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Body Care: Beauty’s Next Big Thing

The category is seeing rapid growth — and more brands entering the sector to capitalize on it.

A single white space has emerged in an oversaturated beauty market: body care.

Surprisingly, the category represents just nine percent of the overall $5.4 billion prestige skin-care market in the U.S., according to data from NPD, which puts body-care sales for the 12 months ending Sept. 30 at just $275.8 million. Body moisturizers comprise the largest share of the category, with $126 million in sales, followed by body cleansers with $47.4 million in sales. While this is a very small portion of an otherwise substantial sector of beauty, it’s only growing. Retailers and brands globally told WWD they’re witnessing a marked uptick in body-care sales as of late, coupled with piqued consumer interest stemming from a cultural fixation on full-body wellness.

And the boom isn’t limited to the higher-end. It’s hitting from the mass level at Amazon all the way up to prestige and luxury at retailer Cos Bar. Body care knows no age, either, spanning from women as young as 20 rushing to buy cellulite or stretch mark treatments to Baby Boomers willing to purchase any product that promises to reduce the appearance of sagging skin.

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So forget color or introducing another vitamin C serum or face oil — body is where brands should look if they’re seeking to bolster business. Just ask companies like Sisley Paris which, according to Jim Maki, president of Sisley USA, is seeing body care grow five times as fast as skin care in the U.S. Year-to-date body revenues are up 50 percent since 2016, maintained Maki, who attributed this to two all-star launches: the $180 Neck Cream released last year and the $190 White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs that hit counters in March. Both have already inched their way into the top five and top 10 best-selling products company-wide, respectively.

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At the other end, Aquaphor’s $11.59 Healing Ointment is the bestseller of Amazon’s nearly $100 million body-care business.

According to data from One Click Retail, total body-care sales on Amazon in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 14 totaled $95 million, making up about 14 percent of skin-care products on the marketplace. Sales in the category have increased 47 percent year-over-year, with skin care as a whole growing at about 46 percent. After Aquaphor’s Advanced Therapy Healing OintMent Skin Protectant 14-oz. jar, bestsellers include Bio-Oil 4.2 oz.: Multiuse Skin Care Oil; CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion, 12 oz.; Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing Lotion, 18 oz., and Vanicream Skin Cream with Pump, 16 oz.

There’s no doubt that beauty’s body-care uptick is the result of the wellness mania that has infiltrated the minds and wallets of consumers — and not just those who frequent boutique fitness studios, invest in ath-leisure that can be worn in or outside of the gym, drink matcha and ingest any number of superfoods to keep skin glowing and the body taut. And similar to any movement, the obsession with wellness has pushed existing brands to innovate on existing body ranges as well as birthed a handful of new players, many adhering to clean and organic philosophies or applying scientific learnings.

“This is where this desire for self-improvement and wellness is merging into body care. It’s pushed it from a white space to an essential life tool. Body care will be as ubiquitous as your personal trainer and mindfulness coaches. It’s become an extension of what we want. Wellness will no longer begin and end with physical and diet,” Loretta Miraglia, La Mer’s senior vice president of product development and innovation, told WWD.

Miraglia said that although the brand has a legacy in body –—La Mer introduced its first body treatments in 1997 — the category is “absolutely on the rise.” Like its skin care, all body products are formulated with the brand’s proprietary Miracle Broth that’s said to have anti-inflammatory properties. The current rage consists of The Body Crème and The Reparative Body Lotion, which retail for $195 to $275 and $195, respectively. This summer, a limited-edition Glowing Body Oil, $100, joined the lineup and “went like wildfire,” she said. Next year La Mer will add to its body range, but the executive was vague about details.

“The consumer mind-set is changing and the trend is with us. Maybe 20 years ago it might have been a little ahead of our time, but right now we’re right on trend. It’s not pampering anymore; it’s a cerebral and emotional movement,” Miraglia added.

Le Labo introduced its first body offering last month, and in September, Glossier exploded into the category with Body Hero. The three-year-old brand’s Daily Oil Wash and Daily Perfecting Cream duo launched with a corresponding campaign featuring real women that sent legions of Glossier fanatics into a frenzy.

Similar to face care, the category has seen an influx of body oils promising to contour, tone and/or hide imperfections, specifically on the extremities that become visible when one goes sleeveless or wears a dress. And if this still isn’t enough motivation to get one to bare their legs, Alleven London’s tinted body treatment with skin-care ingredients that launched last month promises the formula won’t transfer onto surroundings or bedding.

