Looking Back: Beauty & Wellness
27 : 12 : 19

In 2019, the wellness and beauty sectors embraced a more measured and honest approach, establishing new methods of fulfilment and brand longevity.

The Trend: Conscious Deceleration

Animation and illustration by Wang & Söderström. Animation by Bielke & Yang for Oslo Design Fair, 2019 Animation and illustration by Wang & Söderström. Animation by Bielke & Yang for Oslo Design Fair, 2019

Wellness has been in accelerator mode. The sector, which has grown exponentially over the past few years, has fallen victim to a narrative that tells consumers they must constantly achieve more. Turning this on its head, our 2019 wellness macrotrend Conscious Deceleration explored how the quest for constant optimisation is leading society towards a state of burnout – and how the sector must respond.

‘We’re pushing too much into our lives and as a result they’re bulging at the seams. We’re using short-term strategies to keep pushing stuff in,’ says Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and author of Fragile.

In turn, as consumers realise that the pursuit of wellness is complicit in this collective burnout, in 2020 and beyond they'll replace a quick-fix mentality with a focus on slowing down to build up long-term endurance. Wellness brands will allow consumers the space to breathe, both physically and metaphorically. Brands will also realise that they need to streamline their offerings with products and services that can ensure health and fulfilment without feeding our anxiety-laden culture, tapping into consumers’ physiology or using technology to understand their innate wellbeing needs.

The Big Idea: Focused Fitness Classes

Beyond spinning and boxing lessons, new studios and classes emerged this year saw that focus on single-format exercise in order to improve technique and skill. From rowing and running to skipping and climbing, these focused fitness formats encourage consumers to hone their abilities.

In the UK, Rowbots and The Engine Room were launched as fitness destinations dedicated to rowing. With a focus on interval training, Rowbots is designed to help clients awaken their inner strength and resilience with what it describes as ‘the most effective machine in the gym’.

Elsewhere, spaces such as Sweat by BXR are merging the innate nature of climbing – a growth sport in recent years – with indoor machinery and small class sizes for more personal training.

Taking skipping out of the playground, meanwhile, the Jump Rope class at Equinox takes cues from martial arts training with an energetic lesson that keeps attendees on their toes for 30 minutes – albeit with the company’s weighted Fury jump rope, that offers a more challenging session.

Precision Running, Equinox Precision Running, Equinox

The Campaign: Lynx ASMR tutorials

LYNX presents Shower & Shave ASMR_Tutorials, by 72andSunny Amsterdam

In February, men's grooming brand Lynx released a series of humorous, down-to-earth adverts featuring a man shaving various body parts. According to parent brand Unilever, the campaign was created in response to an increase in men searching for body shaving tutorials online. While many online tutorials feature muscular male models, the team at 72&Sunny cast an approachable British actor that men could relate to.

With a focus on Lynx's Shower & Shave range of products, the adverts use the internet phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) to bring the shaving routine to life. According to creative director Gregg Clampffer, the videos were intended to be tongue-in-cheek: ‘We’re trying to lighten the tone a little bit. Maybe toxic masculinity doesn’t need a lecture. Maybe it needs a laugh. We’re talking to 15-year-old kids. You have to do something a little bit different and you don’t have to petrify them.’

As we move into 2020, the pros and cons of masculinity will remain a topic of debate, which means advertisers must embrace more relevant representations of the male physique and take into consideration how men are rethinking their approach to shaving.

The Interview: Charlotte Ferguson on where skincare meets psychology

Disciple London Disciple London

In October, we spoke to Charlotte Ferguson, founder of wellness brand Disciple, exploring why psychodermatology is a growing field in treating stress-related skin issues.

As a field, psychodermatology is focused on therapeutically treating skin conditions, while using psychotherapeutic techniques in support. According to Ferguson, in the NHS and general healthcare, dermatologists have found that one in three of their patients who have skin conditions also have a mental health condition, varying from mild depression and anxiety all the way to schizophrenia. 'So there's an important link between your skin and your mental health,' she says. 'One of the main reasons is that the world experiences you from what you look like and so there's a huge crossover. Some dermatologists find that just treating a skin condition doesn’t work.'

Among the societal shifts driving this is social media and the anxiety around having 'perfect' skin, which Ferguson believes is linked to a growth in skin conditions. As a result, we can expect growth of dermatology combined with psychotherapy in the 2020s.

The Space: Villa de Mûrir by Collective B

Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul
Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul
Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul Villa de Mûrir by Collective B, Seoul

Although K-beauty growth is reported to be slowing in both South Korea and international markets, Villa de Mûrir, a cosmetics store and branded content studio that opened in Seoul in July 2019, is designed to attract Chinese tourists while boosting the market's reputation.

Designed by Collective B, the retail space comprises four areas across two floors, including a multi-brand Beauty Select Shop, a make-up station, a café and a production studio catering for the growth in livestream make-up tutorials and online beauty content.

In a market flooded with K-beauty competitors, Villa de Mûrir found its niche in 2019 by offering local Korean brands to a growing number of Chinese and Japanese tourists visiting South Korea in search of fashion and beauty. The experience-driven store also serves as a base for the Mûrir brand, which will subsequently be exported to other Asian markets.

Download our Future Forecast 2020 report

Now that you know what shaped 2019, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2020 report comprising 50 new behavioural patterns across 10 key consumer sectors, expert opinion pieces and interviews with global innovators.

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