There are a lot of brands new and old that want to take care of the consumer’s skin. The world is full of serums, creams, elixirs and exfoliants guaranteed to reverse the effects of aging, toxins and the sun. All for the good, particularly as millennials, America’s largest generation of consumers, are hitting the market and coming into their spending own — at around the same time many of them are entering their late 30s and realizing that they won’t look young forever.
But interestingly, though there are all make and manner of skincare regimens on the market, from a relatively simple wash and moisturize to a 10- to 12-step line that requires a host of different products, all of those skincare regimens all have one thing in common across the board.
The skin they care about is the skin on the consumer’s face — the remaining 90 or so percent of the dermis is mostly ignored.
Focus on the face is not entirely shocking. The face is the most public-facing part of us and so its appearance is alway likely going to lead the pack in terms of consumer concern. Moreover, unlike parts of the body that spend their days safely covered by clothing or shoes, facial skin spends the most time battling the elements. Wind, sun, sleet — if a person is out in it, the odds are good they are being smacked in the face with it.
But just because facial skin needs the most protection, doesn’t mean it needs to be the whole show, or even necessarily the star of the skincare show, according Nécessaire founders Nick Axelrod and Randi Christiansen. Self-care is skincare, according to the founding duo — and skincare is about a lot more than just the human face.
“Body care felt like an afterthought, never the first thought. In our minds, body care was more than a body wash, bigger than body lotion,” Nécessaire’s founders note.
But however vital they might have believed body care to be, the reality was in the average skincare starter kit, a body wash and a “generic” body lotion were about the best that could be expected. The question for Axelrod, founder of Into The Gloss, and Christiansen, a longtime Estee Lauder vet, was how to get beyond those historical limits and to offer up a more holistic take on skincare for customers.
Launched last November, Nécessaire is an attempt to address the problem with an indie beauty firm. The company is still selling lotions and washes for consumers — but offers them with much more specialization than average.
“We deliver a high concentration of active ingredients for results,” the founders say. “We adhere to clean standards for skin health. We design at optimal pH levels for compatibility.”
The brand also leaves out the general list of undesirable additives that brands advertising purity or cleanliness tend to steer away from: sulfates, parabens, phthalates and synthetic dyes. But the brand also avoids some things that have become de rigueur in body creams and washes. Its body lotion, for example, is fragrance-free, which can be genuinely hard to find in high-end lotions. The body wash on offer is also fragrance-free — though it does come with the option of sandalwood or eucalyptus scenting, for those of us who don’t feel clean unless we get to smell nice as well.
The brand, in its short run, has taken off, particularly with the Insta-influencer crowd where the product line — particularly the body cream — has picked up a lot of buzz. Some of that buzz is paid for, as at least some of the brand’s recent prevalence on Instagram is sponsored content these day. But what is striking is how many unpaid and organic mentions the brand is taking in, after a relatively short stint on the market so far. It seems there is a base of consumers looking to up the level of their total skincare routine, and think outside the face.
Consumers, according to reviews, like the minimalist packaging, reasonable pricing and “sexiness” of the product. On reviewer noted that the brand sold “the sexiest body wash I’ve ever used.”
The brand even secured a slot in this year's Nordstrom's Fresh Faces display earlier this year — a pop-up of crowd-favorite beauty and wellness brands. The titling of that pop-up is particularly amusing, given that among Nécessaire’s many concerns, a fresh face doesn’t actually lead the pack.
But bringing sexy back to body care, however, does seem to be a leading concern, and one that is catching on rapidly with customers. The question, it seems, is where the ultra-minimalist line will expand next — and whether its sudden crop of avid customers will be eager to follow.