Towards the end of the 21st century, efficacy was no longer a desire; it was the expectation. Consumers won’t lose this expectation or desire lower efficacy. Rather, the customer adds this expectation to the next desired claim creating a cumulative list of “must-haves” that keep them engaged with a brand.
The next phase of the consumer’s expectation that emerged in the 1970's centered on the questions of health and safety. We witnessed this movement evolve in part from mothers and parents blogging and reading blogs about personal care and safety. Through the internet boom and the rise of the amateur blogger and researcher, the consumer was introduced to the concern for the impact of ingredients on mothers-to-be and on baby. One of the first results of this movement was seen in the rejection of parabens because of a potential for endocrine disruption. Unsurprisingly, a label claim that has come into popularity is paraben-free. Another example is the introduction and acceptance of EWG (Environmental Working Group) scoring for ingredient safety. This non-governmental organization scores ingredients for overall hazard potential. The EWG scoring system has also been made into a verification method and infiltrates consumer shopping habits around the world. Specifically, in Korea, a majority of consumers are using an app that scores a product based on the EWG ratings of ingredients, has product reviews, and advises shoppers on the safest and most efficacious products.
As we saw with the seals assuring the quality of the product, this claim of safety has become an expectation and the next level of consumer desired claims is again building the cumulative list of “must-haves” that keep consumers engaged with a brand: environmental health and safety. Environmental health, like the other two categories of claims, cannot be summed up with one certification or one label. Some concerns may be the state of the palm industry which has been criticized for unsustainable practices and deforestation. Another concern is the environmental impact of producing animal goods yielding a desire for vegan and cruelty-free claims. Products derived from petroleum or synthetic building blocks are also becoming less desirable because they may be non-renewable, non-biodegradable, or otherwise less sustainable than other technologies on the market. This is contributing to the multitude of factors encouraging the naturals movement to further root itself in cosmetics, and for natural and sustainable to be the current evolution of consumer-desired claims. Some 3rd party certifications in the category of natural include COSMOS, NSF/ANSI 305, NATRUE, and the USDA BioPreferred® Program.