Herbal technology: Safety and efficacy concerns driving demand for ‘high-tech herbals’ in China’s beauty market

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Rising consumer concern for safety and efficacy is carving out demand for herbal cosmetic ingredients in China. ©Merck/Pechoin
Rising consumer concern for safety and efficacy is carving out demand for herbal cosmetic ingredients in China. ©Merck/Pechoin

Related tags Natural beauty market Skin care China c-beauty clean beauty

Rising consumer concern for safety and efficacy is carving out demand for herbal cosmetic ingredients in China’s cosmetics market, according to MNC Merck.

The German multinational firm said it was already seeing the demand for ‘high-tech herbal skin care’ growing domestically in China.

When consumers choose cosmetics or skin care product, the first thought in mind is to check if it is safe for the skin, especially under the circumstances, many consumers now think that they have sensitive skin,”​ said Krystal Tang, marketing executive, commercial cosmetics, Merck.

As such, pushing science-backed use of herbal ingredients can be one effective way for brands to speak to consumers.

“Herbal, derived from traditional Chinese medicine is a quite Chinese-style concept, delivering a sense of naturalness and safety. As such, herbal technology could meet consumer demand. There are a lot of Chinese brands using herbal as a brand story and we hold the opinion that there will be growing demands for high-tech herbal skin care in the future,” ​said Tang.

Most recently, the firm entered into strategic cooperation with local beauty brand Pechoin to develop and launch the Pechoin Zhenyan anti-wrinkle repair series.

The series’ core anti-ageing herbal ingredient, ProVTA, was developed jointly by Merck and Pechoin and claims to be a ‘special anti-ageing solution for Chinese women’.

According to the firm, it took the top specialists in dermatology 15 years and 1,000 tries to prove its effectiveness in diminishing visible wrinkles and preventing new ones.

It claimed that the range can stimulate biosynthesis of 75% mucopolysaccharide, reduce the loss of hyaluronic acid, increase the content of endogenous hyaluronic acid to 89%, promote collagen regeneration to repair and strengthen the dermis layer.

Global ambitions

Founded in the 1930s, Pechoin claims that it has been the top skin care brand in China since 2008.

The brand is rooted in the traditional Chinese medicine belief in using herbs in its products. However, it has been working to establish itself as cosmetics company rooted in science.

Last year, a Pechoin scientist was awarded Maison G De Navarre Young Scientist Prize at the 25th International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists Conference for a study into the skin microbiome.

“Given time, Pechoin will definitely lead the Chinese cosmetic brands to go global and integrate with the world class science and technology,”​ said IFSCC Global President Professor Juergen Lederman.

Through this partnership, Merck hopes to help Pechoin further secure a place on the global cosmetics stage.

Pechoin is not only targeting the China market, but also the global market as well. Pechoin now has certain influence in the world and it definitely would like to enhance its influence and step into the world arena. Merck, as an international company with 352 years history, is a good endorsement for Pechoin,” ​said Tang.

She added: “Their ambition was never limited to the domestic playground. Eventually, Pechoin will become a cosmetics tycoon with broad global presence.”

Moving forward, Tang said Merck hopes to continue working with more domestic Chinese brands to solidifying its position in the market.

“It’s important for us to work with domestic brands. The beauty and personal care industry in China is growing very fast in recent years and localisation is one of our key strategies in China to capture the market demands and approach customers. By cooperating with a domestic company like Pechoin, we can enhance our influence in the industry, gaining a firm foothold locally.”

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