. (We might check our feed a little more often, actually.) The five of the most popular, ad-accessible social networks — Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter — account for 6.7 billion social accounts 8 accounts per person.6

Influence marketing is the future of online marketing. It works with the baby boomers for today, and the rate of adoption for social media only increases with each generation. After all, 9 out of 10 millennials are on social media.7

The numbers above show that while baby boomers and millennials are relatively comparable in terms of population size — 69 million to 72 million respectively — millennials have 65 million social media users. That’s almost twice as many users as the baby boomers have.

With marketing budgets increasing each year, brands see value in social advertising. Influencers drive a $9.7 billion-dollar industry, with a large portion of that invested in beauty and personal care brands.

Making an Influence in Beauty & Wellness

These social ambassadors have been successful in connecting with health and beauty consumers.

Tati Westbrook (@glamlifeguru)

A former makeup artist, Westbrook talks about cosmetics and fashion. She experienced some notoriety during a public feud with influencer @jamescharles.

Patrick Starrr (@patrickstarr)

Starrr stars in his own brand of beauty and fashion, collaborating with other influencers to construct a genderless approach towards makeup.

Joseph Andrews (@blumaan)

Andrews began his career on YouTube, focusing on men’s style and hair. He quickly gained a following and now has his own hair styling product line, BluMaan.

Michelle Phan (@michellephan)

Phan is a former makeup artist and owner of the best-selling brand EM Cosmetics, famous for her video on How To Get Lady Gaga’s Eyes.

Yasmin Maya (@beautyybird)

Known for her bilingual YouTube presence, Maya posts beauty content under both BeautyyBird and Spanish-language PajaritaBella.

Scott McGlynn (@scottmcglynnofficial)

McGlynn started as a fitness blogger and then branched out to an entire lifestyle brand portfolio, including his gossip podcast, The Scott McGlynn Show.

#hashtag Worthy Conversation

There are plenty of successful brand-influencer partnerships, most of which focused on the medium’s strengths: multimedia components, viral word-of-mouth, and real-life examples of the product in use. Some noteworthy pioneers:

Glossier is now a one-billion-dollar brand, with much of its success thanks to the use of micro influencers in the company’s early years. According to CEO Emily Weiss, these “regular women” helped to elevate the new brand in a saturated market. Glossier now has a sophisticated referral program offering discounted and free products to influential posters.

YouTuber Jaclyn Hill raved about Becca products so often that the cosmetics company and vlogger teamed up to create Champagne Pop, an ultra-fine highlighter. After promoting the new line to her followers, Hill helped the company set a record on Sephora’s website, selling 25,000 units in only 20 minutes.

Direct-to-consumer men’s grooming brand Hawthorne has relied on influencers to advertise to a market that is largely untapped in beauty and personal care. The company’s mission was to create a brand that addressed the lack of education and discoverability in the men’s care segment. Influencers like @captainbarto and @rudybundini were easily able to combat these barriers and increase brand awareness.

Global CPG L’Oreal has been investing heavily in digital marketing over the years. Their “Beauty Squad” campaign — which featured honest testimonials and reviews by a number of influencers — helped boost sales and gain a combined follower reach of 5.5 million users.

The Influence of Personal Care

Social media gave rise to our ability to become our own publishers, allowing us to build a narrative of our lives for everyone to see. It allowed trendsetters to capture audience attention, build a following, and provide beauty care brands a peer-to-peer pipeline of marketing.

It’s unclear how brands will ultimately use influencers in the years to come, but one thing is certain: These social reps will continue to create, inspire, innovate, and influence personal care.

Sustainability Trends to Watch for in 2021 Brands are doing More to tackle the most pressing challenges of our industry

Leaders in the beauty and personal care industry have been innovating sustainable practices for decades, constantly reinventing the products they carry and the methods used to produce them. We are embarking on a new era of planet-friendly innovation. One that explores bold ideas and unconventional thinking to help reverse the damage ours and other industries have done over the years.

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Sustainability Trends to Watch for in 2021 Brands are doing More to tackle the most pressing challenges of our industry

Leaders in the beauty and personal care industry have been innovating sustainable practices for decades, constantly reinventing the products they carry and the methods used to produce them. Today, however, we are embarking on a new era of planet-friendly innovation — one that explores bolder ideas and more unconventional thinking. Companies are taking more action to reverse the damage we’ve all contributed to.

