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Brief Published: 11 Dec 2015

Brightening Beauty Buzz

Backstage at Chris Gelinas S/S 16

The number of beauty products in international markets touting ‘brightening’ benefits is growing. Both premium and mass-market brands are capitalising on the all-encompassing term, which is also influencing the colour cosmetics and anti-ageing markets.

Brightening (also referred to as whitening or lightening) formulas were first seen in Asian markets, catering to a consumer demand for light, even and unmarked complexions. Products include ingredients such as kojic acid extracted from mushrooms, which lightens dark skin pigmentation and areas of sun damage. In Western markets, brightening properties are also used in skincare to market products that counteract skin dullness, uneven skin tone and ageing.

According to market research company NPD, brightening products in the prestige skincare sector reported double-digit growth in 2014, with the market valued at £25.5m in the UK for the same period. “There’s been a huge shift in the beauty industry as consumers seek out products that refresh and revitalise their skin more than ever,” said June Jenson, NPD’s UK beauty director. Brightening taps this shift, offering brands an avenue to attract consumers from multiple age groups.

No longer the reserve of the prestige market, mass-market brands are increasingly touting the benefits of brightening products. British pharmacy Boot’s No7 beauty brand boasts a sell-out Brightening Beauty Serum with vitamin C, kiwi and algae extract to even skin tone and reduce the visible appearance of dark spots.

Similarly, brands dedicated entirely to skin brightening and lightening are becoming more ubiquitous. British skincare brand Fade Out markets an entire range, including an eye cream and two different moisturiser formulas for night and day. Ingredients include extracts of liquorice and mulberry to lighten dark complexions, reduce age spots and areas of sun damage, and prevent pigmentation from occurring in future.

Brightening and lightening terms are now also being applied to colour cosmetics, with concealers targeted at women with dark under-eye circles. Offering more than coverage, brightening concealers colour-correct dark circles with peach and salmon-hued undertones, and aim to improve skin condition over time. Eve Lom’s Light Illusion Concealer and Flower Beauty’s Lighten Up! Brightening Concealer Pen are premium and mass-market examples respectively.

For more on how colour cosmetics are being influenced by the skincare market, see 2016 Product Projections: Beauty.