How will the current crisis impact upon the future of beauty? It’s a question we’ve all been pondering ever since the true scale of this pandemic first began to emerge.
Since the very first day Estetica has been facing the issue full-on –always by your side– providing information, updates, tips and creative ideas covering all aspects of our industry.
We are therefore delighted and privileged to be able to publish this article by Sylvie Moreau, President of Coty Professional Beauty. Sylvie’s unique position, at the vanguard of our united counter-attack to defeat the impact of COVID-19; this means she is able to analyse its effects it’s having on our lives and in particular the sudden and unpredictable changes we have all had to endure, both as industry professionals and consumers. “Even if the COVID-19 outbreak will eventually be contained, certain habits will persist and it’s becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic will likely leave a profound and lasting impact on the society, on the economy as well on the global Beauty industry,” explains Sylvie. “These days I have been reflecting on the new reality this crisis is shaping in front of our eyes and I felt it might be helpful to share with you some of the learnings gathered in the last few weeks.”
As we move forward, these are 10 trends that Sylvie has identified as being most likely to change the Beauty Industry:
1. THE RISE OF SAFE BEAUTY
The first trend is the sharp rise in demand for Beauty products considered preventative and safe. Hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial cleanser products have been sold out on every eCommerce platform in a matter of few days. The current situation reminds consumers the essential role of personal hygiene, as the “first beauty gesture”.
Beyond the raising importance of the traditional market of personal care, we can expect the need to rethink packaging and product forms with increased appeal for pumps, sprays or single use formats, and a continued desire for ingredient and sourcing transparency as well as reassurance on impeccable production standards, given the heightened anxiety.
The demand for safe, efficient products will keep growing strongly with consumers even more aware and mindful of the health-related risks, prioritizing the safety of ingredients and formulas on their skin.
A trend that saw its rise even before the COVID-19 emergency –thanks to a growingly conscious consumer movement– and that brought us to the development of the ME+ Technology in our Wella Professionals Koleston Perfect colour line, a colour molecule able to reduce the risk of developing an allergy to hair dye by 60 times versus the most common colour technology.
2. IMMUNITY BOOSTERS AS PART OF BEAUTY ROUTINES
Consumers are embracing even more healthier lifestyles and practices, seeking products and food able to enhance their health and immune system. Immunity-boosting super food and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) ingredients have never been so popular seeing a further growth in demand since the spread of the virus started.
These products are not only perceived as a source of nutrients for a stronger immune system and a balanced diet, but have also transitioned into proper beauty products. The beauty food movement, which brings people to eat more natural, organic foods that help promote better health and wellness, is shaping a new fast-growing trend: the convergence of nutrition and beauty.
As a result, we are seeing the rise of the so-called ‘edible beauty’: functional, immunity boosting foods and drinks specifically designed for cosmetic purposes, as well as the use of food ingredients as the primary ingredient in beauty care products. Cupuacu butter (the national fruit of Brazil known as “pharmacy in a fruit”) is the hero ingredient of our weDo/ professional new hair and hand cream (Moisturizing Day Shift).
3. HOMEHUB BEAUTY
Work from Home tips, #WFHtips, has become a rather trending hashtag on Instagram – which I have been embracing quite enthusiastically myself. I spend most of my time traveling around the world to meet our teams and customers, so I am usually away from home and from my Geneva office base. So, home office is not what I would call my natural habitat!
Working from home is a big part of the change we are living and has not come to us without challenges. But what about its implications on beauty habits, when our social contacts are limited to few daily video calls?
As a great portion of our lives are now happening at home, comfort is becoming key: skin and body care as well as hair masks are even more popular these days. But so are products that are able to make us feel good and comfortable on a screen as well as home-use beauty devices to obtain salon-like results, like the Platinum styler or Glide hot brush from ghd (Good Hair Day literally!).
This trend also creates the chance for brands to fulfil the need for some excitement via meaningful initiatives. Isolation is providing opportunities for businesses to connect and build valuable relationships with their communities, thanks to an increase in the use of Social Media. Live styling tutorials, exclusive insights on products and DIY beauty tips: the #homehub beauty trend calls for digital, authentic beauty experiences and connections with consumers.
4. SELF-CARE BEAUTY ABOVE ALL
Self-care is gaining a broader meaning these days as it is not only linked to our physical appearance. In this period of isolation, while some people find solace in baking or music, others turn to self-care like at-home workouts, meditation, podcasts, and DIY beauty treatments.
The importance of physical and mental well-being, already central long before COVID-19, has now seen a boom on every Social Media platform, rapidly becoming a pillar in brands’ post-virus content strategies. People find themselves forced to slow down, and in many cases to cohabit with feelings of insecurity such as fear, anxiety or stress. In this moments, mental and physical health is prioritized over appearance, making people willing to invest more in their self-care rituals. Consumers are looking for “simple luxuries” or “small pleasures” and finding joy in small moments.
Daily exercise, healthier meals and premium beauty treatments: brands must think about rituals that can help consumers to switch off at the end of the day for some “me-moments” of self-indulgence and relaxation. Our professional take home products are perfect for these!
5. ECO-ETHICAL BEAUTY: BEAUTY PRODUCTS WITH AN IMPACT
In China and Italy, and gradually everywhere around the world, the air has cleared up. Venice’s Grand Canal waters, normally fouled by boat traffic, is clear enough to see fish, and dolphins are returning. In Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta, the fog of pollution has lifted, and even global carbon emissions have fallen. As governments mobilize to restrict people’s movements in order to prevent further spread of the virus, air pollution declines.
