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Growth and More Growth

Hair, Skin and Nails Hair, Skin and Nails

The outlook for the hair, skin and nails market is strong as new ingredients and products flourish.

Non-GMO Project

Glossy and bouncy. Smooth and creamy. Strong and well-kept. What do all these descriptors have in common? They define the healthy hair, skin and nails that most individuals want. Long seen as signs of good health and beauty, skin, hair and nails are said to reflect the inner health of a person.

For individuals who struggle to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails, there is hope. Natural lifestyle changes can offer benefits to all three. Likewise, natural health products may help to improve the hair, skin and nails in remarkable ways.

In the post-COVID world though, is the health of skin, hair and nails still at the forefront of most individuals’ minds? What’s the market like now for these products and what does the future hold? Which trends in new products and ingredients are individuals most interested in? And which ingredients do experts consider must-haves in this category?

How Robust is the Market for Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails?

Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel is the director of medical and scientific affairs at DolCas Biotech, LLC, a manufacturer in New Jersey. She believes the outlook for this category is favorable, based on new market research. “According to a SPINS market report, while the beauty industry grew by 5.4 percent in the last year, the natural beauty industry grew by nearly three times that amount at, 15.2 percent,” noted Jackson-Michel. “Though natural beauty contributed to less than a tenth of the overall market—$4.3 billion vs. over $50 billion—the growth projections show that there is remarkable interest in and investment by the consumer to support their beauty aims in more natural ways,” she noted.

Douglas Jones is the global sales and marketing manager at BioCell Technology, based in California. He weighed in on whether consumers have regained an interest in hair, skin and nails in the past several months. “Personal appearance is still a top consideration for consumers even in the pandemic era,” he said. “One big change in all behaviors due to the pandemic is the number of Zoom calls we’re on each day.” Who hasn’t looked at themselves on a video call and thought, “Whew! I’ve got to do something,” Jones added.

President and COO at CK Nutraceuticals, Michael Chernyak, said that the market for hair, skin and nails remains robust. “We were somewhat surprised at how well the category held up during COVID, and it appears to be well-supported,” he said. The manufacturer, based in Canada, is bouncing back well post-pandemic. “A growing number of our customers are showing interest in new and innovative ingredient solutions for beauty-from-within, which points to the potential for the category,” Chernyak stated.

Growth in the Hair, Skin and Nails Market

Chernyak believes growth in this category will continue. “If growing customer interest in the category is any indication, we believe there is a lot of runway for this opportunity space, particularly for brands who pair science and innovation,” he noted. “Collagen was the main driver for the beauty category in recent years, however, excellent potential exists for new solutions that address consumer needs and wants.”

Jones too, believes that there will be continued growth in this market. “We’re definitely returning to a more stable growth pattern like we saw before the pandemic,” he said. “We’re seeing certain products doing quite well.”

Jackson Michel pointed to a Mintel report. In it, she said this category is referred to as “disruptive” and that the market is projected to continually grow, at least into the next five years.

At GELITA, a manufacturer based in Iowa, Lara Niemann, shared her thoughts on this category’s growth. Niemann is the global category manager, in the beauty-from-within department at the company. She believes that this is a market that will continue to grow. “Driven by high consumer desire for connectedness between beauty and overall health and wellbeing, the market for healthy hair, skin and nails is positioned for continued growth,” said Niemann.

Another area of growth in this market may be overlapping with other categories. Meg Ligot, senior product development manager at Lief Labs, a manufacturer based in California, stated that she believes growth will come not only from within the hair, skin and nails arena but also from brands in other categories like sports nutrition. “Great examples of this include brands more traditionally associated with fitness and sports nutrition supplements, like Ghost and Inno Supps, who are now offering ‘glow’ products which include beauty and skin benefits,” said Ligot. “Brands are increasingly moving away from the traditional rigid lines within a certain category and looking for opportunities to diversify their products into different spaces and enhanced benefit targets for their customers.”

Trends in New Products and Ingredients

The inclination for many individuals now, said Jones, is to sample an array of ingredients and products to find what works best for them as individuals. “The trend is for consumers to try different ingredients,” he noted, mentioning that there’s been a renewed interest in collagen products. “The ones that really work are the ones that continue to show growth,” Jones said. He’s also noticed that purchasing is moving offline. “Consumers have really moved back to purchasing in brick-and-mortar [stores],” said Jones.

