Beauty vs. Economy…Do-It-Yourself?

December 17, 2008 • Beauty


I admit the last time I ‘had my nails done’ was over a year ago, and since then, I have found a more affordable way of doing my nails without the added cost of going to the nail salon. I have been using French Manicure Nail Kits that I find easy to use, and at less than $6.00, its super cheap.

Many Americans are also finding alternative means to their usual beauty regimes. As the economy has headed south this year, at-home treatments have been growing in popularity. And innovations are yielding spa and salon-worthy merchandise.

Clairol One of the latest products to change the way women view at-home hair color is Clairol’s Nice ‘n Easy Perfect 10, which launched in the first quarter of the year. The kit has been designed and formulated to address many consumer issues with coloring hair at home, such as timeliness (Perfect 10 is designed to work in 10 minutes); odor (a reformulation has yielded a lightening system that smells not unlike a shampoo) and quality (lower pH levels in the lightening system means less damage to hair, said Procter & Gamble Co. officials.) According to Information Resources Inc., sales of Perfect 10 have surpassed $22 million for the 52-week period ended Oct. 5, excluding Wal-Mart.

Known for her on-the-go portable products, beauty innovator Lisa Hoffman has designed items to make an at-home spa facial a regular part of face care.

"People don’t often have time to go to a spa and get a facial. I know I surely don’t,"Bourjois_2  said Hoffman. In April, Bergdorf Goodman and Apothia at Fred Segal received the Spa Facial Collection, a 10-step professional spa system designed to cleanse, treat and hydrate skin. Industry sources estimate that the Spa Facial Collection will generate between $3 million and $5 million in first-year retail sales.

The DIY nail category at mass is doing well too, as nail salon owners report that their chairs have been empty lately.

Mary Van Praag, senior vice president of sales at Coty, noted that the nail color market was up 5.6 percent year-to-date and that consumption of nail treatments, which had been flat, spiked in the last three months. In addition to at-home Professionalwaxkit_lgmanicures, women are looking for speed and multibenefits, she said, citing impressive movement of Sally Hansen’s Color Quick Pen and Complete Care 4-in-One Nail Treatment. Even at-home hair removers are benefitting from the home treatment process.

Gina Drosos, P&G Beauty’s president of Global Personal Care, in May said, "This is the most turbulent economic time that I’ve seen in my 20 years in the business," She recalled reading in a recent report on household spending that, 18 months ago, consumers spent about 20%of their income on staple items. That number has since surged to 40%.

Retailers said they’ve noticed more women looking for at-home beauty products. They believe that has helped sales of everything from skin care to styling tools. The question is whether women will return to salons once the economy improves.

– Kelley D. Woods, Beauty Writer


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