2020 has not exactly been the glamourous start to the decade we hoped for. Even still the realm of beauty has remained a meaningful part of our lives. Whether it’s been curating the ideal skincare routine, giving yourself a spa day at home, or engaging with the endless amount of beauty tutorials online over lockdown, people have had extra time to discover and experiment. Without the usual nights out or holidays abroad, many of those with the means to, are putting that budget towards investments in their appearance. BBC reports that demand for cosmetic treatments are experiencing a ‘zoom boom.’ Yet, on the flipside, this time has also made people feel like they finally have ‘permission’ to do less and to embrace simple and natural. With our routines disrupted, and the social pressure dialed way down, people are approaching beauty in a very personal way.
This week, Elevate PR hosted a webinar on ‘The Future of Beauty and Personal Care’ to unpack what trends are currently affecting the industry, as well as some of the trends on the horizon. Elevate founder and MD, Emma Kelly, was joined by journalist and founder of TheHeyDay.ie, Ellie Balfe, influencer and founder of Kennedy & Co, Darren Kennedy, founder and CEO of Pestel and Mortar, Sonia Deasy and journalist and broadcaster, Louise McSharry.
We’ve highlighted four areas of insight from their discussion:
Lockdown has caused many people to deprioritise makeup and instead make skincare the focus. Sonia Deasy, reports that Pestel and Mortar’s business growth this year has been ‘phenomenal’ and that ‘they have never been busier.’ According to Ellie Balfe, consumers are after ‘knowledge and simplicity.’ With the amount of information circulating about skincare today, it is easy for a person to feel overwhelmed by it all. The ‘winning formula’ for brands, Ellie believes, is to help people understand their individual skincare needs and give them a sense of control in addressing them.
However, the importance that consumers have assigned to skincare, has made them more discerning. The maximalist approach is also starting to fade. A slower pace of life at home, has given people the patience to more rigorously test skincare products and find which ones work best for them. Before lockdown, Sonia says that people were ‘too busy chopping and changing and moving onto the next best thing.’ Now people are more focused on giving products time to work before jumping to conclusions. The goal for many people is to ultimately create a ‘capsule wardrobe’ for skincare, investing in fewer products that provide them with consistent results. This ties into concerns for the climate crisis, as people become more conscious of their own excess. The beauty industry, notorious for their focus on new product development, may have what Emma Kelly calls, a ‘reputational reckoning’ on its hands. As a brand owner himself, Darren Kennedy has often felt the push for more NPD, but has made a point to always challenge whether the ‘newness is adding value.’
Ellie is loving the lockdown grey hair trend. She sees this as representation of how ‘in tune’ people have been with themselves over lockdown. People are embracing that ‘this is me, this is what I look like, this is what my real hair is like.’ Louise McSharry, with more time to experiment, has been enjoying her natural hair texture. And she’s noticed many other women taking a break from the automatic blow-drying and hair straightening too. Whether it’s hair or skin, she believes that there has been a significant move towards people appreciating their ‘natural self’ and turning towards products which give your natural qualities ‘a bit of a boost.’
Self-Esteem and Individuality
As Louise puts it, ‘COVID has identified who is doing beauty, and engaging with makeup for personal pleasure or creative outlet, and who is wearing makeup to present a face to the rest of the world.’ The pandemic has expediated a reckoning for many beauty standards and our individual relationships with them. However much of this social change was already well underway. We are seeing more types of people represented across the industry. We’ve seen more men become interested in makeup. The panel had a lot to say about beauty and age and the emotional journey a person can go through over the course of their life. As we age our attitudes about our own beauty, and our goals for our appearance, evolve. For Darren, when a person ‘gets to that age where they are embracing their natural beauty, it is often a reflection of how far they have come in themselves and the inner confidence that comes with age.’ And while beauty products can play into the pressure young people feel to conform, the panel was largely able to see progress. People today feel less beholden to particular ‘it’ products and are more confident in pursuing their own unique beauty looks.
Expanding Ecosystem of Beauty:
2020 has been a year when health and wellness have taken centre stage. Beauty is steadily evolving to play a larger role, as these worlds converge. Consumers are increasingly interested in the connection between their overall health and their beauty results. This is especially relevant, as a prevailing beauty trend continues to be ‘glow.’ People are gravitating towards looks that communicate the natural radiance of healthy, hydrated skin. Sleep, nutrition, supplements, exercise, stress, hormones—as more consumers understand the interplay between these things and their appearance, the more they are looking towards holistic solutions. Looking towards the future, Sonia believes that beauty will expand across even further into the interior of the home. She says that soon, ‘whether that’s a towel with antibacterial qualities, or the candles we are burning…anything that our skin actually touches’ could sit within beauty.
You can watch the Future of Beauty and Personal Care webinar from Tuesday here.