At CK Nutraceuticals, Chernyak stated that certain trends are on the rise. In addition to vegan options, more individuals are seeking natural, science-backed and experiential products that deliver a demonstratable benefit. “We also see continued demand for alternative dosage formats,” he said, “as an example, growth in gummies continues to be quite robust as consumers continue to look beyond tablets and capsules.”

“Consumers are actively seeking products that are free from harmful chemicals, artificial additives, and allergens,” noted Sam Kwon, president and CEO of Vesta Nutra, a manufacturer in Indiana. “Moreover, there is a growing emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing. The demand for personalized and customized solutions is also on the rise as consumers look for products that address their specific needs effectively.”

A current trend that Niemann stated GELITA has noticed is the change in focus of consumers—from vanity to health and wellness. “Consumers are looking for the look-good feel-good connection,” she said. “Here, looking good is more about empowerment, confidence and health,” she said. For brands, Niemann noted, this creates a great opportunity to offer products that can build confidence, lift spirits and bring happiness.

Anthony L. Almada, MSc, FISSN is president and CEO of IMAGINutrition, Inc., a nutritional technology think tank consultancy based in California. He noticed a strong trend toward the gut-skin axis. The skin manifests food allergies and hypersensitivities, Almada stated, proving the adage, “You are what you eat” true. “Only over the past decade has the tsunami been building and increasing, paving a way, mechanisms how microbes and their products, in the gut, can affect changes in the skin,” Almada said. “By 2030 we will look at gut-skin back from a very different vista.” Ligot agreed, stating that she believes “… promoting the benefits of ingredients like pro-, pre- and postbiotics for healthy skin, hair and nails,” will continue to grow in interest with consumers.

Additionally, Ligot noted a new group of consumers is becoming interested in healthy hair, skin and nails. “We’re currently seeing this trend happening in the cosmetics space for men in areas such as skin, hair and beard care, so I anticipate similar growth on the nutraceutical side, as well,” she said. “Specifically, I expect a rising trend of nutraceutical products to support hair growth and hair loss prevention for men and thinking about how men can see hair care and ‘beauty-from-within’ in a different way than women, based on their unique needs and issues.” She pointed to a brand, Beard Club, which products include beard growth vitamins.

Collagen remains a top ingredient in this space, Ligot explained. However, different sources are sprouting up—everything from eggshells, chicken, and marine collagens. “A great example of a combined use of collagen sources is Alaya Naturals, which has a multi-collagen product offering,” she said. Companies are also investing more in science and data behind various collagen sources to determine the range of potential benefits and then incorporating that into the company’s marketing, Ligot noted.

“Although capsules and tablets are still the most common formats for food supplements, we do observe a trend towards more ‘food-like’ formats, such as gummies, powder beverages and liquid shots,” said Kristi Serena. Serena is the commercial director at Mibelle Biochemistry, a manufacturer based in Switzerland. “Consumer research and awareness is growing which impacts a need for transparency of formulations and quality ingredients,” she said.

Popular Ingredients in Hair, Skin and Nails Products

“Collagen and biotin have been two standouts in the beauty category,” noted Chernyak. Collagen for skin health and biotin primarily for healthy hair and nails, he said. “However, we’re seeing that the market for products/formulations has become very ‘crowded.’” He stated that there is quite a bit of saturation and product differentiation has become somewhat of a challenge. “This paves the way for new ingredients that can deliver these beauty benefits in a unique and differentiated way,” said Chernyak.

Serena agreed that collagen continues to be a heavy hitter in this market. However, Mibelle Biochemistry has noted an increased interest in plant-based collagens. This may be due to an increased number of people living a vegan lifestyle, Serena noted.

However, most collagen products rely on animal products. “For them, collagen for instance is not an option and they look for alternatives. Mibelle Biochemistry develops and manufactures products coming from nature and rich in bio-actives. We have observed increasing demand for our skin health (DracoBelle Nu, FenuKale Nu, PhytoCellTec Md Nu) and hair growth (AnaGain Nu) active ingredients,” she said.

Keeping a focus on comprehensively impactful cosmeceuticals is the way to go, believes Jackson-Michel. This is done by building better skin by building better health. “This approach, a form of minimalism, or skinimalism is perfectly aligned to the trends in beauty overall,” she stated. “Ingredients that give the consumer a bigger bang for their buck, both in value and impact, will be forerunners in the future growth of this sector.”

