More than skin deep
Growing demand for environmentally friendly personal grooming products has inspired numerous companies to create natural solutions that soothe both the skin and the conscience.
We’ve come a long way since Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in a tiny boutique in Brighton, England, in 1972. Her philosophy of offering sustainable natural products and an ethical approach to business, inspired by the burgeoning green movement of the 1970s, has since spiraled into a multibillion-dollar business that continues to grow in popularity.
Growing awareness of the potentially harmful effects of chemical products and an ever-greater focus on personal grooming have driven the market for natural and organic personal care products that offer a purer, more natural approach to beauty. Consumers are finding that natural products soothe both our skin and our consciences on an environmental and social level.
According to a 2014 report from Grand View Research, the global market for organic personal care is set to grow from around 8.2 billion us dollars in 2013 to almost 16 billion dollars by 2020, or about 9 to 10 percent a year.
Companies such as rms Beauty have grown out of this trend, offering high-end skincare products with natural, raw and organic ingredients. Its overall sustainable approach extends to its packaging, all of which is biodegradable, recyclable and reusable.
The French skincare company Léa Nature, based in La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast, is tapping into the trend with its range of products aimed at today’s beauty-conscious and eco-friendly consumer.
“There was a gap in the market and we wanted to fill it.”
The company was launched in 1996, offering a range of natural beauty products. “It was our desire right from the start to position ourselves as a company focused on both health and natural products,” says Mireille Lizot, head of corporate communications for Léa Nature. “There was a gap in the market and we wanted to fill it.”
The Lift’Argan range was created in 2003 when ceo Charles Kloboukoff met with a delegation from Essaouira, Morocco, a twin city of La Rochelle. The delegation gave a presentation on the natural benefits of argan oil, produced by cooperatives in Essaouira. “Kloboukoff was intrigued and immediately saw the potential of the oil for French beauty consumers,” Lizot says. “He sent a team to Essaouira to investigate, and Lift’Argan was born.”
After two years of visits, partnerships, tests and samples, the Lift’Argan range was launched in 2005, and it soon found devotees both in France and internationally.
“Lift’Argan offers anti-ageing products that are extremely beneficial to the skin, while guaranteeing only organic and natural ingredients, and a sustainable business approach,” says Marion Barre, head of marketing for Lift’Argan. “Argan oil has been used by Berber women for centuries to keep their hair, skin and nails in beautiful condition, and we have translated those benefits through our product ranges to suit our modern beauty needs.”
The Lift’Argan portfolio has four key product ranges: Fleurs d’Orient for the body, Lumière d’Exception beauty products, Sublime to fight wrinkles and Anti-âge Global, the company’s premium anti-ageing range. “We are now market leader in terms of pure argan oil, and we produce France’s best-selling organic anti-ageing cream, but we are constantly seeking out potential new ingredients to improve our organic product range,” Barre says.
“Recently we have been looking into the benefits of saffron flowers, which have enormous beauty potential, but are usually confined to the kitchen.”
Gilles Maray, head of cosmetic packaging development at Léa Nature, says the company uses two types of cartons, one for major retailers and the other for pharmacies, beauty product retailers and organic stores.
“For the first group, our main concern is value for money,” he says. “But for the second we are looking for a certain whiteness, because we are in a more cosmetic or pharmaceutical universe.
We use gold for much of our packaging because it’s eye-catching, it feels precious, and it positions us in a premium sector. And we use Incada Silk for certain products as it can be printed front and back, both glossy and matt, and gives a whiteness that suits us very well.”
TEXT ANNA MCQUEEN PHOTO LOUISE BILLGERT
The Lift’Argan Charter
- All products use a minimum of 95 percent natural ingredients, of which at least 10 percent are organic.
- Products use natural active ingredients with proven results.
- We do not use any raw materials about which there is any doubt with regard to our health.
- We use no animal ingredients apart from those produced by bees.
- The Lift’Argan range is guaranteed free of parabens, phenoxyethanols, phthalates and artificial colouring.