Looking Back in 2020: Beauty & Wellness
22 : 12 : 20

LS:N Global’s beauty and wellness expert Livvy Houghton highlights key trends and campaigns from 2020, from mood-boosting beauty to inter-Covid intimacy.

The Trend: Mood-boosting Beauty

Self Tan Purity Vitamins by St Tropez Self Tan Purity Vitamins by St Tropez

The visible appearance of stress as a result of the pandemic – already described by some dermatologists as 'Covid face' – has been identified by almost 4m British women, according to research by cosmetic procedures clinic Uvence.

Working to combat the skin’s response to ‘cultural stress’, Murad is focusing on products and advice to prevent and treat skin stressors. In particular, it is positioning its sphere-infused Revitalixir Recovery Serum as a key product to relieve the effects of stress on our appearance.

In addition to experiencing increased digital stress, people spending more time at home are feeling the effects of a lack of vitamin D, which is gained from exposure to the sun. One brand tapping into this deficiency is St Tropez, with its self-tanning Purity Vitamins Bronzing Water body mist and face serum. Infused with vitamins D and C to brighten and protect the skin, the compound mimics the positive effects of sunshine without the damage of UV rays. Featuring the brand’s Sunshine Complex technology, the skincare products help stimulate the skin’s natural production of vitamin D.

The Big Idea: Trans-positive beauty and wellness

 #TheWholeBloodyTruth, Callaly #TheWholeBloodyTruth, Callaly

While beauty and haircare have long been important to the Trans+ community, this audience has been largely overlooked by mainstream brands. In 2020, however, beauty labels have taken the lead with conversations and communications centred on Trans+ inclusion.

Stepping up, personalised haircare service TIGI Copywright’s recent campaign features its ambassador Andrew Fitzsimons and supports the Trans Wellness Center in Los Angeles. Sharing personal reflections about hair and beauty, it is a positive message at a time when almost one third (29%) of Trans+ people report feeling stressed every time they visit a hair salon (source: Pantene).

The conversation about people with periods is also gaining traction, reframing attitudes to womanhood, identity and bleeding. Period products brand Callaly is committed to tell #TheWholeBloodyTruth, sharing stories of 13 people who menstruate, including men, intersex and non-binary individuals whose voices have previously been ignored. As part of its commitment, the brand uses inclusive language such as ‘people with periods’, alongside making its products accessible to all bodies and genders.

The Campaign: Prose turns hairdressers into content creators

Stylist Open Call Program by Prose, US Stylist Open Call Program by Prose, US

During the peak of the pandemic, haircare brand Prose built a creative community to amplify and reward out-of-work hairstylists’ creative talent. The Stylist Open Call Program required certified stylists to submit hair-related photos and videos to be featured on the brand’s marketing channels – and in return the stylists would be directly compensated.

Stylists were encouraged to continue submitting content throughout the year, from home haircuts to heat styling and general hair advice. Crucially, the posts were not required to feature Prose products. ‘Prose aims to offer opportunities to the stylist community experiencing uncertainty, as well as support their creative power and expertise in a new, unique manner,’ reads a statement from the brand.

Although Covid-19 has heavily affected those working in the hair, beauty and wellness industries, Prose demonstrates thinking beyond the pandemic to continue championing the work of its creative beauty community.

The Interview: Bio-engineering the future of intimacy

MBJ Wetware identity constellation garments, developed for Together We Dance Alone MBJ Wetware identity constellation garments, developed for Together We Dance Alone

In November, we spoke to artist Marija Bozinovska Jones about her collaborative project Fabricated Intimacy Tech, which explores how arousal and trust can be bio-engineered using chemosensory signals.

Using technology, role play and scent, the project examines how we establish intimate relationships in the modern age. ‘Since we’ve moved most of our lives online, this is basically how we connect and how we will connect more in the future. Social media has influenced what we even define as intimate,' explainsBozinovska Jones. 'I was interested in working with scent because it works on a pre-cognitive level. It can trigger deeply hidden memories, but also aid in fabricating new fantasies and identities.'

Working with scientists at King's College London, Bozinovska Jones has developed a perfume to help people establish personal boundaries as well as new relationships and bonding. Through these projects, the artist aims to position technology, not as the enemy of intimacy but as a system of networks and experiences that can help to foster trust, inspire arousal and forge deeper connections with others.

The Space: Vessel Floats’ sense-less experiences

Vessel Floats
Vessel Floats
Vessel Floats

As we emerged from the first lockdown of 2020, we took a closer look at New York-based Vessel Floats, a therapy spa that gives overwhelmed consumers a sensory deprivation experience.

To prepare guests for their experience, the interior of the space uses materials, textures and colours to signpost the transitions experienced during a spa session. As customers move through the space, external light and sound fall away, while other sensory stimuli are introduced. Once arrived at the tank, customers will immerse themselves in 1.5 tons of saltwater, heated to 93.5 degrees – the skin’s default temperature – with the aim that body and water become one.

Positioned as a form of solo retreat, Vessel Floats promotes mindfulness and meditation through the sensation of floating, which is intended to help people reconnect with their inner self in a safe and comfortable setting. In the past year, and in response to overstimulation, many consumers are seeking ways of disconnecting from their senses and leaning into such Enlightened States.

Download our Future Forecast 2021 report

Now that you know what shaped 2020, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2021 report comprising 50 new behavioural patterns across 10 key consumer sectors, expert opinion pieces and interviews with global innovators.

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