University of Miami experts discuss the future of the beauty and wellness industry as it navigates through COVID-19.
Leaders in the beauty and wellness industry have faced a myriad of challenges during the coronavirus closures.
As a result, there have been many shifts ranging from how entrepreneurs operate their businesses to changes in consumer buying behaviors. There has been an increased demand for beauty-related digital content and even new trends in cosmetic care that will leave a lasting impact on the billion-dollar industry.
For Valentina Hernandez and George Dufournier, University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School alumni, it meant initially closing Sana Skin Studio, their newly opened business in Wynwood, after only three weeks of being in business.
“Our biggest lesson was that you can’t always plan for everything,” Hernandez said. “Things will come up and you must learn to adapt, shift, and expand,’’ she added.
“As a business, we decided to take the approach that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” she continued. “With our time away, we focused our efforts on providing quality content online, growing our online community, and preparing for our reopening.”
On a global scale, the beauty industry was valued at more than $500 billion in 2019, according to Forbes, with industry publications reporting that the United States accounted for more than $90 billion of that total.
Now, as the world continues to monitor and battle the coronavirus, the founders of Sana Skin Studio are among those who are re-creating the wellness experience by bringing personal safety and cleanliness to the forefront of their operations. They are doing so as they follow all regulations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state.
“In our space, we have rearranged our retail to make products visually appealing and informative without having to touch or sample. We removed our seating area and asked guests to come five minutes prior to their appointment to aid social distancing guidelines,” Hernandez said. “We are also continuing to grow our online presence and reach through our e-commerce and thinking of new ways to engage with our community through the digital space.”
The ability to pivot digitally and create content has been crucial during this time and the biggest trend for consumers right now is using the platform TikTok to find educational information on skin care and wellness, explained Heather Woolery-Lloyd, an internationally recognized expert in skin of color and director of ethnic skin care for the University of Miami Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery.
In a matter of weeks, Woolery-Lloyd experienced tremendous growth in the following on her TikTok channel. She merged her expertise as a dermatologist with her affinity for education to create short videos that address common questions like: How many fruits and vegetables should you eat in a day and why? What has been proven in studies to curb sweet cravings? What causes hormonal acne?
“You really have to communicate the information quickly and concisely to keep people’s attention,” said Woolery-Lloyd. “My style is to deliver fun, interesting facts in an upbeat way that’s useful and valuable.”
Woolery-Lloyd has also noticed a shift in beauty trends on Instagram, mostly as brands and beauty influencers respond to being more inclusive. The past couple of months have shown a spike in searches for Black-owned beauty businesses.
“There have been very positive changes in the industry so far because the social unrest has brought to light that Black-owned skin care and hair care products are seldomly highlighted by beauty editors and often not considered mainstream enough to be featured in certain publications,” Woolery-Lloyd pointed out.
“People of color spend more on personal care than people who aren’t, so it’s interesting how the industry in general wasn’t really supporting them even though they spend more of their income on personal care,” she added.
The stresses of a global pandemic, quarantine, and face masks have propelled new skin concerns among the public. Since reopening the skin studio, Hernandez confirmed that guests are struggling with acne outbreaks.
According to Woolery-Lloyd, this type of acne is being referred to as “maskne” and it’s caused by two main reasons.
“Many medical masks contain processed materials and chemicals like formaldehyde, so people who are sensitive to chemicals can become sensitive to using those masks which can cause skin irritations and rashes,” explained Woolery-Lloyd.
The other type of acne outbreak that people are experiencing is due to bacteria accumulation from reusing masks. So, it’s important to keep everything clean, she noted.
Although being at home makes it easy to neglect skin care, Hernandez highly recommends keeping up with a routine to avoid new skin problems.
“Using a deep cleanse, a hydrating toner, an antiaging or skin clearing serum and following up with SPF is important,” she said. “Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you don’t need SPF, especially if you are in front of your computer all day.”
Hernandez is dedicated to making fundamental shifts at Sana Skin Studio in order to address the physical and emotional challenges people are facing during this time.
“It’s in times like these that we should practice self-care more than ever before. COVID-19 has made us change our daily routines and has inspired many to create new rituals when it comes to beauty and self-care,” she said. “It’s not just about putting on skin care or makeup to look good for the world, it’s about taking a moment of stillness and care for yourself. We are a new generation looking to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health more than ever before.”
Woolery-Lloyd believes that the skin care and wellness industries will continue to soar in the future.
“COVID-19 has taught us that staying healthy is of utmost importance and wellness will remain important, because people will actively seek out prevention methods,” said Woolery-Lloyd. “People were already aware of the benefits of staying healthy in order to avoid common chronic diseases, but never really thought about how health can influence the chances of getting an infectious disease like coronavirus.”