Are Multifunctional Products the Right Approach for Premium Beauty Brands?


One of the biggest trends in beauty today is for multifunctional products* that claim to fulfill a variety of needs. They strike a chord with consumers tired of the growing number of products they are encouraged to use to complete their daily beauty routine.

Just about every major beauty brand, mass or premium, has jumped onto BB, CC and DD bandwagon (and Estée Lauder has launched the market’s first EE product)- but are the more expensive ones selling out to the consumer?

Initially, premium brands steered clear of all-in-one products, which somewhat go against the ethos of matching a regime of products to an individual’s needs. The idea that one product can do the job of several surely fits uneasily with a premium positioning, predicated upon the understanding that consumers want a number of products which have been selected with their needs in mind?

It is technology in skincare and make-up that is giving premium brands the edge they need to convince consumers to buy into high-end multifunctional formulations.

The most recent launches into the category are proving that multifunctional and premium need not be mutually exclusive.

Premium beauty brands, YSL and Dior, are slotting BB and/or CC products into their existing ranges which feature the same high-tech technology as their other products. For example, YSL Forever Light Creator CC Cream borrows the glycanactifWT™ technology used in its Youth Liberator skincare range, to visibly correct the appearance of skin tone irregularities, in a range of three shades.

BB/CC creams: a way to attract new customers?

Alphabet creams are potentially helping to attract new customers to premium brands on the premise that they need only buy one product rather than several items that would set them back considerably more money. In today’s cash-strapped society, that could be construed as being a shrewd move.

Going forward, the challenge will be for premium brands to differentiate their offer from masstige brands and to develop multifunctional products consumers are prepared to pay a premium for.

  • Be careful that the formulation of multi-functional products aren’t seen as working any less effectively as individual ones.

  • Consumers will only pay a premium if they perceive that multifunctional products fulfill a range of performance criteria.

  • Look for gaps to attract new consumers, especially older women, who value products which are easy to use and offer all-in-one convenience.

At present, the alliance of skincare and make-up is where premium brands have been most successful in developing multifunctional products.

Premium brands are in a prime position to drive forward the category with innovation borrowed from these technologies they have developed in skincare and make-up, as well as other categories, such as suncare or haircare.

In a recent Cosmetics Design webinar on multifunctional cosmetics, I explored opportunities and challenges for premium brands with two other leading industry experts: Jamie Mills, Associate Analyst, Datamonitor, and Carl Geffin, Regulatory Expert and former Executive Director at Chanel.

You can still catch the recent Cosmetics Design webinar on multifunctional cosmetics until June 4th, 2015 here:;F:QS!10100&ShowKey=23631

*The multifunctional trend is one of the themes analysed in this year’s The Premium Market Report 2015 which will be published in April: keep reading the blogs for further details.

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