Five natural oils resonating with consumers in the new normal

Kerfoot Group has revealed five of the natural oils that are currently resonating are currently resonating with consumers in personal care and cosmetic applications in the post-covid environment.

The business has shared its findings with the wider industry, which may point towards to the future of personal care new product development, as the market begins to reactivate NPD following sector furloughs and supply chain challenges.

Simon Corner, sales & marketing manager at Kerfoot, said: “It’s fascinating to see how purchase decisions are being made under these unique market conditions today. For the consumer, there is a renewed focus on moisture, and the natural oils that can provide this. As we move deeper into ‘the new normal’, shoppers are searching for products that can protect or restore the skin. More time spent indoors, as well as the necessary PPE that is common today, has put the spotlight back on hydration for many of us. 

“At Kerfoot, we have noted a number of plant-based oils that are finding particular favour in this environment, and a noticeable spike towards oils that can offer natural emollient qualities and soothe the skin. We’re seeing behavioural changes in consumers during lockdown, which may develop into behaviour changes as we move through the ongoing pandemic. The key takeaway for brands is that there are oils arriving on the scene that offer the powerful hydrating qualities that are so important to today’s shoppers.”

Plant-based oils have long been known for their versatility and performance in personal care applications, and due to the increasing globalisation of ingredients, the choice available to brands and their manufacturers today is extremely broad. To brands, this means that oils can be selected for unique nutritional qualities, which must be aligned with the consumer demand for quality, authenticity and provenance. 

“We are seeing marked growth in several plant-based oils in skin care applications, and one of the qualities that unites them is that they’re powerful hydrators. Natural oils can be an extremely powerful and attractive addition to personal care formulations. Coconut Oil in particular has been growing for some time but is accelerating in today’s market. The distinctive, exotic aroma of coconut is also proving a hit as consumers can’t go on holiday physically. Importantly, it offers powerful hydrating qualities that don’t just nourish and soothe skin and hair – but lock moisture in. 

“Grapeseed is another great example of an oil that is less commonly used but is finding favour with consumers. It’s ideal for body butters and face creams, and its moisturising qualities are resonating with shoppers. Formulators and product designers will be pleased too. It has a light texture that makes it versatile and flexible and contains more linoleic acid than most carrier oils, which allows it to hydrate, while also reducing the size of skin pores.”

Kerfoot’s insight into consumer trends comes as a result of its position as an end-to-end supplier, working closely with brands from artisanal manufacturers to large-scale multinational brands. The business offers a portfolio of more than 500 natural oils, butters, waxes and bases to the personal care sector, backed with enviable stockholding, a dedicated technical support team and logistics expertise.

Simon continued: “Across the sector, consumers are demanding that products do more than one job, which often means that ingredients need to play more roles. Because of this, we’re also seeing an upswing for Jojoba and Argan Oil, two natural oils that lock in moisture but can also offer more. Jojoba, for example, has a similar structure to the skin’s natural oils, which can nourish and moisturise without feeling slick or oily to the touch, ideal for sensitive skin. Similarly, Argan Oil’s ability to protect skin by restoring elasticity, alongside its anti-inflammatory qualities, is making real waves in the sector. This upward momentum is likely to continue being introduced in new product development projects as we move forward.

“Kitchen favourite, Olive Oil, is another notable oil that consumers are switching on to. It’s building a strong footing in personal care formulations as a powerfully hydrating ingredient in a surprisingly diverse array of applications; from shampoos and conditioners to hand creams, balms and moisturisers. Consumers are starting to rethink how they’re approaching skin care, and natural oils are playing a central role. Savvy businesses are looking at how best to harness these as a key competitive edge as new product development begins anew.”