"Consumers want to age healthily, and combine topicals with supplements as a whole wellness routine." –Dr. Qi Jia, Unigen
Talk about an attractive category. Nutri-beauty supplements are capitalizing on the recent trend of self-care products that offer health and beauty benefits, says Lightbody Co-Founder and CEO Kylen Ribeiro, who reports that the market has grown 57% since 2019. “Last year, the market size was estimated at $53.4 billion and is expected to keep growing. Nutritional supplements are marking the intersection of two quickly converging trends: health and beauty.”
The reach is wide, Ribeiro adds. “Increasing numbers of women and men are interested in enhancing their beauty from within and also to age gracefully by eating well, getting enough quality sleep, and supplementing with targeted nutrients.”
What is driving sales? Matt Ruggiero, Marketing Manager, Nutrition21, points to an October 2022 survey of more 2,000 US female beauty buyers, conducted by The Benchmarking Company. The survey showed that consumer interest in beauty supplements is driven by:
• Supporting hair growth and health–80%
• Promoting stronger nails–65%
• Restoring collagen/skin firming–60%
“Of this study population, 91% are open to the idea of taking supplements specifically for beauty,” Ruggiero notes, and 92% believe in an inside-out approach for skin and hair.
Nutrition for graceful aging
In years past, a focus was on makeup to look younger, but increasingly the desire is to take a more proactive, holistic approach to maintaining health and radiance with age. Maïté Jeanroy, Marketing Strategy and Communications Manager at Activ’Inside, explains, “The beauty market lately has taken a ‘back to foundations’ approach. What used to be changes from the exterior—for example, concealing problems using makeup, surgeries, and other interventions—has shifted to improving the exterior appearance of skin, hair and nails from within, thus making nutricosmetics part of this trend.”
There is an evolution in how we talk about aging, adds Maria Stanieich, Marketing Manager, Kyowa Hakko USA. “Graceful aging is a perfect way to encapsulate the concept of longevity and quality of life. We have seen the conversation in this market evolve from ‘anti’ aging messaging to brands and products that embrace the aging process, and help consumers continue to live fully and enjoy their hobbies. This is something we’re starting to see reflected in beauty products for skin health and more.”
In the natural channel, notes Sharon Paguio, Senior Director of Marketing, Country Life Vitamins, beauty supplements have seen an 8.6% increase in the past 12 weeks, driven by healthy aging and ingredients that support healthy hair growth. “Even Amazon has reported a 2.2% increase in the past three months versus the previous year, with a focus on beauty supplements that support healthy hair growth.”
These nutritional assists can complement traditional beauty routines. Dr. Qi Jia, President and CEO of Unigen, Inc., explains that “beauty from within” focuses on providing many of the topical benefits in an ingestible form. “We see consumers wanting to age healthily and combining topical application with supplements as a whole wellness routine. Many beauty brands have offered supplements as part of their portfolio for many years, but it has not been something that consumers were readily willing to try until more recently. Consumers have started to gravitate towards supplements after more clinical trial substantiations and celebrities and influencers have been highlighting the benefits of trending supplement ingredients.”
Indeed, consumers are now on board. Jeanroy reports: “Consumers favor nutritional supplements because they provide a variety of health advantages, thus influencing the nutricosmetics market positively from a U.S. $5 billion in 2023 to U.S. $8.2 billion by the end of 2033, expanding at a CAGR of 5%.”
More than skin deep
“Beauty” is part of the larger picture. Ribeiro explains, “The self-care trend is moving from an external beauty emphasis to beauty from within, with many consumers focused on stress-reduction.”
Take ashwagandha, for example. Ribeiro says the latest science surrounding this ingredient shows it supports healthy cortisol levels, promotes a relaxed mindset, and enhances feelings of well-being. ”Chronic stress has profound impacts on overall health, from poor sleep to increased inflammation, weight gain, skin issues, and eye puffiness. Nutri-beauty has become more significant to consumers who are recognizing they can’t look their best when stress is impacting their lives.”
Summing up the holistic approach, Dr. Liki Von Oppen-Bezalel, Business Development Director, TriNutra, says, “Today’s beauty consumers fully understand the link between a healthy body, mind, and appearance. Therefore, supplements for beauty also heavily rely on supplements that improve and support health, such as metabolic and mental health. Extrinsic, intrinsic, and psychological stress reduction are key in establishing the link between supplements and beauty. The concept of beauty from the inside out is no longer foreign. Many consumers are aware that what happens on the inside of the body can directly affect their outside appearance and are taking more dietary supplements to help improve overall health and function.”
