Cosmetics Mine the Potential of Minerals

Discussion
May 21, 2007

By Faye Brookman, special to GMDC

Retailers and manufacturers are mining the potential of minerals to boost cosmetics sales. Mineral-based products are the latest rage on the cosmetics peg wall and the new lines are being introduced by leading brands, niche players and even retailers themselves.

Mineral-based cosmetics were available in upscale markets such as those sold at Sephora and QVC from Bare Escentuals. Bare Escentuals’ most compelling asset was its corporate president and spokeswoman Leslie Blodgett who went on TV frequently to teach women about the beauty of mineral formulations. In particular, minerals are natural and provide a soft coverage. As an added perk, the makeup can be left on overnight without removal.

Following the success of Bare Escentuals in other channels, several mass market manufacturers decided to offer less expensive versions. The two first out to market were Neutrogena and L’Oreal. Both garnered instant interest and quickly were sold out in many doors. Those launches were followed by mineral entries from Physicians Formula, Milani, Jane, Revlon and even chain exclusives such as IsaDora. IsaDora is sold exclusively in the U.S. at Walgreens and the IsaDora minerals command additional footage in Walgreen stores, even supplanting space once reserved for national names.

CVS followed with loose mineral formulations marketed under its house line called Essence of Beauty. Foundations launched late last year were followed by eye shadows this past March. Sally Hansen is expected to add to a mineral lip formulation with more items, according to Del Cosmetics president Harvey Alstodt.

Although some buyers originally thought minerals could be just a fad, Ingrid Jackel, chief executive officer of Physicians Formula likened it to the invasion of long-wearing formulas which have become a staple in beauty assortments. Jane’s president Lisa Yarnell said the availability of minerals at mass opens the door for those who couldn’t afford the pricier versions. “Minerals tap a market not shopping mass before,” she explained. The good news for food, drug and mass market retailers in that fact is that the minerals are bringing in new users rather than just fragmenting the existing market.

The biggest challenge now facing retailers is determining how many mineral lines to offer and how to find room for these entries. But all agree the future is rich in minerals.

Discussion Questions: Do you see mineral formulations changing the cosmetic department significantly? Is there a logical link between selling mineral formulas and selling more healthy products in general?

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11 Comments on "Cosmetics Mine the Potential of Minerals"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 5 days ago

When Estee Lauder launched Clinique in 1968, they opened a new positioning by dressing the salespeople in white lab coats, giving the appearance of medical personnel. This positioning has been more appealing and long-lasting (38 years and going strong!) than anyone suspected it would’ve been at the time of the launch. The goal of the mineral formulations: to become a permanent positioning like Clinique.

George Anderson
Guest
15 years 5 days ago

The information we have is anecdotal, but it appears as though women who try mineral-based cosmetics are not planning on going back to what they used before. The difference, we’ve been told, in terms of skin feel, is dramatically better than what they had been using up to this point.

David Biernbaum
Guest
15 years 4 days ago

Mineral formulations do likely cross over the “fad” line, to the longer term domain with reasonable staying power. I believe the same can be said for natural formulations in many types of HBC categories. However, as the avalanche of new companies, new products, and line extensions come into play, only the strongest will survive long term, while most on the bandwagon will fall off. That’s what predictably always happens.

James Tenser
Guest
15 years 4 days ago

A group of twenty-something female students in my marketing course at Tucson Design College were so tuned in to the Bare Escentuals concept that they chose the brand as the focus of their term project last Fall. Mineral-based cosmetics seem to have great appeal with young people, despite (or maybe because of) their premium positioning. If the performance of popular priced brands is comparable, my hunch is this trend will have some staying power.

Lynn Toler
Guest
Lynn Toler
15 years 4 days ago

Mineral formulations will continue to be strong. A large portion of the population is getting on the environmental & healthy living bandwagon. Products that are not tested on animals and contain no harmful chemicals are top sellers in all categories. From automotive, clothing and food to HBA, this trend will continue to evolve.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
Carol Spieckerman
15 years 4 days ago

To me, mineral makeup is a fad that will pass in due time. I say that only because of my faith in exponential innovation within personal care/cosmetics in the coming years. I see close-to-the-earth products as being in their infancy and, much the way “anti-aging” has morphed into “looking great for your age,” mineral makeup will serve as a bridge to the next marketing concept/formulation innovation.

Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
15 years 4 days ago

The fact that products have minerals in them could certainly be trendy. For them to have staying power, the products have to have some long lasting benefit, such as reducing wrinkles or providing better skin tone. Just to have minerals for the sake of minerals is fine until the next thing comes along.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
15 years 4 days ago

I think mineral formulations will see consumers shifting to products that they perceive as more effective. Baby boomers are looking for that “fountain of youth” and if they think they can get it with new make up, they will spend the money to do so.

Andrea Learned
Guest
Andrea Learned
15 years 4 days ago

The mineral formulations are appealing to customers who used to use the more traditional make-up, but they are also drawing in a whole new group of women who had been holding out. Mineral formulations just sound more natural–immediately you hear/see the word “mineral” and it just seems organic/green/healthier, whether it is or not. This type of make-up hit the shelves/home shopping network at the right moment in time–when anything green/natural gets a much closer look from female consumers. I admit that I am one of the previously non-makeup types who bought into this approach, hook, line and sinker. This will change the make-up counter and drugstore shelves for good.

Kurt Jetta
Guest
Kurt Jetta
15 years 2 days ago

The market data would suggest that the Mineral Segment will be solid at least for the next three years. Anything after that is guess work. Another, more salient feature, could come along. When we predict the mid-term prospects of a Segment or Brand we look at Sales Productivity (i.e. Sales per SKU) and we look at Organic Growth (Growth independent of distribution gains). On both measures, the Mineral segment within Face looks very strong. Organic Growth, in particular, is a highly predictive measure of 2-3 year trends, and we have seen no deterioration in sales productivity of the segment as new brands enter the market.

Maureen Bernhagen
Guest
Maureen Bernhagen
15 years 18 hours ago
Mineral based cosmetic formulations have permanently changed at least the foundation category in this multi-billion dollar business. There is not a mineral make-up convert out there who would go back to using traditional foundations. The remarkable strategy behind the success of this product is not only in the the benefits but the “woman to woman” viral marketing story that has unfolded. Women are trying these mineral products as a result of the unsolicited recommendations of other women. Leslie Blodgett began a trend that has revolutionized the industry! Even though mineral products have been around a long time, she put the right marketing spin on her product and the rest is history. If the product didn’t do what it was supposed to do, it wouldn’t have become the runaway success that is still bringing in thousands of new customers every day. For female travelers, mineral make-up is the answer because it allows you to fit all of your other “liquid” essentials in that little quart baggy in order to pass through airport security! The product stays… Read more »
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