Demand for more natural ingredients in beauty products added £1.4m to sales of facial scrubs in last year according to IRI market data

4 out of 10 of the top selling facial scrub brands use clay, sugar, salt or fruits as alternatives to microbeads

New entrants to the facial scrub market make up 4% of revenue

19th March 2018 – Bracknell, UK: New Government legislation introduced at the start of this year banning the manufacturing of products containing plastic microbeads found in facial scrubs as well as general consumer interest in products that promote wellness and health, whilst being environmentally friendly, has lead to a plethora of new natural ingredients being introduced in the facial scrub market over the last year. The latest market data from IRI, the provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers, illustrates that new product development (NPD) in facial scrubs has added +£1.4m in sales in the last year (Source: IRI Infoscan 52 weeks to 27 Jan 2018).

Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic used in facial scrubs and other skincare products. Concern with the thousands of tonnes of plastic microbeads washing into the sea every year and harming marine life led to a Government ban and consumer concern about buying these products. Skincare brands took products off the shelves and have rapidly innovated so that they could offer their customers the same benefits of daily exfoliation – principally a glowing complexion – but with natural ingredients that biodegrade and pose no harm to marine life.

As a result, NPD using natural ingredients made a huge contribution to sales in this category over the last year. Clay has contributed a massive 339% to the value growth of facial scrubs, with sugar and salt contributing 39% and 37% respectively. The health benefits of clay are widely accepted – it draws out impurities from the skin, offers circulation boosting properties and assists with skin break-outs – but its use in the facial scrub market is new; historically it has been used in facial masks. Salt is an ingredient most commonly associated with cooking but its high mineral content, particularly in sea salt, can help reduce inflammation and breathe new life into skin. Sugar is a natural source of glycolic acid that penetrates the skin and encourages cell turnover, retaining moisture and keeping skin hydrated. Facial scrubs containing sugar have grown by £74k in just one year. There are some other natural alternatives that we may start to see more of as brands get creative; oats, walnut shells, jojoba beads and coffee grounds.

Since 2017, the facial scrub market overall has gained +2% in value sales to £11.7m.

Kaajal Bhatti, Senior Insight Manager at IRI commented: “The landscape of brands operating in this popular skincare segment is changing. New product innovation has clearly hit the mark and proved a huge winner with customers – with sales of new products adding £1.4m to the category in the last year. Sales of the biggest brands in 2017 declined whereas new entrants, offering natural and environmentally friendly ingredients and packaging, demonstrated positive sales growth. Established brands will have to be more nimble to adapt to changing consumer trends and broader environmental concerns. It will be interesting to see how the marketing strategies of both segments play out and what natural product will be next for our skincare exfoliation regime.”

About IRI:
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help FMCG, OTC health care, retailers and media companies to grow. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand cloud-based technology platform, IRI guides over 5,000 clients globally in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers and deliver growth. www.IRIworldwide.comFollow IRI on Twitter.

For further information please contact:
Georgina Wilton, Consultant
Eureka Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1420 564346
Mob: +44 (0)7870197039 x

How can we help you supercharge growth and profitability with


95% of FMCG, retail, and health and beauty companies in the Fortune 100 work with us.


Enter security code:
 Security code