Mahalia Soediono, Commercial Director, SEA, Australia & New Zealand, Dow Home & Personal Care, said that the winds of change in society are driving the company to emphasis diversity and inclusivity as key messages in their formulations.
“The world now is changing. People are now more accepting of the difference among others. If you look at SEA, this region itself is very diverse. We have many different religions, nationalities and heritage. Dow as a corporation is embracing this change.”
Cedric Toh, marketing manager, SEA, Australia & New Zealand, Dow Personal Care believes the market in SEA has yet to catch up in terms of creating inclusive products.
“If you take the ageing population as an example, you see that this group is more highlighted in the West and Japan. Most brand owners and formulators [in SEA] still focus on the mass part of the market, the younger, up and coming consumer rather than the older consumers,” said Toh.
He added: “We see this will probably happen in the coming years which is why we have it as one of our pillars.”
One of the formulations Dow has developed especially for the older consumer is Smooth my Neck, cream-gel that helps to soften the appearance of wrinkles on the neck with Dow’s AgeCap.
Soediono noted that there have not been many products launches in SEA at target neck care and the products available are not suitable for the region.
Catering to more needs
The company also hopes to address the diversity of skin tones in the SEA region with concepts such as Me, Myself & I, a customisable make-up base kit. This kit offers a solution for the need for products that cater to more skin tones.
“When Fenty Beauty launched its foundation in 50 shades, the ones that were sold out the fastest were the darkest shades. This means there’s a lot of hidden demand for products that cater to more diverse needs. This is important for SEA as well because it’s a region with many ethnicities,” said Toh.
Soediono highlighted that products like the Me, Myself & I kit can be formulated to be halal and customised with ingredients such as its anti-ageing ingredient AgeCap.
“This product truly covers all the pillars of diversity we are looking at,” she said.
Another area of focus for the company is halal beauty to tap into the bourgeoning Indonesian market.
“Indonesia is one of the priorities for halal cosmetics. There are local companies that have been very successful in this segment in Indonesia and they are expanding,” said Toh.
Additionally, he believes the growth of halal cosmetics in Indonesia will have a ripple effect on the rest of the region.
Male grooming on the rise
Dow is also keen to explore is genderless beauty and creating cosmetics for men as well as women.
“In South Korea for example, we are starting to see cosmetics targeted at males. We believe this is starting to cascade down into SEA. We are seeing it in Thailand, but the rest of the SEA region has not caught on.”
However, Toh added that it is just a matter of time before we start to see more countries in SEA accept male beauty concepts and products.
Soediono believes that celebrities such as the “immaculately groomed” David Beckham are shining a spotlight on male grooming. The football superstar recently partnered with the L’Oréal Group to launch his own men’s grooming line HOUSE 99.
Another category paving the way for genderless beauty is fragrances, said Soediono. “Perfume is really a pioneer in creating unisex products with their genderless fragrances. We believe this will extend into cosmetics.”