L’Oréal recently released its ‘For the Future’ sustainability plan, setting goals and expectations to combat climate change by 2030. Shortly after, Unilever released its own ‘Sustainable Living’ plan, outlining their pledge to combat environmental impact over the next two decades.

The actions being taken by brands of all sizes signal to the world that climate change is no longer a part of our mission statement, but a collective, foundational principle influencing our companies at every level. We are building an industry that celebrates the beauty as much as it does beautifying the earth.

Since the pandemic, our focus on sustainability and clean beauty has only intensified. If sustainability was a general concern before, it’s a major focus now — a part of every brand, every formula. In many respects, our blinders have been lifted to the types of packaging we use, the ingredients that are safe and natural, and how the manufacturing process affects the world we live in.

Our collective awareness has ignited a revitalized push for not only better, but more innovative approaches to addressing climate change, possibly moving us five years ahead of where we’d be without the pandemic. Shoppers are ready to take action and support brands that follow through on their promises (even if it means sacrificing cost or convenience).

The great news is that there is no shortage of new ideas hitting the market. The innovative nature we have in our industry is driving all of us forward, challenging ourselves to go further than we used to (and once we do, go beyond that). We understand the value (financially and ethically) of helping the earth and have moved past the inability to address uncomfortable taboos. We are revolutionizing our industry — from sourcing to shipping.

From left to right, top to bottom, brands focusing on sustainable beauty: rms beauty, Cocokind, Saie, Lesse, Biotherm, OGX, Yay for Earth, Nécessaire, LOLI, Ilia, Hard Working Gentlemen, Nuud, Head & Shoulders, Acure, Native, Keune, Dove, Humankind, i + m Natural Cosmetics, Helmm, Exa, Colgate, True Botanicals, Seed Phytonutrients

Becoming a Less Trash-Centric Industry

It’s no secret that the beauty care industry has been a notorious contributor to the amount of waste our society throws away. According to Zero Waste Week, the global beauty and personal care industry generated 120 billion units of packaging in 2018 — almost 329 million units per day.2

This number becomes even more concerning when you consider that most plastics can take half a millennia to decompose. That means that every single piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists, and will continue to do so for hundreds of years.3 More than 8 billion metric tons of plastic have been created so far — about the equivalent weight of 23,000 Empire State buildings.

Addressing packaging waste has been an objective for decades, but now more than ever we have the drive and the insight to make a difference.

Billions of plastic containers have been made over the years — even today 91% of it isn’t recycled4

These efforts have included the use of thinner, more lightweight containers; bio-based plastic alternatives, and reducing pollution through eco-friendly dyes. We’re seeing more modular packaging with recyclable inserts, and innovation is removing water from formulations to save on shipping impact.

Entire brands are thriving on this type of eco-approach. The oral and skincare brand Humankind, for example, mandates that all of its products reduce single-use plastic by 90% (or altogether, if possible). Procter & Gamble has allied with Greenpeace to build beach-debris-recycled bottles and educating palm oil farmers about more sustainable agriculture techniques.

Going Below Zero

One of the most pressing movements in sustainability — reducing one’s carbon footprint and achieving carbon neutrality — has advanced greatly over the years. Many personal care brands are taking corporate-level steps to reduce their carbon levels to zero net output. Some other brands though, think this isn’t a step far enough — what we need is to achieve carbon negativity.

For a brand to achieve this honorific, more than 100% of the carbon dioxide emissions created by a company need to be offset with the removal of carbon from the environment. It’s a lofty goal that requires dedication, ingenuity along every step of the supply chain, and an advanced insight into how our actions affect the environment around us.

Sugarcane requires few resources making it an ideal crop for bioplastics

For men’s grooming brand Bulldog, they took this challenge and incorporated Brazillian-grown sugarcane tubes into all of its product lines.

Using the new bio-based components results in no changes to form or functionality, but makes a huge dent in the output of carbon emissions. For every 100 tons of sugarcane plastic used in their products, Bulldog is removing 309 tons of CO2 from the environment. Due to the sugarcane plant’s absorption of carbon throughout its natural lifecycle, and the minimal rainfall needed for it to grow, it is a highly sustainable material.