However terribly destructive for the economy and businesses, the virus is showing us that our economic models, but also our everyday actions, do have tangible consequences on the health of our planet, on pollution and climate change. This will bring consumers to question their pre-virus consumption and lifestyles patterns towards more mindful, environmental-friendly behaviours.
In the case for beauty, this is only going to further reinforce the eco-ethical trend and the boom for conscious beauty. In our portfolio, our eco-ethical haircare brand weDo/ Professional is showing the way towards a new, broader concept of what it means to be a beauty brand.
6. THE RETURN TO LOCAL-ISM
As international mobility remains restricted, most consumers will spend their holidays and extra time in their own countries. This will be a chance for them to re-discover local traditions and treasures, causing growth in the demand of local products and local sourcing. Solidarity will play an important economic role, too: consumers will be more inclined to buy from local businesses and brands that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19 in order to show their support and allow them to re-start their activity. This will translate into a renewed sense of community and local belonging, which is going to play as an important emotional purchase driver.
Businesses should reposition accordingly, turning stores (and hair and nail salons!) in community-led spaces. Global businesses should ensure that their strategies are tailored with the local catchment in mind, both through flagship and digital channels, while reflecting local tastes, preferences and prioritizing extra-local ingredients.
In the case of Wella, I am proud to say that virtually all our iconic colour products sold in Europe are produced on the grounds of the historical Wella factory since 1894 in Saxony Germany.
7. LONGING FOR AN ESCAPE
As a counter movement to the previous trend, the lock down experience as well as the future expected significant travel restrictions will boost consumers’ desire for freedom and escape. We have never thought more intensely about that one, life dream trip than in the last few weeks of confinement, right?
Brands can expect higher demands for novelty and exoticism and can focus their storytelling to make consumers travel with their minds.
Our Nail brand OPI is famously known to help our mind wander through the power of colour with its gorgeous trendy shades and funky names but also with its seasonal destination collection. The OPI Mexico Coty collection for spring summer 2020 has been a breadth of fresh hair for many nail techs and their clients in this period of anxiety. Where do you think OPI will take us next? Stay tuned.
8. THE NEW VIRTUAL BEAUTY EXPERIENCE
Online shopping and specifically the online shopping experience will play an increasingly essential role too, as people will be called to avoid big gatherings in crowded places like shopping malls.
This will ask for brands to enhance their presence in eCommerce platforms, but to also continue to rethink their roles as the new providers of an immersive beauty experience.
Augmented reality will be a key technology to invest in for an enhanced and ultra-personalized customer experience. This is something we strongly believe to be the future path for the industry – and our point of pride, too. With Wella Professionals presenting our Magic Mirror in January at #CES2020, we wanted to give to our professionals a whole new experience of hair colour consultation through features like live AR and 360° video capture, hair colour try-on and facial recognition.
As consumers will need to compensate for a lack of physical shopping, beauty players will still be expected to offer equivalent and sophisticated virtual experiences to build consumer loyalty.
9. SAFETY-MASK BEAUTY
Wearing safety-masks will become an essential habit to protect ourselves and others. For this reason, we can expect they will soon be part of our beauty routines and outfits. Let’s see how the fashion industry will take this forward?
Now for the beauty industry, this will mean eyes and hair are the focal point as consumers wear masks. Both categories are expecting to grow rapidly which is great for us in the hairdressing industry, while lip products will become more about comfort, care, and treatment, rather than colour and visual effect.
With lips disappearing behind the mask, nails will also be the consumer focus for expressing her mood through colour. Also, we can expect that the small luxury “lipstick effect” that is famous in recessionary environment will this time around rather be assumed by a bottle of nail polish. We have already noticed sales more than doubling on line for nail products in March 2020 vs the previous year.
Net the probable new normal of having to wear safety mask in public is a great opportunity for both the hair and nail industry.
10. REDISCOVERING THE TRUE VALUE OF STYLISTS
Our professionals are being severely hit by the closing of salons. But this terrible crisis and the forced isolation that followed are showing at the same time how much needed they truly are by their customers.
Clients are actively –and quite desperately– looking for ways to manage their hair while unable to go to the salon anymore. Home Box colour is one of the beauty categories that is booming during the lockdown. ‘How to cut my own hair’ has spiked on Google search trends, and the hashtag #quarantinehair and #pandemicbangs are getting viral on Instagram and Tiktok, where a lot of users post videos of the live, homemade cut and reaction.
Even celebrities are experimenting with their hair while being stuck at home: just last week, singer and songwriter Pink posted an Instagram video telling fans how she got drunk and decided to cut her own hair (please, do not replicate this at home!).
As a result, some stylists began, almost from the start of the confinement, to intervene in aid of their distraught clients. Online tutorials, consultations via Skype or Facetime, or even live video guidance during the at-home cut and colouring process are taking over the classic salon services: our professionals’ expertise and skills are now more appreciated and requested than ever. Through Social Media and technology, stylists and hairdressers are keeping in contact with their client base – bringing to life ‘digital salons’ where social distancing is prescribed.
After only a few days of confinement, a number of women began to worry about their roots or their bangs. That fear was partly irrational as objectively women on average colour their hair in salons every 6 weeks, but this is precisely what is touching, and even, interesting: Finally, hairdressers can truly realize today that they are much more essential than they thought in their clients’ eyes. And the clients can truly appreciate that only hairdressers can do what hairdressers can do.
The value of this profession’s artistry and craftmanship is being rediscovered, and the salon experience, built also on the human connection and sense of trust between the stylists and clients, has proven yet again to be irreplaceable.
Forecast March 2020 Report, Beauty Movements: The Covid-19 Crisis: What comes next? Beauty Industry Challenges and Implications
WGSN Report (2020): Coronavirus: global change accelerators