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When beauty gets ‘slow’

The growing global trend of ‘slow beauty’ could potentially offer an escape from consumerism’s clutches, especially in light of the cost-of-living crisis.

So says Toni Carroll, founder and CEO of luxury nutricosmetic brand, My Beauty Luv, who believes the economic situation is pushing everyone to be more conscious of what they are consuming.

Carroll continues: “With post-pandemic ‘revenge spending’ on the rise, South Africans splurged more on beauty and personal care products in 2022 than they did in the five years prior. On average, people paid over R1,000 across the categories of cosmetics, fragrances, personal care and skincare, and this upward spending trend is set to continue in the coming years.

“South Africans have unfortunately fallen prey to the cult of consumerism. One of the areas where this is most evident is in the beauty sector, with local women typically owning 19 cosmetic products but only using seven.”

She explains that there are parallels between the mainstream beauty industry and fast fashion, namely accelerated mass production of items which ultimately end up in landfills. “In contrast, products made using the slow beauty philosophy are more artisanal since they are produced in small batches using seasonal, sustainably sourced ingredients that are not only powerful but multifunctional too. Plus, they are free from the cheap, synthetic fillers used by their mainstream counterparts, which tend to dilute the potency of the products and deliver mediocre results.”

While clean beauty has garnered quite a following over the past few years, slow beauty takes the concept one step further. “Not only are slow beauty products chemical-free and made using natural ingredients, with packaging developed from recycled or biodegradable materials, the brands behind them also work exclusively with ethical suppliers who treat their employees and the environment with respect,” notes Carroll.

She points out that the slow beauty ethos also aims to tackle the psychology of consumerism. “Nowadays, most people want a quick fix for their beauty concerns which is what drives them to buy, buy, buy. Slow beauty reminds them that these issues were created over time, so they need to be treated over time. Supplements form a key component of the slow beauty movement since they address these from the inside out for long-term results.”

“At the same time, I think that consumers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed by the choice of products that are now available to them, especially with different beauty brands trying to target the same audiences with products comprised of similar ingredients. Now is the time for consumers to be more discerning about not only what they put on their bodies but into them as well,” shares Carroll.

She concludes by saying, “Adopting the slow beauty philosophy starts by taking a step back to identify the beauty concern you’d like to treat, which products offer the right combination of ingredients to address this and how to sustainably dispose of all the products you’ve already accumulated which are not doing you, your skin or the environment any good. At the end of the day, quality should always win over quantity.”