June 12, 2017 Trends

Nutricosmetics: a different beauty solution

Creams, gels, lotions… These are the canonical forms of cosmetics the industry has made consumers used to. However, a new generation of care products has been emerging for a while: nutricosmetics.

With their hybrid form, between a cosmetic product and a food supplement, these products are on a roll. But, what are they, actually? Frédéric Levy, Director of Biocyte, a pioneer brand in this field, answered CosmeticOBS's questions on this issue.


The term ‘nutricosmetics' is a neologism which dates back to the 1980s. It is the contraction of the words ‘nutrient' and ‘cosmetics'. It refers to the food supplements whose action is related to beauty. Frédéric Levy explains that ‘nutricosmetics are to be ingested. Several forms are available: sachet, capsule, powder to be diluted, tablet… The product has a positive action on the skin, hair, or nails.'
The promises and claims of these products are often close to those of canonical beauty products, but they do not belong to the same family and do not fall into the scope of the same regulations. Indeed, it is specified in the definition of a cosmetic product shared by all European Union Member States that it is a ‘substance or mixture intended to come into contact with the superficial parts of the human body (epidermis, down and hair systems, nails, lips, and external genital organs), or with teeth and visible oral mucous membranes, solely or principally, to clean them, perfume them, modify their aspect, protect them, keep them in good condition or correct body odour.'
Frédéric Levy adds that ‘the nutricosmetics industry is governed by regulations on food supplements.'
This distinction is quite important, since it makes it possible to consume products in full transparency, without any confusion.

A few figures

Although the industry already existed a few years ago, it started growing strongly only recently. Frédéric Levy indicates that ‘today, the market achieves a four or five billion dollar turnover on the global level. It records a 9 to 10% growth per year, and the main players are Asia, with 40% (Japan ahead), followed by Europe, with about 35% (France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain). The remaining 10% are shared between the United States and the rest of the world.'

Biocyte's Director adds that if ‘Asians are leaders, it is because they have understood the importance of product supplementation for the skin and hair. After a certain age, the body makes less elastin and hyaluronic acid. These deficiencies should be prevented to guarantee our skin's beauty capital. Nutricosmetics are ideal, since they make it possible to replace the supplies we cannot get from food or with conventional cosmetics.

Nutricosmetics: for who? For what?

These supplements bear different claims. However, several distinct families can be distinguished. According to Frédéric Levy, there are three of them.
• Hair: the main claims are growth, strengthening, vitality, and shininess
• Skin: elasticity, fight against wrinkles, and skin firmness reinforcement are the main anti-wrinkle promises in this category
• Sun care: there are two different claims here. On the one hand, skin preparation to prevent any sunburn and enhance suntan; on the other hand, self-tanning supplements, which provide a progressive suntan.

Nutricosmetics are accessible to all, without any risk for health. If the idea of ingesting a supplement for cosmetic purposes may sound scary to a few, Frédéric Levy emphasizes the fact that ‘the products sold in France, in particular by Biocyte, comply with the regulations in force. Although zero risk does not exist, allergies or other annoyances are very rarely reported with these products.'
Still, Frédéric Levy explains that the intake of nutricosmetics is not recommended for pregnant women, ‘not that they are hazardous, but there are basic rules to follow when you bear or nurse a child. It is just common sense,' he concludes.

Beauty food supplements should not be mistaken for conventional beauty products: they can be a new way to consider skincare and wellness.


© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
Your comments

Please login to see all comments

All articles [130]
© Bertrand GUAY / AFP
October 4, 2017 Trends
Spring beauty: shine on

Dewy, glowing skin has long been a staple catwalk beauty look, but this season elevated the trend, with multiple fashion houses sending their models down the runway with faces that positively shone. There is no doubt that the biggest beauty trend to emerge from the Spring/Summer 2018 fashion... [Read more ]

September 27, 2017 Trends
Cosmetotextile: slipping on beauty

As cosmetics brands vie each other in inventiveness to offer the public new skincare products with ever-more innovative galenics and textures, an alternative branch now provides consumers with a new way to consume beauty: cosmetotextile. As its name suggests, it is an association between textile... [Read more ]

September 18, 2017 Trends
Beauty boxes are getting green

It has been a few years since beauty boxes have invaded cosmetics consumer mail boxes. The offering is massive, there is something for every taste. And those that prefer to invest in organic skincare have not been left behind, since green-labelled boxes have also been launched. Some of them... [Read more ]

© CosmeticOBS-L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques
August 24, 2017 Trends
One third of anti-ageing products come from Asia

Asia’s ageing population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, and the beauty industry has taken notice of this shift in demographics. New research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that, in 2016, over one third (37%) of global beauty and personal care (BPC)... [Read more ]

June 28, 2017 Trends
Sun exposure: 7 solutions to minimize risks

If summer holidays rhyme with seaside, rest, and beaches, they are also synonymous of sunbathing, which can be harmful for health: in addition to accelerating skin aging, UV rays are determining factors in the appearance of skin cancers. So, to help the public better understand what sun exposure... [Read more ]

June 26, 2017 Trends
Cosmetics based on flower waters

Delicate, scented, and coloured, flowers are not just a pleasure for our senses: many of them have beneficial effects on the skin. Their presence in skincare rituals is nothing new, and the cosmetics industry intends to keep using them for a long time. Rose, cornflower, or lavender, flowers are... [Read more ]

June 26, 2017 Trends
Seduction: when it all hangs by a hair

What is the relationship between the French and the opposite sex’s pilosity? Is it a brake in the search for love not to carry out hair removal or, on the contrary, an advantage? The Wilkinson razor brand tried to solve this mystery with an Ipsos-conducted survey. Disparaged for decades,... [Read more ]

May 31, 2017 Trends
It is a short step from home to beauty salons

As more and more trades are getting ‘uberized’, the beauty industry has been creating different consumption patterns. You no longer need to go to beauty salons to have a manicure, have your hair removed, or benefit from any other treatment. From now on, you will just need a few... [Read more ]

May 29, 2017 Trends
Cosmetics based on sea water

It is widely known that sea water is good for the skin, because it is filled with various trace elements. That is the reason why the cosmetics industry has set its heart on this ingredient. Whether in supermarket references or luxury products, sea water is flooding into the beauty sphere. [Read more ]

May 10, 2017 Trends
Cosmetics for girls in bloom

Clearly, the makeup trend is getting more and more regressive. Pop and acid packaging, fruity smells, flashy colours… it is all intended to remind us of our childhood. And yet, all these playground-looking cosmetics are not made for young girls, but for women with an assertive behaviour.... [Read more ]