Onward and Inward: The 4th Beauty Step



Tess Wicksteed, Pearlfisher’s strategy director in New York, makes the case for adding an ingestible to current beauty regimens—and provides her opinion on what it can do for brand sales.


By Tess Wicksteed



In the past 15 years the beauty industry has encountered a significant and enduring shift. General public awareness has become increasingly focused on health and well-being, and few industries have remained unshaped by this rise in consumer consciousness. The beauty industry has been an integral part of this particular shift, utilizing consumers’ desires to live longer, stronger, cleaner lives to catapult a deluge of innovations in product, packaging, marketing and advertising. Even the language has changed. An industry that used to be designed around perfecting an image, defining an icon, and covering the unsightly has taken on a new name, the language transitioning from “cosmetics” to “skin care.” The concept of caring for and nurturing your skin now has more power and allure than the old magic of painting over it.

Clinique was one of the original pioneers in this transition from “cosmetics” to “skin care.” They made a streamlined skin care process iconic by innovating to match current market shifts and creating an accessible three-step routine. The company embraced growing demand and a shift in consumer thought and innovated both product and packaging to match that demand. Consumers not only changed their habits to incorporate this three-step regimen into their lives, they grew to trust the brand behind it. As a result, Clinique’s three-step skin care plan has remained a staple in beauty for over a decade. Clinique is just one great example of the importance of brand innovation. Innovation is at the heart of the big brand dynamic – it feeds its soul, keeps it alive, and propels it into the future. It is important that brands are conscious and aware of overarching shifts in the industry and innovate to match their consumers’ needs.

The consumer demand for nutritional supplements as part of a daily skin care routine is on the rise. This mirrors our global community’s rising concern with healthy living. Beauty supplements, also known as nutricosmetics, incorporate traditional skin care philosophy with philosophies from the vitamin and supplement industry. Nutricosmetics were first introduced to skin care routines by innovative dermatologists like Dr. Brandt and Dr. Perricone. Brands such as Yllume and Neal’s Yard Remedies from the UK, and Sue Devitt and Borba from the U.S. have quickly followed suit. Even Walgreens has hopped on the bandwagon, collaborating with Borba to create a line of supplements with skin benefits.

So what’s next? We know what the shifts are; we have identified the consumer desire for a product that further unites skin care and healthy living. But what new innovation in beauty will shape the future of skin care?

The 4th Step

Here at Pearlfisher we’ve fallen in love with a concept in beauty innovation that we call “the 4th step.” The 4th step is a cross pollination of all that we’ve been talking about: the evolution of skin care, the demand for a more holistic approach to beauty, the new focus on health from the inside out. Our 4th step is to set a brand apart with a new innovation in ingestible beauty - combining skin care with a beverage and a brand.

This concept is accessible for many reasons; ingestible cosmetics work in a way our concealer cannot, beautifying from the inside out, and they also fulfill a consumer demand for a more holistic beauty product. Furthermore, the concept allows an existing brand to expand the confines of their beauty range and become a trusted leader in beauty and innovation.

While the general concept of ingestible beauty isn’t exactly news, nobody out there is owning it as an integral part of the skin care regime. L’Oreal worked with Nestle to create Inneov, a supplement in pill form, and similarly Dove Spa’s Strength Within is marketed as an inside out pill to supplement your beauty regime. But these are brand asides and don’t retain the accessibility of traditional cosmetics. An innovative brand expansion that incorporates ingestible beauty into the everyday beauty regime is both accessible and exciting.

Is there a market for this type of innovation? Absolutely. An established brand can leverage strong brand identity to make innovation extremely successful. Drawing on established visual cues, clear marketing, and the trust derived from the heritage and integrity of the brand, this type of innovation can catapult brands to newfound success and set standards in innovation for the rest of the industry. Innovation also shows a brand’s engagement with its consumer and is about elevating the brand to the next level. (The only caveat being that an innovative new product has to work. It cannot fall short, or it will diffuse brand message and dilute brand equity.)

As Clinique’s three-step program showed us, by leveraging smart innovation with strong brand identity, brands can revolutionize the beauty industry and match the growing demand for health-conscious skin care.

Raise a glass to the future of beauty.

About the Author: Tess Wicksteed is Pearlfisher’s strategy director in New York. Contact her at www.pearlfisher.com