In light of new priorities – largely driven by forces like COVID-19, climate change and geopolitical unrest – the consumer lens of the wellness category has become more sophisticated, with lines continuing to blur between health, self-care and beauty which lends to a more holistic outlook.
In a 2022 survey taken by MindBody, 65 percent of Americans said they believe beauty and grooming are a part of wellness, however, similar research done by Mintel found that while the beauty industry has certainly taken an interest in the wellness revolution, wellbeing is no longer being limited to such broad terms, instead finding that adults are adopting multifaceted approaches and choosing to purchase products and services that complement personal wellness and evolving needs.
Currently, projections show the wellness market will reach over $1 trillion in spend globally by 2025. In part this is due to the rise in consumer awareness of the necessity of self-care, both physical and mental, wellness has also gone from being a luxury of privilege to a staple in the mainstream. According to findings from GWI in December 2021, the profound shift was one from ‘soft’ to ‘survival,’ where consumers changed from thinking about self-care in terms of a ‘time out’ to being an aspect of self-preservation, sanity and survival.
“The pandemic amplified the focus on physical and mental health, often as a result of being confined to the home,” Anna Teal, global CEO of Aromatherapy Associates and The Refinery explained. “One positive is that it helped re-address the balance. Many went from irregular ‘treats’ such as spa days or vacations to wellness being incorporated into their everyday lives. From a brisk walk or manifestations to practicing gratitude or simply talking more about how we are feeling, to focusing on our body care routines; By being at home, we often found we could find daily moments of calm, reset or rejuvenation created in only two or three minutes.”
At the same time, over the years research has shown that people have become increasingly more sedentary, leading consumers to seek out more ways to introduce balance and movement with more mindful and healthier lifestyle choices. As a result, the fitness sector has seen immense expansion from in-home tech to a growing number of athleisure brands.
From her perspective, the evolution of the wellness category will likely continue to see lines blur between beauty and health as products and services answer consumers’ multifaceted needs, Teal told Fairchild Studios.
“There is an understanding that if you feel good, you look good, particularly when combined with rituals that trigger different senses, such as smell and touch,” said Teal. “We all know how much better we feel when we have a good skin or hair day – that goes much further than just face value. Giving yourself some ‘me time’ via a facial or scented bath can contribute to emotional wellbeing, as well as physical.”
Acknowledging the holistic shift happening in the wellness space, Teal elaborated saying that wellness “isn’t ever only one thing.”
Notably, Aromatherapy Associates’ line of products sits quite comfortably in the blurred lines of wellness as aromatherapy addresses both the physical and emotional. The essential oil blends used in the products and services are hand-crafted to ensure they serve specific wellness needs.
“Wellness is allowing yourself to incorporate rituals that bring you joy and lift you emotionally or physically,” said Teal. “It could be as simple as giving yourself that time to enjoy a good book, going for a walk or taking the time to have a relaxing bath. Equally, we’ve become more conscious of what we put in and, on our bodies. There’s a growing awareness of the power of natural ingredients as well as how they are farmed, and how the product is made. We hold ourselves accountable for the purchases we make and their impact, and at Aromatherapy Associates we proudly hold B-Corp status and are Leaping Bunny Approved.”
Taking a deeper look, Teal explained that Aromatherapy works in three ways: through smell, inhalation and absorption through the skin. When consumers use Aromatherapy Associates products, they are actively choosing the highest quality blends that achieve more than one goal. For example, lavender helps to relax while also working as an anti-inflammatory for muscles – which is why it is a key ingredient in Aromatherapy Associates’ De-Stress Muscle Gel which is a best-seller among the expert spa community.
“We are the ultimate therapeutic self-care experience, encouraging your outer beauty to shine by focusing on your inner emotional wellbeing,” said Teal. “Our founding principle is to serve the wellness needs of today through the power of essential oils and aromatherapy, this has remained the case for over 35 years.”
The company prides itself on creating each blend with a specific human need in mind –– be it the quest for sleep, support for anxiety, hormonal issues or the quest for more energy – which are often discovered through human conversations.
“Looking after your wellness allows us to focus, calm the mind, avoid burn out and ultimately, combat our daily demands,” said Teal. “We have seen this evolve as we adopt new working patterns and lifestyles. The latest global thinking has the following 4 core wellness pillars linked to them: sleep, sexual wellness, emotional wellness and physical wellness. Underneath these pillars you may find specific needs such as anxiety or sluggishness, at Aromatherapy Associates we’ve been addressing these needs for some time, and whilst our ingredients have existed since the dawn of time, we’ve adapted our blends to provide targeted, easy to understand support to these four core wellness pillars.”
One of the most poignant wellness needs being addressed by Aromatherapy Associates is sleep. Sleep is an essential part of our lives, yet 2 in 3 Americans report they are sleeping more or less than desired and anxiety disorders have become the most common mental illness among adults in the U.S. A 2021 wellness industry report by McKinsey found that half of consumers globally have the desire for products and services to meet the need for higher sleep quality.
“Studies show that we spend approximately one-third of our lives asleep, it is an essential process that we cannot function well without,” said Teal. “When we are asleep, our bodies are working hard to restore and repair our bodies as well as our brains, so we must do our best to get a good night’s sleep regularly. Aromatherapy Associates essential oils support our customers in creating these moments and achieving better sleep, a better balance, better energy and much more.”
Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax products, which are designed to provide better sleep, are best sellers with over 1000 five-star reviews from across the globe. The product was created by the company’s founder, Geraldine Howard, who hand-crafted the blend to help her sleep.
Touch is also a powerful element in achieving better wellness, one that is elevated by aromatherapy. According to a study commissioned by the British Beauty Council last year, human touch through treatments such as massage has the potential to reduce mental health issues by up to 10 percent.
As such, Aromatherapy Associates works with top spas all over the world to expand treatments with its powerful blends, in addition to a high efficacy range of body, bathing and facial skincare products to help you feel and look great.
“If we look at stress, research has shown that physical contact with others can reduce the effect of stress on our bodies, physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin which helps regulate mood and relieve stress and anxiety,” said Teal. “At Aromatherapy Associates we offer a variety of different aromatherapy massages and treatments that focus on the power of aromatherapy combined with specific massage techniques tailored to each person’s specific need, to ensure they leave feeling their best.”
Last year, Aromatherapy Associates proudly delivered 6 million ‘wellbeing moments,’ effectively supporting its global customers.
Whether it’s in beauty, fitness, sleep or stress, wellness is the category to watch, as consumers continue to prioritize health and discover the well-being that works for them.
“There is a famous saying which has never been more valid than today,” said Teal. “’ If you do not take care of your wellness, you will be forced to take care of your illness.’”