Author Shabana Ebrahem consults clean beauty curator Nat van Zee for Consumer Analysis Agency Canvas8. Cover image by Hisu Lee (2015) 

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HOW IS SOAP CHANGING IN THE AGE OF CLEAN?


From detox diets to uninterrupted sleep, eco-laundry and anti-pollution skincare, being ‘clean’ has come to mean so much more than simply having a good scrub. And when it comes to the health of our skin, experts are increasingly warning people of the chemicals that exist in so many cosmetics used on a daily basis.

Clean beauty consultant Nat Van Zee uses skincare products as an example. “There are carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors,” she says. “The side effects can be seen in the rising number of skin allergies and cancers linked to chemicals found in most mainstream formulations.” As a result, products like Moon Juice’s organic Beauty Dust, non-conformist K-beauty brands and vegan-inspired skincare have become shopping basket essentials.

But what about the humble bar of soap? Thanks to the rise of hand sanitiser (over half of British adults buy it), no-touch soap dispensers and high-end liquid varieties, bars of soap have become symbols of germ-ridden bathrooms. Sales fell 5% between 2010 and 2015, with 48% of Britons believing they’re a haven for bacteria – a figure that grows to 60% for 18- to 24-year-olds. But as ‘good dirt’, vegetarianism and a quest for no-nasties goes mainstream, how is the soap industry cleaning up its act? Can the modest bar of soap gain traction once more?

 

Canvas8 is a global behavioural insights practice. That blends research, trends and strategy with behavioural science to reveal what people really want and why. 

 

 

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