When It Comes to Personal Care, Ingredients Matter

When It Comes to Personal Care, Ingredients Matter

Today, marketing claims on packaging are no longer the end-all, be-all for reaching health-conscious consumers. While these claims, which are often found on the front of the product packages, provide easy-to-read visual indicators of healthy attributes like ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘free from’ artificial ingredients, consumers are now turning packages over to the nutrition facts panel to check the list of ingredients.

As consumers become more cautious of ingredients like added sugars in the foods they eat and beverages they consume, their growing demand for transparency does not end in the food aisles. Now more than ever before, consumers are keen to know if the products they put onto their skin are safe to use. From lotions and soaps to shampoos and conditioners, personal care products that consumers put onto their skin—the body’s largest organ—get absorbed into our system.

With that in mind, manufacturers of personal care items and the retailers that sell these products need to understand how consumer demand for specific ingredients and product attributes translate to market performance.

The demand for natural is apparent in consumers’ preferences for all products: 51% of households view natural as important. The demand for natural can also be felt in the personal care aisle. Personal care products with a natural label claim grew 9.1% from the previous year, despite only driving 3% of total sales when compared to conventional products without the claim.

As with food and beverage products, the data also shows that consumers are taking a closer look at ingredients in the personal care category. Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight, shows that personal care products that are free from ingredients such as sulfates and parabens are on the rise. What’s more, personal care products free from those ingredients, as well as those with naturally derived products from botanicals, that were also paired with a natural label, a more familiar claim, saw double digit growth rates.

Natural claims and free from ingredients aren’t the only things driving growth across the personal care aisle. Items like shampoo and conditioners are gaining inspiration from the produce section, with some of the top selling superfoods showing up as ingredients in these hair cleansing products. For example, strawberries as an ingredient in personal care products saw growth of 107%, while coconut oil as an ingredient in these products grew 28% in the last year.

While consumers may need some support to understand ingredients like sulfates and parabens, it’s first critical that personal care manufacturers and retailers understand how specific ingredients—in addition to those with a natural claim—are growing across the store.


Insights for this article were derived from:

  • Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight, 52 Weeks Ended May 6, 2017
  • Nielsen Answers on Demand, 52 Weeks Ended April 29, 2017
  • Nielsen Wellness Track, 52 Weeks Ended April 29, 2017
  • Nielsen Ailment Panel, 2016
  • Nielsen Global Ingredients Report, August 2016