Active ingredients in this space fall under a few key categories, Jackson-Michel explained.

1. Antioxidants, such as resveratrol, vitamin E, lycopene and astaxanthin, and rosemary extracts

2. Protein-building blocks and activators, like collagen peptides and hydrolysates, vitamin C, selenium, silica, horsetail extracts and biotin

3. Cell turnover modulators like beta-carotene, vitamin A, zinc and lutein

4. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actives, like turmeric, hydroxytyrosol and pycnogenol

5. Skin barrier support actives/moisture magnets that include ceramides, hyaluronic acid and omega-9 fatty acid sources.

“With lots of options and layers of overlap between actives, the opportunity for innovation and formulation is limitless,” Jackson-Michel said. Kwon noted that in addition to the “regulars” in this category—including biotin, collagen, vitamins like C and E, antioxidants and essential fatty acids—another ingredient is gaining popularity. “Liposomal products are gaining popularity because they create more bioavailability for the body,” he said. “While the popularity of specific ingredients may evolve over time, these remain widely sought after for their proven benefits.”

At Vesta Nutra, a new ingredient is gaining attention: the pearl tomato. Believed to impart a radiant glow to the skin and potentially reduce dark spots, Kwon stated that the company has recently launched a new product, Liposomal-Pearl Tomato to cater to customer demands. “Vesta Nutra uses innovative liposomal technology to manufacture high-quality Liposomal products. “We pride ourselves on offering a diverse range of ingredients to meet the unique needs of our customers and stay at the forefront of industry trends.”

At Lief Labs, Ligot noted that more specific singular and targeted solutions are being sought out by consumers. “As we’ve seen in the cosmetics space with products customized to consumers with oily skin or dry skin, for example, I think we will similarly see this type of product differentiation in the nutraceuticals space for the hair, skin and nails category,” she said. Ligot explained that individuals are now looking for targeted products—things for antiaging, glow, UV protection or skin hydration, not a one-product-fixes-all approach anymore.

Science Behind the Scenes: New Research in the Hair, Skin and Nails Market

Chernyak stated that CK Nutraceuticals is very interested in exploring new ingredients and research. “We’re working with several proprietary ingredients that show great promise in the healthy skin, hair and nails categories,” he said. In the skin health realm, Chernyak noted that maqui berry extract is trending. The company’s Delphinol Maqui ingredient sets itself apart as it’s vegan, not based on bovine or marine collagen. “For hair health, our new SesZen-Bio ingredient is derived from Sesbania grandiflora . . . A human study will be published late this year in a peer-reviewed journal substantiating this hair health benefits,” said Chernyak. “Both Delphinol and SesZen-Bio represent new ingredient solutions in the beauty space, which look to upend incumbents that have become to a large degree commoditized.”

At IMAGINutrition, Inc., Almada said that the company has been busy with clinical trials. “We have recently completed a suite of pre-clinical (animal-free) and clinical studies on postbiotics used in topical applications, which we plan to publish by the end of 2023,” he noted. Additionally, the company has sponsored several studies with probiotic dietary supplements from infants to adults, who struggle with atopic dermatitis.

Mibelle Biochemistry believes strongly in the importance of clinical studies. “There are many ingredients out there in this space which refer to clinical data but are not able to show the efficacy in their own clinical studies,” said Serena. “Consumers want to see evidence that the product and ingredients really work.” For Mibelle Biochemistry, proving the efficacy of its products in a clinical study is a must. “All our ingredients have been tested in human studies and the results of the clinical studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals.” She pointed to a study regarding pea sprout extract in relation to hair loss and another on the effect of blue fenugreek kale extract on skin health as two examples of this.

With new products coming to market and continued research being conducted, it’s an exciting time and place to be involved in the health hair, skin and nails marketplace. NIE

For More Information:

BioCell Technology, www.biocelltechnology.com
CK Nutraceuticals, www.ckingredients.com
DolCas Biotech, LLC, www.dolcas-biotech.com
GELITA, www.gelita.com
IMAGINutrition, Inc, www.linkedin.com/in/anthony-almada-co-creator/
Lief Labs, https://lieflabs.com/
Mibelle Biochemistry, https://mibellebiochemistry.com/
Vesta Nutra, https://vestanutra.com/

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