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What’s Next in Wellness

From mushrooms to mitochondria, a look at the developments in health that are most expected to impact beauty in the year ahead.

The impact of wellness on beauty is undeniable, and its swath is broad.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the global wellness economy spans 11 sectors; within that, the personal care, beauty and antiaging segment is estimated to be a $1.1 billion market, a figure expected to increase as the connection between inner health and outer beauty becomes ever stronger.

“A wellness first approach to beauty will continue to influence a range of product categories,” said Sarah Barnes, content marketing manager at Trendalytics. “Category lines are being blurred and retailers like Sephora and Ulta are now stocking nontraditional beauty products and brands.”

So what’s next? To find out, Beauty Inc spoke to a slew of wellness experts and practitioners to discover how the thriving category is evolving and how it will influence the beauty industry.

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Personalized skin care companies made news a few years back when they launched with a series of questions to prescribe a treatment product made specifically for the consumer. But according to Patti Kim, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, looking more closely at how the body detoxifies will be a gamechanger for beauty brands. “Focusing on mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of each cell, is really gaining awareness and becoming a bigger part of health and addressing chronic symptoms,” Kim said. “We’ll get a little bit more specific and look at individual genetic mutations and how that affects everything from acne to PMS to cancer history to Alzheimer’s. The only way skin care is truly customized is to look at your genes. That’s why you can’t just have data output through some computer program and be able to fix your health.”

Erica Chidi, cofounder and chief executive officer of LOOM, a well-being platform empowering women through sexual and reproductive health education, noted that education and learning about the body is going to continue as consumers look to maintain their health, especially post-COVID-19. “At LOOM, we’re encouraging women to make health education a hobby and a lifelong learning about the body, something that you do for pleasure, empowerment and also for self-actualization,” Chidi said.

A new skin care and wellness brand called Veracity is putting this type of model into place. Veracity uses at-home testing with its Skin + Health Discovery Kit to provide insights into the customer’s biochemistry by measuring biofactors such as hormones and pH levels as key indicators for greater health. “One size fits all doesn’t work for nutrition. You’ll see even dietary theories that are coming out about how to personalize it and make it fit for you,” said Mia Rigden, board-certified nutritionist, chef, author and health coach. “We’ll see a lot more of that in skin care and beauty coming up.”

Carolyn Barron, physician of East Asian medicine at Botanarchy Herbs and Acupuncture, is guided by gynecology, hormones and women’s health, and believes that brands that are using the menstrual cycle as a guide is here to stay. “Cycle syncing your seeds, your supplements, your daily activities, energetic output, or your workout and food feels like a big trend,” she said, “and it’s only getting more and more sophisticated.”

As women continue to gain a deeper knowledge about their bodies, solutions pre-, during and post-pregnancy will focus on the importance of nutrients and food as medicine. “Prenatal vitamins are complex in terms of ingredients with a lot of misinformation,” said Carson Meyer, birth doula and founder of C & The Moon. “A lot of prenatal vitamins are not doing the trick and then causing problems such as constipation, acid reflux, heartburn and nausea.”

For example, Meyer noted that a lot of prenatals contain folic acid instead of folate. “There’s a lot of talk about folate and the support in neurological development in early pregnancy and how it can help to prevent miscarriage,” she added. “About 60 percent of women have the MTHFR, methylenetetrahydrofolate reductas, gene mutation, which doesn’t allow their body to methylate the folate properly. So they’re not getting the proper nutrients to combat folate deficiency.”

Brands like Perelel and Needed are crafting research-backed vitamins for every stage of motherhood, both made with folate. “A lot of herbal medicine is traditional wisdom,” Meyer said. “There are a lot of cultures out there who had it all along and we got a little lost in our obsession with greed and convenience and a disconnection to nature.”

In terms of ingredients, mushrooms are furthering their reach beyond reishi in skin care and chaga in coffee. “Mushrooms can be used for conditions like diabetes, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, autoimmune issues and weakened immunity,” Barron said. “There are doctors that are working with different laboratories to isolate bioactive compounds and mushrooms for pharmaceutical use. People are trying to standardize the magic and the medicine in mushrooms. There are supplement brands that are under the radar creating templates for psilocybin businesses once that opens up. The money and the infrastructure and everything is there and it’s waiting for the laws to pass.”