Standout nutri-beauty ingredients
“The demand for functional ingredients in beauty supplements has been on the rise, with some ingredients experiencing significant growth. According to recent data [SPINS 52 weeks ending on March 26, 2023, Total U.S. Natural Channel] collagen, beetroot, chlorophyll, sea buckthorn, vitamin A, black currant oil, and calendula are among the top growing ingredients,” reports Paguio. (See more insights and analysis from SPINS on page 27.)
“Nutricosmetic is the latest trend, and customers are very cautious about what to introduce into their body,” says Marie Bruckert, Growth Marketing and Business Strategy Director, Nuritas. “Vitamins such as biotin and vitamin C, and supplements such as hydrolyzed collagen, vegan collagen, hydrolyzed rice protein, and mushrooms are top products that consumers are using to complement their daily beauty routine for hair, skin, and nails.”
Biotin, Ruggiero says, landed at the number two spot on MindBodyGreen’s recent list of the top 13 beauty supplements of 2023. The list also included antioxidants, collagen, and hyaluronic acid. “Vantage Market Research’s 2022 analysis of the Global Biotin Supplement market showed that strong consumer demand for dietary supplements and a stronger focus on adopting more health-conscious behaviors are together propelling the growth of this market and the future looks bright,” Ruggiero shares. “Global sales for biotin soared to nearly $2 billion in 2021, and are forecasted to reach $3.4 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 10.6% during this period.”
Susanne Mitschke, CEO and Co-Founder of Citruslabs, agrees that this B vitamin is one to watch. “Biotin supplements have been growing in popularity as a way to promote hair growth, reduce hair breakage, and improve nail strength.”
Mitschke also shines a spotlight on collagen.“In terms of the main ingredients that consumers are going for or looking for, collagen is one of the most popular, as it helps to maintain the strength and elasticity of the skin, hair, and nails. Supplementing with collagen has been shown to help improve skin hydration, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and promote healthy hair and nails.”
Collagen is an important ingredient in the beauty space, maintains Dr. Shavon Jackson-Michel, Director of Medical & Scientific Affairs, DolCas Biotech, LLC. “The science on collagen to back potency, clean-label, and therapeutic use claims has kept up with the pace of innovation. Collagen as a beauty-bioactive appeals to all age groups, providing required peptides to maintain healthy, radiant skin in one’s youth and to maintain their potential correct age as they mature, in the face of environmental stress and deficiencies, which drive skin-aging. DolCas’ tripeptide collagen, Morikol, is no stranger to this trend. Process innovation avails concentrated doses of specific, pathway-activating tripeptides to the skin, and ultimately to the tissues to provide beauty benefits in low doses and convenient delivery systems, like gummies and capsules.”
Karen Hecht, Ph.S., Scientific Affairs Manager, AstaReal Inc., adds, “Collagen is being buttressed by functional phytonutrients that help protect collagen and collagen-producing skin cells. For example, vitamin C together with astaxanthin helped preserve baseline collagen production levels in human skin cell fibroblasts exposed to free radicals in vitro.”
Another on Mitschke’s list: vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage. “Vitamin E supplements may help improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve nail health.” And keep an eye on oral hyaluronic acid (HA), resveratrol, and Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN), which Mitschke says are catching on for beauty/cosmetic reasons as well as for overall health and wellness reasons.
“You may know HA from topical products, but this ingredient in supplement form is quickly catching up, because it is very effective,” Mitschke explains. “It can improve skin health, and some studies show promising evidence that it can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity and flexibility.”
Dr. Jackson-Miche adds, “Collagen is a hot topic, but additional actives that support skin structure include hyaluronic acid and ceramides, which have also gained traction. DolCas’s Morikol collagen formulation not only provides bioactive tripeptides that directly target collagen and elastin synthesis, but as fundamental collagen structures, additional claims extend to its ability to increase ceramide and hyaluronic acid output as well.”
Regarding NMN, Mitschke points to pilot studies showing it may have positive effects on skin aging. “A recent study published in Glycative Stress Research showed that NMN has some positive effects on skin health by reducing a process called glycation, which may make the skin appear more firm and supple. This is a very promising pilot study on that topic.”
Another innovation, says Hecht, is staple skin health ingredients that are being enhanced with claims of improved solubility, bioavailability, and stability. “For example, biotin’s more soluble and bioavailable form, magnesium biotinate, and inositol-stabilized arginine silicate are increasingly popular.”
Stanieich also points to glutathione, which she explains can neutralize potentially harmful free radicals, eliminate toxins, chemicals, and potential carcinogens absorbed in the body, and can reactivate other antioxidants that are important for skin, hair, and nail health, like vitamin E.
