Multisensory wellness and male beauty treatments are predicted to be among the top trends in 2024, according to a new report from Fresha and WGSN.
The report’s insights are based on analysis of 600 million Fresha bookings and scans of more than 2,000 social media accounts.
Fresha and WGSN also conducted surveys of more than 1,000 consumers across the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and interviews with industry experts.
Fresha says that the report serves as a guide to changing consumer expectations and shows how services and treatments will need to be adapted to boost business.
Beauty and wellness trends for 2024
According to the report, the 11 beauty and wellness trends for 2024 are:
1. Dopamine beauty
At its core, dopamine beauty supports consumers to feel well, happy and cared for.
Salons and beauty providers can also go further into the power of dopamine, beyond physical aesthetics, to explore the relationship between mental health and beauty through psychodermatology.
While it’s well-known that skin conditions can affect mental health, more research is emerging on how low mental wellbeing can affect the skin.
Beauty salons that provide any skincare treatment have the opportunity to respond to this growing trend, shifting from just treating skin at the surface to treating mental wellbeing alongside it, helping customers to leave the beauty experience feeling good physically and mentally.
The report said, "For long-term success, beauty and wellness providers must double down on emotional client care, helping them to resonate with younger demographics such as Gen Z, who place more importance on their mental health than any other generation."
2. Prioritised indulgence
Driven by a renewed appreciation for the time spent on self-care and beauty routines, what was once deemed indulgent is now seen as a necessity.
Consumers are making time for a balanced self-care routine, evidenced through the rise of the ‘maintenance day’ which revolutionises the original ‘spa day’ concept into a new ritual that salons can capitalise on to increase footfall and time and money spent during an appointment.
The maintenance day is also triggering the rise of the hybrid salon, where hair, beauty or wellness treatments are all located under one roof.
This has the opportunity to revitalise package bookings, where two or more treatments are booked at the same time, making it easier for consumers to book multiple essential services within one appointment.
The report predicted that salons which evolve or adapt how consumers can access self-care experts, treatments and experiences will win in the future.
"Expect to see new spaces designed such as meeting pods, quiet zones or cafés, all enabling clients to comfortably work, relax and indulge over an extended period of time in the salon," said the report.
3. Pet wellness
The pet ownership boom is driving a change in consumer attitudes, with pet owners providing their animals with the same level of care as they do human members of the family.
There was a surge in dog separation anxiety after owners went back to work post pandemic, and in response, work and public spaces are increasingly welcoming animals, helping owners to minimise the distress experienced by their pets.
As pet ownership increases, consumers will expect their beauty and wellness destinations to be inclusive environments for their pets where they will be treated with the same level of service as their owners.
Some spa destinations have already begun taking note of this trend, creating pampering packages designed for humans and pets.
Consumers are also beginning to seek out premium products and services for their pets that offer humanised wellness benefits.
The report stated that “Salons, spas and barbershops of the future must cater not only to the wellness of the human, but also the pet, with services spanning pet sitting and grooming to facials and hydrotherapy.”
4. 'Phygital' exploration
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are merging the online and offline worlds, enabling consumers to explore beauty in phygital worlds (i.e., a mix of physical and digital).
The beauty industry is benefitting from advancements in AR and VR, by enabling consumers to experiment with make-up, skincare, and even cosmetic procedures, from the comfort of their home.
A greater opportunity lies in bringing this tech into the salon environment, as a means of enhancing the consultation experience between therapists and client and removing the guesswork.
The report says consumers will be motivated to explore ways to alter their physical appearance without commitment, meaning they will expect salons to embrace tech innovations that enable this.
5. Cultural intellect
Cultural expertise will expand beyond the haircare market, with cultural understanding predicted to become a differentiator in all beauty and wellness services.
This will become most evident within skincare services – the British Association of Dermatologists recently developed a new five-point Eumelanin Human Skin Colour Scale to replace the Fitzpatrick scale.
This has been established with all skin types in mind to help combat underrepresentation in research, and is set to positively influence products and services created in the future.
This trend towards cultural intellect is set to change how businesses communicate with clients, with a focus on embedding inclusive language into services.
A generalised approach will be swapped out in favour of detail, with leading businesses investing in inclusive treatment communication so that all consumers understand how services will benefit them.
This will extend to in-person experiences, with the report predicting that businesses will update everything from verbal language used by employees through to written signage, so that all consumers feel welcome and more likely to trust the salon's expertise.
6. Modern males
Men are becoming more confident in trying out new services, driving progressive change in the male beauty market.
They are now investing more time in their grooming rituals, as they enjoy the physical and mental wellness benefits – a fact that will transform the future of male services.
In removing stereotyping and gender bias, beauty businesses have the opportunity to grow their client base by making their salon environments more welcoming to men.
