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Imagine walking into a beauty boutique and walking out with a week’s worth of beauty-boosting groceries. Sound crazy? With companies like Origins and Korres launching edible items this summer and Sephora’s plans to introduce in-store “healthy and beauty bars” in its French doors this September, the notion is fast becoming a reality.
What started out as a mild flirtation (an “energizing” tea bag here, a collagen capsule there) is turning into a full-fledged obsession as the lines between beauty and food continue to blur. If it’s well-received, Sephora will export its “bar” concept, featuring about 10 brands of nutritional supplements and drinks (including Fushi, N.V. Perricone and Murad) to other countries.
Lizz Starr, executive director of Origins global product development, says, “When you think back, there [used to be just] topical treatments and prescriptions. With the introduction of dietary supplements in the last decade or so, vitamins got sexier. Next, theyy were translated to new forms like food—the birth of the ‘power bar.’ [Then, companies expanded] the benefits of these ‘functional foods’ from straight health to health and beauty.”
Credit indie innovator Scott Vincent Borba and his “nutraceutical” waters and candies for pioneering this modern hybrid category. In 2004, Borba introduced skin-clearing and antiaging waters, which were quickly snapped up by trendy retailers. Sephora set up special display coolers so that consumers could grab some beauty water along with their waterproof mascara. Where Borba dipped its toe, established brands are now diving in.
Origins is furthering its partnership with Dr. Andrew Weil with the July launch of Weil Bee-ings—three USDA certified organic honeys that aim to boost energy, digestion and immunity. Greek beauty brand Korres is rolling out a full line of natural products, including jams, instant drinks and spices. It’s to be sold in the company’s first U.S. store, opening in SoHo, in June.
In the meantime, there has been an influx of other beauty and food partnerships. Tarte has teamed up with Borba to launch Inside Out, vitamin-packed lip glosses that, when ingested (which gloss invariably is), purportedly fuels the body with essential vitamins. This month, DuWop partners with herbal beverage brand Elixir Tonics & Teas on Elixirstix, lip glosses infused with Chinese medicinal herbs to promote clarity, calmness, creativity and energy.
Another emerging trend is beauty lines made from organic food. “[It’s] healthier and better for the planet. Why not use those same ingredients in personal care? Sixty percent of what you put on your skin is absorbed, so why not put the purest thing on your skin?” says Origins’ Starr.
“You can’t separate food from cosmetics. Cosmetics are food and vice versa,” echoes Horst Rechelbacher, who founded Aveda and now runs Intelligent Nutrients, a brand of topical and edible beauty aids. “You can use [our products] in your food and on yourself. That’s what the game is. Why use petrochemical-based cosmetics? They’re toxic. Food is the alternative,” he says. If that is the case, then brands like his, Natural Organic Edible Cosmetics, 100% Pure and Aqua Dessa are prime for growth with products that aren’t just effective, but downright tasty, especially in the case of Aqua Dessa’s Hot Fudge Antioxidant Mask. Let’s see your moisturizer do that.