Beauty & Wellness Briefing: The Renaissance of The Bar Soap

When you look at today's trends, pretty much everything has been influenced by Covid-19. Covid has transformed how people think about hygiene. It used to be about being clean, and now it is a way of keeping you and your loved ones safe and healthy, said Greg Ross, vp of skin cleansing at Unilever. There's also the self-care trend that had existed before Covid-19 but accelerated during it. We've seen that play a big role in the bar soap category.

As we started getting into product development and working on the next new thing for us, bar soap was [a perfect product] for our values on the environment and sustainability, said Theis. With body washes, we had thought We could do refillable or we could do an aluminum can.' But that's a lot of work for some people. Most body washes are [packaged] in plastic, but we tried to stay away from that.

Better scent profiles are one reason the bar soap category is more desirable now, as it's viewed as an elevated product. Redoux, the 1-year-old buzzy beauty brand that received Glossier grant money, is centered on a scent story, too, though it also aims to be an easy-to-use and empathic brand, said Asia Grant, Redoux co-founder. Using less plastic was also a primary desire for Redoux, she said.

In our initial research, we found that people were looking for a way to [reduce] their plastic waste footprint and make more intentional purchases of products that make them feel good but are not filling landfills. [People] want products that use ingredients they understand, Grant said.

Redoux's core customer group is 25- to 36-years-old and is 60% women and 40% men. Redoux is sold through The RealReal, Reformation and Goop, and the average household income of customers is $70,000-$120,000. Grant said that people typically buy a single $16 bar soap and that 60% of customers make repeat purchases, often upgrading to the $36 three-pack of bar soap.

Grant does not anticipate expanding Redoux to shampoo bars or other types of solid products. Meanwhile. Theis said she believes there is a lot of potential in the category for Henry Rose and that solid bar soaps could gain a cool factor to them. Ross declined to share future Dove product launches but said the brand is always looking at customer trends and potential product innovations.

There has been a bit of a renaissance where we've seen bar soap come back into favor with the younger generation, said Ross. It could be sustainability perceptions, but it could also be driven by more variety in the [product offerings] and the experience, as well.

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