Slow beauty - a trend to watch in 2023

Toni Carroll, founder and CEO of My Beauty Luv outlines how slow beauty could potentially offer consumers an escape from the clutches of consumerism.

On average, South African women own as many as 19 beauty products at any given time – and yet they only use seven of them

With post-pandemic ‘revenge spending’ on the rise, South Africans splurged more on beauty and personal care products in 2022 than they did in the five years prior. On average, people paid over R1 000 across the categories of cosmetics, fragrances, personal care and skin care, and this upward spending trend is set to continue in the coming years. 

“South Africans have unfortunately fallen prey to the cult of consumerism. One of the areas where this is most evident is in the beauty sector, with local women typically owning 19 cosmetic products but only using seven. Slow beauty, which is a growing trend around the world, could potentially offer an escape from consumerism’s clutches, especially in light of the global cost-of-living crisis which is pushing us all to be more conscious of what we are consuming,” says Toni Carroll, founder and CEO of luxury nutricosmetic brand, My Beauty Luv.

An evolution of clean beauty

She explains that there are parallels between the mainstream beauty industry and fast fashion, namely accelerated mass production of items which ultimately end up in landfills.

“In contrast, products made using the slow beauty philosophy are more artisanal since they are produced in small batches using seasonal, sustainably sourced ingredients that are not only powerful but also multifunctional. Plus, they are free from the cheap, synthetic fillers used by their mainstream counterparts which tend to dilute the potency of the products and deliver mediocre results.”

While clean beauty has garnered quite a following over the past few years, slow beauty takes the concept one step further.

“Not only are slow beauty products chemical-free and made using natural ingredients, with packaging developed from recycled or biodegradable materials, the brands behind them also work exclusively with ethical suppliers who treat their employees and the environment with respect,” notes Carroll. 

Tackling the psychology of consumerism

“Nowadays, most people want a quick fix for their beauty concerns which is what drives them to buy, buy, buy. Slow beauty reminds them that these issues were created over time, so they need to be treated over time. Supplements form a key component of the slow beauty movement since they address these from the inside out for long-term results.” 

At the same time, Carroll thinks that consumers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the choice of products available to them, especially with different beauty brands trying to target the same audiences with products consisting of similar ingredients.

“Now is the time for consumers to be more discerning about not only what they put on their bodies but also into them,” she shares. 

Adopting the slow beauty philosophy starts by taking a step back to identify the beauty concern you’d like to treat, which products offer the right combination of ingredients to address this and how to sustainably dispose of all the products you’ve already accumulated which are not doing you, your skin or the environment any good. At the end of the day, quality should always win over quantity.

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