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Revealed: most popular UK towns to open a new beauty salon business

In the last year, more hair and beauty businesses per capita were opened in Hayes, London, than any other town or city in the UK, according to new research.

Hayes saw salons open at a rate of more than two new company registrations per 1,000 residents.

Ripe Hair & Beauty Insurance analysed Companies House data between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023 to reveal which were the most popular UK towns to open a beauty business.

In total, the number of hair and beauty service businesses formed across the UK increased by 11% year-on-year, from 13,745 to 15,245 over the period.

John Woosey, founder of Ripe Hair & Beauty Insurance, commented, “Overall, we know that the face of the UK high street is changing. As the era of large department stores and banks comes to a close, it’s encouraging to see entrepreneurial hair and beauty businesses take their place.”

New study reveals who is administering botox and filler in UK clinics

A first-of-its-kind study has broken down the professional qualifications of people delivering botulinum toxin and dermal filler in UK clinics, with doctors delivering 32% and aesthetic therapists 12%.

The study, by researchers at University College London (UCL), was published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery and comes as the Government is due to announce a consultation into a licensing scheme for injectable treatments.

UCL researchers, supported by a research grant from QUAD A, evaluated 3,000 websites, identifying 1,224 independent clinics and 3,667 practitioners responsible for delivering cosmetic injections.

Among the doctors, only 41% were on the specialist register, and 19% were listed on the GP register. Plastic surgery and dermatology were the two largest groups among the 27 specialities represented on the specialist register.

The cosmetic injectables market in the UK is projected to reach a value of £11.7 billion by 2026, despite being largely unregulated at present.

News in brief

Hydrafacial has partnered with Dior, unveiling a customised HydraFacial Syndeo device. The brands co-developed the Dior powered by Hydrafacial experience, combining Dior skincare with Hydrafacial technology. The protocol is exclusively available at Dior spas.

Cidesco International has launched the Cidesco Recognised Prior Learning programme, which allows schools to accredit the training a therapist has obtained in their professional career, meaning therapists with two years of working experience can obtain a Cidesco diploma or certificate.

Élan Laser Clinics has been awarded a contract to provide NHS-funded epilation to individuals prior to gender reassignment surgery. The services are available at all clinics and are based on arrangements set by the programme board for gender dysphoria services.

Huddersfield’s Titanic Spa has partnered with Italian skincare brand Comfort Zone. The spa’s new treatment menu includes Comfort Zone’s Tranquillity Pro-Sleep Massage, which targets spa-goers experiencing stress, insomnia and sleep deprivation.

Cleethorpes-based therapist Rebecca Hyslop helped long-time client Alice, 76, with CACI treatments following a stroke. Alice presented with facial palsy, where the face tends to droop on one side. Hyslop treated her every day for an hour with CACI microcurrent, for two weeks, followed by maintenance treatments, and saw huge improvement.

Science-based beauty and wild water experiences among top 2023 wellness trends

The Global Wellness Summit has released The Future of Wellness 2023 Trends: Mid-Year Update, which highlights key industry shifts impacting the wellness economy.

The trends include a move away from greenwashing and “clean beauty” towards scientific formulations and tech-forward product development, more spaces and experiences that bring people together in real life for social connection, and increased demand for in-nature experiences such as hot springs and wild swimming.

The report also identified a move toward biohacking to control biology and defy disease, a focus on accessing multiple senses simultaneously to better support wellbeing outcomes, and religion respected as key to the wellness of those who practise a faith.

Summarising the trends, Skyler Huber, a contributor to the report, commented, “There’s a pushback against the more aesthetic version of wellness where people are posting their wellness routines which look perfect and curated. People want a more attainable version of wellness.”

Vitamin A levels in the body are controlled by the brain, finds new research

Research from the University of Aberdeen has found that a region of the brain called the hypothalamus may be responsible for controlling the levels of vitamin A, previously thought to be regulated by other organs.

Vitamin A (widely used in the beauty world in the form of retinol) cannot be self-produced by the body. It is stored in the liver and, when the body is lacking the vitamin, can lead to weakening of the immune system as well as visual and skin problems.

The study, initially conducted on rats, identified a role for the brain in vitamin regulation and could have implications for diagnosis and treatment of vitamin-related disorders.

Application of very small amounts of vitamin A directly to the hypothalamus of the rat's brain impacted the amount of vitamin A in the storage area of the liver and the amount of the vitamin distributed to cells of the body via the blood.

The observation suggests that a vitamin A sensor system is present in the hypothalamus, controlling how it is distributed through the body.

The type of cells present in the rat hypothalamus that may act to sense vitamin A are also present in the human hypothalamus.

