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The post-pandemic future of beauty & wellness


Published by:

16 September 2020

Author: Kathryn Bishop

Image: Costa Brazil


Michel Brousset, the founder and CEO of incubator Waldencast, predicts a future of hyper-local retail, bioscience beauty and safeguarded sustainability

What’s been the greatest shift among beauty and wellness consumers’ behaviours as a result of the pandemic?

The most obvious is the shift towards digitalisation. We have seen across our portfolio very strong growth in beauty and wellness e-commerce. That’s explained not just by the fact that bricks-and-mortar stores were closed, but by the fact that beauty and wellness are needed in moments like this, when everything is a bit dark and there is anxiety and concern. It’s not just people watching tutorials but also in the medical industry, in terms of the rise of telemedicine.

Will brands start to re-frame products and services to target those wanting at-home experiences?

It won’t be a complete pendulum swing or disappearance of salon services, but there will be more offerings and ‘easy’ ways of doing things at home. This is because many consumers are investing in themselves [as a result of the pandemic]. They’re reading more, taking courses, learning new skills. We’re seeing this in beauty and wellness too, from the upswing in multi-step skincare, to people working out who weren’t before because it feels easier at home. Ultimately, however, humans are creatures of community. They need that community and go to the salon or the gym because it’s a way to socialise and connect.

Costa Brazil is an sustainably sourced beauty line working with local cooperatives and scientists to create pure and potent products on Waldencast, global
'The values of brands are important. Consumers are now asking: what has your brand done done vis-à-vis the community?'
Michel Brousset, founder and CEO, incubator Waldencast

What does the idea of community mean for brands in the inter-Covid era?

We’re already entering an area of radical transparency and this is just going to accelerate. For consumers, the values of the brands and the companies they buy from are important. For example, what have they done vis-a-vis the community? How are they supporting [initiatives] other than selling product and making money? In the case of beauty in particular, I anticipate more authenticity and wholesomeness. When we look at glamorous influencers in exotic destinations now, it feels a bit vacuous. So, for brands, there will be the emergence of different set of values – a less showy and more conscious way of working.

What are the market opportunities or gaps that start-ups or nascent brands should be considering?

The pandemic is driving a greater scrutiny by consumers of the science behind products. This is going to bode well for brands that are more science-based, including those in the emerging area of microbiome and bioscience in beauty. We’re starting to understand more about our bacteria and the impact of that on our immunity and skin. For Waldencast, two other emerging areas of interest are telemedicine and home testing kits. I anticipate a lot of interest from consumers and development by companies on different tests. The idea of being able to test at home and have digitally delivered expert advice from there is interesting.

With the rise of telemedicine or digital-first beauty experience, is it fair to say we’re entering a post-touch era for the beauty and wellness sectors?

Here in New York during lockdown, many apartment building gyms had to be reserved and you could only use them one person at a time. Will this sort of behaviour or such restrictions impact retail or salons? I'm not sure if they will in the long-term, but something brands might want to consider is a focus on supporting local consumers and local economies, creating a small world or high street spaces for their brand to exist in.


Screenshot 2020-09-15 at 16.31.54


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