Person's hand holding a gummy from Neutrogena Skinstacks.
To tap further into the consumer demand for wellness, Neutrogena, along with supplement company Nourished, launched vitamin gummies that will be personalized to each customer. — Neutrogena

Why it matters:

  • Businesses that excel at personalization can generate 40% more revenue than companies that don’t, according to McKinsey research.
  • In the post-COVID beauty sector, self-care minded consumers increasingly seek out wellness-driven skincare products that are customized to their needs.
  • Leaning into that demand, legacy brand Neutrogena’s new vitamin supplements leverage consumers’ AI-enabled face scans to serve up personalized skincare regimens, tapping into the $3.3 billion global beauty ingestible market for growth.

Neutrogena, a brand known for its popular topical products, wants to help consumers achieve healthy skin from the inside out — with the help of technology.

The brand launched beauty supplements in conjunction with Nourished, a personalized supplement company that uses 3D printing technology, at the CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) in January.

The vegan, sugar-free, and colorful vitamin gummies called Nourished x Neutrogena Skin360SkinStacks propel the Johnson & Johnson-owned skincare powerhouse into the $3.3 billion global beauty ingestible market (as tracked by InsightAce Analytic). The market is on track to topple $8.3 billion by 2030.

Consumers are on board: The Benchmarking Company reported that 92% of surveyed female consumers believe taking a vitamin is the best route to healthy skin.

“People are looking for solutions for holistic health and 76% of consumers tell us that beauty brands such as Neutrogena should offer beauty supplements in addition to traditional topical solutions,” Desiree Dowe, Director of Future of Skin Health at Neutrogena, told CO—. “People are looking for expert guidance as they navigate the space to know what's right for them.”

That's where customization comes into play. “Consumers love products that feel bespoke and like that they are made for them,” said Anna Mayo, Vice President of Beauty and Personal Care Thought Leadership at NielsenIQ, adding that technology is one vehicle to curate products.

Customization has the potential to help brands generate 40% more revenue than cookie-cutter competitors

While mass customization might seem like an oxymoron, it is an emerging trend in the beauty space. Examples include Function of Beauty where shoppers can concoct their own hair products; Mix:Bar, a fragrance collection where consumers can create a custom scent; and Pure Culture Beauty which taps DNA for made-to-order skin creams.

There's a financial upside to tailor-made beauty products. Customization has the potential to help brands (that do it well) generate 40% more revenue than cookie-cutter competitors, according to research from McKinsey.

Even a small slice of the beauty supplement pie would offer Neutrogena a chance to take a leadership role in a business with few national beauty giants.

This isn’t the first time Neutrogena employed technology to innovate. The company introduced MaskiD, a technology to create personalized 3D sheet masks in 2021, as a follow up to its Skin360 app (launched in 2019) which was instrumental to creating Skinstacks.

[Read: Not Just Skin Deep: Marketers From CVS to Startup Geenie Take on Mental Wellness in the Beauty Aisle]

People are looking for solutions for holistic health and 76% of consumers tell us that beauty brands such as Neutrogena should offer beauty supplements in addition to traditional topical solutions.

Desiree Dowe, Director of Future of Skin Health, Neutrogena

AI-enabled face scans analyze consumers’ skin health to deliver personalized recommendations

To produce Skinstacks, Neutrogena harnessed the power of artificial intelligence gleaned from its Skin360 digital assessment tool and 3D printing. To start, users visit where they are directed to take a face scan from different sides (either on computers or an app on their cellphones). The images are accessed using more than 100,000 skin pixels to analyze over 2,000 facial attributes that provide health information about their skin. A report on the consumers’ skin health based on several factors is provided.

Next, users take a quiz about their lifestyles, skincare routines, and goals such as preventing fine lines. The skin analysis and consumer questionnaire result in the recommendation of a nutrient stack as well as suggestions for suitable Neutrogena topical products.

When the order is placed, the appropriate Skinstack is produced with Nourished's 3D technology, which sandwiches seven layers of scientifically supported ingredients into one vitamin.

Neutrogena sifted through more than 1,000 ingredients to cull the 14 that the brand feels are the most important for skin health. People get to pick their flavor to encourage compliance.

All the stacks contain a core blend of vitamins A and E, vitamin C, selenium, vitamin D3, and zinc. The customization comes into play for the last two layers. “Those remaining two layers are aligned with the benefits that meet your skin goals,” explained Logan McGill, Neutrogena's Global Marketing Director.

For example, a 60-year-old woman looking to reduce wrinkles might be prescribed a stack with riboflavin and CoQ10. A 28-year-old could be guided to a gummy with black pepper and hydrocurc (a proprietary ingredient). Personalized letters accompany the shipment.

[Read: How Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Changing How Marketers Sell Everything From Food to Fashion]

Despite Neutrogena’s presence on thousands of retail shelves, the gummies are only available via direct-to-consumer sales.

The stacks cost $49.99 for a 28-day supply. That timing allows for tweaking formulas as skin changes with age and seasons.

The use of 3D printing results in just-in-time production and fresh products with zero waste, according to Melissa Snover, Founder and CEO of Nourished. “We make every single item on demand, uniquely for each person.”

 Headshot of Desiree Dowe, Director of Future of Skin Health at Neutrogena.
Desiree Dowe, Director of Future of Skin Health at Neutrogena. — Neutrogena

Neutrogena: Tapping innovation to grow market share in the $136 billion, self-care-fueled global skincare market amid heightened competition

In addition to taking the 92-year-old Neutrogena brand into the booming beauty ingestible market, Skinstacks offers the brand the chance to grab greater share of the $136 billion spent on skincare around the globe, according to Statista.

Skincare has been on a growth trajectory, fueled by self-care regimens adopted during the pandemic that have become rituals.

Despite being one of the original "clean" and efficacious brands on retail shelves, Neutrogena faces encroaching competition from brands dermatologists push, like the L'Oréal-owned CeraVe. There are also independent brands creating a buzz on social media further vying for consumers looking for healthy skin.

For the most recent 12-week period, ended December 4, 2022, tracked by IRI, Neutrogena ranked third in facial moisturizers behind CeraVe and Olay and fifth in cleansers trailing CeraVe, Cetaphil, private labels, and Garnier.

“For an established brand like Neutrogena, the risk and necessity are not just to innovate in terms of size, another flavor, or a gel versus a cream, but to deliver foundational innovation. Sometimes that is through technology, sometimes it is through formulation,” said Wendy Liebmann, Founder and CEO of WSL Strategic Retail. Skinstacks, she said, offers both. “Even a brand like Neutrogena can't sit on the laurels of its past. This [Skinstacks] helps them separate them from all the startups and smaller companies who are fast to market and innovative.”

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