NEW YORK — Advanced Formulations is putting its products where its mouth is.
Using food-grade ingredients, the U.K. beauty firm has created a line of edible, organic skin care products called NOe Cosmetics (“NOe” stands for “Natural Organic Edible”).
“To make our commitment to organic products really clear, we took our products to the edible level,” said Sean Campbell, co-founder of NOe Cosmetics.
Advanced Formulations’ interest in natural products stems from the hobby of its research director, Tom Carroll, who has been an organic farmer for 30 years, in between stints at Revlon and Chesebrough-Ponds. Noting the rise of natural personal care products, Carroll began studying their ingredient lists and found that many contained only a handful of organic actives or natural ingredients.
Concerned with offering a chemical-free alternative to mainstream skin care products, the company spent two years sourcing organic active ingredients — all of which, the company says, are USDA-certified organic.
The result is a seven-item collection with products for the body, such as Raspberry Soy Milk Body Lotion, and for the face, including Mango Nutritive Daily Revival Cream, Natural Rice Hydrating Mask, Naturally Pure White Tea Toner and Natural Lemon Peel Exfoliating Cleanser. Prices range from $16 for the Natural Coconut Milk Ultra Gentle Cleanser to $30 for the Deep Moisturizing Night Cream. Each item is formulated with 100 percent organic actives and natural ingredients and is free of preservatives, fragrances, dyes and phthalates.
To make its 100 percent natural claim “blatantly obvious,” product labels contain a detailed ingredient list.
Campbell acknowledged that the organic personal care market may be small, but said people are increasingly interested in what they put on their skin. He noted that 60 percent of products that are topically applied seep into the body.
Euromonitor analyst Virginia Lee estimates that sales of organic personal care products — from toothpaste to moisturizers — reached roughly $265 million last year, an increase of 25 percent over 2004.
Given that the ingredients are derived from annual organic crops, obtaining them can present a stumbling block, noted Campbell. He added that organic ingredients can cost more than three times as much as chemicals.
“The market is very small, so it’s a long-term investment,” said Campbell. This spring, the company introduced NOe Cosmetics to Whole Foods Market stores throughout the Northeast and Atlantic regions and to Concord Chemist on Madison Avenue, and Harrods and Selfridges in the U.K. It plans to introduce a baby line featuring a shampoo and body wash to retailers later this summer. Campbell hopes to expand NOe Cosmetics’ U.S. reach to other food markets, such as Trader Joe’s and Wild Oats, and perhaps to upscale pharmacies.
The company expects the line will reap $500,000 in first-year retail sales.
“It’s not enough to create natural products that feel good and are efficacious,” said Campbell, adding “food-grade products up the ante from organics.”