AMERICAN beauty brand Kiehl’s is ending 2019 by focusing on its bestselling serum line — from a serum which corrects dark spots to a serum which reduces fine lines and wrinkles with the power of Vitamin C — which its Philippine product manager says is an indication that Filipinos are now learning about what products will work for their skin type and needs.

“I guess people’s preferences are changing… as they go towards a more targeted type of routine,” Joan Hwang, senior product manager, told BusinessWorld during its thanksgiving event on Oct. 15 at the Peak at Grand Hyatt Hotel Manila, Taguig City.

For two years running, she said, its Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, which targets post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation, has been at the top of its bestseller list, replacing the fan-favorite Midnight Recovery Concentrate which was on top for several years. Midnight Recovery is now at the fifth spot, Ms. Hwang said.

And because this year is all about hydration, something Ms. Hwang noted that many people have forgotten they need to always have no matter their skin type, she said they’ve seen “phenomenal growth” on their improved Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate which has 10.5% L-Ascorbic Acid and fragmented Hyaluronic Acid. The serum is used for its anti-aging benefits and re-texturizing skin.

Hyaluronic Acid has been this year’s miracle ingredient with it being a humectant, or a molecule that draws hydration into the skin, as many brands came out with their own hyaluronic acid formulas.

But beyond its serums, Kiehl’s is ending its year with “a learning experience” as it launched its new social commerce portal in September.

“It’s not as fast [growing] as for example, an e-commerce business that already has a lot of traffic, but [social commerce] is something where we can control the branding and control what actually is communicated to the customer,” Ms. Hwang said.

Kiehl’s recently launched a portal where customers can go to its social media pages and consult with a customer representative who will then suggest products that will fit the customer’s skin type and concern. The company previously sold its products via an e-commerce platform but pulled out because they wanted an “experience comparable to what our customers will get in-store,” as Kiehl’s offer skin consultations and samples in its stores.

“There’s been demand for us [online] and we’re finding that we’re targeting people mostly from provincial areas where we’re not available,” Ms. Hwang said.

And since they’re seeing demand from places outside Metro Manila where most of Kiehl’s stores are currently located, she said that they are looking to “expand further next year to more provincial areas.”

“Right now, we currently [have a branch in] Cebu and we’re looking to add another brand in Northern Luzon… and then maybe in the future in Mindanao,” she said before adding that they can’t say where exactly yet. — Zsarlene B. Chua