LONDON — Net-a-porter is harnessing the power of the facialist, who is quickly becoming the beauty industry’s new power house, given the ability to relate to women and build sizable online followings.
“The facialist is what the doctor was last year. This is a huge, thriving category for us; we saw a 60 percent increase last year in beauty brands by facialists,” said Newby Hands, Net’s beauty director, during a talk in London. “These women are traveling the world to see clients and they are relatable to women, they’ll tell us how to meditate, what to eat, it’s more than just beauty. They’re also media-savvy and you’ll find them sharing tips online or appearing on celebrities’ Instagrams.”
Hands pointed to the success of Sarah Chapman’s targeted line of beauty and supplements and Joanna Czech’s best-selling beauty massager — a cooling zinc and aluminum device that allows customers to follow up on their treatments with at-home massages.
“Women are starting younger and making use of a full at-home regime. It’s this idea of doing things at home and Net-a-porter bringing the benefits of the facialist to the home. The next step would be for us to bring the doctor to the home,” added Hands.
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These women have also been leading a shift away from an antiaging, antiwrinkle approach to skin care and toward a more holistic mind-set that puts the focus on treating your skin to look healthy and glowy and looking like the “best version of yourself” rather than a younger version of yourself.
“The language of beauty is changing, we don’t talk about antiaging any more. Health, youth and glow are the new key words. Even women who might go to the doctor to get some work done will show a four-year-old picture of themselves on vacation in the sunlight, not the 25-year-old look. There’s this idea that it’s achievable to look like your best self, that why supplement offers are increasing and crystals with all their healing properties are huge,” added Hands.
Celebrities have been jumping on the holistic bandwagon and standing behind what their favorite facialists, like Chapman and Czech, have been preaching.
Czech is best known for treating the likes of Kim Kardashian, Uma Thurman and Cate Blanchett, while Chapman often makes regular appearances on Victoria Beckham’s Instagram.
But perhaps the most famous face that embodies this approach to beauty isn’t a celebrity but the Duchess of Sussex, who has been relying on Chapman’s facials to achieve the healthy glow she sported on her wedding day.
“Meg actually saw Sarah the day before [her wedding], so she had this incredible facial and knowing that she was having this time with Sarah reassured me that her skin was going to be in great shape and I don’t have to worry about anything,” said makeup artist Daniel Martin, who joined Hands alongside Czech and Chapman in London. “For a long time, a lot of my work has depended on the aesthetician, whether backstage or in real life.”
Martin, who trained under Pat McGrath and is a Dior brand ambassador and a color consultant for Jessica Biel’s Honest beauty label, said it was Markle’s healthy skin that made his job so easy the day of the royal wedding, having had no face time with her prior to the wedding.
“Up until that point we literally made her makeup trial on text, I didn’t have any time to see her. So, knowing that she was in good hands, that her skin was going to be taken care of, made me think that my work is pretty much done,” he added. “What I had to consider more was her face and her makeup in the car, in the church, being televised and photographed. I couldn’t put too much on her skin, because in that period of time you were going to see a transition: When she’s in the car with her mother her makeup looks a lot heavier, a lot darker and then you see her in the church and it’s much brighter.”
According to Martin, the trend of healthy-looking skin and lighter makeup application has been infiltrating across the board: “Customers use social media for inspiration, but it’s more about the individual, they are looking at these women thinking they want to look as radiant as they look. We are at a time when social media has completely divided beauty: You have the Instagram makeup, then you have celebrities, and runway isn’t that relevant anymore for beauty.”