There are innovations like this entering our market all the time, as companies assess their carbon footprint, identify areas they can save on, and implement simple changes to enact multilayered outcomes.

Making a Commitment to Clean

The concept of clean beauty is more than just a formulation that’s good to our skin or free from unwanted ingredients. Clean beauty has evolved over the years to define a mantra towards living a more pure, sustainable life.

Though the industry has sometimes stumbled to define what it means to be clean, we now understand it to mean beauty that’s about transparency in ingredients, sustainability in its manufacturing processes, and a formulation without useless synthetics and byproducts.

Product formulation requires the pairing of surfactants with ingredients to achieve basic product requirements — to aid in dispersing pigments in cosmetics or emulsify oil for use in skin cream. Research and development teams have found ways to reduce ingredient lists while still achieving previous benefits and claims. It’s all part of a “less is more” approach to beauty care.

One of the most beneficial outcomes of the clean beauty movement is its self-fulfilling nature. Mainstream consumers didn’t notice what products were made of, or how the ingredients were sourced until brands started promoting themselves as clean. Innovation begets more innovation, and even a seeming public relations stunt can make an impact on the environment.

The Conservation of Personal Care

Leading personal and beauty care brands into the next generation of sustainable products is no easy feat, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Even the definition of sustainability continues to evolve, as we come up with new ideas and angles to reduce the impact we have on our surroundings.

Finally reaching a tipping point among consumers, this movement is mainstream and will continue to flourish. Every new product launch, every new tweak to pumps or caps, every pledge of a company to do more serves to move our entire industry forward.


The New Normal
of Personal Care How the Pandemic Has Fundamentally Changed Our Approach to Beauty Care

The global pandemic has created a behavioral shift that has affected the beauty and personal care industry in profound ways. Having helped to formulate our routines over the decades, brands of all shapes and sizes are working to adapt the old way of doing things to a new world.
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The New Normal
of Personal Care How the Pandemic Has Fundamentally Changed Our Approach to Beauty Care

The global pandemic is and has been a life-changing event. What first looked like a temporary circumstance, evolved into a prolonged experience, and then transformed the behaviors we have in how we work, socialize, and take care of ourselves.

No matter how long a shutdown lasts or how many rounds it takes for an effective vaccine, we’ve already moved into a new normal. The lessons we’ve learned have changed our habits and routines. These shifts are due to realities on the ground, the necessity of products, and convenience in shopping.

This behavioral shift has affected the beauty and personal care industry in unique ways. Our commerce has changed. Our priorities are different. We are seeking out new brands to address new needs. Having helped to formulate our routines over the decades, brands of all shapes and sizes are working to adapt the old way of doing things to a new world.

The most consequential effect the pandemic has had on retail’s long-term prospects has been the seismic shift from in-store purchases to online alternatives. As stay-in-place orders were enacted, our reliance on grocery stores and big-box chains were strained. The convenience of doorstep delivery became apparent to many of us.

Retailers in a position to handle a surge in online sales — Amazon, among others — have seen explosive growth. Amazon has already seen gains through the first half of the year that dwarf the sales seen throughout all of 2019.

Online sales did begin to taper off as brick-and-mortar stores reopened, but the overall level of eCommerce is higher than it used to be and will likely remain that way for some time. One of the primary reasons for this is because we’ve already transitioned ourselves into a new normal.

Online retailers offer a plethora of benefits that complement our day-to-day obligations: free delivery, bulk discounts, the convenience of stocking up on toiletries without ever leaving the couch. It’s no longer an outlier to buy shampoo online, and so the end result is for CPGs to adjust operations and shift resources accordingly. Manufacturing capacity needs to be reprioritized, packaging logistics need to focus more on direct-to-consumer shipping, and distribution channels need to be evaluated for consumer demand.

The Economics of Personal Care are Routine

In volatile economic periods, the personal care industry typically sees familiar (short-term) patterns. Consumers spend less on luxury brands. Unessential routines are shelved. Mass-market brands increase in sales, whereas small indulgences fall by the wayside.

