Billion-dollar acquisition, microbiome science funding, smart skincare

Billion-dollar acquisition, microbiome science funding, smart skincare

Purchases take shape this fortnight, with Estée Lauder announcing it has snapped up Tom Ford and acne brand, Zitsticka, revealing its got a new owner to help expand its digital presence. One company seeking to deepen microbiome understanding receives $20 million funding, while skincare devices and ingredient launches seek to advance intelligence and innovation in the segment.

In our bi-weekly roundup, we take a look at the latest in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Get the latest news on acquisitions, launches and trends evolving the beauty space.

Estée Lauder Companies purchases Tom Ford

In an acquisition worth a reported €2.7 billion ($2.8 billion), global beauty manufacturer and marketer Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has signed an agreement to buy luxury fashion house, Tom Ford.

Tom Ford first collaborated with ELC in 2006 to create and release the luxury fashion house’s first foray into fragrances and signature scent, Black Orchid. In 2011, Tom Ford released its skincare and makeup ranges in British premium retailers Harrods and Selfridges. The lines feature lip glosses, mascara and a blush kit.

In a further nod to the growth and direction of the brand’s cosmetics offering, most recently, the brand entered into the premium skincare market by developing its Tom Ford Research collection in 2019. Its skincare line strives to bring together high-performance and scientific skincare with a premium delivery system.

In ELC’s fiscal year ending 30th June 30 2022, the beauty arm of Tom Ford reached almost 25% net sales growth compared to the previous year, with particular traction in the prestige fragrance markets in the US and China, the ELC states. Over the next couple of years, the company expects Tom Ford will achieve annual net sales of one billion dollars.

The acquisition, subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

Nu Skin launches smart skincare device

Global beauty and wellness company Nu Skin Enterprises has released its newest offering, its ageLOC LumiSpa iO system.

Available in the US, the treatment and cleansing device aims to provide a connected, personalised and immersive skincare experience. Dubbed as the next generation of smart skincare, its ageLOC LumiSpa iO system uses Nu Skin’s patented micropulse technology to provide customised treatments, coaching and skincare routine tracking via its app.

The ageLOC LumiSpa iO system comprises the LumiSpa iO device, which consists of three non-abrasive treatment head options and five cleanser options. Nu Skin applied a science-led formulation to enable precise skin cushioning, cleansing and interaction.

Nu Skin’s proprietary micropulse oscillation technology works by a counter-rotating action that removes dirt, oil, makeup, pollutants and toxins, lifting them away without causing skin irritation. The device is designed to be microbiome friendly, respecting the skin’s pH to help preserve its natural moisture barrier.

Following a 12-week clinical efficacy study conducted by Nu Skin, the brand reports how consumers found a 58% improvement in softness, 47% improvement in smoothness, 40% improvement in brightness and 34% improvement in radiance in individuals who used the device with its normal/combo treatment cleanser.

In 2022, Nu Skin launched its Vera app to offer consumers personalised skincare experiences. Users receive a digital skin consultation that uses a guided questionnaire on a user’s skin and lifestyle. By uploading a photo, they can tap into the app’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology to identify possible skin concerns and its algorithm presents personalised product recommendations.

Users can also create and save customised facial treatments that target key skincare areas, such as the face, neck and décolleté as well as treatments for the skin around the eyes. Skincare consumers can track usage, earn badges and awards and receive treatment tutorials and coaching.

Online beauty brand ZitSticka joins Heyday

Virtual platform Heyday has acquired the digitally-native skincare brand ZitSticka in a move that seeks to expand the beauty name’s presence among global audiences.

The move signals the online consumer products company’s ongoing and increasing investment in the personal care space as it hopes to achieve a dominant position in the acne patch skincare segment. Heyday is known for acquiring and incubating digital-native brands through building partnerships with e-commerce entrepreneurs and brands.

ZitSticka is known for its acne treatment and prevention range. With a focus on evidence-based skincare that targets every stage of a zit’s life cycle, the brand designed its debut product, the KILLA patch, with specific ingredients for acne-prone skin. The product’s formulation also contains self-dissolving microdarts that aim to disrupt the progression of upcoming and early-stage acne.

