The group most likely to be interested in natural nailcare is millennials. “Millennials, in particular, are conscientious consumers, as many were raised with natural and organic products their entire lives,” says Andree Connell, cofounder and creative director at Buff & File Nail Bar (Portsmouth, NH). “Now that millennials are growing up and becoming the heads of their own households, they insist on buying goods and services that reflect their values for themselves and their families.”
According to a survey by Kari Gran, of all the age groups, millennial women are most likely to see the importance of choosing all-natural beauty products, and approximately two in three millennial women read beauty-product ingredient labels before making a purchase to avoid certain toxic ingredients. In addition, millennials are the most likely to report they will purchase more all-natural beauty products in the coming years across various categories, including nailcare. “Especially for millennials, when it comes to their nails, consumers are taking a greater interest in finding products that aren’t toxic but still deliver nourishing benefits, beautiful color, and are long-wear and high-shine,” says Deborah Lippmann, founder and creative director of Deborah Lippmann.
It’s important to note that this age group spends more time on the internet than any other age group and is influenced by social media. “This is a generation of individuals who are activists for self-care,” says Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual. “They are extremely passionate about making the world a better place and are demanding products from all consumer goods segments that are healthier for the environment and likewise for themselves.”
So what are millennials looking for when it comes to natural nailcare? Many non-toxic nail products feature labels and statements that usually pertain to the formulas inside and the way they were made. Here are what some millennials might be looking for:
3-Free, 5-Free, 7-Free, 9-Free: This refers to nail polishes that are free of toxic ingredients—3-free is free of dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene; 5-free is 3-free minus camphor and formaldehyde resin; 7-free is 5-free minus ethyl tosylamide and xylene; 9-free is 7-free minus acetone and parabens.
Vegan: This means that the product does not contain any animal-derived ingredients like carmine (insect-derived pigment) or guanine (crushed fish scales), which are sometimes used to create certain effects like iridescence and opalescence.
Gluten-Free: This means that the products do not contain wheat, barley, or rye.
Cruelty-Free: This refers to the absence of animal testing to create the product.
Hypoallergenic: The product does not contain reactive ingredients, such as monomers or photoinitiators, which may cause allergic reactions and skin sensitivities.
While the natural nailcare movement seems to be great for both the environment and clients health, remind your millennial clients that not all brands are created equal. Due to the influence of the internet and social media on people’s buying decisions, small brands are catching the attention of spa-goers everywhere. Strong efforts by smaller indie nailcare brands to self-promote on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and blogs, have helped them gain traction.
However, Silva Hagopian, director of education for Dazzle Dry, recommends using caution with indie brands. “Not all indie brands are created equal or considered safe,” she says. “Indie brand operations can often start in someone’s living room or kitchen sink. ‘Indie’ doesn’t always translate to ‘safe.’ Don’t hesitate to dig a little deeper to find out if safe manufacturing practices are being followed.”