We’ve already seen these patterns take place, but there are additional, more fundamental shifts coalescing for the long-term. These shifts are both positives and negatives for the industry. Brands will sell more online and less in stores. Some will be helped by this, and others will stumble. Category shifts — from the rising popularity of skincare to the decreased interest in makeup — will similarly result in different consequences for different brands.

Makeup brands are likely to be one of the hardest-hit segments seen during this recession

Our industry is deeply hands-on, demanding that we discover new brands and solutions through touch, smell, and sight. Incorporating this into a digital experience can be difficult, and innovative marketing ideas (like free trials) can help bridge the needs of the future with the familiarities of the past.

As we solidify what our connected world looks like virtually and in person, and understand how the expansion of work-from-home changes our households, we will continue to understand the longer-term ripples for our industry.

At-Home Indulgence is the New Day Spa

Even in traditional downturns, the salon and prestige segments are two of the hardest hit when economies tighten. The Lipstick Effect notwithstanding, makeup brands this time have suffered on a dual-level. First, cutting back on finances means cutting back on the less essential (historically prestige and makeup). Second, the tectonic shift in work-from-home has led to curtailed use and a harder economic impact.

Brands can find comfort however, in knowing that beauty care companies have already been working on some remedies. When at-home pampering surged in the zeitgeist, subscription box services were ready to share their curations for the perfect manicure, skin rejuvenation, or hair transformation. Since the model was there to use, brick-and-mortar salons could create their own at-home kits, helping to weather any losses seen in the first two quarters.

Looking further into the future, CPGs with a diverse line of SKUs will be marketing complete product lines together as one-stop bundled solutions for a variety of demographics. It will also be prudent for all brands to emphasize subscription services, direct-to-consumer retail, and other online channels into distribution. Many companies will invest in reducing operating costs for these channels and improve upon the overall shipping experience.

The more brands can identify with the digital shopping experience, the more they will be able to find continued channels of growth.

Innovating a More Sustainable Market

Despite setbacks brought on by the pandemic, it’s clear that sustainability in our industry is not going away. While it’s taken a back seat to traditional packaging or product availability, consumers generally support brands that support the earth and will continue to do so. In the short-term, however, many less ardent supporters may be more concerned with getting products at a low cost than they are buying carbon-neutral brands.

However, in the long-term, packaging design will need to balance the hygienic benefits of traditional packaging with the environmental benefits of natural ingredients and recycled components. The future of packaging design will include a reduction of waste, limiting contamination use-after-use, and expanding more sustainable shipping options.

Expect reusable and eco-friendly products like refillable packs and bamboo materials to continue their rise (it doesn’t hurt that most of the time these options are also cost-effective). Brands and product types that fit well with this mentality will see their own popularity boost in response to this trend. Look at it as swapping the disposable razors and shaving cream for a nickel-plated blade and exfoliating shave paste.

Personal care will continue its push to be a leader in sustainable packaging (as opposed to one of the biggest contributors to waste). Innovation will address both our need to sustain and the realities of our new normal.

— And Sustaining One’s Physical Health

Collectively, we are more conscious of our physical well-being than we’ve ever been before. Not only have our days been consumed with information from public health experts and medical anecdotes, but we’ve been growing in awareness of what it means to put ingredients in and on our bodies. 

We are more knowledgable about how personal care can help with, and in what ways it affects our welfare. Contact begets hand sanitizer, excess use of sanitizer leads to dry skin, which demands hand lotion. Cycles like these are what’s driving some segments in our industry, but they also highlight brands and the ingredients used to treat it. 

Personal care products were about sustainable health already, and the ingredients we use on our bodies are even more important in today's marketplace

Consumers want disinfectants that are effective and do not harm our immune systems. We seek out formulations that invest in natural ingredients that are responsibly sourced and sustainable. What this pandemic has done is put our awareness on overdrive, bringing every product we buy into focus.

Our industry will thrive with this mandate as we continue to bring innovation and ideas to the table. Global CPGs with internal R&D operations may have a head start on addressing these needs, but emerging brands will play a key role in the process as well. After all, it has long been our diversity in ideas and approaches that have helped drive beauty care forward.

