While the coronavirus pandemic has shut down much of the world, it hasn’t stopped the growth of gray roots and other beauty inconveniences. And though far from a true crisis in this situation, DIY beauty is experiencing a surge, as consumers look for at-home hacks for monthly beauty maintenance like hair color, waxing, Botox and the like.
Take hair color, which is up 66 percent year-over-year, per the NPD group. Madison Reed, a direct-to-consumer color brand which has 12 salons around the country, has seen a spike in new customers since the COVID-19 closures. A spokesperson said that sales to new customers were up twelvefold last week. “We have seen women who have never colored their hair at home turn to us now, and we’re doing everything we can to try to make it easy for them,” the spokesperson said. “These times are anxious enough.”
To meet the demand, Madison Reed has tapped its in-salon colorists to assist on the digital customer service team, which now numbers 115, up from its original 30.
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Josh Wood, the U.K.-based colorist and Redken’s Global Color Creative Director who launched his eponymous hair color and care line in the United Kingdom in 2018, has noticed a similar uptick in sales and engagement.
To keep up with the demand, Wood has expanded his one-on-one color consultant team from three to nine people, and has moved his plans to launch in the U.S. to deal with the influx of North American clients, who can now only shop on joshwoodcolour.com. While he was originally planning on launching in the U.S. in the next 12 months, he is now actively seeking distributors to expedite the timeline. “We have to address the amount of inbound we’re getting from North America,” Wood said.
DpHue is among the hair-care brands seeing a spike. The brand’s president and chief operating officer, Martin Okner, said he’s seeing sales above the 500 percent increase his team has tracked in the category. “We’re cautiously optimistic that this period of time is going to become more of a trend,” he said. “It’s probably a little too early yet, to call this trend sustainable.”
A different type of hair maintenance — wax kits — has also boomed. Flamingo, another DTC brand which sells razors and at-home waxing kits, had its biggest day ever since its launch on March 29. Both the brand’s face and body waxing kits are up 311 percent, when comparing March’s first week to its last. Flamingo is also trending 25 percent above forecast, and saw products like its Ingrown Spot Treatment sell out online.
Facial devices and skin care, specifically those that can mimic the effects of Botox and other in-office dermatological treatments, have also seen a dramatic increase. Peace Out, for example, saw sales of its microneedle facial patches with active ingredients like retinol jump 300 percent in the past weeks.
NuFace, which makes microcurrent devices for the face and body, has also reported a sharp increase in sales. Tera Peterson, chief executive officer, says the decrease in its professional channel (roughly 2,500 spas in the U.S. use and sell NuFace) are being compensated for by online sales as the company explores affiliate programs with its professional partners. Sales on body device are up 200 percent, sales of skin care have jumped 71 percent, and sales on its own dot-com, mynuface.com, have risen 90 percent.
Even with brick-and-mortar store closures, Peterson reported a hearty boost across its retail distribution; nordstrom.com, for example, posed a 300 percent increase with NuFace. “We’re attributing a lot of that to just how we’ve pivoted in the past month,” Peterson said, playing to the brand’s increased social strategy. “How we pivot now is going to form the future of NuFace.”
Melanie Simon, aesthetician and founder of ZIIP Beauty has seen a spike in demand for her ZIIP microcurrent device. “We’re seeing a 350 percent growth in sales in this period of time compared to last year, and people are at home and want an approximation of what you get in a professional setting,” her cofounder, David Mason, said, despite supply chain issues with manufacturers following the COVID-19-induced closures.
While others in the industry express concern that the buying has to stop, Simon herself thinks the momentum for ZIIP is here to stay. “We’ve never been big marketers or advertisers, we’ve always been a word-of-mouth product, and as more people get that instant gratification, that will keep moving,” she said.