For each and every one of your customers, growing older—and, yes, looking older—isn’t a choice. It’s a reality. “When we are young, we have plenty of skin cells growing and regenerating all the time,” says Ariel Ostad, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “The problem is skin cells can divide only a certain number of times.” This means that as we age, the regenerative process decelerates. Collagen and elastin, compounds that keep skin looking plump and firm, start to break down. And that’s when wrinkles, sagging, discoloration and changes in skin texture set in.
As a retailer, understanding the factors that accelerate visible signs of aging (top culprits include UV exposure, smoking, sugar, alcohol, fried foods, lack of sleep and too much stress) is key to stocking and recommending top-notch products. So is knowing the importance of prevention (acting before these factors can have a major impact). According to market research firm SPINS, consumers are looking for antiaging solutions beyond just facial lotions and creams, which make up the vast majority of the $53 million natural antiaging skin care industry. Sales of antiaging cleansers and exfoliants grew almost 20 percent from Aug. 1, 2013, to Aug. 1, 2014, while age-defying facial masks experienced a 17 percent boost in sales. As for delivery systems, easy-to-apply and reapply roll-ons and sticks are gaining popularity for their convenience factor.
Customers won’t settle for anything less than a product that really works, fueling the continued growth of the science-meets-natural trend. So when choosing the best items to stock from the vast selection of “antiaging” lotions, creams and serums now available, focus on the science first. Seek out brands that rely on research that supports active ingredients (and, in some cases, finished products) and even formulate with the amounts used in clinical studies. Some of the most research-backed, hot-now ingredients include plant stem cells, peptides, vitamin A and plant enzymes. To ensure high quantities of these efficacious ingredients, many brands are eliminating cheap fillers—including water—right along with harsh synthetics.
Besides exciting new and science-backed ingredients, time-tested antiaging secrets from across the globe also remain hot. Two potent plant-based oils to look for: moringa and sea buckthorn. Natural personal care companies and retailers are also taking a more holistic approach to beauty education, fitting skin care products into a more comprehensive plan that includes diet and lifestyle. “There are always other things you can do to prevent premature weakening of the skin, to strengthen the skin and to help your body protect perfectly good cells,” says Suki Kramer, formulator and founder of natural skin care company Suki.
Merchandise for success
Share with your shoppers age-well recipes and other lifestyle information that complement a topical regimen. You can also cross-promote skin-supporting supplements such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. This type of synergistic approach will help propel the beauty-from-within space, which is largely focused on antiaging and prevention. “A healthy skin care product regimen, diet and lifestyle work in unison to minimize the existing signs of aging while preventing future lines, wrinkles and sagging skin,” Ostad says.
When offering comprehensive skin care advice, try to widen your customer base for this category. You might think the only shoppers looking for antiaging solutions are women already noticing the signs of time. But younger shoppers and even men are increasingly focused on maintaining their appearances early on. They are willing to experiment with new products if they believe they’ll see results.
One more tip for having a well-rounded antiaging product assortment: Don’t forget about sun care, even in the winter months. Whether for customers going on hot-weather getaways or for those who lead active outdoor lifestyles year-round, mineral-based sun protection has a place in your store beyond summer. And because everyday UV damage is a major cause of premature skin aging, stock plenty of daily-use lotions and other topicals that contain the mineral blockers zinc oxide and titanium oxide.
The success of any antiaging product depends on consistent use. So if you can educate a shopper about the benefits of natural antiaging solutions, you’ll have a customer for life.