Currently valued at over $571billion, the beauty industry is a global superpower. A superpower not just growing, but also in the midst of a momentous change.
As consumer behaviour continues to evolve, technology, social media, and the Covid-19 pandemic are sculpting the industry’s evolution. Now more than ever, customers favour convenience over tradition, with many moving toward DIY, and away from salon treatments.
But what alternatives are out there? Are they effective? And are they here to stay?
MacGregor Black takes a closer look at the evolution of the global beauty industry, why consumers are opting for at-home alternatives, and which brands are delivering the best salon-quality products, right to your sofa.
Are Salons Set to Recover?
Nail, hair, and beauty salons we’re among the worst hit during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Turnover fell by an average of 45%, social distancing limited footfall, and as a result full-time employment in the industry plunged a whopping 21%.
But with any change… comes opportunity.
The sudden starvation from years of habitual beauty routines, coupled with a severe drop in revenue, spurred on a burst of innovation across the industry. In 2021 alone, the beauty tech revenue rocketed to $3.8 billion, with a range of new and exciting products available. This new formed bond between beauty and technology opened up a world of opportunity for customer and creator alike. Modern self-applied beauty treatments have evolved far beyond at-home facials and DIY pedicures. Utilising a mixture of light emitting diode (LED), microcurrent technology and even augmented reality (AR), brands are now looking to rival salons with the launch of their own high-tech equipment, for at-home use.
Light Emitting Diode – LED
First discovered by NASA in the 90’s, LED lights were used to observe effects on plant growth in space. Noting it’s interesting healing abilities, the technology has since shown great promise, quickly gaining interest among health and beauty manufacturers.
LED light therapy exposes the skin to varied wavelengths of light such as, red, near infrared, yellow, green, and blue light. According to research, the red light stimulates collagen growth, while blue light targets bacteria that causes acne, green light can alter pigmentation, and yellow light can have strong healing qualities.
Research also suggests that LED treatments can prove effective when it comes to reducing the symptoms of aging or sun-damaged skin, as well as treating certain skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. When administered by a salon professional, the equipment they operate is usually significantly more powerful, with treatments often priced between £80-£100 per session.
In an effort to replicate the same results at home, health, and beauty brand, CurrentBody, have launched what they’ve dub the ‘Skin LED Light Therapy Mask’, a substantial looking piece of equipment that combines both red and near infrared light wavelengths to ‘kickstart your skin’s collagen production’. And it doesn’t stop there. CurrentBody have also incorporated the same LED technology in their ‘Skin LED Hair Regrowth Device’, which the beauty brand proudly declares will “penetrate deep under the skin’s surface for instant and long-lasting results”.
Therabody, MZ Skin and Dr Dennis Gross Skincare are brands that have also released LED light therapy devices, all of which featured in a recent edition of British Vogue, labelled ‘The Best LED Face Masks’. At a cost ranging from £100 to £600, depending on the manufacturer, those planning on reaping the benefits of LED Light therapy can have the potential to save both time and money. A growing focus across much of the NPD within the Consumer and Retail industries.
Hoping to wipe surgical facelifts off the map, microcurrent technology applies weak currents of electricity directly to the face in order to stimulate and tighten the muscles. The whole idea behind microcurrent technology is that it can be used to improve blood circulation and stimulate collagen production to give the face a youthful glow.
Kriisti Atherton, MacGregor Black’s Health & Beauty Specialist sat down with Hrvoje Sarac, Chief Operating Officer at wellness brand, Foreo, to learn more about their use of microcurrent technology in their range of increasingly popular products. The creators of the well-known ‘Foreo Bear’ and ‘Foreo Bear Mini’ pride themselves on ‘making self-care simple, easy, and enjoyable‘ with their range of effective, clinically tested devices.
“Microcurrent technology is something that’s been around in science for years,” Said Sarac.
“We haven’t invented this technology. All we’ve done is simply adapt it to fit in both your hand and your budget. The Bear and The Bear Mini are our best-selling products, and how they work is, the microcurrent and T Sonic massage feature boosts microcirculation and lymphatic drainage, which feeds nutrients to the skin cells and eliminates toxins.
Before we launched the products, tons of research went into ensuring we used the right frequency to really get the right results, and paired with our jelly serum that acts as a conductor, our customers now have everything they need to get that professional face-lifting result at home. So many people say that they can feel the difference even after just one use, but if you really want the best results then we definitely recommend using it daily. It’s like going to the gym, if you go once a week, you probably won’t see much of a difference, but going to the gym every day, you’re going to see the results.”
One of the most frequently asked questions consumers ask about microcurrent devices is, are they safe? Kriisti highlights this topic in her conversation with Foreo’s Hrvoje Sarac, who mentions the potential risks of using devices incorrectly and emphasises the need for safety.
“Customers should always read the instructions before using these products, as with some of them on the market right now, there is actually a risk of burning your skin if the devices are either made, or used incorrectly. What makes our products truly unique is our highly advanced Anti-Shock System that actually scans and measures the customer’s skin’s resistance to electricity, and automatically adjusts the microcurrent’s intensity to ensure it’s not too intense. The Bear in particular is the most effective, safe-to-use, microcurrent facial device available, and that’s clinically tested.“
Also on the list of beauty brands currently investing in microcurrent technology is, MyoLift, NuFace and Magnitone, having also released their own range of products designed for at home use.
No longer a futuristic feature in sci-fi movies, augmented reality has crept its way off the big screen and into our everyday lives.
In the world of health & beauty, it can allow customers the ability to virtually experiment with different looks in real time. AR has, in short, revolutionised the way many of us interact with our favourite brands and has personalised the way we experience their products. These advanced tools use facial recognition and AR technology to analyse customer’s skin tone, facial structure, and features to recommend cosmetics and skincare products in real-time. However, one AR feature proving widely popular amongst the younger generation has recently come under scrutiny…filters.
When first launched in 2015, filters (or ‘lenses’ as they were first referred to as) were primarily used for entertainment. Fast forward to today and social media platforms provide filters as an alternative to more permanent and costly alternatives. With options including enhancing their lips, lift their brows, change skin pigmentation, bone structure, eyes, lips, and the list goes on. All with just the click of a button. The numbers on the other hand suggest the opposite. Many plastic surgeons are reporting an increase in plastic surgery treatments, directly attributed the use of social media filters, giving a potential glimpse at a new you. Professionals have dubbed this social media surgery craze ‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’, declaring that it could soon be an overwhelming problem amongst younger social media users.
As an expansive range of new at-home devices are being launched, beauty brands may perhaps look to combat this growing concern in a sustainable and ethical manner, guiding their customers down the path to safer alternatives.
With this task in mind, many beauty technology companies have strategically partnered with influencers and celebrities in a bid to aid the switch from salon to sofa. Through engaging posts, reels & stories, influencers, and celebrities aim to showcase the brand’s latest high-tech products to their followers, demonstrating that you don’t need a salon appointment to see salon-quality results.
As we can see, technology, social media, and a shift in consumer thinking have all left a significant imprint on the beauty industry’s exciting evolution. Whilst a global pandemic has transformed our collective focus, advancements In technology have all but accelerated innovation, resulting in a plethora of inventive, state-of-the-art beauty technology.
So, whilst there is little sign of us eliminating salons altogether, the rapidly growing amount of advanced at-home products have, without a doubt, birthed a new approach to beauty. Today, it’s LED light masks and microcurrent facial massagers, tomorrow, it’s endless possibilities…
If you’d like to speak to a specialist in our dedicated Health & Beauty practice, get in touch today via 0191 691 1949 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org