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FROM CONCEPT TO MARKET: Four Key Focus Areas Driving Product Innovation in Personal Care

Personal Care

In the dynamic personal care industry where consumer preferences are continually evolving and businesses are constantly facing new challenges, success largely depends on the ability to adapt. The most popular brands are often the ones that take calculated risks, are willing to be adventurous and try new things, and are not afraid to pivot when necessary. By reimagining product formulation to fit emerging requirements, these brands create products that maintain relevance and resonate with modern consumer demand.

In this article, we detail four focus areas that are key to driving product innovation in today’s personal care industry, offering advice for navigating the complexities of the market and adapting offerings to position your brand for success.

  • Embracing ESG and Sustainability in Personal Care

With consumers looking more holistically at the bigger picture, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices have become a major factor steering innovation. Retailers have also become instrumental drivers of advancements in sustainability and ESG performance.

To address this, there’s a focus on using more sustainable and responsible sourcing, less additives, more environmentally friendly packaging, and on quality over quantity. Brands are promoting natural ingredients to meet consumer demand. They are also thinking creatively, reinventing traditional staples such as bath and shower products, facial skin care, and deodorants into cubes, powders, and bars to save water. When it comes to packaging, many are opting out of plastic, seeking alternative options such as recyclable cardboard and aluminum.

  • Leveraging Innovative Raw Materials and Packaging Technologies

New options for raw materials, such as silicone replacements and surfactants, along with innovative packaging and delivery systems are constantly emerging. This has given product formulators and research and development (R&D) professionals a wider palette for creating personal care formulations, allowing suppliers to push the envelope on creative materials usage.

Bag-on-valve technology provides a great example. The barrier technology system, which is used inside a spray container to separate the propellant from the product inside, is being increasingly adopted industrywide. In addition to offering many environmental benefits, the pressurized system delivers continuous spray from any direction to achieve an even coat, ensuring the product dispenses easily all the way to the bottom of the container. This makes it ideal for products including sunscreens, shave gels, makeup setting mists, and more. It’s also a great solution to dispense viscous substances that are too thick for pump bottles, such as moisturizing lotion, caulk, or pancake batter.

  • Navigating Regulatory Pressures in Product Development

Across the globe, governmental regulatory pressures are compelling transformations in product formulations and packaging. Retailers are also getting together and creating more standardized internal processes, providing guidance primarily around environmental and safety concerns.

Examples such as the amendment to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Consumer Products Regulation offer great insight into the arduous task of navigating and aligning with the diverse rules and regulations of different states and countries. For production/design managers, R&D personnel, heads of product development, and brand managers manufacturing hair spray products sold in the U.S., the amendment to reduce VOC limits for hairspray products from 55% to 50% required brand owners to move quickly to evaluate and refine their formulations to avoid significant losses. Seasoned formulary experts can offer guidance to brands based on known chemical and material interactions, in addition to knowledge about the personal care market, hair care products in particular, packaging, pricing, and marketing considerations.

  • Adapting to Economic Challenges

In today’s volatile economic environment, inflation looms as pressing concerns. At the same time, the intricate web of supply chain issues continues to impede the availability of essential materials. This uncertainty has fueled customers to not only seek innovative solutions but has heightened the emphasis on value—a dimension that held relatively less importance in the past.

As a result, product efficacy and size have become major considerations—forcing many brands to move away from big volume products and toward making smaller, more efficacious products. Due to our vast network and geographic strength, PLZ Personal Care Solutions has helped many brands leverage reformulations to address economic challenges and find alternatives for overcoming supply chain and labor setbacks.

In closing, product innovation is crucial for brands to maintain relevance in the ever-evolving world of personal care, which is a main reason why R&D is the driving force at PLZ Personal Care Solutions. Our customers value our willingness to try something difficult and our flexibility to help them realize their vision, and our manufacturing is what brings those ideas to fruition. We have the flexibility and determination to go the extra mile in fulfilling our customers’ desires, with a unique approach that involves implementing cutting-edge systems and technical services capable of supporting the diverse demands of any market. We combine this with invaluable research, exceptional formulations, and steadfast operational support, ensuring that products reach the market seamlessly and efficiently.

We are proud to be a valued business partner, helping customers push the boundaries of innovation to create products that sell through the market’s ups and downs, and twists and turns. We thrive on embracing such challenging opportunities, and it’s within this nurturing environment that superior product development truly flourishes.

Contact PLZ Personal Care Solutions to learn more about our R&D expertise and product innovation.

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