Beauty is no longer just skin deep. Latest research from Mintel Cosmetic Research shows that throughout Europe, more than 2,260 ethical cosmetics and skin care products* were launched last year alone, an incredible five fold increase from 2006 figures.
And 2008 looks set to be another bumper year for the market, as more than 420 new ethical beauty products have already hit the shop shelves in Europe this year.
Together, the United Kingdom (UK) and France accounted for 74% of all ethical beauty launches in Europe last year, showing just how in touch with the ethical movement these nations are today.
Although cruelty-free products, which have not been tested on animals, comprise the largest group of ethical beauty products, those that highlight their eco-friendly packaging saw the fastest growth between 2006 and 2007.
Making sure that a beauty product has not been tested on animals has been an important factor for many women for years and today around half of women in France (49%) and the UK (51%) say that they look out for this when buying beauty products. All natural products have also really struck a chord, as this is in fact the No. 1 consideration for French women (51%). Meanwhile, more than two in five (43%) British women also look to go all natural when it comes to their cosmetics and skin care products.
But today there is an ever-widening selection of causes and claims made by the beauty industry that continue to capture people's imagination. There is now heightened interest in eco-friendly and fair trade beauty products. And it is French women who are again leading the way. Although one in five (20%) British women want their beauty products to have packaging that is recyclable, this rises to 25% among French women. And when it comes to fair trade products, French women (16%) are twice as likely as British women (8%) to look for this.
* Includes products that are fair trade, not tested on animals, that support a charity and that are environmentally friendly or have environmentally friendly packaging.