Omega-3s are another darling of the nutricosmetics world. “Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help improve skin health, reduce acne, and promote hair growth,” Mitschke explains.
Ribeiro calls omega-3s a jack-of-all-trades. “No other ingredient on the market supports a healthy inflammatory response, healthy aging, or the resiliency of the cell membrane like omega-3s. Consumers are looking for the purest, most highly concentrated, pharmaceutical grade omega-3 supplements with the lowest oxidation and contaminant levels.”
Building on that, Marco Momo, Business Development, Cosmetics, Probiotical S.p.A., notes, “As we are immersed in this area, working with many brands, we see that ingredients such as Omega 3s, collagen and even glucosamine and chondroitin are used effectively in skin/beauty supplement formulas.”
Retinol is another staple in the skin-care realm, and similar to HA, Mitschke says that though we typically see it in topical form, more brands now offer retinol supplementation to boost skin health. “Retinol supplements may help with a more even skin tone, reduce redness and blemishes, and may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
On the botanical side of the beauty space, turmeric is gaining attention. “Bibliographic support of curcumin, the bioactive pigment from turmeric, as a source of anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, circulation, brightening and immunomodulating properties in support of healthy skin has been the subject of numerous scientific inquiries,” says Dr. Jackson-Michel. “While specific, original science has yet to emerge on this interesting active in the skin/beauty space, product development and formula ideation using curcumin/turmeric in this category has not taken a backseat. In fact, skin health/beauty is among the top five benefits consumers attribute to curcumin, according to a 2020 Consumer Survey by Ingredient Transparency Center. Curcugen, a water-dispersible, 39-52X bioavailability-enhanced, 100% turmeric extract ingredient, was recently selected as the principle botanical bioactive in the reformulation of a popular skin health/beauty supplement, known as Clear Within.”
Adding to the benefits, Simmi Chopra, Ayurveda Doctor/Practitioner, SIDH Ayur, says, “Turmeric is a blood cleanser, so will also help in clear skin and stronger hair and nails.”
Other antioxidant-rich botanicals of interest in the skin space include astaxanthin and pomegranate extract, Dr.
Jackson-Michel says. “Providing a similar class of plant-based bioactives known as polyphenols, they nicely complement antioxidant mainstays of vitamin origin, like vitamin E, C and A (beta-carotene).”
There also is growing interest in photoprotective properties of phytonutrients that help to manage the downstream effects of UV exposure at the cellular level, points out Hecht. “Phytonutrients that displayed photoprotective properties in research studies include lycopene, astaxanthin, and citrus bioflavonoids.”
Andrea Zangara, Head of Scientific Communication & Medical Affairs, Euromed, notes, “Skin photoaging can lead to the degradation of skin extracellular matrix components, resulting in hyperpigmentation and loss of elasticity. In this area, polyphenols have become of great interest because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and healthy aging properties.” Euromed’s natural pomegranate extract Pomanox is standardized to more than 50% total polyphenols and not less than 30% punicalagins, Zangara explains. The benefits: “When collagen and hyaluronic acid production decline with aging, fine wrinkles begin to appear, as these molecules are responsible for firm connective tissue and skin elasticity. Analysis showed that under normal conditions, Pomanox significantly increased the collagen and hyaluronic acid metabolism. In cells exposed to UV, both preventive and regenerative treatments with Pomanox positively influenced hyaluronic acid metabolism and decreased levels of free radicals.”
Zangara points to an in-vitro study in the International Journal of Food Sciences showing Pomanox may reduce unaesthetic signs of skin aging such as hyperpigmentation, skin dryness, and loss of elasticity, by reducing melanogenesis and oxidative stress while modulating collagen and hyaluronic acid metabolism. “Additionally, the results highlighted a significant reduction of an enzyme called Matrix Metallopeptidase-1 (MMP-1). This enzyme degrades collagen, so reducing MMP-1 could help preserve collagen levels in the skin but also in other tissues, such as cartilage. Therefore, the results may have broader implications than skin aging.”
Another multi-tasking gem: French Maritime pine bark extract, branded as Pycnogenol. “Pycnogenol supplements have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to improve skin health and reduce signs of aging,” says Mitschke, who also points to resveratrol, which she says has antioxidant properties and can protect skin cells against oxidative damage associated with the effects of free radicals and UV radiation.
With clean label and minimalism gaining traction, Annie Bouchard, Senior Brand Manager at Fruit d’Or, says, “Consumers are looking for whole food ingredients that they recognize, like cranberries. We recently launched CranOra cranberry seed oil, a COSMOS-certified ingredient with benefits in skin and hair care products. It has a unique balance of omega-3, -6, and -9, and contains vitamin E tocopherols and tocotrienols, as well as polyphenols and beta carotene.