Investing In The Future of Personal Care

Personal care has always personal, and we now can see that our personalities are all connected. Our industry may have been fundamentally changed by the pandemic, but we have the deep bench to innovate and formulate a way forward. Wherever eCommerce takes us, no matter how we modify our personal care routines, and even if we continue to set new goals for a sustainable future, we will continue to innovate the products that move us. In personal care, it’s what we’ve always done.


Innovating Beauty Care Packaging Six Brands that are leading the charge in package design

The value of innovative design can bring to a brand can be limitless. In an age where ‘unboxing’ videos are tops draws on Instagram and YouTube, a product’s container is no longer a component, but rather a necessary tool for a product launch’s success.
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Innovating Beauty Care Packaging Six Brands that are leading the charge in package design

Packaging may not be the superstar of the personal care world, but the value that innovative design can bring to a brand can be limitless. In an age where ‘unboxing’ videos are tops draws on Instagram and YouTube, a product’s container is no longer a component, but rather a necessary tool for a successful launch.

Great packaging can reinforce ideals, champion social causes, and define a standard for every other company to follow. Successful innovation has put brands into the Zeitgeist, and poor execution has lead to epic flops.

It is not often the first thing a customer thinks of, but package design still affects every use, every connection, and every attitude we have towards the brands that fill our shelves. Take a look at some companies that are leading the way forward in packaging design.

Photography by Helmm

Helmm lays claim to being the world’s first refillable deodorant, providing a functional applicator that reduces plastic waste by 60% per unit. Deodorants and antiperspirant packaging has long been seen as one of the industry’s biggest waste products, owing to the amount of plastic to product ratio needed for the stick to work.

Even if a product’s components are recyclable (most aren’t) there is still an excessive amount of packaging that’s left over once the stick is gone. Instead, co-founders Zach Groffsky and Taylor Lane focused on designing a well-crafted (and stunning) piece of art that just so happens to live in your medicine cabinet. The inserts themselves are recyclable, with the deodorant’s formulation made from eco-friendly and natural ingredients.

Helmm hopes to not only reinvent the product category but use its packaging to reinforce a modern aesthetic and reimagine what prestige means for today’s man in personal care.

Keeping in the spirit of reducing waste, most beauty and personal care products rely heavily on plastics, due to the material’s low cost and easily moldable format. However, all of that plastic adds up — 70% of all U.S. plastic packaging waste ends up in landfills (not to mention what percentage gets lost in the ocean).1

So Seed Phytonutrients put their team to work and created a fully-compostable post-consumer cardboard container. Mixed with chalk (a natural antimicrobial) the package is water-resistant and designed to be used in the shower.

The L’Oreal-incubated brand worked with Ecologic Brands to design the unique packaging, working off of an initial pouch-in-paper-shell concept (the bottles are fitted with recyclable plastic liners and airless pumps). The container’s two halves are then pieced together through glueless, interlocking tabs.

Water-resistance is achieved through the mixture of minerals and paper, with heat pressure binding the paper fibers together. To top it all off, a package of seeds is inserted in between the cardboard and liner, so consumers are reminded to give back to the earth once the shampoo is gone.

Photography by Seed Phytonutrients

As we’ve seen, interchangeable refill packs can help a brand’s packaging in sustainable ways, but they can also double as a sales strategy for the masses. Take, for example, fragrance warehouse Scentbird, who offers a subscription-based model for keeping a person well-stocked in cologne or perfume.

For about $15 a month, customers get an 8 mL refill shipped directly to them, and the online tools to manage scents, shipment frequency, and add on supporting beauty care products. Customers can choose from the company’s catalog of more than 500 designer names, all of which are customized to fit into their slimline atomizer.

Every aspect of the product — from purchasing to packaging is designed for an on-the-go approach, reinforcing the notion that fragrance isn’t a chore, but a self-indulgence we can have anywhere.

The universal refillable premise not only contributes to reducing waste but expands Scentbird’s consumer base, targeting those who are less committed to fragrances. With each bottle designed for only a 30-day supply, customers do not have to make long-term commitments to any particular brand or scent.

The cases — which come in colors like bronze, burgundy, and electric purple — are almost as fun as waiting for the month’s scent to arrive.

