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Markets & trends

Pregnant women reveal market potential in the search for natural cosmetics

Products containing ingredients or particular formulas that may cause harm to expectant mothers and their babies can be replaced by natural, organic and vegan components.

The market for cosmetics for expecting mothers has yet to be fully explored in Brazil, but the increasing demand of consumers for natural products that are manufactured without animal biproducts or parabens reveals the potential for expansion of this niche market.

Elton Bernardes, director at Ecco's

Elton Bernardes, director at Ecco’s

We have noticed a significant rise in natural, organic and vegan cosmetics,” says Juliana Martins, beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel. “When we look at the launch of beauty products for pregnant women, there is an increase in the number of new cosmetics with fewer chemical ingredients.

The demand is significant, with more than 69.2% of Brazilian women having fallen pregnant at least once between January 2012 and July 2013, according to the National Health Survey (PNS), released by IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).

Safe formulas are imperative for pregnant women when searching for beauty products. Pharmacist, biochemist, and technical director of Ecco’s Ecological Cosmetics, Elton Bernardes, claims that “scientific evidence proves that some components can actually cause harm to the mother and baby’s health, including certain sunscreens, hair dyes, and mineral derivatives. As almost no cosmetic is tested on pregnant women, they are advised to avoid a number of substances.

Bernardes explains that parabens, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, dyes, artificial extracts, benzophenones, camphor derivatives and dosages of urea above 10% are potentially harmful ingredients for the health of the foetus, according to FDA regulations. While parabens have estrogenic properties, that is, they behave as if they were the female hormone oestrogen, formaldehyde may contribute to the onset of cancer. Propylene glycol, dyes and artificial extracts can trigger allergies and irritations.

Benzophenones and camphor derivatives found in sunscreens can cause hormonal imbalances as well as being potentially carcinogenic. Widely used in weight loss products, methyl nicotinate can cause sensitization in cases of frequent use. “It is therefore important that future mothers select cosmetics that are not tested on animals, with the ingredients and their concentrations explicitly stated on the labels,” Bernardes adds.

Based on market research, this year Ecco’s has launched two exclusive products for pregnant women, which focus of instant hydration, stretch mark reduction and skin elasticity. “We noticed a significant lack of products for this specific audience”, explains Bernardes.

The other cosmetics within the brand state on the labels whether they are approved for use by pregnant women and the concentration of each active ingredient. The restriction of ingredients did not limit the product’s development, says Bernardes. “We have replaced mineral oils with vegetable oils in the formulas and propylene glycol has given way to vegetable glycerine,” he says. “Parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives have been replaced by biodegradable components that don’t harm the environment and pose no risk of skin sensitization. We also don’t use any paraffin or dye in our products.

Mintel’s Juliana Martins says the global cosmetics market for pregnant women is constantly expanding, particularly in new product development. In 2016, new product launches accounted for 68.7% of total products in this category, compared to 35.2% in the previous year. In Brazil, there is still significant room for expansion, she claims. “This new niche market of beauty products with fewer chemicals and more natural and organic raw materials is still in the early stages in Brazil, yet has the greatest chances of growth. Other brands must keep up with consumer demand and continue to develop new products to meet this expectation.

Amanda Veloso


© 2017 - Brazil Beauty News -

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