Tomatoes are another recognizable natural treasure, with science-backed beauty benefits from lycopene and other extracts. In a recent Lycored webinar, Dr. Karin Hermoni, shared the new Lycomato clinical study results supporting skin appearance through supplementation in a variety of ages and skin types. Dr. Hermoni discussed Lycored’s entire beauty-from-within portfolio of proprietary tomato-based ingredients and vitamins designed to provide wellness from the inside out to radiate an inner glow.
Another area of innovation in the space is leaning into the interest in–and science-supporting–the gut-skin connection. “Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health and may also benefit the skin. Probiotic supplements may help reduce inflammation, promote skin hydration, and improve overall skin health,” says Mitschke. “Prebiotics are another exciting area for skin health. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that help to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Research suggests that prebiotics may have benefits for skin health, as they can help to improve the balance of bacteria in the gut and reduce inflammation, therefore helping with the appearance of redness, blemishes, and even having some effect on skin clarity.”
Probiotical recently launched Skinbac proprietary probiotic blends Skinbac Care, which blends the strains SB02, SB03 and SB04, and Skinbac Beauty SB01 and SB05 for topical application in association with oral intake formulas based on different probiotic strains, notes Momo. “These are viable postbiotics that are heat-treated using a technology that preserves the strains’ cell structures and allows the cells to be quantified by flow cytometry for a more accurate bacteria cell count. Also, by maintaining the cell’s structure (including receptors and proteins), the strains maintain their ability to retain water and improve skin hydration. Skinbac strains complete a supplement line of Beauty from Inside formulations acting to maintain and care for skin health with products such as Bifiglow, Probial Hair and Probial Derm.”
Innovations in delivery systems are also impacting the space. “We have launched a new product called DNA Complex which uses deep nanoactives to penetrate deeply into the skin and produce powerful anti-aging results that work from the inside out,” says Nancy Duitch, CEO of Avenir Wellness Solutions + Founder of Sera Labs. “Many topicals just sit on top of the skin and even smother it, but this product—for which we have filed three patents—actually encapsulates the ingredients so that they work on a submicron level to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The response from users so far has been nothing short of ecstatic.”
5 Essentials to Attracting Consumers
Science-backed (and value-packed!): “A 2023 Mintel Report describes beauty as the ‘perfect category’ to support consumers’ in their desire to ‘uplift themselves when faced with stress and upheaval’ – a common thread that persisted in different forms through COVID and since,” reports Dr. Jackson-Michel. “Science-backed ingredients were also noted in this report to be a new trend driving consumer demand in this sector. Alongside convenience, ‘proof that their money is being well spent’ was highlighted as an influential growth trend, and specifically science to validate claims such as ‘reducing wrinkles’ was named as important. Finally, the industry seems ripe for supplement innovation, as the global beauty consumer recognizes that topical applications, like creams and serums ‘aren’t enough to give [them] beautiful skin’ – a ‘more holistic approach to beauty’ is required.”
Consumers are looking for clinically studied ingredients and clinically studied plant-based ingredients in supplements, notes Paguio. “They want to ensure that the products they buy are effective, especially with tight budgets. At Country Life, we use ingredients backed by science to provide products that are effective. These include Maxi Hair & Scalp Rescue, which helps reduce age-related hair loss while nourishing hair and scalp, as well as Collagen 7000, which enhances skin elasticity, increases collagen by 60%, and reduces the depth of wrinkles. This summer we’ll be introducing Maxi Hair 50+, to improve the strength and structure of mature hair. This product supports the formation of keratin, a building block for healthy skin, hair, and nails. It contains clinically studied Cynatine, along with vitamins and minerals that support healthy hair growth and reduction in age-related hair loss and less shedding. We believe it’s essential to use clinically studied ingredients in beauty products to meet the demands of today’s consumers.”
Cleaner & greener: “Minimalistic skincare continues to trend,” says Sébastien Bornet, VP Global Sales & Marketing at Horphag Research. “Consumers are seeking ingredients that provide holistic wellness benefits for the entire body. Products with evidence-based ingredients that support the basic building blocks of healthy skin, including microcirculation, elasticity, hydration and antioxidant properties, are in demand given their nutritional attributes. Formulas that are designed to have direct health benefits that go deeper than skin appearance are top-of-mind, according to reports. Pycnogenol French maritime pine bark extract provides a unique offering for consumers as it not only supports skin and hair goals but also offers extensive natural health benefits for the entire body, including cognitive, joint and heart health.”