News in brief

The Laser Club has partnered with UK registered charity PCOS Relief and is offering two free face laser sessions to any female officially diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis. The company uses the Primelease HR by Cocoon Medical, and said that the service is virtually pain free.

Tara Moore, head of spa operations at the Galgorm Collection, has been selected as the Ireland ambassador for World Wellness Weekend. The weekend of wellbeing activities held at spas across the globe aims to inspire people to make healthier choices and enjoy a more active lifestyle.

Vagaro has launched its first brand partner-led industry podcast with celebrity hairstylist and Paul Mitchell artistic director Paula Peralta. The podcast, titled the Paula Peralta show, features exclusive celebrity interviews and tackles social issues.

Shear Haven anti-domestic violence salon training is celebrating the second anniversary of its UK and Ireland launch. Since its launch, the group has formed a partnership with Dermalogica to ensure its skin therapists are trained to spot signs of domestic violence, as well as launched a new website to provide resources internationally.

Mooeys, the product brand owned and distributed by the salon chain of the same name, has launched on wholesaler Salons Direct and has also expanded, moving its stock to a new fulfilment centre for picking, packing and product storage.

Retinol named most confusing skincare ingredient for consumers

Retinol is the most searched-for ingredient among consumers seeking skincare knowledge, with 29,000 monthly searches, according to a new study.

New research from Ripe Hair and Beauty Insurance uncovered the top 10 skincare ingredients that people are confused about by analysing the global Google searches of 25 popular skincare ingredients and buzzwords.

The results are based on the volume of searches for “what does [ingredient] do”.

Retinol was the top searched ingredient, with 29,000 monthly searches, while niacinamide came second with 17,000 monthly searches.

Hyaluronic acid came third, with 16,000 monthly searches, followed by salicylic acid in fourth (9,200) and glycolic acid fifth (6,400).

The rest of the top 10 were azelaic acid (3,900), castor oil (1,500), peptides (1,000), squalane (700) and AHAs (500).

This confusion among consumers shows the important role that beauty professionals play in educating their clients about how to get the most out of their skincare.

These results echo those of a recent study by BeautyMatter, which found 72% of people need clarification on some scientific terms in the beauty industry.

A further 69% said they have bought a health or beauty product without understanding the label, many of whom were influenced by TikTok.

Nearly 30% of make-up artists are concerned about job displacement from AI

New research from Online Makeup Academy surveyed 46,384 make-up pros to reveal how MUAs feel about artificial intelligence (AI).

While 29.6% stated they feel concerns about job displacement and loss of personalisation, 39.7% expressed optimism about AI as a tool for efficiency and creativity. A smaller percentage (9.7%) remain neutral or undecided. 

A significant proportion (59.9%) actively monitor AI and economic developments, highlighting the importance of staying informed and adaptable in this evolving landscape.

To adapt to AI, 49.6% have honed their specialised skills and personalised services to differentiate themselves from AI-driven alternatives.

Additionally, 29.8% have broadened their skills into editorial and fashion consulting, catering to specific niche markets.

Just under half (44.9%) of MUAs felt that AI still cannot reproduce the creativity and artistry required in their profession, enabling them to leverage their strengths and provide a human touch that AI cannot replicate.

News in brief

62% of young adults said using social media makes them feel worse about their skin and appearance and 74% feel pressure for their skin to look a certain way, according to a study by the Skin Health Alliance. 66% also said they have received hate or been bullied due to their appearance.

The College of Naturopathic Medicine has been announced the winner of Integrative Healthcare and Applied Nutrition Best Educator Award for 2023, the third year running. The college provides training to the practitioner level in naturopathic nutrition, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, health coach, and natural chef.

Xpert Professional has appointed two business development managers to its beauty division. Marie Holland has joined in the North West region, while Helen Marsh has joined the West London and home counties division.

Claire Raby, founder of Amica Aesthetics, near Leeds, has launched a campaign to reduce the stigma surrounding aesthetics. The campaign is setting out to prove to those with negativity toward the industry that beauty is in fact a feeling not a look.

Nicola Turner has been named the new spa director at Ramside Spa at County Durham’s Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa. Turner will also be involved in plans for the new spa at its sister hotel Hardwick Hall, which is also in County Durham.

Marian Newman and team to launch Salon Hygiene and Safety Rating Scheme

Nail expert Marian Newman is set to launch the Salon Hygiene and Safety Rating Scheme to provide advice to beauty pros and give consumers confidence that they are choosing a salon or professional that is skilled, qualified, insured, safe and hygienic.

The scheme will be launched to the trade during a seminar at Professional Beauty North (see page 84).

On behalf of the Federation of Nail Professionals (FNP), Newman has worked on the scheme with Sandra Moore, a registered Environmental Health Officer, plus a team of experts: aesthetic trainer Andrew Hansford, beauty expert Kim Ford, Sam Blake of The Safer Salon Geek, and educator Sam Marshall.

