The Latest Beauty Trend Is Rooted In Ritualistic Self-Care


Body care is booming. It's a fact you're probably well aware of, even if you don't have access to the hard marketing data. Launch after launch, the skincare industry is traveling down the neck, out the arms, and across the entire body. Once cleanly separated, it's now become difficult to even delineate between skin and body care, since the body-care trend appears to be thoroughly intertwined with the skincare industry's success.

It was a slow trickle, at first. Drunk Elephant launched body care in April. Milk Makeup dropped a CBD body oil in May. Kosas tackled deodorant in June, followed by Function of Beauty's body-care line in July. This doesn't even begin to include the necessary influx of hand sanitizers created by beauty brands, either — or the hydrating hand treatments that then followed.

"Body-care sales, including body lotions, deodorant, foot care, hand care, and massage products, have increased in percent of sales substantially in 2020 compared to 2019," Brandi Halls, Brand Director at Lush, tells The Zoe Report over email. "And, of course, hand care also showed higher sales due to customers needing lotion for dry hands from increased hand washing and hand sanitizer use. Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter has been the top-seller in this category."

And that makes sense, in a classic, supply-and-demand way. Nevertheless, skin and body care's merger throughout 2020 deserves a deeper look, as it begets a question: Is the skincare industry taking over body care, or is it the other way around?

How The Body-Care Trend Took Off

To understand why the distinction matters, it's important to note the sheer size of both categories within the industry. According to McKinsey & Company, retail sales for the global beauty industry reached $500 billion in 2019: $140 billion in skin care, $236 billion thanks to "personal-care products," which includes bath, hair-care, and more.

The same article shared the industry impact following the pandemic outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, as well: European e-commerce giant Zalando "reported a boom in pampering and self-care beauty categories, including candles, aromatherapy, and detox products; sales of skin-, nail-, and hair-care products were up 300 percent, year on year," wrote Emily Gerstell, Sophie Marchessou, Jennifer Schmidt, and Emma Spagnuolo. "That is consistent with results from Amazon, for which most makeup sales in the United States are showing slight declines, compared with the same month in 2019, while sales for nail-care products (218 percent), hair coloring (172 percent), and bath-and-body products (65 percent) are way up."

Then, there's the more holistic viewpoint. "Skin is the human body's largest organ, and it's important to take care of it all — not just the skin on your face," says Kelley Martin, chief marketing officer of skyn ICELAND (which just launched its first face and body product). "I think that was a natural conclusion for the skincare industry to expand its reach into body care, as consumers are starting to realize that their multi-step routines for face should also be applied to the rest of the body. Specific areas of the body show signs of aging just like they do on the face, such as the neck and the décolletage, so people are especially looking to target those areas."

Joanna Vargas — celebrity facialist, author, and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care — does agree with the renewed focus on the décolletage, citing an uptick in sun damage following "more free time this summer." That said, there is the sheer joy that stems from pampering yourself, too. "I think people have found it really relaxing and stress-relieving to care for themselves during this stay-at-home time," she notes. "Now that things are opening up, clients are upping their game and trying to incorporate more rituals into their regular routine."

What's Actually Popular Right Now In Body Care

So, which rituals are people actually embracing? Enter Dr. Flora Kim, a board-certified dermatologist. Regarding popular all-over skin treatments, Kim points to laser procedures that "address pigment and redness/vascularity" as well as "radiofrequency microneedling and fractionated microplasma to stimulate collage stimulation, tighten skin, and reverse crepe-y sun damage."

"People are interested in skin-tightening treatments using radiofrequency or ultrasound," adds Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, cosmetic dermatologist, author, and PFRANKMD founder and chief medical officer. "They are also really interested in cellulite treatments where I use things like BioStim and other heat-based technologies." New technology had also caught the eye of Vargas' clientele; she says her Supernova Body treatment is the most popular, since "it exfoliates, hydrates, and reduces inflammation via cryotherapy and oxygen," and that "my patented LED light bed is something everyone does after every service."

Fragrance plays a major part in the body-care space, too, arguably even more so than in facial skin care. The up-and-coming skincare brand, Hanahana Beauty, is uniquely poised to speak on the topic: It currently offers its shea body butter in five unique fragrance options, including unscented.

"I think people are looking for different scents that will do more than just smell good — that make them feel some type of way," says Abena Boamah-Acheampong, founder and CEO of Hanahana Beauty. "So, I feel like with our Amber, it just makes you feel lush, it makes you feel good. For me, when we create our scents, it’s based off of obviously, one, the smell, but like what does it do? Does it refresh, or have a multifaceted use? Like lavender is calming, eucalyptus can be refreshing, all these different things. How can it affect the person that’s putting it on?"

Build Your Own Body-Care Routine

New to the all-over skincare movement? You can start with something as simple as a lotion you love, or an ingredient already in your facial routine. After that, it's time to pick up a product or two. Keep on scrolling to shop The Zoe Report's recommendations for the best in body care, with even more tips and tricks from the pros.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.