Aroma-Zone, one of the pioneers of this concept and an expert in “homemade” aromatherapy, has been leading the market for 18 years as a real reference brand. President and Co-Founder Anne Vausselin has observed an assertion of behaviours and of the market itself over the past few years. “At first, we were seen as UFOs. Today, our offering is in line with a basic trend that has more to do with society than business. For consumers, it corresponds to a need to reappropriate knowledge about the products they consume. It is a need to control things,” she explains.
Initially created in 2000 as an e-shop dedicated to essential oils, Aroma-Zone decided to focus on DIY as soon as 2005, as they gave access to over 1,000 cosmetics recipes to do yourself, thanks to a broad catalogue of raw materials, containers, utensils, and then finished products. A first store opened in 2009, before being extended in 2014 to offer a 500 m2 space, including a workshop and a spa. The year 2018 was marked by the opening of two new points of sale in Paris and Lyon, and 2019 promises an expansion of the network across France, as well as towards bordering countries.
A universal need for reappropriation
As it is gaining ground on conventional cosmetics in terms of market shares, the DIY dynamics has been attracting new players. “And it is not about to stop, because the offering will get broader,” predicts Nelly Pitt, creator of the Beautymix brand, whose concept consists in associating ingredients and recipes with a robot for the homemade manufacturing of all bathroom products. “After cooking and sewing, cosmetics is one of the latest in the homemade field to which consumers increasingly turn. I think it is the future of cosmetics. There should be something for every taste, and this one is not completely satisfied,” she adds.
The homemade trend echoes the expectations of consumers with a greater ethnic, social, age, and sex diversity. “It has become a fundamental need to take care of yourself and of your close environment with natural products. The purchasing power should also be taken into account: customers want fair prices compared to the value of their products,” says the President of Aroma-Zone.
A need for simplicity
If the first bloggers and YouTubers rivalled with complex formulas composed of a long list of ingredients, today, the trend is moving towards more simplicity. “Over the past five years, in particular with the slow and moderate consumption movements, we have found out that consumers want formulas composed of maximum five or six ingredients, and which are easy to make, cheap, and above all, very efficient. We are going back to basics, with a business objective that is far above what it was ten years ago,” explains Anne Vausselin.
This minimalist approach is also the basis of the Beautymix concept: in its catalogue, the brand deliberately offers only 28 multifunctional ingredients, with which the 14 recipes offered can be done. “Consumers can easily get lost in the huge diversity of raw materials available. The idea is to simplify the approach for beginners and focus on quality ingredients that can fulfil several functions,” explains the founder.
For those that follow the trend, making a cosmetic product themselves, meaning they control its composition, is also a safety guarantee. But to actually ensure the product safety, users should be aware of a number of good hygiene practices and learn how to respect doses and preserve formulas. “Obviously, the safety of cosmetics requires a dose of good sense as well as raising public awareness, just like it does for cooking,” explains Anne Vausselin.
However, health authorities and the main players have committed to setting up stricter regulations and ensuring safety homogeneously, through all the entities involved. Aroma-Zone has carefully answered all requests from ANSM (French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety): the company made tremendous efforts to demonstrate the safety of its offering, over two years, and by means of considerable investments.
“Today, all our recipes are assessed by toxicologists under the same conditions as cosmetic products placed on the market. All our workshops are also evaluated. We worked extremely hard on all the bases to be personalized: combined with actives or perfume extracts, they represent millions of potential combinations. And we secured these millions of possibilities by developing algorithms,” explains Anne Vausselin.
Same arguments for Beautymix: they have their ingredients and recipes tested by toxicologists to validate their safety. “We did everything to guarantee comprehensive solutions that support people from the first to the last manufacturing step, by ensuring both safety and traceability throughout the process.” Users register the products manufactured on their mobile Beautymix app, which provides the expiry date and the traceability of the raw materials used. “It replaces the product label,” explains Nelly Pitt.
“Initially, the objective was to control market players’ practices, and it was commendable, because everyone benefits from a regulatory framework, and the market keeps developing. But, obviously, authorities are less demanding with those that do not play by the rules. We need to follow consumers: they show a real need for freedom, they have expectations. But, of course, it needs to be secured, if only for the concept to last,” concludes Anne Vausselin.