Photography by Scentbird

Packaging can usher into a new industry concept, as seen in Kao’s product launch, MyKirei. The brand was inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Kirei, which focuses on an aesthetic of beauty, cleanliness, and sustainability.

The name is not only apropos for its product line, but also the packaging it comes in — patented flexible film containers that use air pockets to shape the bottle into place and stand it upright. The bottles use 50% less plastic than comparable products and are recyclable via TerraCycle.

Photography by KAO

The flexible packaging also provides a water-tight design to prevent contamination, which incidentally leads to less product waste. The inner bag pulls itself inward as the package empties, allowing for more product to be used. (Traditional bottles can leave up to three times as much product behind.)

What’s more, the company offers the MyKirei product line in refill packs, so consumers can reuse the hard plastic pump. Kao hopes that this AFB — air in film bottle — technology can be further applied to more products in the future.

Innovative packaging can be used to address a consumer need as well, as seen in LBK Nails’ line of vegan nail polish. The unique caps contain a hinged PCTG plastic nail painted with actual LBK polish. Consumers can slide their finger under the synthetic nail to see how the color will look in real life.

What’s more, each nail is painted with the exact polish that’s in the bottle. By doing so, LBK helps to address the nuances and variations that can be seen between batches. The company’s manufacturing process is capable of painting one tip every two seconds as the bottles come down the line.

Photography by LBK Nail Lacquer

The cap also provides a sanitary benefit, as customers do not need to unscrew the cap to inspect the color inside the bottle. What’s more, the company believes it is providing retailers an extra layer of savings. Tony Kemeny Jr., founder of Kemeny Designs and LBK Nails, believes that stores lose up to 2% through maintenance costs related to customers damaging displays with polish or contamination through opening the container.

The company works with VEM Tooling for the molded caps and paints the nail tips in their Anaheim, California facility. They utilize proprietary robotic technology to create an efficient mass-produced packaging operation.

Packaging that goes beyond a functional use, and into one’s brand representation can be highly effective in driving sales. KKW Beauty found that to be true in their Body fragrance.

Kim Kardashian West — The brand’s principal and public face — chose a shapely glass bottle designed from a mold of her actual body. Leaning into her famous physique, the company designed a bottle that reminded one of ancient Greek or Roman statues.

Photography by KKW Beauty

“My home has all these sculptures in it,” West told Allure magazine in 2018.2 “We have these two big angels that are similar to the bottle as they’re just torsos with no heads.”

Although there has been a long history of perfumes in female-shaped bottles, KKW’s was a pioneer for it’s ability to so clearly blend their celebrity with seriousness in perfumery. The glass bottle includes a 100 mL satin silver XD11 pump and the outside is texture-coated to feel and look like sand.

Even the secondary packaging adds to the visual appeal. A collapsable paper box cradles the perfume and mimics a museum’s pedestal when unwrapped.

The bottle design for JPGaultier Eau de Parfum — later renamed as Classique in 1995 ­— one of several inspirations for Kim Kardashian West’s KKW’s body spray bottle. West cited other influences, including ancient Greek and Roman statues.

Packaging That Moves Us

Our industry will always be an execution of art and formulation, one that uses packaging to drive beauty and personal care forward. From our early industry leaders and apothecary roots, package design has always presented a unique face to our personal care routines.

Companies find value in creating something that more than just a container, but something that inspires us, reinforces a brand’s uniqueness, and allows us to consider what’s possible for future brands.


Coronavirus and the Evolution of eCommerce

The Beauty and Personal Care industry has been dramatically affected by the global pandemic, forcing consumers to adjust their purchasing behavior and brands to realign sales strategies. See how the beauty and personal care industry has played a role in the rise of eCommerce and how COVID-19 may affect change in the long term.
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Coronavirus and the Evolution of eCommerce

While the global pandemic has affected us all in profound ways, the beauty and personal care industry has been uniquely transformed. The routines we have, the brands we’re loyal to, and the priority we assign to self-care will forever be defined in ‘before and after’ terms.

