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Beauty from the Inside Out

It’s time for nutricosmetics to shine, as consumers take a more holistic approach to health and beauty


By Rebecca Harris

Topical creams have long been part of beauty regimens, but consumers are now finding the fountain of youth in an ingestible form. A fast-growing category, nutricosmetics are designed to deliver health and beauty benefits through supplements and drinks that contain biologically active ingredients.

According to Albany, New York-based Transparency Market Research, the global nutricosmetics market will reach US$7.93 billion by 2025, increasing from US$5.13 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of five per cent between 2017 and 2025. While Europe has the largest share of the market, followed by Asia-Pacific, North America is expected to be the fastest-growing market, with a CAGR of 6.4 per cent between 2017 and 2025. In terms of product type, supplements stood as the leading product type segment in 2016 and are estimated to retain the top position, with 54.1 per cent of the market by the end of 2025.

A report from Transparency Market Research says that growing consumer awareness for natural products is the foremost factor propelling the nutricosmetics market. “Savvy consumers are shifting towards natural products with the increasing awareness about health hazards of chemical-laden synthetic cosmetics,” the report states. In addition, growing popularity among the elderly population is having a positive impact on growth. “This population base is increasingly shifting from synthetic products to natural products for health reasons and to stay healthy and look young.”

The move towards more holistic lifestyles also plays a big part. “There is a growing sense of awarenessfor the wholeness of wellbeing,” says Golan Raz, head of Global Health division at Orange, NJ-based Lycored Corp., which specializes in the research and development of wellness products. “More and more individuals realize that wellness — beauty included — isn’t just about one thing they do. It is not only about exercise, diet or topical products,” says Raz. “It is the combination of multiple areas of awareness that drives a positive effect. Naturally, nutricosmetics is being seen as a part of healthy diet and directly connected to that realization.”

A holistic approach is what guides Toronto-based Miyu Beauty, which pairs beauty-enhancing teas with topical skincare products inspired by traditional Chinese medicine. The company’s best-selling tea, Hydrate Mi, contains green rooibos, goji berries, rose petals and snow pear essence.

Green rooibos contains nine polyphenols packed with antioxidants and is naturally high in electrolytes, which helps hydrate from within, explains founder and CEO Connie Tai. Gogi berries, meanwhile, are high in vitamin C, which stimulates collagen production. Consumers can pair the tea with a facial mist called Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence, which contains “age-defying botanicals” said to hydrate, smooth and lock in moisture.

“The analogy I love to use is, if your goal is to lose weight, you can diet and exercise. And doing both will achieve the best results — not just dieting alone,” says Tai. “It’s the same thing as doing inner and outer beauty. Your skin is a mirror of what is going on inside your body, so if you’re [consuming] nutrient-dense foods, vitamins and antioxidants, that glow from within is going to shine through. And there’s still an incredible need for what you apply topically, especially in terms of hydration and soothing the skin from the outside.”

Miyu Beauty’s target market is women 35 to 44 who are well educated, sophisticated and highly informed, says Tai. “They’re looking at ingredientsand what they put into their bodies, but they also care about efficacy. They want the products to actually work.” The second customer segment is millennials, who Tai says are the driving force behind the rise of “clean” beauty. “They’re looking for natural products that perform…And they’re looking for brands that are authentic, transparent, honest and ethical, and that mirror their values.”

Millennials are also extremely vocal on social media and their opinions can be quite influential, something Tai says is helping to drive interest in the nutricosmetics category. “More information is being shared on social platforms and people are generally becoming more educated on how to live a healthy lifestyle,” she says. “So, this trend towards health and wellness has naturally progressed into beauty.”

Montreal-based Functionalab also takes a two-pronged approach, selling a range of topical skincare products and beauty supplements. Its nutricosmetics line includes Collagen Formula with hydrolyzed collagen, vitamin C and amino acids; Hair and Nails, which contains biotin, vitamin C, zinc, iron, vitamin A, and antioxidants; and a weight management product called Silhouette Solution.

“Consumers increasingly recognize the link between health, beauty and nutrition and that topical products can go only so far and so deep,” says Functionalab’s scientific director Nathalie Pelletier. “Topical products contain active ingredients, such as antioxidants and proteins, and offer instant protection and hydration. However, they only work at the outer layer of the skin, which represents only 20 per cent of the skin layer,” she adds. “Beauty supplements nourish your skin with active ingredients at a deeper level (the other 80 per cent) from the inside to achieve long-lasting results.”

Founded in 2008, GliSODin Skin Nutrients developed a nutricosmetics line from the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD), found in a melon grown in France. “[SOD] is a natural anti-inflammatory, which is critical for a nutricosmetic because every part of the skin-aging process is caused by some sort of inflammation,” says Corina Crysler, managing director of GliSODin Skin Nutrients in Toronto. “You can’t stop [the aging process], but you can help control the oxidative stress from forming into inflammation, which is what [GliSODin] does.”

GliSODin Skin Nutrients has three product categories: “face,” which includes Advanced Dermal Formula and Advanced Skin Brightening Formula designed to improve skin health and appearance; “body,” which includes cleansing, diuretic and slimming formulas; and “Recovery,” which is designed to help with healing and recovery from cosmetic surgeries and reduce inflammation.

Like others in the field, Crysler agrees that there’s a move towards more natural wellness-based skincare programs. “People are looking at all of the pieces they can be doing to help the aging process, and internal health is definitely a big component of that,” she says. “In Europe and Asia, nutricosmetics have been part of their lifestyles for years, so it’s going to take some time to reach our full potential [in North America]. But I think we’re almost on an expedited transition of growth.”

While the move toward nutricosmetics is gaining momentum, Tai notes that more than a decade ago, experts were predicting that nutricosmetics were going to take off in North America. “The thinking was nutricosmetics are already popular in Asia and Europe and it’s just a natural progression for it to come here…And it just didn’t happen,” says Tai. “But I think now is the time. We’re going to see huge growth in this category because of the movement towards clean beauty, self-care, and health and wellness. This is really paving the way for nutricosmetics.”

This article appeared in the print issue:April 2018 edition, Food Trends section

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