But some consumers are still seeking more. Camouflaging perceived trouble areas by slathering oil or body foundation on is just a quick fix that won’t do much in the way of eradicating the issue in the long-term. Luckily for this group, there are now at-home tools to turn to that can address the root of the problem. Beauty Bioscience adapted its cult Glopro microneedling device for the face into an all-over body tool with a more than twice the size body attachment last year that promises the same collagen-stimulating and skin-regenerating benefits for trouble areas like “crepey knees.” Soon the brand will release the Power Patch Collection for the body, a number of targeted masks for the knees, abs, underarms, the backside and thighs — all soaked in a host of active ingredients specific to the area they’re intended for.

There is also a slew of serums with active ingredients and new technologies, including Bioeffect’s Body Intensive. The serum contains epidermal growth factors developed by scientists, who based the entire brand on the Nobel Prize-winning discovery about EGF’s in 1986.

Ren credits the introduction of its athletic-inspired Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium body-care line earlier this year as a key driver of the brand’s growth in 2017. The eight products, which range from $23 for hand wash to $65 for a toning body oil (it launched in the U.S. this week), are only the second group specifically targeted for the body to launch since the brand’s inception in 2000. In fact, the U.K.-based brand started as a body line when it introduced its Moroccan Rose collection, at the time billed as one of the first clean body-care offerings in the prestige space. Currently, 15 of Ren’s 65 stockkeeping units are dedicated to the body.

The new range has a clear point of differentiation, according to Arnaud Meysselle, chief executive officer of Ren. The products focus on antifatigue benefits and are very much in line with the “megatrend of ath-leisure.” The Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Antifatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub, $49, he noted, has already become one of the top 10 best-selling products company-wide.

“It’s interesting: People say that, roughly, the market size [for body] is between 15 and 20 percent of the skin-care business in the U.K. It’s a lower portion [of the overall business], but we see it growing. Body care is growing at 25 percent,” said Meysselle, revealing that body-care sales account for over 20 percent of Ren’s business today.

Meysselle believes the role of physical retail is more critical to moving products for body than ones for the face because one has to “smell it and [form an] attachment even more so than with face care.” The introduction to body in-store could be critical to point of sale, he said.

For Meant, founded by 20-year fashion veteran Lindsay Knaak-Stuart, body was a space in which she knew she wanted to play. Beyond the category remaining what she called “the only white space in the beauty industry,” she looked at it from a surface area perspective. If one thinks about sheer surface space, Knaak Stuart pointed out, the body is a much larger organ than the face.

“If you’re trying to convince someone to move into cleaner, non-toxic products, get them to start in their shower first and you’ll make the biggest difference and biggest impact from the health perspective,” Knaak-Stuart said, adding that she purposely decided not to do face care nor does she have any plans to do so in the near future. “The space is so extremely crowded, and truthfully, if I have to see another face oil I’m going to freak out. The world does not need another face oil.”

Knaak-Stuart debuted her line in April with five multitasking products that include The Every Body Bar that doubles as a non-drying hand soap, $23, and The Absolute Balm, a hydrating oil serum for body, hair and face that retails for $45. Everything in the line, she said, must have a minimum of two functions and ideally three. The line is sold at and and Knaak-Stuart is currently in talks with potential retail partners.

Her goal is to be the Marie Kondo of the beauty space, where one can minimize his or her routine and amount of products simply by using The Do-All Wash, Meant’s $31 shampoo, body and face wash in one.

“I’m hyper-aware of what’s happening in the market. Glossier launched two body products two weeks ago and Le Lebo launched last week with body. I see that as a good thing. It’s super competitive but the conversation is turning to the shower right now, which is a really positive thing. Nobody was taking selfies in their shower because it just wasn’t happening,” Knaak-Stuart said.

Jamie O’Banion, cofounder and ceo of Beauty Bioscience, wanted to invent an entirely new body treatment that didn’t yet exist in the market. Her approach was to create a series of targeted products because the skin around the knees is different than the skin on the thighs or backside. For her, it was not just where women were feeling self-conscious, but why they felt this way, she explained. From focus groups, the team at Beauty Bioscience learned that women were bothered by lack of firmness, cellulite, spots, stretch marks and the area above the knees, the number-one issue voiced by women.

“It’s ridiculous for a woman with great legs to not feel empowered to wear shorts because she can’t stand the crepe-y skin above her knees. We had to change that and arm women with what they need to feel confident about each and every body part,” O’Banion said.

After spending over a year putting the right technology into place, the brand’s new Power Patch Collection for body will go on sale later this month. One body part will launch at a time, she said, starting with hands and underarm patches in November, knees in February and abs and thighs in April (the first under-eye patches were released in February).

