Welcome to the January edition of The Beauty Conversation.
In true January-style, we’ve decided to kick off the year with a newsletter dedicated to wellness. Both the word and the concept have dominated the lexicon throughout the last decade, spawning a $4.2 trillion wellness economy. Google searches for the term ‘self care’ have risen 100% in the past five years and almost 75% of consumers have up to three healthcare, wellness or fitness apps on their smart devices. Yet, 39% of US adults reported feeling more anxious in 2018 year on year.

We’re all for the growth of the industry and aspiring for goals for the year ahead. However guest editor Jessica Smith, a freelance Wellness and Beauty Consultant and former LS:N Global Senior Creative Researcher believes the contrary. Smith forecasts that wellness will no longer be about endorsing the quick fix but rather celebrating the slow and measured journey. So for 2020, if it’s not about J-wellness (Japanese wellness) and its effortless attitude to healing, self-care Sunday, or socialising at the latest private wellness clubs, it’ll be about embracing the age of bathfluence… .  

As always, we love hearing your feedback. Join the conversation on Instagram.

This month we’re talking about…

Resilience retreats. The last decade has seen the proliferation of countless mindfulness apps, yoga retreats and £100 yoga pants. Yet at the same time 39% of US adults are feeling more anxious. Have we become too reliant on the soft comforts of the wellness industry? To counter this comfort-zone mentality, extreme retreats such as Chosen Experiences, Kaizn Method and The Extraordinary Adventure Club are emerging to provide the framework needed to build resilience. Take The Extraordinary Adventure Club, founded by Calum Morrison, a former Royal Marines officer who creates bespoke adventures to unlock and activate individuals’ resilience. Similarly, Kaizn Method combines performance activities and breath protocols inspired by the Navy Seals. Where do we sign up? 

The J-wellness opportunity. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics mere months away, it’s time to gen up on all things holistic, ritualistic and Zen. Among them, onsen hot springs and forest bathing are high on our radar with the Global Wellness Summit flagging luxury-level onsen resorts and spiritual healing as key areas of interest. For those seeking spiritual solace, recent legislation has opened up Japanese Buddhist monasteries to tourists, giving rise to Terahaku, the ‘Airbnb of temple accommodations’. Not in Japan? No problem, these Southeast Asian spas offer a modern take on the hot spring bathing tradition, while Buly 1803’s new Paris spa offers spinal alignment massage for tech heads from its resident Shiatsu master. In Berlin, Ryoko Hori’s Senses Salon is the insider destination for Zen meditation, tea ceremonies and Tsubaki oil facials.

Electrolyte skincare. No longer reserved for sports drinks, skincare brands are eyeing electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and potassium as key ingredients to support increased hydration and up the skin's energy levels. They can be found in a host of newly launched products, including Drunk Elephant’s new F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask and a Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer by Paula's Choice. Like a Powerade for your face.

Self-care Sunday is still a thing. Self Care Sunday is still a worthwhile social media trope for your skincare brand. According to research by Tribe Dynamics, in the first ten months of 2019, the top 50 skin-care brands’ total earned media value on social media associated with #SelfcareSunday was 81% higher than for all of 2018. A report on Digiday attributes this to the always-on culture in which Saturday is overflow day, especially for entrepreneurs or self employed people, leaving Sunday for purposeful me-time. ‘You have to actively create moments, days for yourself to unwind because the hustle never stops,’ says Ashley Merrill, CEO of sleepwear company Lunya. Bathing in particular is on the up as a me-time essential, with Man Repeller declaring it as ‘the coffee of the evening’. Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Bathhouse spa is all the rage, sexual wellness brand Maude is expanding into bath products, and soap brand Bathing Culture promises to ‘embrace the power and peace of bathing’. Us? We take ours with 3 squirts of Votary Antidote Night Oil and a pitcher of chilled Pellegrino. 

The art of the beauty ritual. Frequent TBC collaborator Teresa Havvas alerted us to La Bouche Rouge’s poetic photo series by Theo Wenner, documenting the ‘get ready with me’ moments of his friends. The cinematic images ‘celebrate the intimacy of friendships and reflect on the timelessness of our beauty rituals’. (Meanwhile, the bathroom mirror is trending on Tik-Tok…)

Wellness gets exclusive. Exclusive wellness clubs that marry high-end fitness with social self-care are emerging to appeal to an upscale clientele. Coined as the modern Soho House for wellness, these spaces are tapping into the growing popularity of private members clubs and perception of wellness as a luxury signifier. Take newly opened 10,000-square-foot private wellness club, Remedy Place which encourages members to replace coffee dates with IV-drip meet-ups and sports fans to gather for televised games. Or Brooklyn luxury fitness lounge Ghost, which coins itself as an ‘architectural playground’ full of art, boutique fitness classes, and luxury amenities like infrared saunas and meditation pods. A far cry from the inclusivity trend we’ve seen evolve in the sector, however these clubs offer members the next iteration of wellness technologies to help them build long-term endurance whilst also being able to socialise with like-minded individuals.

In other news…

Net-a-Porter has added a wellness subcategory to its beauty pages. The dark side of crystals, smudging, mica, and botanicals. Carbon neutrality is gaining momentum as consumer brands look to cut their emissions impact. Rebranding baldness. What makes a successful founder? Wellness isn’t just for the wealthy.  Senior wellness gets a revamp. Li Edelkoort the trend-whisperer. Go see Masculinities at The Barbican. Moon Juice, the OG LA wellness brand unveils a new clean cosmic skincare line.  Sure, The Goop Lab Is Absurd—but It Also Offers Hope.

(Image credit: Maude bath collection, US)

THE LAST WORD… meet Candice Nembhard from Birmingham, UK

"I used to be a product junkie, but as I get older, my “less is more” approach fits much better into my lifestyle. I like COSRX’s Low PH Good Morning Facewash, and for my hyperpigmentation, Dudu Osun’s Black Soap followed by Dr. Organic’s Vitamin E oil. Lush’s R&B Moisturizer has been surprisingly kind to my hair over the years. I don’t care much for the buy-in trend of self-care. Good living really starts with your own mentality. I think being open and honest with yourself, making changes, evolving and adapting is truly the best way to take care of yourself. Also, cutting off what no longer serves you."

Candice Nembhard, 24, Writer, artist, poet and curator, English living in Berlin, interviewed by the Beauty Conversation.

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