Daily beauty rituals ensure a well-groomed body and a healthy mind.
We learned that the beauty routine is more important than ever. It took the pandemic for us to really appreciate the mood-lifting power of beauty. From face masks to mascara, products have been a constant companion - one with the power to make us smile in a year when there wasn't a lot of positives to hold onto. While some of us enjoyed the ritual nature of an evening skincare routine - one no longer constrained by lack of time - or a steamy bath filled with all sorts of potions, others sought solace in the buoyancy of a touch of lipstick, extreme dewy foundation, or a brilliant brow pencil.
The plumping effect of beauty is nothing new. The lipstick index (a term coined by Leonard Lauder, then chairman of Estée Lauder) describes the surge in lipstick sales in times of economic uncertainty when women are looking for an affordable (yet stimulating) way to lift their spirits. While sales of color cosmetics have declined in the Covid era, skincare has seen a huge boom, with many retailers (including Cult Beauty) reporting that sales in this category have more than doubled.
Whether it's a weekly scalp massage or the use of Gua Sha every evening - our beauty and wellness rituals create a feeling of consistency, even in times of great change, which can often feel uncomfortable and stressful. Alexia Inge, the founder of Cult Beauty, says that many of the more enduring rituals stand the test of time because they have therapeutic benefits when it comes to the "inner aspect of our lives" rather than just our looks. Think of hair, body, and face masks as well as peelings and baths with "emotionally supportive products with sensual textures" such as lavish, thick, and pampering oils or peelings. These beauty routines are no longer just about removing dead skin or making our hair shine but improving our emotional wellbeing as well as our looks.
Human touch is essential to a happy life, and many of us have had to get used to living without them. When we are touched or allowed to be touched, a hormone called oxytocin is released which helps us feel that warm, fluffy feeling we get when we are in love, and which also reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. When we lack the human touch, a beauty routine can be very helpful. Mindful and careful application of our skincare products, as well as a face and scalp massage, can make a difference.
The sensory element of formula has a huge impact on how we feel: an effective cleaner that smells like a spa treatment - such as the Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm from Elemis - deserves its cult status because it doesn't just look good to us, but also makes you feel good. Aromatherapy plays a huge part in the formulas we return to. Things like essential oils (which, by the way, have been used to change our moods for centuries) not only help us connect with the outside world, but also have a direct effect on our brains. Our olfactory system is directly connected to the emotional center of the brain, the amygdala, and scents can do everything from calming and relaxing to energizing. Adding a certain scent to your routine, whether through an Aromatherapy Associates bath oil (we love Deep Relax) or an Anatomē room diffuser and humidifier, is an easy way to create a more positive mindset.
The emotional power of beauty lies not only in the products. Many brands create and maintain supportive communities that help each other, especially in difficult times.
"Consumers are more connected than ever to the inner workings of a brand - it is no longer just about the image of the brand or the products it sells, but rather about the solutions it offers. In this sense, the relationship between brands and consumers, of course, more intimate, "said Livvy Houghton, a creative researcher at a strategic foresight consultancy called The Future Laboratory. Brands like Glossier have also introduced the formation of close, communicative relationships, but recently the shaving brand Estrid has also been encouraging its customer base to share "Estrid moments" and talk to them as if they were a close friend.
These novel relationships also make us consumers feel good. "We have seen how the brand-consumer bond has shifted from the laboratories to our houses and in this way connects us with people on a closer, friendly level. In combination with consumers' desire for daily guidance and support from Brands - through habit or routine-driven products and services - lead to a whole different level of brand loyalty. Both have become indispensable for one another," says Houghton.