Beauty rituals, wellness, and self-care have had a profound impact on cultures throughout time, including notions about identity, expression, and transformation, as well as renewal, cleaning, and healing, as well as culture and value. From a soothing new facial cream to online meditation, well-being, and beauty are a way to survive and provide occasions to reflect and find balance during stressful moments.
The pandemic has led to an increase in mental health concerns which has resulted in 76 million more instances of anxiety and 53 million more instances of depression, as per UNICEF and Gallup. In these turbulent times, the beauty industry has been creative in their responses. When makeup artist A-list Lee Pycroft noticed the increase in stress levels of their clients, they sought out training as psychotherapists. She now provides makeovers that combine as well as therapy. “Makeupfulness” is where makeup and mindfulness come together. “Certain language techniques, active listening, reframes and questioning help a person calm down while I do their makeup, enabling them to think more clearly,” Pycroft said to the magazine Glamour. “I have witnessed women going through severe life challenges start to behave differently after a makeover and a chat. It might be that they go and do something kind for themselves, or are able to see their challenges from a different perspective as they have achieved some emotional flexibility around an issue.”
In 2014, after Tom Chapman lost a friend to suicide, he founded The Lions Barber Collective, a barbering-themed lookbook to increase awareness and raise funds to aid in the prevention of suicide. “It’s been joked about forever that hair pros are a cheap psychiatrist or counsellor, but in reality, we listen on average for 2,000 hours a year,” he stated. “Imagine what we could achieve by training hair pros to be more successful in suicide prevention and mental health awareness.” In collaboration together with psychiatrists, Chapman came up with”Barber Talk,” a “Barber Talk training” that enables hair professionals to spot danger signs, ask the relevant questions, observe with compassion, and finally direct those in need to the right groups and resources which can help them.
I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power formulations and treatments can possess Paul Gerrard
It is in deep resonance with Paul Gerrard, who founded Paul Gerrard, the founder of Happy Paul, which is a line of men’s skincare that improves mood. “Happy Paul’s journey has been like therapy,” says Gerrard. “I’ve suffered from depression since my early teens and I’ve experienced first-hand the transformative power that formulations, product and spa treatments can have. Yet wellness has become a luxury commodity afforded to the few.” The brand was developed by the founder, he says, to be affordable to everyone. “To me, wellness is about looking after yourself, first and foremost, and that shouldn’t be exclusive.” Happy Paul’s vegan, sustainable products – such as a positive roll-on mix of lemon, bergamot, and Eucalyptus, encourage easy and satisfying acts of self-care, and a portion of earnings go to mental health charities such as Young Minds.
The pandemic is creating the public to be more aware and approving of businesses that help communities and individuals. Beauty Banks was founded in 2018 by beauty journalist Sali Hughes and beauty PR Jo Jones; Beauty Banks hopes to address the issue of hygiene within the UK and establish the importance of being clean as a fundamental right. Children are particularly affected, as the pair claim they prefer not attending school and entering classes, and not washing their hair. Jones and Hughes have first-hand knowledge of the waste products that the industry creates. Their goal was to get the people they know to contribute hygiene items to those in need through alliances that include over 100 registered food banks as well as domestic abuse charities. homeless shelters, schools, NHS trusts, and care-leaver associations.
“We were furious and frustrated when we learned about hygiene poverty, so we decided to do something about it,” writes Jones on the website of the charity. “Both Sali and I work in the beauty industry and know there is a lot of waste and, most importantly, a tremendous amount of generosity and kindness. So we leverage our connections, influence and skills to power Beauty Banks.” A typical donation to a charity, which caters for around 150 people, is valued at around PS500 and includes products that many of us are used to, like soap and hygiene products.
As the demand for self-care and social interaction has increased, so is concern for the environment. Recent reports on the climate and environmental crisis have put the world population on alert, and people are asking questions about what they purchase every day. Cosmetics are a major culprit: there are ongoing problems with irresponsible sources and toxic levels of pollution to the ocean through plastic packaging as well as the chemicals that are used in the formulations. Certain shaving foams and shampoos end up in oceans, and what’s harmful to coral and seabirds is, probably not surprisingly, bad for us.
The search continues for ingredients and formulations that truly nourish and protect as well as work in a positive way not only for the people they’re applying them to but also for the environment where they’re grown and taken. And for Weleda, established during the 20th century with Austrian scientist Rudolph Steiner and encompassing both natural and cosmetic remedies that utilize biodynamic methods of growing, the answer has always been the same that it should go back to the origin, which is the nature of things. “Natural ingredients work in harmony with the body, in a way petrochemical-derived synthetics do not,” says Jayn Sterland, Weleda UK’s managing director and chair of the British Beauty Council’s Sustainable Beauty Coalition. “A skin complaint is often a visible sign of imbalance. Applying a cream merely masks the problem. Using plant-based ingredients which are more skin compatible and work in harmony with the body can trigger our own healing capability.”