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Exploring the “Harmless Trend” in Sustainable Products

21 September

SayWhat conducted a series of studies for a large consumer packaged goods company to explore the “harmless trend” – i.e., changing consumer perceptions about sustainable products for hair and skin that are better for you and the environment. Our takeaways from these studies helped these marketers to better understand consumers’ expectations of “natural” skin and hair care. Here are a few highlights from the studies.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to hair and skin products, the concept of ‘a product for the whole family’ got a thumbs down. Even though some acknowledged it could be better for the environment, doubts about its ability to satisfy everyone’s needs trumped the environmental benefit.

“I’m skeptical about one product meeting everyone’s needs.”
“With the exception of sunscreen and hand soap, I can’t think of any body, hair, or skin care product that would truly work well for everyone in my family.”

Gentle as She GoesJ&J blog graphics_Page_3

Harshness mitigation is marketing-speak for communicating that a product is safe for humans as well as the environment. SayWhat found that consumers resonated most with messaging that was clear and simple in articulating this product safety benefit.J&J blog graphics_Page_1

Natural Means Less HarmJ&J blog graphics_Page_2

We also explored consumer attitudes and perceptions of what “natural” means when it comes to skin care products. We found that the meaning of “natural” across the board was “less harmful” both to her and the environment. And while “non-natural” products were perceived to be more effective by some, most respondents felt the double benefit of ‘less harm to me AND the environment’ made natural products preferable.

“Natural products work with your body which is healthier in the long run.”

More Than “Trendy”

Our findings showed consumers’ desire for harmless, organic products isn’t just a trend. Total Beauty explains people with sensitive skin prefer organic skin care products because they’re gentler. They go on to say, “Natural products can offer skin solutions that products in regular skin care lines just can’t compete with, like improved skin clarity and a glowing complexion without the use of harsh irritants.”

Contact us to learn more about our research methods, and how they can help you better understand how your customers think and feel about your brand and/or your products.


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