As the market continues to adjust to a new normal, brands are taking steps to assess the consumer landscape, solidify brand loyalty, and evaluate how shoppers interact with and buy their products. Even though the personal care industry has historically been resilient when it comes to recessions, this pandemic caused extreme hardships for many of us. Still, some brands were in a better position to adapt to retail changes that were on the horizon even before the virus hit.

Despite lockdowns bringing most industries to a halt, the personal care market was able to see faster rebounds. This suggests that the losses brands will experience might be short-lived. In February 2020 for example, China’s personal care market declined 80% year-over-year, but only dipped 20% year-over-year for March’s numbers.1

A lot of what factored into the success or failure of a brand depended on how it was sold, and what type of personal care product it was. Many direct-to-consumer brands were able to continue unabated, whereas products distributed through salons and barbershops were forced to find novel ways to keep customers in stock.

Emerging brands that started on the internet were able to leverage an infrastructure that was already quarantine-friendly. Many of those companies upped digital ad buys and evaluated their warehouses and shipping policies for safety or efficiency improvements. The rest of the industry tried to follow suit, with some brands doing better than others.

This in turn added jet fuel to the already expanding lead eCommerce had gained over traditional retail. Over the last decade, online purchases grew faster than their in-store counterparts by a measure of 2 to 1. For personal care specifically, in-store sales grew by 184% in ten years but paled in comparison with a 432% growth online. That growth was largely fueled by the world’s largest online drugstore — Amazon — which saw a 1,045% increase in sales over the same 10-year period.2

It’s obvious that eCommerce is in a boom, but as we dig deeper into the numbers, it’s apparent that traditional brick-and-mortar stores have a deep influence on consumers (even those who eventually purchase online).

From the Baby Boomers to Gen-Z, completely in-store purchases (shopped in-store, bought in-store) dipped by 42 points. Fully online purchases only increased 7 points. Most of the swing — a 292% increase — went towards a combination of shopping in-store and buying online (or vice versa).

The purchasing of personal care products is still deeply reliant on the physical store connection. While we’re apt to embrace digital commerce, we still crave the ability to discover beauty products by touching, feeling, and smelling. We value expertise in helping us find the right products and we are enamored by the shopping experience’s mise en scène.

The brands we have previous loyalty towards do not require the same sensory experience, and shifting a portion of those purchases online would not be as disruptive. However, for many emerging brands, a completely digital experience misses out on an important customer connection. If this shift towards online purchasing has indeed been fast-tracked by the pandemic, it will cause ripples throughout the industry.

The $64,000 question is whether or not this shift will be permanent, completely subside, or result in a mix between the two. Many consumers who have changed their behavior in how they bought personal care products will continue with their new normal. These numbers have potential, with eMarketer reporting that in a 1-month timespan during the height of the pandemic, U.S. adults who shifted their purchases from physical to online stores increased by 68%.3

Therefore, if brands want to find new audiences, they are at a minimum going to have to figure out how to bring the sensory experience to a digital world. Subscription services — which have grown in popularity by 890%4 — are tailor-made for the customer experience. Brands that have sophisticated social media and influencer followers can easily provide digital word-of-mouth.

Still, how personal care shopping might change in the short- and long-term is likely going to depend on the type of product we’re talking about. We’ll take a look at three basic categories:

Personal Care Essentials

The most reliable category of products includes everything we use in our day-to-day routines. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant — these are brands with reliable source-of-supply and have historically weathered most economic downturns. They are also products that are often purchased in grocery stores and drug stores, and not as much online. Companies have made inroads trying to change that, but have a long way to go before they catch up to other product categories.

Prestige, Luxury, and Masstige

There are a lot of products we love, but in a pinch, we can live without. In poor economic times, these more dispensable products are often swapped out for cheaper brands or forgotten altogether. (Although much has been written about the Lipstick Effect, where the little indulgences help us cope with scaling back larger stuff.) This category does enjoy a large amount of online sales, but many of them are also dependant on department stores, hair salons, nail bars, and spas.

The Unknowns

The discovery of new products, ingredients, and innovations is one of the lifebloods of our industry. As consumers, we are always looking for new brands that meet our unique physiology or address a specific pain point. These brands often have a higher price point and most have successful online operations. However, they are also heavily dependant on the in-store experience to bring in new customers. Curated box services have proven themselves to be a good digital storefront, but the majority of consumers still want a tactile experience before they trust a brand enough to buy.