Trendalytics reported that mushrooms were featured in its top 100 trends for 2021 back in November and exhibit what Trendalytics calls safe bet behavior, meaning they’ve been growing for at least a year and will continue to grow for another.

Barron added that she has created blends of medicinal mushrooms, elderberry and Chinese herbs in seed-bearing lollipops for a brand called Ambarella Organics. The brand’s mission is to get consumers back into the garden and be more in alignment with nature, a trend that more and more practitioners are betting on when it comes to wellness and the beauty industry.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., The National Health Service is aiming to prevent and tackle mental health through prescribing nature outings. “Consumers are taking things into their own hands instead of seeking outside of themselves for the answers,” said Brianna Cherniak, certified herbalist. “People are taking responsibility and coming back to nature.”

Nature was the inspiration for The Nue Co’s most recent launch, Forest Lungs, a fragrance that delivers the healing effects of the outdoors and is meant to replicate the molecular compounds produced by trees, phytoncides. Phytoncides are credited for the health benefits associated with forest bathing, namely stress reduction, anxiety reduction and boosting the parasympathetic nervous system.

And while fragrance has always been known to conjure up memories and nostalgia, scent is now becoming more functional, leaning into things like sleep and stress. “Linné Botanicals just came out with functional fragrances,” Ridgen said. “One for the morning and one for evening. It can help ease sleep and relaxation, meaning it will affect your stress levels, which will affect your eating patterns, which will affect your skin and your overall well-being. It all goes hand in hand.”

In early March, while not a functional fragrance, Byredo revealed Mixed Emotions, a scent that is a vehicle for memory and a reminder that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s also meant to exude the current collective state of mind with notes of mate, black currant, Ceylon black tea, violet leaf, birch wood and papyrus. Trendalytics found that search for functional fragrance is up 160 percent to last year and products in the market are up 8 percent to last year.

“The bottom line is that we are going to see a huge upward trend of all things proactive and preventative wellness in all different categories,” said Dr. Deepika Chopra, the Optimism Doctor, visual imagery expert, founder of Things Are Looking Up and host of the Looking Up With Dr. Deepika Chopra Podcast, “ways to enhance our immunity, happiness, mental stamina, pleasure, emotional well-being and endurance. Wellness is not a state of being but more so a state of living a healthy lifestyle. It’s an active process, an intentional way of living life toward enhancing the quality and optimization of our everyday and future experience.”


On the Cutting Edge:

Here, some of the newest brands leading the way in wellness.

C & the Moon Malibu Made Body Scrub, $64

When birth doula Carson Meyer learned that on average 200 manmade chemicals are found in the cord blood of newborns, she created her homemade body scrub, C & the Moon, a brown sugar exfoliator that gently removes dead skin cells and hydrates with organic oils.

C and the Moon
C and the Moon

Veracity Skin + Health Test, $149

After dealing with skin and fertility issues, Allie Egan created Veracity, an at-home test that measures hormones and pH levels. All that is needed is a small saliva sample. Once the test is sent off, a physician reviews the results and shares personalized product and lifestyle recommendations.


Linné Rise & Rest, $86

Made with botanical compounds and gentle blends by herbalist Jenna Levine, Linné was created to improve the health of skin. The brand’s latest launch is its Rise & Rest functional fragrances, an aromatherapeutic duo formulated with ingredients clinically proven to invigorate the senses and relax the mind.


Perelel Mom Multi Support Pack, $48

After feeling dissatisfied with their prenatal supplements, Perelel founders Alex Taylor and Victoria Thain Gioia created an assortment of formulas targeted to the specific needs of each stage of motherhood. The Mom Multi Support Pack includes collagen, an anti-stress blend, added omegas and a full-spectrum multivitamin.


Needed The Complete Nutrition Plan, $179.97

While navigating their fertility and nutrition journeys, Needed founders Julie Sawaya and Ryan Woodbury realized most prenatal nutrition products did not include the necessary nutrients. The Complete Nutrition Plan includes Needed’s prenatal multi, collagen protein, and pre/probiotic tailored specifically for before, during and after pregnancy.