By teaming up with Heyday, Zitsticka hopes to expand in the retail landscape. Via the Heyday platform, ZitSticka will have access to technology, data, supply chain and growth capabilities to support the skincare name, explore omnichannel opportunities, grow its product offering and build brand equity.

Eagle Genomics generates $20 million for microbiome science

Technology and biology-led Eagle Genomics, which seeks to develop an understanding of the microbiome through conversations and data, has received €19.5 million ($20 mn) in its latest funding round. Microbiome refers to an ecosystem of bacteria, fungi and viruses present in living organisms.

The scale-up funding aims to accelerate the application of microbiome science, including the continued development of the AI-augmented knowledge discovery platform, e[datascientist], and its ongoing expansion into global markets. The e[datascientist] uses science and multilayer hypergraphs to apply machine learning and AI. It aims to provide data-driven insights into how companies can overcome large-scale complex problems.

With a focus on ‘One Health’, a concept that recognises more sustainable and impact-oriented product outcomes, Eagle Genomics centres its research and understanding on microbiome and host-microbiome interactions as the common denominator across these domains, it states. It aims to show the connection between products, microbiome health and ‘One Health’ related issues.

Eagle Genomics also aims to understand new key bio-active ingredients that could deliver health benefits or target a particular health benefit and work backwards through data to identify key ingredients. The TechBio name hopes to close the current ‘translation gap’ and address critical bottlenecks in the industrial application of microbiome science.

Differentiating beauty and personal care items and product claims in the industry’s microbiome space has been highlighted as a core area of focus. Areas of interest include personalised and stratified cosmetics such as skin, oral, scalp, pre/pro/postbiotics, ingredient manufacturing, cosmeceuticals and genital health/personal hygiene products.

The funding round was led by abrdn plc, along with existing investors, including Environmental Technologies Fund and a consortium led by Granpool Innovative Investments.

Inolex launches two new ingredients

Cosmetic and personal care ingredient manufacturer, Inolex, has launched its latest ingredients: Lexgard GH70 Natural and Spectrastat GHL Natural. Designed to offer sustainability and natural preservation, the brand strives to add further options to its range of technologies that strive to protect products from microbial contamination.

The brand states its Lexgard GH70 Natural (Glyceryl Heptanoate) ingredient represents the first of its kind in the market. It is a non-palm, 100% natural, ultra-mild preservation component. The patent-pending, multifunctional ingredient is a plant-based bacteriostatic medium chain terminal diol designed to provide antimicrobial control in formulations.

Inolex created its Hurdle Technology System to achieve the inclusion of antimicrobial properties in cosmetics. Borrowing the concept from food science, the system deploys multiple components, or a series of hurdles, to inhibit microbial contamination.

Its Spectrastat GHL Natural (Caprylhydroxamic Acid (and) Glyceryl Heptanoate (and) Propanediol) ingredient is designed to be an ultra-mild and 100% natural preservation system that uses a combination of multifunctional ingredients to enable formulators to produce self-preserving formulations.

Inolex states that both ingredients are suited to sensitive skin, facial care and baby care applications and have clear formulations.

“We employ the Hurdle Technology approach across our portfolio of safe preservation options, using multiple barriers to control microbial growth,” notes Lisa Gandolfi, PhD, VP of Marketing. “This intelligent combination of different preservation techniques, or ‘hurdles’, allows brands to achieve broad spectrum, mild, and reliable preservation effects with consumer acceptable ingredients.”

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Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe started her career as a business journalist over a decade ago. During this time, she has reported for a host of publications as a print, digital and broadcast journalist, exploring the beauty and personal care industry from a business perspective and how it intersects with environmental, scientific, legal and sociological perspectives. She also hosts industry webinars and provides the latest insights for podcasts, research institutes and conferences. She has also travelled around the world visiting the in-cosmetics Group events, developing a deep understanding of all things cosmetics.

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