O’Banion likened Power Patches to a face mask for the body. It adheres to the skin but is dry on the backside, it’s formulated with active ingredients at the right pH and has a MicroClimate technology delivery system that’s effective yet flexible and thin enough to stay and place (and remain discreet). The patches are made from a HydroGel material that has varying elasticity depending on the body part, developed from a proprietary material derived from a Korean seaweed.

The 35-year-old Dallas native knew the demand for body products was there (she maintained this was the biggest request since the original Glopro came out in April 2016), but she got all the proof she needed when she launched the body attachments to her Glopro device on HSN last fall. In just one day as a Today’s Special, $4 million worth of these attachments were sold.

“The craziest part is that HSN said, ‘Jamie, I don’t think we should launch anything body in the fall. It’s very seasonal, it’s April through September.’ And I said, ‘You need to trust me, if a woman has cellulite or stretch marks, it bothers her as much in October as in July,'” O’Banion said. “When you’re naked as a jay bird in front of the mirror it doesn’t matter what the month is; those body issues bother you every single day.”

O’Banion pleaded with HSN to give her just five minutes to sell 500 units, but she wound up selling 2,500 units in that time — at midnight.

“I’ve never had an item run that quickly that fast,” said O’Banion, adding that customers range from twentysomethings to the 71-year-old woman who once told her that she takes her Glopro Body Head camping with her and “Glopros by the campfire.”

For Lily Garfield, founder and cochairman of Cos Bar, it’s not Millennials who are rushing to buy body serums, creams and oils: It’s consumers 50-years-old and up.

“We as Baby Boomers, we’re all in very good shape. We’re still wearing shorts or short dresses and sleeveless. We’re looking at our legs and arms and saying, ‘Help.’ These are your people. These are the Baby Boomers buying this product and then their daughters will start buying these things,” Garfield said.

The luxury beauty retailer is seeing double-digit growth in its body category, and for brands not yet in on the fast-growing sector, Garfield strongly urged them to “please start applying whatever research you’re doing for the face to arms and legs.”

At Cos Bar, La Mer’s body-care sales are up 26 percent year-over-year and Clé de Peau’s are up 39 percent. In the same period, La Mer’s Hand Treatment, $90, and Reparative Body Lotion, $195, have seen 63 percent and 66 percent increases, respectively. La Prairie’s Cellular Hand Cream, $115, is up 103 percent since last year and the Cellular Energizing Mist, $145, is up 53 percent.

For Garfield, a self-professed “ultimate body person,” this is not a trend. She’s always prioritized body care, dating back to the opening of her first shop in Aspen, Col., in 1976. Currently, she counts creams (not lotions, she specified) from Clé de Peau (“If you’re going to wear a strapless dress”), Natura Bisse and Guerlain as standouts in Cos Bar’s now 20 doors. Rituals, priced more reasonably than the above — body scrub retails for $29 and a body cream for $33 — is a “good product for the price” as well, according to Garfield. She emphasized that one of the retailer’s best-selling body launches this year is Sisley’s nearly $200 White Ginger Contouring Oil for Legs.

As for newness, Garfield is one of three retailers in the U.S. (Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman are the others) to launch Iceland-based skin-care range Bioeffect. The seven-year-old brand was introduced after scientists conducted a decade of biotechnology research to figure out a way to bioengineer human growth factors in barley. She’s particularly bullish about Body Intensive, a $110 body serum, which like all products in the range, is formulated with EFGs.

Laurent Saffré, president and ceo of Pierre Fabre USA, parent company of the Avène and Klorane brands, said that Avène’s body-care sales have grown double digits for five consecutive years.

In January, a three-product Avène TriXera Nutrition collection will roll out that’s designed to address dry to very dry skin concerns. Unlike many of the brand’s mentioned above, Avène is predominantly sold by physicians with limited pharmacist distribution, and largely in Europe where the company is based.

Klorane has a “comprehensive” body business globally, but the brand will for the first time sell body in the U.S. come 2018. In May, a range of shower, cream soap and body lotion products will launch in the States that emphasize eco-friendly ingredients and practices. Everything is formulated with sustainably farmed organic Cupuaçu butter from the Amazon rainforest, the hero ingredient.

The executive believes that the body segment could prove to be especially meaningful for brands that already have a foothold in the skin-care space.

“The body segment is important because it creates a strong bond with the consumer. To use body care you have to really believe in the brand. It’s a great segue for a brand that’s already strong in skin care,” said Saffré, mirroring Ren’s approach of using body to strengthen its bricks-and-mortar presence. “You need to touch and feel more than a face care product. You’re going to apply it to your body, it’s more intimate and more personal than even the face.”