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Beauty by the Gulp: Skin Care’s New Direction

While makeup, fragrance and skin care remainthe top players, brands are now telling consumers they can drink their way to glowing skin.

Luminous skin comes from many different sources, whether it’s a moisturizer or an after-sex glow. But lately it’s coming from a bottle of juice rather than a jar of cream.

Juice companies and shake supplements like Juice Generation, Juice Press, The Super Elixir and Aloha are marketing themselves as beauty brands. “Juicing as a whole is being looked at in more ways than just weight loss,” contends Eric Helms, chief executive officer and founder of Juice Generation. “More people, especially women, look to juicing as part of their beauty regimen.”

While the beauty ingestible has been a fade-in fade-out craze for decades, a variety of savvy retailers are taking the trend seriously, including Selfridges, Net-a-porter and Shen Beauty. While sales might not be sky-high yet, beauty brands need to keep a wary eye on their newest competition.

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According to Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group Inc., retailers stand to gain by picking up on the trend of selling fresh juices or shakes in store. “[Juices and shake supplements] are not an either-or when it comes to buying skin care,” she said. “It’s a complement.”

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Selfridges, which sells The Super Elixir, an alkalizing powder that helps balance pH levels in the body, priced at $80 for 300 g., is having success with these drinks for skin health, proving Whole Foods isn’t the only company interested in the ingestible market.

“The Super Elixir has exceeded our expectations and is already one of the top-five brands within the skin and body department in the Beauty Workshop,” said Elizabeth Selvey, Selfridges’ beauty buying manager. “Not only do customers nowadays want strong hair, nails and glowing skin, but they want their beauty products to work on a cellular level with benefits to their inner well-being.”

Helms, who opened Juice Generation in 1999, isn’t limiting his business to fruits and vegetables. In November, the company will launch three existing juices with charcoal added, which helps trap chemicals and prevents their absorption into the skin. Priced at $9.95, each beverage contains different ingredients for a variety of skin and internal benefits. For example, Activated Lemonade, which contains lemon, lime, raw agave, alkaline water and activated charcoal, is said to support healthy, glowing skin and draw impurities out of the body. Activated Greens blends spinach, kale, apple, celery, parsley, romaine, cucumber, lemon and activated charcoal to help with antiaging and ease bloating, while Activated Protein combines raw almonds, raw hemp seeds, dates, vanilla bean, alkaline water and activated charcoal to balance blood sugar and improve organ function.

While this blend of bizarre ingredients may seem like a one-off, Helms isn’t stopping at one beauty venture.

In November, the company will unveil its Beauty Bombs. The 30-ml. shots, priced at $3.95 each, come in two flavors. Pure Earth, which mixes bentonite clay, alkaline water and rosewater to absorb toxins and help remove inflammation, while Le Détox, a blend of French green clay and cucumber water is designed to provide hydration and stimulate the liver.

Helms noted that in 2015, Juice Generation will venture outside of New York for the first time with three new locations. According to the company, Juice Generation sold more than 400,000 bottles of its Supa Dupa Greens last year.

While he wouldn’t divulge numbers, industry sources estimated that the Activated juice collection and the Beauty Bombs could generate $1.2 million in the first year.

“[When drinking juice on a regular basis] you may not find yourself needing seven different products to fake a glowing complexion, you’ll have one naturally,” claimed Alex Jay, product specialist and health coach at Juice Press, who added that Juice Press’ Fountain of Youth, Gravity and Aloe Water are some of the company’s top juices for skin health.

“You can only put so much on your skin until you have to look elsewhere and see what you’re putting in your body,” said Jessica Richards, owner and founder of Shen Beauty, who recently began carrying shake supplements by Rejuvenated and David Kirsch Wellness Co.

She added, “[I would love] if Juice Press wanted to put a fridge [in Shen Beauty] and sell their products.”

Unlike Richards, Helms feels it would be contradictory to put his fresh juices in a retailer. Even though shelf life is short, considering the spoilage factor, an accumulation of stock is inevitable.

“I’m a huge advocate for fresh,” he said. “To make something that is shelf stable for longer than a few days, it compromises the integrity of a product. If you asked me two or three years ago, would I be doing something specifically for beauty, I would have said no, but it’s really important to be in touch and in tune with what’s happening, be it the world of beauty, health or nutrition. Would I go further into beauty? Perhaps.”

Net-a-porter, which carries Bodyism, a shake supplement, and will soon distribute The Super Elixir and David Kirsch Wellness Co., also supports the notion of beauty from within, which seems fitting with its recent launch of Net-a-sporter.

“Considering our edit [we would definitely go further into wellness],” said David Olsen, vice president of beauty at Net-a-porter. “When we first placed a [Bodyism] order in July, we sold out immediately. Then we bought their entire supply and sold out and we’re just getting back into stock. It’s flying.”

While beauty from within can feel more accessible in a beauty industry that leans toward high-priced superficiality, Elle Macpherson, cofounder of Welleco and The Super Elixir, feels wellness is underrated.

“When the cells and the body are nourished, it shows on your skin, in our body shape and the way we feel most of all,” she said, adding that she created the business as a 50-year birthday gift to herself.

The Super Elixir will launch on Net-a-porter in November and according to industry sources, sales are approaching $2 million since it launched at Selfridges and on in June, with most sales coming from the U.S.

“Typically, [with skin care], the consumer is looking for something relatively quickly and when you’re ingesting something it’s usually more gradual,” said NPD’s Grant. “But [juice, shake supplements and ingestibles] are going to cause longer-term benefits, but they do take a little longer to start manifesting.”

Similarly, Aloha, a health and wellness brand, launched in January with its dried green juice called The Daily Good as a tool to get nutrients into the body that most people lack.

“Some people who take our product stop using makeup because their skin is better and there’s a lot of antiaging components [in The Daily Good,]” noted Constantin Bisanz, founder and ceo of Aloha.

He added that because dehydration is such a big issue on airplanes, he is working with Virgin Atlantic on a product to serve their guests when in flight. Also, the company, which is sold at ABC Carpet & Home and on, is planning to have its own retail stores in the first or second quarter of next year.

While global beauty powerhouse Sephora may not be ready to add refrigerated juices in-store just yet, some pointed to the growth of juice bars in Korea as an example of the market’s potential.

“In Korea, there’s a culture that beauty is from the inside out,” said Alicia Yoon, cofounder of Peach and Lily, a Web site that sells beauty products exclusively from her travels to Japan and Korea. “It’s not just topical. Whatever you drink, whatever you eat — that is your skin.”

Yoon added that when consumers go into a multibrand beauty retailer in Korea, they’ll see a separate refrigerated section with juice supplements including vitamin C shots to brighten and collagen shots with mixed berries to firm skin.

“There’s definitely a demand for it,” said Yoon, who is looking to add beauty supplements to Peach and Lily. “It’s part of a larger mentality that skin care starts with overall wellness.”