People are becoming as concerned about what they put on their skin as they are about what they eat

As pioneer of the ‘real women, real beauty’ message, Unilever UK Home and Personal Care’s Dove brand is one of the fastest growing in the skin-cleansing category, says Caroline Philiponnet, Dove cleansing brand manager.
“Research shows that consumers are looking for products that offer benefits above and beyond simple cleansing,” she says. To help deliver these improved benefits, Unilever has extended both its Dove and Lux bath and shower ranges this year.
The Dove body wash range, for example, is gaining Energy Glow and Fresh Touch variants in a move designed to move the brand from ‘just moisturising’ to ‘everyday pampering’, says Philiponnet, while the Dove bar soap range has been extended by a Cream Oil bar, with added natural oils.
Unilever also started a £3.5m campaign for its Dove brand in January, continuing its ‘real women’ theme; while the Lux bath and shower range has been extended with three new variants -
Glowing Touch, Sparkling Morning and Wine & Roses - based on premium ingredients such as Bordeaux grape extracts, wild rose essence and green tea.
Duchy Originals, which is extending its Waitrose non-food offering this year with the Duchy Collection body care range, also believes that a luxury indulgence/ performance product positioning is key to attract consumers away from its mainstream competitors.
The range, which includes bath and shower wash, face and body moisturisers, as well as an organic hard soap, is based on natural plant extracts and
aromatherapy essential oils, and is priced at £3.79 to £5.95. Says marketing director Richard Hogg: “If a brand is going to enter the market, then it has to offer something different.
“People are becoming as concerned about what they put on to their skin as they are about what they eat. I believe we can expect the trend in the growth and popularity of organic food to be replicated in the health and beauty arena, generating much greater demand for organic and natural alternatives.”
Waitrose has started listing five SKUs of Barefoot Botanicals’ SOS skincare range, the first time the company has been stocked in a mainstream grocery. Based on essential oils and botanical extracts, the range actively targets a niche of consumers with dry and irritated skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis, and is priced around the premium £8.95 for 50g mark.
Barefoot Botanicals’ founder Jonathan Stallick says: “Eczema sufferers will pay a premium for a product that works and word of mouth is a strong incentive to buy.”
Niche market positioning is also becoming evident in the haircare market, valued at £925m and growing 4.9% year-on-year [TNS 52 w/e Mach 27, 2005]. Unilever’s new Sunsilk Anti-Itch shampoo, for example, is targeted at consumers with light dandruff and a sensitive scalp.
“Almost a third of women claim to have an itchy scalp,” says Steve Kearns, Sunsilk brand manager. “Half of them do not use a specific product to solve their problems.”
Leicester-based RK Enterprises has also gained its first multiple listing with its Bigen hair colourants for Asian and Afro hair.
According to UK sales director Yatin Kotak, the range has been available in the UK, via the ethnic store sector, for more than 10 years but is now being stocked in Tesco due to the increasingly mainstream nature of ethnic consumer goods.