Chances are if you are a brand manager or CMO, you are looking to invest in clinical claims for your products with good reason. Claims help shine a spotlight on what makes your products different from the competition, and help consumers understand why they are ‘for them’ when making purchasing decisions. But with so many options for creating claims, how can you be sure yours will be worth the investment and resonate with consumers? As we know, not all claims are the same.
For decades, beauty brands relied on a common set of clinical testing protocols to create claims, protocols meant to ensure the best possible outcomes and most impactful data. However, we now understand that this approach, which has served as the foundation of most clinical testing, had unintended limitations: it often accounted for only lighter skin tones. To make sure your claims don’t have these glaring data gaps, follow our roadmap to better claims.
Rethink The Process
Data is readily available on how (and why) ethnicities age differently so if a brand wants to create claims that are truly inclusive, they need to reevaluate not just how their clinical trials are designed, but the consumers included on their panels as well. Questions and surveys must reflect what is known about the differences in ethnic skin in order to produce impactful data brands can actually use and is meaningful to everyone, not just participants who fall between I and III on the Fitzpatrick scale, or who exhibit mild to moderate signs of aging, such as crow’s feet or fine lines. So, what does this mean in practice? Design and execute studies so that the skin differences are taken into account; fill them with a statistically relevant mix of consumers; and then protect the integrity of the data so that when you use it, it means something to the intended target, and can be trusted to actually represent results that apply to her unique skin tone.
Soon nearly half of the US population will belong to a non-white racial and ethnic group* and beauty brands must account for this shift with an expanded commitment to diversity and inclusivity in their claims testing. Every time a product is formulated, brands must be asking different questions about outcomes when studies are designed, and the structural and functional aging differences between skin tones must be taken into account. Moving forward, panels may need to be hyper-targeted, or claims may need to be targeted to specific ethnic groups or skin tones rather than the gold-standard, ‘one test fits all’ approach. Obviously there are still going to be fantastic formulas which really do treat multiple aging concerns on the market, but those will become the exception, not the norm. In order to give beauty consumers the claims and products they want—specifically those for their type and color of skin—beauty brands need to take the time and spend the monetary to design clinical trials for the aging concerns multicultural consumers actually have, and not what we think (or wish) they have.
Make The Commitment
Across the board, consumers have moved away from wanting a one-size fits all approach in beauty, particularly ethnic consumers. From makeup to skincare to hair products, they know their skin has different needs than Caucasian skin, and they are clamoring for products that are designed to fit (and work for) these unique needs. Remember, it’s predicted that 40%, half of the US population, will soon belong to a non-white racial and ethnic group. Giving these consumers claims from clinical trials that meet their concerns is the not just the best way to see more impactful results, it’s soon going to be the only way. Gathering this data will require not relying on decades of established research and instead, require starting from scratch and that is going to take more time and cost more money. Work with likeminded partners and labs, and be committed up front to investing comprehensively in this long process before you start if you want the best outcomes.
* Frey, William H. (2020, July 1) Brookings.com. The nation is diversifying even faster than predicted, according to new census data. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/research/new-census-data-shows-the-nation-is-diversifying-even-faster-than-predicted/ on Sept 10, 2022
About Ameann DeJohn
Widely acknowledged skin care and cosmetics industry expert, author, speaker, and educator Ameann DeJohn has helped create and launch 750 products (and counting!) for over 100 of the industry’s most well-known brands, from start-ups to established veterans. An esthetician by training with over 30 years working in beauty—Ameann’s keen insight on product trends and business intuition has helped her guide multiple brands to long-term success. Now, as the CEO and Founder of Media Lab Science, she taps her deep understanding of product development, ingredients, business management, and marketing to propel Media Lab Science into the go-to clinical testing and content partner for brands to get validated, prove efficacy, and noticed in the overwhelmingly competitive beauty space.
Based in Los Angeles, Media Lab Science is a one of a kind clinical testing lab at the forefront of executing comprehensive clinical trials, as well as before and after photography and consumer perception videos in order to help brands create rock solid claims that matter to today’s consumer. Our team of acclaimed industry leaders understands how to design a testing protocol that tackles the challenges of today’s online environment to deliver data brands can use immediately.