Beauty and the eats: how gourmet cosmetics morphed into ‘well care’
Has anyone else noticed that their bathroom shelf has become almost indistinguishable from their fridge of late?
Now don’t get me wrong, beauty has long borrowed from the food industry but it seems to have reached fever pitch this year – so that, browsing the Sephora website, as Hillary Bonhomme writing for New Food Economy points out, feels like shopping for groceries.
From avocado jelly masks, watermelon glow moisturizers and kale-infused cleansers, the latest launches certainly are bringing the produce aisles closer to the cosmetics shelves than ever – and, of course, we have the wellness movement to thank for that. Superfoods, a key component of skin care for as long as I have been working in this industry (cough, not going to disclose how long that is because it scares me, cough), have gone stratospheric. I pointed out the nascent trend on this very platform almost two years ago – and it’s now developed into a veritable movement.
And you don’t need to take our word for it – for, where there’s cash to be made, there’s a private equity firm – and Strand Equity recently snapped up superfood-based skin care brand Youth To The People. At the time of the acquisition, Seth Rodsky, Strand Equity Co-Founder and Managing Partner, was quoted as saying, “We are continually searching for emerging brands that are about to make a splash in the marketplace. Youth To The People is creating something truly innovative by infusing superfoods into its skincare products and we are thrilled to support the company in its next stage of growth as it carries out its mission of bringing natural, plant-based skincare to the masses.”
But there’s more to it than throwing in a handful of acai. So let’s connect the dots here. With the likes of spirulina, coconut et al forever linked to clean eating, they are also becoming synonymous with ‘safe’. And therein lies the motivation behind this almost universal adoption of the wellness language. Consumers see ‘kombucha’ and ‘chia’, and they think ‘harmless’.
“The implication is that if food ingredients are used, the products are healthy and ‘cleaner’ than those with synthetic ingredients,” Amarjit Sahota, Founder of Ecovia Intelligence told New Food Economy. “It suggests the products are better for human health, and the environment.
In a nutshell, the gourmet cosmetics trend has evolved, it’s no longer about the wondrous things these ingredients can do to our skin, but about what they’re not doing to our bodies. In short, it is part of the wider transparency movement.
And, argues New Food Economy, it now goes even further still – we not only want our beauty products to come without a side of risk – and the inclusion of everyday foods help us to feel that they are – but we also want them to actively make us healthier (note, not just look better, be better).
So in reality, it’s no longer simply a marriage of the food and beauty industry but now the pharma industry has jumped into the bed too. And that’s also why we’re seeing a proliferation of dropper-style bottles and prescription-strength topicals emerge. Enter the era of ‘well care’, described by Bonhomme as the place ‘where the shady world of nutrition research meets the aspirational universe of beauty products’. Sounds delightful. See you there?