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The Greening of Personal Care Products

As green living takes the world by storm, more companies have found ways to add a bit of “green” to their products. For food and beverage, organic and all-natural products have been the easy answer. But for companies that make personal care products, going green is a different challenge. Because organic non-food products are harder to produce, companies often boost their green credentials by focusing on partial organic content, natural-sounding ingredients and additive-free claims. Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) takes a look at global innovation in natural and organic personal care products. 

A lack of artificial additives has been a leading claim for companies marketing green personal care products. With many consumers concerned and confused about additives and preservatives, manufacturers have realized that eliminating these ingredients is a good way to position their products as natural and green.


Parabens, chemicals used as preservatives in personal care products, have been in the news lately as researchers question their value and safety. As a result of this controversy, some luxury brands are producing paraben-free personal care products. In the United States, Pangea Organics features a line of facial scrubs, moisturizers and skin treatments that are free of parabens and preservatives. Pangea Organics Facial Scrub is formulated with herbal extracts to refresh and nourish the skin. The product’s natural positioning is enhanced by its packaging; the box is made from 100% post-consumer paper with organic seeds so it can be planted after use.

Beyond high-end brands, more mainstream companies have also picked up on the paraben-free trend. The Body Shop recently introduced Protective Serum under its Aloe brand in Japan. The serum is specially formulated with no parabens, phenoxyethanol, alcohol, fragrances or colorings. It is also pH neutral and is less likely to sting the skin.

Other Additives

Parabens have been a top concern for personal care products globally, but the list of undesirable additives does not end there. Many new products include a laundry list of “free-from” claims to attract consumers looking for organic or more natural product alternatives. In the United States, Jonathan Products features vegan Jonathan Pocket Redo Freshen-Up Wipes. Containing no alcohol, mineral oil, synthetic color, DEA, MEA, or added fragrance, the wipes are said to refresh hair and skin. For a gentle and natural scent, the towelettes are formulated with cucumber and rose essential water, vegetable enzyme and natural botanical extracts.

Organic/Natural Ingredients

While a lack of additives can attract green shoppers, a bounty of organic or natural ingredients can also draw in consumers. Many new products boast organic ingredients even if the entire product is not 100% organic. Coslys Déodorant à Bille refillable roll-on deodorant is one such product in France. The packaging notes that 95% of its ingredients are of natural origin and 10% are produced organically. The deodorant is formulated with essential oils, including tea tree oil, sage oil, eucalyptus oil and sweet almond oil.

Many companies creating natural personal care products also enhance them with food and botanical ingredients. This takes the natural positioning of the product to a higher level. In Canada, Levlad features Nature's Gate Rainwater Organics Organic Lotion. The lotion is USDA organic and vegan-certified. It contains no petrochemicals, parabens, artificial color, synthetic fragrance or phthalates and it is not tested on animals. Additionally, it contains açai, a fruit rich in antioxidants.

Though organic and all-natural content is more difficult to achieve in non-food products than in food, these innovative personal care launches show that it is definitely possible. With a little creativity and precise labeling, manufacturers can create personal care products designed specifically for green shoppers.

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. For additional information regarding GNPD, visit or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

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