Exclusive interview

Water sources are getting an upgrade

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Water sources are getting an upgrade
Vivienne Rudd, Director of Global Innovation and Insight, beauty and personal care at Mintel discusses the use of fruit extracts in water to communicate a healthy and attractive marketing message to consumers.

Brands are now exploring water as a creative component by utilising ingredients such as banana and watermelon.

An active ingredient

“Water has long been prized by spa and dermocosmetic brands as a carrier of valuable trace elements, but this is now being extended so that water is almost regarded as an active ingredient in its own right,”​ revealed Vivienne Rudd, Director of Global Innovation and Insight, beauty and personal care, at Mintel.

Over the next ten years, “Water – the new luxury”​ is one of four main trends expected to dramatically take hold in the global beauty and personal care industry, Mintel emphasised.  

It is highly popular as water “carries with it an image of purity, freshness and, in some instances, exoticism”. It is also an ingredient that is part of “everyday life” and so is “immediately relatable” to consumers.

There are also those formulators that focus on the relevant concepts of sustainability and nature. As a result, “botanical waters carry the same attractors as H2O but also bring with them a sustainability story in that their use doesn't deplete valuable drinking water stocks, while they bring a host of functional and sensorial benefits,”​ Rudd added.

“All-encompassing wellbeing”​ is one of the main drivers leading the water trend. “What could be more natural and more life-supporting than water?”​ Rudd asks.

Forming a relationship

There are other factors at play though. A story, for example, “is a vital part of a product's relationship with consumers, so water that comes from a particular source—the more attractive and sustainable the better—helps to underline that there is something special and highly functional about a product”.

Rudd identified that provenance adds “another layer to the story, enabling brands to link it with particular benefits to add an element of luxuriousness in some cases”.

Banana water

Banana water is pitched as the next big thing in water. This is largely due to the fact that “beauty ingredient trends are often closely linked with food and drink trends”.

Containing vitamin C, potassium and magnesium sources, banana water is considered an excellent ingredient in skin care and hair care products. South Korean beauty and personal care leader, LG, has advocated banana extract, rather than water, for its nourishment and moisturising properties.

Beauty brands in Asia have also delved into banana’s antiseptic and energising features in hand and foot creams. Banana water now provides a new and exciting offering, which enables brands to present a healthy marketing message that leverages established trust in fruit and water.

As a result, Mintel believes that “banana water is a contender for a future botanical water candidate”.

This largely down to the fact that “bananas are a familiar food and are packed with skin-caring components that can add something unique to a formulation and marketing story”​, Rudd highlighted.

Food and drink: building trust

The industry saw water increasingly entering formulations in 2017. In 2018 and beyond, brands will access the new sources of water. Beauty companies will seek to “enrich their formulations with various fruit, vegetable and herb waters that offer an element of distinctiveness and reassurance, promising extra benefits and a layer of glamour”.

The overlap between food and drink, cosmetics and wellbeing is now extremely close. As such, beauty brands can appeal to consumers’ existing trust in food and drink-related items to introduce them in cosmetics.

Watermelon and cactus

That is why fruit waters such as watermelon are expected to take off and generate interest that currently exists for coconut water, for example. Consumers are seeking healthy alternatives, and through its vitamins and moisturising benefits, brands will be looking to watermelon in the coming years.

The uniqueness of cactus as an ingredient is proving popular in a number of formulations and marketing efforts. Prickly pear cactus extract has pricked the interest of consumers.  Nature Republic Soothing & Moisture Cactus 92% Soothing Gel, for instance, has achieved this through promoting the gel, which contains prickly pear grown in the Korean district of Pyeongchang.

Nature Republic plans to maximise transparency by demonstrating the amount of extract in the formulation. Cactus can also feature in fragrances to create body sprays and splashes, along with post-exercise lotions.   

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