The scheme has been created in a similar model to the well-known Food Hygiene Rating scheme.

Nail and beauty salons, therapists, home salons and colleges can apply, for a small fee. They will be sent a self-assessment questionnaire to submit.

A team of fact-finding volunteers will then visit all larger salons, with five or more in the team, and a percentage of others. They will check the questionnaire is accurate and ask any further questions. After that, help and advice will be provided if needed.

Beauty businesses will receive their rating as a window sticker and certificate, and will be added to a salon finder.

Anna Tsankova wins two medals for UK at World Massage Championship

The World Massage Championships brings top massage therapists from around the world to compete across multiple categories from Thai massage to sports therapy.

The championship is run by the International Massage Association and this year took place in Copenhagen.

This year, representing the UK was therapist Anna Tsankova, founder of Face Glow, who took home the gold medal for facial massage and the silver medal for overall performance.

Tsankova said, “It feels like the past 20 years of passion and experience has finally been recognised. Competitions are an incredible way to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone.”

Skin cycling and glazed doughnut nails among top 2023 TikTok beauty trends

New research has uncovered which trends have survived the TikTok trend cycle and made an impact on the beauty world, with #SirenEyes, the sultry eyeliner look, coming out as the biggest online beauty trend of 2023 so far.

The study, by online platform Wethrift, analysed Google searches, TikTok views, and Instagram hashtags to give each trend a ascore out of 40, with siren eyes receiving 28.6. Skin cycling was a close second with a score of 28.5. The trend involves rotating skincare products depending on the time of day and skin needs.

In third place was glazed doughnut nails, with a score of 27.9. The list also features trends such as skin flooding and Barbie-core.

VTCT Excellence Awards winners announced 

The annual VTCT Excellence Awards aim to reinforce VTCT’s objective of advancing education for the benefit of the public and recognising the industry professionals who do this. The winners were announced at an event held at Milton Keynes College in July.

VTCT chief executive Alan Woods OBE said, “I want to reflect upon the overwhelming motion of the day, which is aspiration – the aspiration of the young people who try and succeed in their qualification to enter their career; the aspiration from the training providers from the college world, the FE world and also from my colleagues and team.”

The VTCT Excellence Awards winners 2023 are: 

Apprentice of the Year: Natasha Bloor, Kleek Apprenticeships, Maidstone, Kent 

Student of the Year: Natalia Osovska, White Rose Beauty College, Chesterfield 

Tutor / Educator of the Year: Nicola Aviolet, Kleek Apprenticeships, Maidstone, Kent 

Independent Training Provider of the Year (Large): Learning Curve Group, County Durham 

Independent Training Provider of the Year (Small): Greenhouse Therapies, Chester 

College of the Year: Milton Keynes College

VTCT Champion of the Year: Mary Pugsley MBE, Hair at the Academy, Exeter

Gerrard International’s sales director Mandy Cook celebrates 30 years at the company

Mandy Cook, sales director at Gerrard International, is celebrating 30 years at the beauty supplier.

Working alongside chairman Susan Gerrard, Cook is actively involved in all aspects of the business from training and product development to promotional and sales planning, as well as leading the team of area managers who support over 5,000 spas and salons across the UK.

“I initially started my career as a hairdresser and manicurist. I saw the job advertised in the Grocer magazine. I love nails and sales, so it really appealed to me,” said Cook. “In the beginning, I was area manager then went on to regional manager and then sales director”.

Susan Gerrard added, “Mandy embodies our company ethos which is, and always will be, to listen, to learn and to improve… Mandy’s professional sales ability together with her empathy and warm, caring personality has gained her respect and love throughout the beauty industry.”

Mandy Cook (second from left) with Lisa, Danielle and Paul Gerrard

Diary dates

// September 15–17

World Wellness Weekend International

Wellness event that will be celebrated by 8,000 venues across 150 countries.

// September 17

Babtac & Cibtac Awards 

Awards celebrating individual practitioners, salons and educators.

01452 623110

// September 24–25

Professional Beauty North 

The largest beauty exhibition in the North returns with product launches, education, competitions and more.

020 7351 0536

// October 14–16

Salon International 

An international exhibition featuring the world’s top hair brands, creative stages and a business education programme.

020 7351 0536

// October 15–16

Olympia Beauty 

Now under the Professional Beauty Group umbrella, Olympia Beauty will run alongside hair show Salon International.

020 7351 0536

// October 19–20


Trade show featuring education, networking and aesthetic manufacturers, suppliers and brands.

020 3196 4370

The Fairmont Windsor Park

Manchester Central

ExCeL London

ExCeL London

ExCeL London

This article appears in September 2023

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September 2023
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