I have a (sort of) secret addiction: oral beauty supplements, AKA nutricosmetics (A hybrid of cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals). I take upwards of 20 supplements a day and I’m convinced that they have a significant impact on my skin, hair and nails. I actually feel a mild panic when I miss a day, kind of like when I like skip using my beloved Clarisonic.
Nutricosmetics can come in the form of beverages, powdered stick packs, gummies or functional foods (and I’ve tried all of them!). It’s such an interesting category because it’s virtually untapped here in the U.S., yet it is not a small market – global sales are roughly $5B with 70% of this coming from only two countries – China and Japan.
Not to say no one has tried to make this work in the states – there have been several failed attempts by some major players. Nestle tried with Glowelle, Proctor and Gamble went there with Olay vitamins, and L’Oreal had a deal with Coca Cola for a product called Lumelle which never got off the ground. The one brand I thought might have finally cracked the code was Borba – back around 2006 this range of skin beautifying waters, gummies and more was carried by Sephora and then bought by Anheuser-Busch in an effort to bring the concept to the masses. Then it promptly disappeared. And now with L’Oreal and Nestle wrapping up their failed joint venture innéov, we’re clearly not there yet.
So where is the disconnect? Well to start, the concept of “beauty from within” has been hardwired into women in Europe and Asia, along with what many of us in the states still consider “alternative” therapies – natural herbal remedies, acupuncture, etc. So it’s simply a harder sell over here. I think it’s going to take a fabulous product line (offered in an extremely convenient form) backed by a credible expert – not just big marketing $$ – to make the habit of augmenting beauty with nutrition finally stick.
Although it’s clearly going to be an uphill battle, I predict that in the next five years oral beauty supplements will break into the mainstream and begin to play a significant role in our beauty regimens. They’ve certainly won a place in mine!