How to Help Your Natural Beauty Brand Stand Out

Natural beauty isn’t stuck in healthfoods stores anymore – it’s big business. Persistence Market Research recently shared predictions that the natural beauty market will be worth over $20 billion by the end of 2024.

The green beauty explosion is part and parcel of a wider consumer trend towards products that boast fewer chemicals, transparent origins, and social and ecological values. A recent study found that 75 percent of consumers will pay extra for “clean label” food products with entirely recognizable ingredient lists. Another survey found that 50 percent of women over 35 and 73 percent of millennial women prioritize buying natural beauty products.

Many people enjoy using makeup and beauty products, but it takes a special level of commitment to launch a natural beauty brand. Just like starting any other small business, founding a makeup or skincare line takes work. But thanks to the booming natural beauty market, there might be no better time to take the plunge.

After you’ve formulated high-quality natural makeup and skincare products, how do you help them stand out from the growing crowd of competing products? Here are some tips on doing just that:

Don’t Just Leave it at “Natural”

As more and more brands get in on the green beauty trend, a problem is emerging for consumers: words such as “natural” or “healthy” don’t necessarily communicate what products contain. This phenomenon is already well-recognized in the natural foods industry, where a recent study found that 35 percent of consumers are sometimes “confused by what the labels on food packages are actually saying.” The FDA has no legal standards for labeling cosmetics “Natural” or “Healthy,” opening the door to a wide variety of interpretations and creating doubt in consumers trying to stay informed.

Millennials crave transparency when it comes to their purchases, so create your products and packages with an eye towards a highly readable ingredient list. Neutrogena’s Naturals line, for example, lists the specific source of each ingredient, so consumers know that “Cocamidopropyl Betaine” comes from a coconut rather than a lab. Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced line explains the purpose of including each ingredient in their products on their website.

Some products may qualify for USDA organic certification, and other certifications are available from groups such as Certech Registration Inc. (who screen products for the IOS Cosmetics Standard). These certifications can help your consumers tell the difference between buzzword “natural” claims and genuine ingredient standards. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which runs the popular “Skin Deep Guide,” recently began letting brands use the “EWG Verified” mark to identify when they pass toxicity standards. Anyone can apply for the mark with adequate documentation.

Explicitly labeling what your products don’t contain can also help consumers make judgment calls. Many shoppers, for example, won’t buy products containing parabens, so visibly labeling your products paraben-free helps you stand out for those consumers.

Pay Attention to Aesthetics

A 2014 study from San Francisco State University found that aesthetics drive brand loyalty among car purchasers even more than practical concerns such mileage per gallon. If aesthetics drive brand loyalty when it comes to expensive, multi-year investments like vehicles, imagine how they shape makeup purchases! Every brand today has to take design and aesthetics into consideration, but in the inherently aesthetic world of makeup, a clever and appealing design is even more necessary.

“It’s Time We All Admit That It’s Cool To Buy Makeup Just For The Packaging” read a recent Bustle headline. “Instagrammable” packaging will give your brand a boost, and even drive consumers to pay more for it than they would if it came without any conscious design choices. Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist interviewed in a recent Allure article, explained that “A high price tag or gorgeous packaging allows us to believe that a product is going to work more effectively than a cheaper version, and then we can justify investing in it.”

Though some beauty lines embrace a busy, fun aesthetic, it’s not for every line. A recent Glamour article attributed some of Glossier’s success to its minimalist packaging: “An absence of overt messaging on the bottle makes you think the brand has your best interests, not theirs, in mind.” For natural beauty lines, the value of minimalist design (albeit carefully constructed minimalist design) can likewise signal a commitment to transparency.

Likewise, avoid the mistake of making your aesthetic too “hippie.” Allure’s recent list of the ten best natural makeup brands demonstrates that companies don’t have to festoon their products with trees and peace signs to signal their commitment to non-toxic ingredients. The best design ethos will communicate both millennial-friendliness through “Instagrammable” aesthetics and a commitment to natural beauty formulation principles.

Your packaging is critical, but if you’re launching an e-store–and many newer makeup companies, such as mega-hit brand Glossier, distribute their products mostly or entirely online–then you need to pay attention to website and logo design, too. Tools such as the Oberlo logo maker can help you create a logo that communicates your brand’s unique identity, values, and design principles.

There are more and more natural beauty lines out there — but there’s also a vast and growing consumer base for these cleaner, simpler products. Make use of your products’ formulation and design credentials to stand out from the crowd.

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