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The latest market data from market research company Information Resources, Incorporated (IRI) shows that introducing natural alternatives to plastic microbeads in facial scrubs has added £1.4m to the UK’s facial scrub sales in the last year.

The figure represents the increase in sales in 52 weeks to 27 January 2018 as compiled by IRI, a provider of big data and predictive analytics for FMCG manufacturers and retailers.

Government legislation introduced at the start of this year banned the manufacturing of products containing plastic microbeads. This and general consumer interest in products that promote wellness and health while also being environmentally friendly have led to a range of new natural ingredients being introduced in the facial scrub market over the last year.

IRI’s senior insight manager Kaajal Bhatti said: “The landscape of brands operating in this popular skincare segment is changing. New product innovation has clearly hit the mark and proved a huge winner with customers – with sales of new products adding £1.4m to the category in the last year.”

However, according to Bhatti, sales of the biggest brands in 2017 have declined, while new entrants bringing natural and environmentally-friendly ingredients and packaging to the market have seen positive growth.

Bhatti added: “Established brands will have to be more nimble to adapt to changing consumer trends and broader environmental concerns. It will be interesting to see how the marketing strategies of both segments play out and what natural product will be next for our skincare exfoliation regime.”

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By GlobalData

Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic used in skincare products to aid exfoliating. Thousands of tonnes of these micro plastics wash into the sea every year harming marine life.

Skincare brands have taken products off the shelves and reworked their formulas so that they could offer customers the same benefits of daily exfoliation with natural ingredients that biodegrade and pose no harm to marine life.

Of these new options clay has contributed to a 339% value growth of facial scrubs, while sugar and salt contributed 39% and 37% respectively.

Clay has widely accepted health benefits such as drawing out impurities from the skin and, circulation-boosting properties but its use in the facial scrub market is relatively new.

Salt, which has high mineral content, especially sea salt, can help reduce inflammation.

The sales of facial scrubs containing sugar have grown by £74k in just one year.

Other natural ingredients brands are experimenting with include walnut shelf, jojoba beads and coffee grounds.

According to IRS, since 2017, the UK’s facial scrub market has gained 2% in value sales to £11.7m.