In general, consumers are increasingly looking for natural, sustainable, and clean ingredients in the personal care industry, says Bruckert. “They are also becoming more conscious of the impact that their personal care products have on the environment and are seeking out eco-friendly options.”
Multifunctional: “Multitasking and colorful antioxidants are growing on the scene, like astaxanthin, lutein, and saffron that bring anti-inflammatory properties and eye health benefits in addition to their role in skin,” says Hecht.
“Consumers also expect less processed as well as efficacious products that offer multifunctional benefits,” says Dr. Von Oppen-Bezalel. “Consumers expect CPG brands to be aware of their environmental impact, so if a beauty product can tout its sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in addition to its ‘clean’ products, these brands will fare well in the marketplace. In other words, keeping the immediate health and beauty of the hair and skin while protecting the environment are the trends that are here to stay.”
Convenient formats: “According to the FDA, 40% of Americans have trouble swallowing pills,” says Duitch. “We are seeing alternatives such as powders and other delivery systems that allow consumers to avoid having to choke down a capsule. For example, we have a thin oral strip technology called Nutri-Strips that dissolves on your tongue and actually increases the dosage of whatever ingredients you are taking. Consumers of beauty products are particularly receptive to breakthroughs that hold the promise of greater efficacy, since they rely on potency and effectiveness to produce meaningful results within a reasonable period of time that the consumer can see with their own eyes.”
Brands increasingly are exploring new delivery formats, including functional foods as well as innovative dietary supplements, says Jeanroy. “Today, one of the biggest trends in the food supplement industry is gummies. With a forecast CAGR of 4.88% from 2022 to 2030, gummies are a convenient and enjoyable supplement format that continues to attract new consumers, especially younger consumers, who are looking for a simple way to support their health.”
Pointing to data from SPINS, Paguio says gummy and soft chew beauty supplements have seen the highest absolute dollar growth versus the previous year, with products specifically geared towards supporting hair health and healthy aging leading the way.
“The advantage of these novel dosage forms is the fact that they are a more convenient and palatable alternative to regular dosage forms, thus making the chore of taking multiple supplements a day easier,” acknowledges Jeanroy. “Most gummies today are made to be palatable by being sweet. An important criterion to take into consideration is to develop gummies that are not detrimental to the health in the long run because for most on the counter today, the sugar content is the equivalent of that in a candy. This is the reason why all the gummies we produce at Activ’Inside are sugar-free—and there aren’t many manufacturers that can attest to that.”
Jeanroy adds that Activ’Inside is focusing on gummies because it is what consumers are looking for today, but the company also is proposing other palatable and practical dosage forms such as stick and dry beverages. “Thanks to their small size and compactness, sticks and dry beverages are user-friendly and very practical for everyday life”
Personalization: “The pandemic has undoubtedly taken a toll on overall wellbeing and consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious and self-care-focused,” says Paguio. “Many people are asking, ‘How do I better myself?’ so the personalization of consumer needs has become a top priority. It’s important for retailers to recognize these trends and cater to the evolving needs of customers by offering the latest in beauty supplements that support wellness from the inside out.”
By analyzing an individual’s genetics and other health factors, companies are able to create customized supplement regimens tailored to an individual’s specific needs and health goals, adds Mitschke. “While still in its early stages, personalized nutrition and supplementation have the potential to revolutionize the supplement industry and provide more targeted and effective solutions for consumers.”
Above all, though, quality is key…and consumers may not be getting the results they seek if they go for glitz over reputable, science-backed brands sold at reputable retail stores. “Influencers and celebrities tend to create many of the supplements formulated with desired ingredients that consumers are willing to try,” says Dr. Qi Jia. “Unfortunately, not all ingredients are made the same and when consumers go to their local retailer, there can be an overwhelming selection of options highlighting the same trendy ingredient. There are a lot of reputable companies that choose branded ingredients and do additional testing of their products to ensure it can provide the claims on the bottle, but unfortunately, not everyone provides the same level of performance.”
Looking to the future
“I think we will start to see more science emerging in the beauty supplement space to provide consumers with the same benefits as topicals,” says Dr. Qi Jia. “We will start to see more supplements help decrease hair fall, improve the appearance of acne-prone skin, and provide a brightening glow to their skin. As brands will want to differentiate themselves, we will see new ingredients and new testing methods.” WF
“Minimalistic skincare continues to trend. Consumers are seeking ingredients that provide holistic wellness benefits for the entire body... including cognitive, joint, and heart health.”
-–Sébastien Bornet, Horphag Research