Neutrogena is taking a giant step into the D2C world, introducing Skin Stacks, a new line of personalized gummy supplements. Using a facial scan on a mobile app, the company asks a few questions, and artificial intelligence then "prescribes" a customized vitamin. Using 3-D printing technology, it cranks out a 28-day supply for just under $50.
The products are created in partnership with Nourished, based in the U.K, and arrive in customers' homes within 14 days -- and usually within seven, the company claims.
"Our consumers are on this journey to whole health and holistic health," says Desiree Dowe, director of future skin health at Johnson & Johnson, which owns Neutrogena. "It's a trend that's been around for a while, but through the pandemic, consumers have increased the importance they place on health and wellness."
The goal, she says, "is making sophisticated science simple. The supplement space can be overwhelming."
She tells D2C Insider that 76% of beauty shoppers now expect brands to offer a supplement and move beyond traditional skin and hair topicals.
The AI analyzes 2,000 different facial attributes, offering users a 10-point score on some of them. Users choose from five goals -- ageless, clear, hydrate, glow or resilient -- with seven layers of vitamins and nutrients. From there, they are redirected to Nourished's site, where they pay for products delivered in plastic-free, home-compostable packaging.
The products work quickly, says Melissa Snover, founder and chief executive officer of Nourished. "Each ingredient has been specifically selected for its validated clinical outcomes. Some of these ingredients are water-soluble, so they will start to have an effect the same day that you take them. Others will have a larger impact over time."
The key, she says, is taking the supplement daily. "Otherwise, you're not going to get the maximum benefit."
Unveiled at this week's CES, the underpinnings of Skin Stacks go back to CES 2018, when Neutrogena introduced its Skin 360 digital skin assessment. That scanning tech "helped people learn to decomplexify categories and figure out which topical routine is uniquely designed for them."
Then in 2019, the company offered Mask ID at CES, a personalized 3D-printed customized facial product, also sold directly to consumers.
With this leap into nutrition, the goal is to understand what people like about this inside-out approach to beauty. "We will take the learnings to understand how that can inform our innovation pipeline in the future," Dowe says.
While the algorithm has been trained on consumers of all ages, skin types and skin tones, Neutrogena expects the most significant demand will be among those 30 and under.
"These are the people most motivated to care about this inside-out approach. They're asking, 'How does my lifestyle, my stress, my sleep, where I live, how I travel, how do these impact my skin and wellbeing?'"
Besides customization, the D2C approach also addresses freshness, a common customer concern. "Our products are made fresh to order and much fresher than what they can buy at retail," Dowe says.
A digital ad campaign will promote the product.