Natural Cosmetics Gain Market Share

The natural cosmetics market is growing more than any other segment within Italy’s cosmetics industry.

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“I’m interested in not just making people look good, but feeling good, too,” said Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, who was mapping out the European debut of Intelligent Nutrients, his plant-based beauty line at the fair’s new green space dubbed Cosmoprof Nature.

This story first appeared in the April 23, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The brand is set to roll out in London’s newly renovated Selfridges beauty hall this spring and will open in Hong Kong at Lane Crawford and Nicole in the fall. Rechelbacher is in talks with a Japanese distributor and the product is stocked in 250 Whole Foods’ stores in the U.S. as well as Barneys New York. His main contention is that cosmetics should only be used if the body can tolerate them. “If luxury makes you sick, it is outdated,” said Rechelbacher.

Antonio Argentieri, president of L’Erbolario and Unipro’s natural cosmetics division, pointed out the natural cosmetics market is growing more than any other segment within Italy’s cosmetics industry.

In 2009, the market grew 4.9 percent compared with 0.8 percent for the total market, even though natural products only represent 3.7 percent. One of the strengths of the market, according to Argentieri, is that “natural consumers have more fidelity.” He proudly notes his company has a 37 percent market share in health food stores, representing half of the distribution in this category. L’Erbolario also outstripped the growth of this sector with an 8.8 percent gain in 2009. Argentieri sees no slowdown in the growth of the natural category.

Lepo, one of the few producers of natural makeup, launched a new concept of baked products, mineral powders mixed with a type of clay and water and baked like a cake, in Tuscan-inspired colors. The range also features two completely organic products — a foundation consisting of shea butter, almond and jojoba oils that retails for 20 euros, or approximately $27, and a mascara with additional iron oxide for color, that retails for 14 euros, or approximately $19.

Mark Wuttke, president of the Wuttke consultancy group, suggested the reason the industry is not being wholeheartedly embraced is because leading cosmetic manufacturers need to step up and support a bigger piece of the sector.

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