This will be particularly relevant for skincare, nail and wellbeing services.
The future will see access to male grooming, beauty and wellness services grow, offering the ultimate self-care experience where men and all other genders feel welcome.
The beauty services men request will become more nuanced, evolving from simple facials or manicures to more technical beauty services such as microblading, acne treatments or injectables.
The report said, “In what was once a female-dominated industry, male services will become the true growth opportunity of the future, which all salons will seek to capitalise on.”
7. Gender-fluid futures
Conversations about gender are evolving from a binary to a fluid mindset, inspiring beauty and wellness destinations to question gender-assuming language and services so that all identities can access the right experiences for them.
To boost loyalty and grow clients, salons of the future must be inclusive, designing services, spaces and experiences that are welcoming to all identities.
Language and terminology will be the starting point for salons, the key being to never assume the gender or pronoun of any customer.
It's predicted that service menus will be critiqued and updated so that gender assumptions are eradicated, instead focusing on the beauty needs of the client.
This language will flow throughout the entire online and offline salon experience, helping to drive change while authentically communicating to clients that the industry is focused on great service, rather than gender.
8. A make-over for add-ons
Add-ons and complimentary services have not evolved much over the years, but the value they can bring to a customer’s experience is significant.
Traditionally, these services have meant little more than a free drink – often water, tea or coffee.
Many salons have started to enhance complimentary experiences with beverages and snacks, adding personality to their establishment through unconventional options such as beer, cocktails or barista-made coffee.
Not all add-ons need to be complimentary – the consumer survey shows that the majority of respondents would be likely to pay for one or two add-ons.
Some nail salons are offering a menu of in-chair add-ons for clients to choose from, from aromatherapy and reflexology to massages and facials.
Aligning the add-on experience to personal preferences while facilitating the discovery of new treatments will be key to attracting and retaining customers in the future.
To streamline this, the report states that businesses will increasingly partner with local cafés, shops or independent grocers to revive their menu of complimentary drinks and snacks.
9. Multisensory wellness
Beauty and wellness services are becoming more sensorial, subtly engaging all five senses to deliver an immersive experience that leaves consumers feeling positive long after their treatment.
Touch and tactility are some of the most powerful senses connected with beauty, with a growing interest in temperature-driven experiences such as cryotherapy.
Innovative applications of sound, going beyond conventional music playlists, are being explored to aid client relaxation and restoration, and new technology aims to harness the power of fragrances, enabling everyone to access aromas aligned with their wellness needs.
As consumers increasingly prioritise holistic health, access to new forms of therapy, including sensorial therapy, is expanding.
Energy healing, chromatherapy, reiki and sound baths are becoming popular for enhancing mental and emotional wellbeing, prompting leading salons to diversify their treatment approach to cater to these needs.
As consumers continue investing in their day-to-day wellness, their expectations for new age wellness retreats, destinations and hotels grow higher.
Some retreats are combining mushroom ceremonies with breathwork, yoga, somatic movement and sound frequencies to enhance guests’ healing, while others are offering cannabis-infused therapies and food, yoga, mindfulness sessions and tantric psychology.
The report said, “Successful businesses will approach alternative therapies, either by investing in training staff to competently address these services or by hiring qualified specialists so clients receive premium levels of care.”
10. Health tweakments
Consumers are craving a fresher look, with the goal no longer being to look younger, but to look healthier.
Cosmetic treatments, no longer exclusive to older generations or those wishing to reverse ageing, are now viewed as an exercise in preservation.
Procedures such as anti-wrinkle injections, microneedling and lip fillers are among the top performing treatments, recording significant year-on-year growth in bookings according to Fresha.
The report explains that tweakments in the future will extend beyond the face, neck and décolletage, with increased demand for procedures elsewhere on the body including the hands and intimate areas.
As the focus on health and wellness continues to grow, stigma around aesthetic procedures is predicted to fade, shifting to being viewed as an integral component of consumers’ preventative health routines.
The report predicts that this cultural shift will encourage businesses to adapt by embracing innovations that respond to current aesthetic goals across minimally invasive and non-invasive aesthetic procedures.
11. Accessible diagnostics
Salon smart-tools will undergo a diagnostic upgrade, enabling customers to get hyper-individualised care and experiences.
The skincare market has seen a surge in diagnostic tech innovations in recent years, with new products enabling consumers to understand their skin health and needs at home.
Future devices will be increasingly smart and efficient, allowing busy salons to offer hyper-individualised expertise consistently.
As the lines between beauty, wellness and healthcare continue to blur, salons of the future will emerge as powerful data sources, collecting diagnostic client information that can be shared with healthcare professionals as needed.
Building trust with clients around data collection and healthcare credibility will be key to ensure future investment in diagnostics is well-received.