Just add water…

The beauty landscape is being flooded by a wave of beauty supplements, which make it as simple as popping a pill to get a glow boost. Last April, social media influencer Tati Westbrook revealed her own line of bright pink beauty supplements, called Halo Beauty, to her 1.3 million Instagram followers and 4.2 million Youtube subscribers. Within the first day, Westbrook had sold more than 25,000 bottles – around half her stock.

Westbrook is not the only one to ride the supplement wave. The beauty industry is betting big on supplements. According to Goldstein Research, the global beauty supplements market is expected to thrive, reaching US $6.8 billion by the end of 2024. The ‘beauty from within’ mantra speaks to millennial consumers, aged 18-34, who think of cosmetics as a lifestyle, not a routine. And today’s beauty supplements are smack bang in the centre of the Venn diagram of millennial lifestyles: health, beauty, and social media.

In this brave new world of beauty, it’s about health: healthy skin, healthy hair and healthy ageing.

Sift through Instagram’s skincare tags and you’ll find ‘shelfies’ (the aesthetic arrangement of skincare collections) with beauty supplements sitting next to glass bottles of lotions and potions. On Reddit’s skincare communities, people just shy of their 20th birthdays ask about the best products to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Why? The beauty conversation has turned away from treating existing wrinkles with topical skincare. We’ve decided that it’s easier to maintain what we have than regain what we’ve lost. We’re talking more about preventing the overall damage to the body from urban pollution, environmental stressors and UV damage.

Knowing that topical skincare can only do so much, beauty supplements are the next logical step.

And the logic makes sense. Most topical skincare products only address the surface layer of the skin, but all the markers of good skin health (collagen production, elastin production and hyaluronic acid content) occur in the skin’s deeper layers.

Consumers are realising that what we do internally shows up on our skin – and that it makes for great social media fodder. Yoga on the beach and plates of organic whole foods are part and parcel of a social media beauty influencer’s feed because they promise the possibility of beauty as a lifestyle. This mantra means that a lifestyle rather than a product becomes a realistic goal – particularly for millennials who are sceptical of the promises made by traditional advertising.

The aspirational beauty lifestyle promises that you don’t need a great deal of purchasing power to actively work towards your beauty goals. Exercise and healthy eating cost less than bottles of prescription skincare or injectables. And for those who want a touch of luxury, a beauty supplement with your post-workout brunch will rehydrate and refuel you while boosting your skin’s health at the same time. (Extra points if it’s Instagram-friendly.)

Non-beauty brands have capitalised on consumer desire to make beauty a lifestyle. In America, beauty supplements sit next to clothing and furniture in stores like Anthropologie and Free People. Online retailers like Net-a-Porter have dedicated wellness categories in their beauty section. And it’s paying off. Mintel’s September 2017 analysis reports that 41 percent of American women aged 18-34 use an oral supplement designed to enhance their appearance.

The market shift towards wellness and health creates an opening for all sectors of the beauty industry to get a foothold. For cosmetics brands, it’s an opportunity to look at expanding product ranges and consumer reach. For salon owners, beauty supplements provide a powerful way of establishing a point of difference.

Mintel’s senior beauty analyst Laurie Du suggests that offering beauty drinks in store could enhance client experience. Herbal tea is a standard offering, but salons should consider offering beauty supplements before, during and after a client’s appointment to set them apart from the pack.

Of course, with the market is full of supplements, choosing the right one can be daunting.

If you’re considering bringing beauty supplements into your salon, it’s worth asking your clients if they have any favourite brands or recommendations. It’s a great way to build rapport with your clients and find out what they want from their beauty lifestyles.

Allen Sleiman is the founder of Fountain Cosmetics, an Australian-made brand specialising in skincare, haircare and grooming products for healthy ageing. For more information visit www.fountaincosmetics.com

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