Will shopping and salons ever be the same?

Ellen27Ellen27
Jun. 28, 2020
They say that worldwide cosmetics sales have dropped these last three months. At the same time sales of creams, cleansers and moisturisers have increased. Spending weeks within four walls, we want to pamper ourselves. But we can't find time to put a fresh face on. Why bother when there is nowhere to go?
Online sales and deliveries are booming. Much of the beauty industry already takes place in a virtual world where nobody meets. 
Products launched on Instagram are made in China, packaged in Hong Kong, and shipped to California. Eager fans worldwide order on line, and the packages are delivered to their door in Dubai by DHL. 
But four out of every five products are bought in store rather than online. We like to browse, to take a friend, to try on powders and shadows. We love testers, where we can share open lipsticks and powders with dozens of other customers. Rubbing the creamy pinkiness around our mouths. 
Maybe not. 
Lets try that again. Four out of every five products USED TO BE bought in store. WE USED TO browse, to take a friend, to share lipsticks and powders. What do we love now?
Some of the biggest retail stores like Sephora and Ulta closed their doors in mid March. Sephora began reopening May 22 with new hygiene guidelines – masks, six feet distancing, and testers “for display only”. 
Ulta began opening May 11, and offers kerbside or store-front pickup at some stores. The products may be put in the back seat of your car whilst you wait in the parking lot, or collected from a table outside the front door. 
Sephora still has Beauty Advisors but is also offering “virtual tools” including their Augmented Reality (AR) app Virtual Artist. This lets you look at yourself on screen and try out different shades of lipsticks, glosses, blushes and powders. 
These apps are not new. Amazon introduced virtual testers last year. But they will most likely be improved and extended going forward, and be available across more brands, both in store and online.  
Back then, we loved to relax and be cared for. To have our hair trimmed, coiffed and curled, our skin revitalised, our nails buffed, polished and coloured, our tired muscles massaged. Will we ever do that again?
For personal grooming – visits to the beauty salon, the nail parlour, the hairdressers or the spa  – there are going to be lots of new measures. 
Our beautician will be wearing mask and gloves, and wiping down the work area between clients. There will be distancing and cash-free payments. 
Powerful air extraction systems may be used to reduce cross-contamination.  But some treatments may move to yards, gardens and courtyards.  An outdoor massage under a gazebo or a pedicure under the apple trees. 
On line consultations and remote treatments are set to grow - instead of having your nails done, you can have a Zoom meeting and be sent custom designed press-ons, or a kit to do your own buffing and trimming. Or you can have a video cosmetics chat and receive cleansers and moisturisers to match your skin type, and foundation to match your skin color.
Home visits, already popular with the elderly, will become more widespread. Instead of a dozen people heading into town and walking through the malls to the beauty salon, the make-up artist carries out a dozen home consultations, complete with mask, gloves and sanitizer. 
At the same time, many people will decide to look after their own beauty treatments. They may choose to color their hair, even cut or trim it, and work on their nail care skills. Sales of do-it-yourself hair color kits, hair trimmers and nail polish have been soaring. 
Right now countries are one by one are beginning to relax the restrictions. People are returning to work and to the parks and beaches, to public transport and social events. They may also be heading back to the stores and the spas, but it won't be quite the same. The beauty industry overall came through the 2008 financial crisis relatively well, but higher end products took two years to recover. 
But every change brings its opportunities. 
Many of us have taken to video meetings in the past few months. And discovered that the uncertain lighting and odd camera angles make us look like a B movie zombie. 
Or is it just me?
Video conferencing seems to drain away the blood, make the skin saggy and lifeless, and highlight every blemish and wrinkle, whilst shrinking the eyes and enlarging the chin and nose.
A new generation of make-up artists who can make us look good on screen could be about to save us!
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