Beauty Brief: Has beauty reached peak wellness?

Since the onset of the pandemic, attaining and maintaining our health and wellness has been our primary focus. From adaptogen gummies to brown noise to the explosion of lymphatic drainage, consumers intend to spend more on products that improve their health, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness, posing the question – have we reached peak wellness?

Google searches for “wellness” since 2004

According to McKinsey, wellness is now a 1.5 trillion dollar market worldwide, growing at a rate of 5-10% per year. What does the wellness agenda mean for beauty brands? A Mintel report reveals that 50% of consumers prefer to purchase hybrid cosmetics with skin benefits, a burgeoning beauty category set to blossom next year. Demand for “serum foundation and “SPF foundation” shows interest in wellness-inspired beauty products, while ingredient-specific searches reveal a more educated consumer.

At its core, peak wellness is an intentional approach to thriving, not just surviving. This is likely to be a lasting change, as Americans view the pandemic as negatively affecting their mental (49%) and physical health (40%). This mindful and holistic approach impacts everything from the products we buy to the ingredients we look for. According to the 2022 Mindbody Wellness Index, 65% of Americans believe beauty/grooming is a part of wellness and 78% say wellness is more important than ever.

As the beauty and wellness categories continue to collide, beauty brands will take a holistic approach to wellness from the inside out, while simultaneously leaning on the power of technology. This report will look at four pillars driving the wellness conversation into 2023.

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According to Mintel, not using harmful ingredients (48%) is still the top priority in terms of what consumers want from their beauty brands. It is crucial to “think green” at every step of the production chain. It’s no longer just about natural and organic but broader issues impacting the environment.  

Claims like “clean”, “green”, and “natural” carry little weight, as greenwashing created consumer confusion. In turn, consumers became more educated. They’re reading labels, educating themselves on ingredients, and analyzing how clean a product really is on platforms like Clean Beauty, Think Dirty, and the EWG Healthy Living App.

Whether online or at a bricks-and-mortar shop, brands look to uplift consumers – physically and emotionally. In July 2022, Selfridges introduced a wellness counter pop-up at its Corner Shop storefront. The Feel Good Bar hosts services for well-being, including acupuncture sessions, hypnotherapy, sleep aids, and innovative, updated product offerings. It will offer IV drips, bio-hacking, and hyperbaric oxygen therapies.

In August 2022, Barbara Sturm launched a podcast focusing on aging, nutrition, and beauty. From luxury retailers to forward-thinking brands, the industry is embracing consumer appetite for a more holistic approach to wellness.

Technology empowers people to achieve their wellness goals, from financial and mental wellness to skin health and fitness. Services like GetHarley connect users to doctors. The Inkey List’s ‘myINKEY’ offers digital access to a PT for your skin, iFit launched “ActivePulse” connected treadmills, and oral tech app Toothfairy provides a bespoke remote treatment method.

During the pandemic, consumers learned to take beauty tech into their own hands, driving demand for at-home beauty tools—think LED masks and microcurrent devices. As of 2020, the global home-use beauty devices market was valued at approximately $9.5 billion in 2020, according to a report by the market research firm P&S Intelligence, and it’s expected to grow to nearly $90 billion in the next decade.

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Georgia Louise skincare brand launched a multitasking tool in 2022, while Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, which helped popularize at-home beauty tech with its popular DRx Spectralite FaceWare Pro LED mask, has new tools in the works as well.

The health and wellness industry is rebranding to accommodate everyone, regardless of gender, race, or ableness. A staggering lack of diversity led Black medical student (now TedX Speaker) Malone Mukwende to curate a handbook called Mind The Gap, which presents clinical features on darker skin for his industry.

At the product level, Procter & Gamble unveiled braille text and an easy-open lid on several Olay Regenerist moisturizers to assist consumers who had previously found its products hard to access. Meanwhile, Queer Eye beauty expert

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Jonathan Van Ness launched his 10-product, gender-neutral hair-care line, JVN Hair, in August 2021 and is expanding with a product that can be used on beards or hair.


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