At the CEW’s founder Fridays round-table three execs spoke about how they are capitalizing on new ingredients to build their brand. They disscussed how to build an ingredient led skin care line. 

Top Trending ingredients (according to Lamberto Anzalone VP at Roelmi HPC):

  • Retinol
  • Vitamin C
  • Nicotinamide
  • Squalane
  • Hyaluronic acid
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Follow the trends or make your own


There are always new trends and ingredients that capture consumers attention. As brand owners we may feel compelled to follow other’s innovations. New and emerging trends may feel hot, but consumers can sniff out a copy cat. Have a a clear form of differentiation is key to success. Your product innovation can be a new ingredient, or formulation, or a new take what already exists in the market This is why the best brands don’t follow trends they create them. The best brands create an identity around an innovation they created. For example MAC made bright colourful matte lipsticks and eye-shadows that work on all skin tones. Bobbie brown created nude lipsticks and Anastasia Beverly hills built the brow.


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Carve out a niche


Ron Robinson Founder & CEO, Beautystat was a cosmetic chemist for major brands including l’Oreal for over thirty years before launching Beautystat. He knew that Vitamin C was amazing for the skin, but companies were hesitant to use it in their formulations because it was unstable. Vitamin C would oxidize and change colour, it could also produce a foul smelling odour. This is why he set out to build his own brand. He filed patents on his own shelf stable vitamin C products.


Consumers are shopping across channels and buying from a lot of different brands. This is why it is important that you know how your product is different from competitors and how it will interact with other brand’s products. Will there be any chemical reactions that mean consumers cannot use two products together?


“how much testing have you done to verify that consumers want the product?”


Ron suggests brands test the product idea with customers BEFORE formulating the product. This way you know IF the idea is compelling, and what aspects they latch on to. Before launching Beautystat, Ron operated a beauty blog where he built a large following. He would then test different product ideas with his audience. He said it’s important to “get honest feedback on weather or not you have a good idea”. He suggests finding people who will brutally honest with you. Once you have an idea that seems to test well then you need to research the market and see what the competition is like. Understand what you consumers are currently using and how your products are different. Then you can develop your product and sell it. A common theme among all founders was that there is no space for copy cats because consumers can sniff that out


Finding the right manufacturer

Here are four basic steps.


  1. develop a clear brand vision, mission and product concept that has been audience tested before approaching manufacturers.
  2. Talk to a lot of different manufactures that work with companies of your size and maturity. Ask other company founders for referrals
  3. make sure you choose a manufacturer that understands your brand and what you want to accomplish.

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How to educate consumers- Ingredient Led Skin Care


So you have a cool new product, and early customers seem to love it, but now you want to educate new customers about your brand and how amazing your products are. Allison McNamara Founder of MARA Beauty suggest viewing education the same way you would as a journalist. She suggests creating a narrative that is easy to digest by focusing on a few main points. When formulating her products she describes the product with 2 words and 2 colours. This simple way of describing products makes it easy to be consistent with manufacturers employees and customers across channels.


Allision also likes to focus on a few high quality releases a year. This gives her team enough time between each product to make sure they are each well marketed, developed and tested. It “makes education easier” because she can focus on creating content for one product at a time. This also gives consumers enough time so can incorporate every new product into their routine. This way consumers will come back for more. Beyond simplicity, quality she suggests being specif about claims. Using terms like “miracle serum” are ineffective.People want to know what the “miracle” is.


Dimitra Davidson the president and COO of Indeed Laboratories took a slightly different approach. She suggests companies focus on the question they are asking consumers, and how their product answers that question. Because consumers shop across channels consumers often get conflicting stories about ingredients. This is where you should be putting the onus on customers to ask you questions so you can improve your communications. Her argument is that if you can get a customer to ask you a question it proves they are thinking critically and it’s the perfect time to provide them with the answer (your products). Consumer’s questions point to what your branding should be focusing on.


At the end of the day brand owners, should always be validating assumptions with customers and creating new products that lead trends. Consumers will be able to sniff out copy cats, but you also need to validate that what you are doing is what consumers want.



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