Personal care products that aren’t clearly targeted to either men or women are gaining traction. The boom comes on the heels of demand for more products for men, and that encompasses those not identified for only one gender.
Clean beauty retailer Credo is among the merchants on the hunt for brands built for everyone, according to Michelle Connelly, director of merchandising and planning. Credo is rolling out a brand called Non Gender Specific (NGS), which she said checked the box with its tagline “the brand for all humans.” It is Credo’s first genderless brand on its shelves and online.
“Gender-fluidity and inclusivity are having a huge impact on the industry right now,” said Andrew Glass, founder and chief executive officer of Non Gender Specific.
While products such as the range from Deciem have pioneered genderless positionings, here are three up-and-coming lines ramping up retail expansion.
You May Also Like
Non Gender Specific (NGS):
Non Gender Specific and its debut item, The Everything Serum, is rolling out in all Credo stores and online this month. For Credo, it helps cut through confusion in the skin-care department. “Skin care can be difficult to navigate with so many products on the market, so we love that the [Non Gender Specific] Everything Serum is easy to understand and direct about the skin-care concerns it addresses,” said Connelly. “It also has tons of powerful ingredients like algae, mushroom, caffeine, and pine bark, so it’s a great multifunctional product for anyone.”
The 100 percent natural and vegan Everything Serum is a multi0tasker—it moisturizes, brightens and firms skin, reduces pore size and improves elasticity. The launch at Credo follows a blockbuster partnership with FabFitFun. Within 48 hours of working with the subscription services, NGS sold 5,000 bottles of its Everything Serum.
Non Gender Specific’s devoted three years to developing the brand’s identity and almost two years on the formula which launched last December. “I guess I’ve always had a neutral view of the world, never looking at things and labeling them ‘male’ or ‘female’… even from a young age. I’ve grown up never associating gender with items,” he said.
The concept of a completely inclusive brand started from nearly a decade of growing frustrations with how segregated the beauty industry was, he added. “I couldn’t understand how an industry that thrived on innovation could be so ‘backward’ when it came to who the products were being marketed to,” Glass said. Beyond the gender-neutral positioning, he also wanted his products to help reduce consumer waste. The Everything Serum, tackles such a wide range of skin concerns with nearly 23 natural ingredients. “We wanted a product that could replace several, which we have done successfully.”
Glass admitted retailers still struggle with how to merchandise gender-fluid items. “Right now, we’re being presented next to other clean beauty brands, however as this movement becomes more of the ‘norm,’ I think there will be less confusion. The serum retails for $65 for a 1.7-ounce bottle. New items are in the works, such as a cleanser.
Asarai does double-duty, tapping high-performance, natural ingredients from the Australian Outback along with a gender-neutral positioning. After being diagnosed in 2002 with an autoimmune disease, cofounder Trish Rynenberg did a deep dive into natural remedies. Inspired by her journey, Rynenberg’s son Jay and daughter-in-law Patrice created Asarai, a six-item range harnessing the power of core ingredients such as Kakadu plum, Australian Red Clay, Australian White Kaolin Clay, Chondrus Crispus, Linden Flower, tropical fruit extract and other ingredients for brightening, toning and age-defying results. The range includes a cleanser, moisturizer, mask, oil and two serums ranging in price from $28.85 to $49.95. The line has just been added to the beauty assortment on Urban Outfitters’ online store. “Our packaging definitely appeals to both genders,” said Rynenberg. “Our business is about evenly split, and a lot of guys reach out to us for advice.”
Founded by celebrity and editorial makeup artist Gloria Noto, Noto Botanics is an all-natural, gender fluid, multi-use cosmetics brand with ingredients selected for healing qualities. Noto was making her own line of products and at first figured the last thing the world needed was another cosmetics brand. “However, when I really thought about it, I knew there was something much bigger that I wanted to do with a product line, should I make one. I wanted to expand on the typical ideals of what wellness looked like — especially in gender and background. I wanted to share the imagery and the stories behind those who didn’t fit into the ‘cookie-cutter’ looks of wellness brands while also pushing the importance of knowing that what you use on your skin holds value to not only your health but also the ripple effect that consumerism has on the globe,” she said.
There were not many gender-fluid brands with a minimal aesthetic when she started. The concept began catching on, she said, as consumers looked for more transparency. “If a brand is selling you something geared toward your gender, it’s often a form of marketing, and feels potentially untrue.”
One of the bestsellers has been the Deep Serum, a universal hydrator for day and night. Sales have been fueled by positive reviews. “Additionally, our color products are makeup that acts like skin care and is incredibly versatile from subtle washes to opaque extremes. Our Agender Oil for anywhere body hair and skin, has 100 percent of profits go toward rotating organizations each month. We have been able to donate to the likes of the LA LGBT center, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s Center for Creative Work — so it’s great for your leg hair and your community,” she said.
Noto likes combining direct-to-consumer with the choice of stores. The company is opening its first physical flagship in Echo Park, Calif. early next year. The store will sell products as well as offer makeup applications, events along with lifestyle merchandise.