Training Wheels For Beauty

It's time for teen and tween skin care to grow up. Skin care marketers need to recognize that teen skin care is not just about breakouts. It's about breaking teens into lifelong habits of caring for their skin. The brands that recognize this fact, and act on it, will not just be gaining a viable teenage audience, they will be educating the adults of the future and, therefore, shaping the skin care habits, attitudes and purchasing patterns for a long time to come.

It's not news that kids are growing up earlier, adopting adult-like purchasing interest and behavior at ever earlier ages. According to The NPD Group, in 2008, 43% of 6-to-9 year olds use lipstick, and 38% use hairstyling products. NPD in 2009 revealed that 50% of tweens are already using skin care products, with skin care outranking cosmetics in terms of usage.

Given this reality, beauty brands should no longer be content to relegate the teen market to teen brands. On the contrary, they should be reaching down in age, sooner and further, forging a relationship with consumers as early as possible, when they are yet untrained and hungry to learn. The best way to harvest a consumer's full lifetime value is to teach them early, introducing them to the relationship-building values of the brand, and migrate them upward as they grow older.



Dermalogica is embracing this approach with the recent launch of Clean Start, a teen-targeted sub-brand that teaches teens the ins and outs of good skin care. Importantly, the teen sub-brand follows the same no-cheap-filler-ingredients approach of its adult products, training teens to avoid such ingredients as artificial fragrances and colors, mineral oils and specially denatured alcohol. When teens raised on Clean Start pass the acne stage, it's a good bet they will look to avoid those ingredients and put Dermalogica high on their list of preferred skin care brands.

Procter & Gamble provides training wheels for future consumers by offering the Always Changing Puberty Education Program as one of its school programs. Developed by teachers and school nurses and specially designed for fifth-grade girls and boys, this program helps teachers teach the important topics of puberty and development. The information packet includes product samples by Always and Secret plus a brochure for parents.

Historically, teen skin care brands have been something for consumers to grow out of. No longer. It's time for brands to recognize that tween and teen skin care is the perfect way for a consumer to grow into a brand, and it's time for them to start knocking on their bedroom doors with a message: Let the beauty training begin.

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