Simple, green and effective: Whitening claims alone not compelling enough for Asian consumers

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Whitening claims on their own are no longer enough for Asian consumers. ©GettyImages
Whitening claims on their own are no longer enough for Asian consumers. ©GettyImages

Related tags Skin whitening trends

Whitening claims on their own are no longer enough for Asian consumers who are looking to maximise what they get from increasingly simple routines.

That’s according to Lisa Lien, marketing manager of Taiwan-based cosmetic ingredient supplier Corum, who is certain that whitening or brightening skin care products will continue to remain in high demand for the Asian market.

“Just walking into a cosmetics retail shop in Asia, you can always see a whitening skin care section. Asian women want that clear, even and radiant skin. In media advertising campaigns, you will see that bright skin is the ambassador of beauty in Asia,” ​said Lien.

She added that the category will continue to grow and be driven by consumer awareness of the skin damage that can be caused by UV light, such as hyperpigmentation.

Their increasing knowledge of skin care will push cosmetic companies to innovate in order to keep up with more demanding consumers.

“Currently in the market what we're seeing is consumers are after multi-benefit active ingredients. They are looking for powerful antioxidants that improve their skin tone and at the same time bring other benefits for their skin,”​ said Snow Hsieh, international sales manager at Corum.

Hsieh believes we will continue to see more products that address additional concerns aside from whitening as the minimalist beauty movement continues to spread.

“Consumers are looking to minimalise or shorten their skin care process, but they want it to be efficacious at the same time. So, they need very powerful high-concentration antioxidants, such as Vitamin C.”

Hsieh elaborated that vitamin C will continue to be one of the most important ingredients of the skin whitening and brightening category. “The main advantage of vitamin C is that consumers recognise it as powerful and safe at the safe at the same time.”

Shifting priorities

Not surprisingly, cosmetic ingredient suppliers are looking to innovate in the whitening segment with sustainability in mind.

However, especially in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Hsieh expects consumers to shift their priorities.

“When we talk about being green, it’s not just about being natural anymore. Especially this period of time when the world is fighting against COVID-19, people understand being natural is not the priority.”

She elaborated that the priority will shift to safety and efficacy. “When it comes to whitening, it is even more important for us to meet all the criteria of being safe, stable and potent.”

Additionally, as consumers form the habit of more frequent hand washing and hand sanitising, Hsieh predicts they will begin to seek out powerful ingredients that can “enhance their skin’s protective mechanism”.

“We have very good ingredients for this, such as Et-VC, a very stable and potent vitamin C derivative that can also increase hyaluronic acid in our skin, a very important factor to keep skin protected and moisturised.”

‘White’ skin not the hallmark of beauty

While consumers will continue to pursue products with the whitening claim, Lien noted that the perception of whitening itself will change.

“Pale, white skin is no longer the goal of skin whitening. Instead, consumers want clear, even skin that glows from within regardless of skin tone or shade.”

She predicts that in the next three to five years, this will lead the segment towards the personalise beauty space, where improving technology will allow consumers to obtain products that are customised to their natural skin tone while achieving that healthy glow.

This will be further enhanced by more beauty technology and gadgets.

Additionally, she believes we will see the skin whitening claim in the male grooming category.

“We will always see the claim whitening and it will continue to be the pursuit of Asian consumers, even as they incorporate other concepts like wellness or skin health.”

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