Expanding Options for Basic Necessities

Our most essential personal care products were not impacted as much by the pandemic as other product categories. While the onset saw a lot of out-of-stock signs, grocery stores and online retailers were able to resupply inventories. With some looking to stock up on staples, sales in this category actually increased.

The biggest change for this category was not if consumers purchased their product but how. Before lockdowns and stay-in-place orders, essentials were often bought at grocery stores, pharmacies, and big-box stores. Brand loyalty was extremely high, and consumers’ source-of-supply was predictable.

Having personal care necessities delivered precisely when you need them may keep consumers shopping online

The lockdowns forced the closure of many stores — and while some were allowed to remain open, consumers were not confident in the safety of in-store shopping. Consumers were forced to look elsewhere for the basics, and Amazon, online retailers, and direct-to-consumer brands filled the void.

After discovering that going online for essentials offers some convenience (price comparison, automatic refill shipping, bulk purchasing of shelf-stable products) this category may maintain more of its online gains. The Benchmarking Company released a survey that found 35% of respondents plan to continue automatic online ordering for personal care supplies.5

Out-of-the-Box Marketing for Prestige Care

For all the brands we use because they go above and beyond the basics, it’s unclear how they might survive if department stores and boutique retailers suffer in the long term. While we still seek to indulge ourselves, brands with higher price points or those that provide a supplemental benefit will likely feel the pinch the longer a recession drags on.

If professional services do not rebound quickly, salons could seek new revenue from things like at-home DIY kits

Retail stores and salons found success with out-of-the-box ideas like curbside pickup and DIY kits. These may be the key to weathering a recession or surviving a permanent shift in purchase behavior. Businesses without an online component should add one (and should regardless of pandemics) since younger generations are always more connected online.

Building a Sales Strategy for The Unknown

The most unpredictable outcomes for a rapid shift in consumer behavior will likely fall to the discovery of new brands. (This category also includes prestige beauty and basic goods we haven’t yet discovered.) If in-store foot traffic remains quiet, brands will have to shift marketing strategy or lose market share.

As we’ve mentioned before, it’s unlikely that a shopper’s desire to buy in person will disappear altogether. There is a therapeutic element to browsing the aisles, but the waters will still be shaky. Local businesses may fall to larger chains, and brands will need to increase exposure across all channels.

Influencers will likely yield more star power, serving as an important conduit between ‘the problem’ and ‘the solution.’ People find value in a store’s expert advice, and Instagrammers have large followings that can offer authentic opinions (even if they’re backed by advertising revenue).

We may see some regression in manufacturing processes that have driven our industry forward over the last few years. Products designed for small carbon footprints, for example, might be less desirable than packaging-heavy (but more sanitary) products. Brands with large portfolios of SKUs or on-demand inventories may have to consolidate product lines and manufacturing runs. Contract Manufacturers may take precedence over the installation of long-term upgrades. Consumers may even gravitate towards multi-issue products (like hand sanitizers that moisturize or sunscreen with anti-aging properties).

The most rational assumption is that no matter what, brands will need to evaluate their successes and failures and be prepared to adapt business strategy quickly if needed.

Charting a Path Forward

There is still so much we do not know about how consumers (including ourselves) will behave in a post-COVID world. During the pandemic, our digital connection with each other emerged as a savior for a lot of what we did. Work, education, socializing, and yes, shopping, took new meaning and structure online.

We may look back in a year and see that the numbers were temporary and we’ve reverted to a world that more resembles 2019. Perhaps. The truth is, no matter how long there was a shift, or how things did or didn’t change, we’re always going to be moving towards a marketplace that looks more digital and connected. Brands must strive to reinvent themselves in new ways, and the pandemic just bumped that up in priority.

The personal care market is quickly evolving, experiencing shifts in consumer behavior and a boom in innovative ingredients. Accupac supports brands through manufacturing support and the spearheading of new product launches.

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of Personal Care How the Pandemic Has Fundamentally Changed Our Approach to Beauty Care

Read our article, Innovating Beauty Care Packaging Six Brands that are leading the charge in package design

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