Sustainable soap, bath, shower and body care in 2021 & beyond

February 25, 2021
5 minutes read

Ecological claims are becoming increasingly important across the beauty and personal care market and are among the fastest-growing claims in soap, bath, shower and body care. In Europe, for example, 21% of soap, bath, shower and body care product launches had an “environmentally friendly product” claim in 2020, up by 7 percent points since 2016. As French consumers have become more eco-conscious over time, Mintel research reveals that half of French beauty and personal care shoppers bought eco-friendly soap, bath and shower products in the past 12 months prior to the survey in October 2020.

In the second installment of our sustainable beauty blog series we look at the latest sustainable innovations from the soap, bath, shower and body care sector, which received a boost in New Product Development due to the increasing focus on cleansing throughout the pandemic. 

Use upcycled or biodegradable ingredients

Looking to be disruptive in the eco-friendly space are brands that stress the use of biodegradable or waste-minimising upcycled ingredients. In 2020, over half of French beauty and personal care consumers reduced the number of non-biodegradable beauty/grooming products they used.

Private label retailers use upcycled fruits

Rossmann’s Isana Body, bath, shower and haircare collection (Germany)

Source: Mintel GNPD

Rossmann’s Isana ‘Liebt die Erde’’ (‘love the earth’) body, bath, shower and haircare collection uses natural ingredients and an array of upcycled fruits that would otherwise have been disposed of. These fruits include orange peel waste from the fruit juice industry, or unripened young peaches which are harvested in the Spring so that the rest of the fruit can thrive. 

Muesli-inspired biodegradable body scrub

L’Occitane en Provence’s Amande Crunchy Muesli Scrub (France)

Source: Mintel GNPD

L’Occitane en Provence’s almond oil shower scrub contains 95% naturally derived and 99% readily biodegradable ingredients. It is inspired by the muesli breakfast cereal both in terms of its texture and pouch pack style. Food-based New Product Development is a creative way for body care brands to add an element of excitement and make sustainable products more appealing to consumers.

Lotion with depleted vegetable oil

Further Moisturize Responsibly Geranium, Amber, Lime Lotion (US)

Source: Mintel GNPD

Further Products (US) is a producer of beauty products, including bodycare, formulated with locally sourced depleted vegetable oil, which is refined into biofuel and then converted into an “exceptional lotion for a smooth skin”. Products include a body lotion, hand soap, soy candle and dish soap.

Innovate with waterless formulas

In line with Mintel’s 2025 Beauty and Personal Care Trend Water – the new luxury, waterless products such as powders and concentrates open opportunities for brands to appeal to consumers wanting to reduce their water consumption. 

Almond milk powder shower gel

Almond milk powder shower gel (Germany)

Source: Puremetics

This powder turns into shower gel or mousse depending on the amount of hot water added. This product uses significantly less CO2 emissions than conventional shower gel and comes in plastic-free, paper packaging.

Customisable waterless body wash

Youbody Customisable Waterless Body Wash (US)

Source: Youbody

This customisable and sustainable body wash system combines scented powders – which can be mixed to create custom blendswith a patented pod (including a built-in cleansing tool) to save water and reduce plastic waste.

Focus on solid and refillable formats

The emerging prevalence of refillable packaging in sustainable strategies encourages new rituals and formats. Solid formats have the opportunity to accelerate in light of the increase in refillable solutions.

Hand sanitiser tablets

There is an opportunity for brands to focus on hand care innovation given the spotlight on hand hygiene amid the COVID-19 crisis.

CHANGE Hand sanitiser

Source: CHANGE

Eco-friendly and plastic-waste-minimising solid tablet formats are moving into the booming hand sanitiser market. CHANGE hand sanitiser tablets allow consumers to create their own hand sanitiser at home while minimising the need for single-use disposable plastic. Just fill the reusable pump bottle with water, and drop in the CHANGE hand sanitiser tablet until dissolved. The resultant solution promises to kill 99.9% of germs without the single-use plastic or strong chemicals of standard hand sanitisers.

Unbottled shower gel with superfoods

Unbottled shower gel (France)

Source: Unbottled

This “unbottled” solid shower gel is equivalent to 2-3 bottles of 250 ml shower gel and contains superfoods including almond oil, oat oil and oat bran. It’s a pH neutral shower gel, which cleans the skin delicately, without leaving it dry.

DIY body wash pills

Haeckels 60% H2O Ocean Cleanse Concentrate + Allantoin (UK) 

Source: Mintel GNPD

This product from Haeckels is a one-year supply of body wash ‘pills’ that form a shower gel once mixed with boiling water in the ceramic dispenser provided. The brand claims more value for money compared to similar full-size already-mixed products, and more sustainability due to its refillable packaging and ergonomic pill format.

Like Haeckels, bodycare brands could encourage DIY processes with beautiful, sustainable packaging to be kept. The DIY element introduces a level of personalisation and the feeling of participation in the creation of a product. It can also introduce a more traditional sense of value when ingredients available at home can be added to a base to create a luxurious product.

Rosalia Di Gesu
Rosalia Di Gesu

Rosalia Di Gesu is a Senior Innovation Analyst. She focuses on delivering cross-category insight and commentary on innovative new product launches and trends.

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