The professional spa industry is big business and a source of inspiration for beauty brands trying to incorporate spa and wellness concepts into their product ranges. Increasingly, there is a focus on mind and body with the addition of self-care techniques for a more holistic experience. European professional spa industry sales rose 3.5% last year to more than $16.3 billion. Spas include destination spas, hotel/resort spas, and others, excluding day spas, according to Euromonitor International.
Spa Consultant Mark Smith, aka The Spa Man, reviews spas across the world, and has identified three key European trends. One, Forest bathing, is very popular in Norway, Sweden and Austria and is trending in the UK with the Forest Spa concept at Aqua Sana Center Parcs.
“Derived from the Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku, forest bathing is said to be one of the cornerstones of Japanese healthcare by drawing on the therapeutic powers of nature and connecting people to the environment. Many spas promote the benefit of walking or immersing in the forest,” observes Smith.
He sees opportunity for brands as demonstrated by Aromatherapy Associates which recently launched Forest Therapy, a bath and shower oil collection that includes an essential oil blend, pink pepper, juniper berry and Mediterranean cypress, all designed to help improve respiratory health and instill calm in users.
Mindful beauty practices are widespread in the spa industry. Natura Bisse, which developed a virtual reality headset to help take guests on a mindful meditation prior to facials.
“The idea is that the guest is grounded in the moment via mediation and breathwork, which then enhances the therapy that follows,” he explains. “This is a natural partnership for beauty as it combines perfectly with the concept of self care and ‘self care Sunday.’ Brands could capitalize on this idea with aromatherapy-based products, treatments and masks that include guide mediations, an app with breathing techniques or visualizations that partner with the beauty regime.”
Cryotherapy, from the total immersion of the body into an ice bath to the use of cryotherapy chambers where the body is immersed in extremely cold dry air, is enjoying a renaissance in the spa industry Already popular in Germany, cryotherapy is gaining in the UK. Fitness is an integral part of this trend, with post-exercise recovery coming into its own.
“The growth in the popularity of cryotherapy lends itself to a resurgence of cryotherapy-based beauty products. Never far from the mainstream, cryotherapy-inspired products have a real opportunity to break through,” maintains Smith.
As an example, he cites 111Skin’s Cryo Activating Hydra Gel, a waterless gel-crème with lotus extract for ultra hydration and described as “cryo-fuelled energy for the face.” Smith maintains that this trend can translate into cooling techniques on the face to “freeze,” firm and lift.
Beyond Stress Reduction
Over at research agency Mintel, Jo Lawlor, global beauty analyst, has delved into the latest spa trends and innovations to gain first-mover advantage in the mass market. Lawlor’s first observation is the trend for spa to offer therapies to cancer sufferers.
“Today the spa industry is changing; cancer care education is mainstreaming as spas promote cancer-friendly services as well as clean skin care,” she comments.
The UK Hair Loss Friendly Spa campaign is encouraging spas to cater to those suffering from cancer-related hair loss, offering expert advice on issues such as dryness, skin sensitivity, scarring from surgery, brittle nails, and thinning hair and hair loss. One cancer-safe specific skin care brand is Jennifer Young Defiant Beauty Itchy Skin Oil for skin and scalp.
“There is an opportunity for brands to bring clinically tested skin and hair solutions to the mass market,” says Lawlor.
Tapping into the health and wellness trend is Dutch spa and wellness brand The|Tides, described as a “modern apothecary.”
“It has trademarked a treatment concept called Brain Body Wellness, which is designed to reboot the body and brain through a specialized sequence of functional products, innovative treatment techniques, massage, breathing, stretching, yoga, medication and mindful exercise,” states Lawlor.
The range is formulated with sustainable raw Dutch magnesium and seaweed, sourced locally at the Dutch seaside, as well as purified seawater, sea salts, clay, seaside plants, herbs and essential oils.
Another standout is Comfort Zone, an Italian brand promoting a holistic, soulful, healthy and sustainable lifestyle with science-based solutions. Its indie sister range, Skin Regimen, is formulated with a trending herbal ingredient, wild indigo extract, said to modulate excess cortisol and boost beta-endorphins.
According to Lia Neophytou, an analyst with GlobalData, a more holistic perception of health is driving the proliferation of personal care products boasting features beyond function and efficacy and that promote mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Sanctuary Spa, Sleep Dream Easy Pillow Mist (UK), is infused with midnight flowers and lavender oil to aid sleep and ensure that the user wakes up feeling reset and refreshed.
- “It meets consumers’ desire for rest and relaxation—key motivations in spa visits—in the comfort of their home at an affordable price,” comments Neophytou.
- Champneys Spa Professional Collection, Calming Pillow Mist (UK) contains lavender, geranium and chamomile and is endorsed by therapists in order to heighten trust between brand and consumer.
- Joanna Botanicals for Home Spa, Cannabis Seed Body Scrub (Poland) incorporates hemp extract for exfoliation as well as restoring moisture.
“Cannabis is a trending ingredient across the entire FMCG space and is being included within spa treatments for home use,” states Neophytou. “Leveraging cannabis taps into the desire for natural spa ingredients while also providing a point of differentiation.”
The increasing focus for the European spa industry is on health and wellness and this trend will continue to drive innovation in spa products, whether for professional or at-home use, as consumers seek value added experiences for body and mind.