Beauty sales increase as industry continues to grow

Quality ingredients, healthy skin and personal style drive the booming $40 billion industry

WILSON  —— From hairstyles to facial creams and makeup to nail care and spa treatments, the beauty industry is continuing to thrive as more women are focusing on personal care.

“Women are becoming more fashion-minded and aware of product ingredients,” said Sharon Allen, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetics in Wilson.

“Women are searching for high-quality products that are healthy for their skin and their body.” Allen, a 27-year veteran of the beauty industry, added, “As customers are more educated about products and the industry, they are looking for people behind the counter to be as well.”

According to the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, the salon and spa industry has more than 900,000 establishments and annual sales totaling more than $40 billion. In North Carolina, there are close to 7,000 hairstylists, hairdressers and cosmetologists reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

“More girls wear makeup now than they used to as it’s become a part of fashion — it is an industry all its own,” said Caroline Sharpe, esthetician at Merle Norman. “The average person spends $75-$100 every three months.”

In addition to women who wear makeup on a daily basis, special occasion makeup — everything from prom to high school reunions to weddings — is a consistently popular trend sought out by women. Studies from beauty professionals and companies show the average woman spends between $13,000 and $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime — and that’s up until the age of 65.

“With the splurge of social media, women are beginning to look at themselves differently,” said Allen.

Beauty companies are using social media market research to drive their campaigns. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign reported that 82 percent of women studied felt social media could change the standards of beauty.

“Celebrities and Pinterest have had a large impact on the beauty industry,” said Heather Johnson, a hairstylist with Fringe Salon. “Every new client comes in with a picture of a celebrity or style they found on the website.”

Aside from the traditional staples of hair care and makeup; eyebrow waxing, facials, lash applications and airbrush tanning have increased in popularity.

“People know about skin cancer and the dangers of the tanning bed,” said Allen. “The formulation of spray tans, the actual solution has come a long way. There is no longer the stigma of being orange and streaky.”

Airbrushing tanning solutions are combination of dihydroxyacetone and erythrulose. The quality of the solution depends on the percentage of each in the formula. U.S. market researchers found indoor tanning revenue reached $2 billion in 2016 and is reported to be growing by 2 percent annually. Researchers also found that beauty products — haircare, skincare, cosmetics, perfumes, colognes and nail polishes — totaled $42 billion in revenue.

Fringe Salon nail technician Teresa Corbett added, “The beauty industry is always evolving, but it will always be around. There will always be jobs in the industry and clients needing a monthly or weekly style, and celebrating interviews, special occasions, holidays and family portraits.”