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Dec 12, 2018 | Featured, Luxury

Key trends in the beauty industry reflect the influence of savvy consumers making mindful choices

The beauty industry’s simultaneous advances in science and a return to natural resources have yielded divergent but occasionally complementary trends that speak to a growing awareness among consumers of the options available to them.


As non-surgical treatments become more effective, people are increasingly seeking aesthetic enhancement that doesn’t involve going under the knife. That said, cosmetic surgeon Dr Clare Neser stresses the importance of consulting someone with varied and in-depth expertise.

“Going to a surgeon even if you’re not planning to have surgery gives you the breadth of their knowledge in order to recommend the best possible range of treatments – the benefit of a correct diagnosis and tailored options,” she says.

Treatments like Dermapen, fillers and Botox, which improve one’s appearance in a myriad ways (the Dermapen can improve male-pattern baldness and scarring) but demand less commitment than surgery are finding favour with a younger clientele looking for fixes that aren’t permanent, perhaps  indicative of the consumer desire to keep their options open.


With the spa industry also realising the benefit of ubiquity (through affordable day salons and franchises) in order to really stand out as a special experience now, establishments are upping the ante with ultra-luxe treatments that push the boat out with X-factor ingredients, special rituals and complementary services. The Saxon in Johannesburg, arguably one of the country’s most indulgent spas, offers a treatment menu peppered with precious ingredients, like its La Prairie facials, which feature caviar, rose quartz and platinum.

Treatments take place in an oasis-like space, with a tranquil private garden and access to the whole gamut of facilities, from a hammam and juice bar to nail lounges and a hair salon. Likewise, the newly relaunched spa at Delaire Graff near Stellenbosch has similarly opulent treatments, like Black Pearl Body Illumination Therapy – with gold face mask, 24-karat body butter and Tahitian pearl powder. This, along with a spectacular setting (22-metre infinity pool, panoramic mountainscape views) and newly rejigged healthy-but-haute lunch menu make the experience that much more memorable.

Leeu takes setting seriously too – mountain views, lily ponds and an ultra-chic relaxation area. The spa champions Africa’s rich heritage with treatments inspired by traditional rituals using natural and organic premium products like TheraNaka and Esse. So crucial to hospitality is the spa culture that the luxury hotel group Aman Resorts has even created its own skin-care and beauty range of all-natural bath and body products.

PHOTO CAPTIONS: The tranquil setting of the Spa at Leeu Estates is complemented by high-end product ranges. | International luxury hotel group Aman Resorts has just proved the power of the beauty industry by launching an inhouse spa range. | Offering everything from targeted anti-ageing to luxurious relaxing treatments, the Saxon Spa is a full-spectrum establishment. | Started by Nicole Sherwin, the Eco Diva range is an all-natural organic range for skin of all ages.


The move towards natural ingredients and eco-friendly production in the high-end segment is definitely on the up, whether it’s products that are inspired by nature in their identity and  ingredients – like Jo Malone, whose layering of nature-inspired scents allows you to customise fragrance – or those that are fully organic in process as well, like local brand Eco Diva Natural Products.

Raised as a vegetarian with an awareness of homeopathy and naturopathy, Nicole Sherwin founded Eco Diva a few years ago. “I wanted to create a brand I could really be proud of,” she says, “and that meant it had to tick all the right boxes: 100% natural, unisex, for all skin types, containing certified organic ingredients, no chemical nasties, cruelty-free, vegan, eco-friendly and proudly South African, down to the packaging.”

Japan’s first organic range, Ruhaku, distributed locally through Deluxe Spa, contains the Japanese herb gettou and is the first Ecocert-certified antiageing skin-care brand from Okinawa (the island known for the longevity of its inhabitants).

Africology advocates that beauty starts with nutritional awareness – what we eat and drink as well as what we put on our skin. Prompted by scientific research on the tangible effects skin care has on our physical and mental wellbeing, CEO and founder Renchia Droganis has done a thorough analysis of the role of skin care in biohacking.

“At Africology, researching and staying on top of the latest health news and trends are part and parcel of how we fulfil our promise and commitment to offer the most caring skin-care range with a conscience,” says director Eliana Haniff.


A more holistic and representative approach in cosmetics has historically been lacking, with the beauty industry neglecting its diverse audience and offering a one-size-fits all approach largely skewed to a Caucasian consumer. Former beauty editor Mathahle Stofile became acutely aware of this lack of representation on her travels to conferences internationally and when looking for products herself. “I remember thinking, why are black women reading about fine lines and wrinkles as signs of ageing while dealing with uneven skin tone and loss of volume as ageing concerns?” she says. “Who was advising black women on unique beauty concerns like traction alopecia due to a lifetime of tight braids and weaves?” This was the impetus behind the creation of The Matte Project, a multiplatform conversation about beauty geared to providing expertise and advice to women of colour. “Today, our content defaults to the point of view of the black woman. We edit beauty products that work well for our skin and hair and introduce brands we love to an audience of women who have previously felt marginalised by the industry.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS: Jo Malone is known for its personalised approach to scents and celebration of the variety found in nature. | Ingredients like caviar and platinum give the La Prairie facials at Saxon Spa an indulgent edge. | The first certified organic range from Japan, Ruhaku contains the herb gettou, which has a strong antioxidant effect. | Mathahle Stofile started The Matte Project to fill a much-needed gap for a reliable beauty resource for women of colour.


Bringing together all of these elements in one establishment, Santé Wellness has embraced numerous current trends to create a cutting-edge offering that encompasses holistic wellness, natural products and a luxurious experience. A recent complete renovation and a longstanding progressive approach that merges wellness and beauty reflect the current zeitgeist.

“We are definitely finding that guests are becoming more health-conscious and are more informed,” says spa manager Mimmie Lancaster. “Santé’s use of only natural products, for example, is proving to be very important to our guests. Nothing at Santé is superficial – we use only natural products throughout the Retreat and Day Spa.” The transformed establishment offers cutting-edge technology-based non-invasive holistic healing available in the Health Optimizing Royal Retreat and Bio-energy Centre, which offer clients a combination of the latest in innovative products and devices to achieve effective health and holistic wellness.

TEXT Julia Freemantle PHOTOGRAPHS Supplied

PHOTO CAPTIONS:  The recently relaunched Delaire Graff Spa has a holistic approach to beauty, relaxation and wellness, which includes new product ranges and a revamped spa menu. Guests making use of the half-day and full-day packages have full use of facilities like the sauna, steam room and infinity pool. | Africology’s harnessing of natural processes extends to the way its products work – like its Rx serums, which harness the body’s natural circadian and biorhythms.

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