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Beauty and nail salons outperforming other sectors on UK high streets

Beauty businesses have taken the top spot as the fastest-growing business type on the UK’s high streets in the first half of 2023.

New data from Local Data Company showed that beauty businesses are on the up, with nail salons seeing a net increase of 142 units, and beauty salons rising by 130 units, second only to barber shops, which increased by 304.

Beauty treatment businesses have far outperformed other sectors on the high street, which saw a net loss of 4,000 units across the UK.

Despite the success of other beauty ventures, hair salons have seen a fast decline this year, falling by 414 units, largely believed to be due to the rise in energy costs as bills for hair businesses increased by a third, as well as an increase in the number of freelance hairdressers without high street premises.

Meanwhile, years of continued growth for the beauty sector has led to more openings, meaning a high level of competition for beauty businesses.

When it came to retail store openings from brands, the report noted the impact of Sephora’s return to the UK after 18 years.

Initially opening in March of this year with a 6,000sq ft site in Westfield London, the brand is already set to launch a second location in Westfield Stratford City this month (November).

L’Oréal to end production and supply of spa brand Decléor

L’Oréal is to stop manufacturing spa brand Decléor and will no longer supply salons and spas after December.

In a letter to Decléor’s salon and spa accounts, seen by Professional Beauty, L’Oréal said Decléor had experienced “a heavy impact from the international economic and health crisis of the past years, which has aggravated the fragility of the brand and impacted its viability”.

The letter provided spa and salon stockists with notice that their Decléor Selective Distribution Agreement would be terminated with an effective date of December 31.

It stated, “You will be able to continue to purchase stock, should you wish to and subject to availability, up to and including the 19th December 2023 at your usual price and you may continue to offer Decléor treatments and retail products for as long as your supplies allow.” 

However, the brand said that, in accordance with its terms and conditions, it would be unable to accept return of any stock.

The letter concluded, “We sincerely thank you for all your efforts and for the excellent relationship we have enjoyed together in the marketing of Decléor products.”

A spokesperson for L’Oréal told Professional Beauty, “L’Oréal has a portfolio of complementary brands. The Group’s strategy is to acquire and, sometimes, exit brands, to keep a very strong portfolio and the complementarity it needs to thrive over the long-term.

“The success of L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty is based on a strategy and a business model focused on brands prescribed by healthcare professionals. Under these conditions, the Division has decided to stop the commercialisation of Decléor.”

L’Oréal originally bought Decléor from Shiseido in 2014. The brand was founded in 1974. 

News in brief

Waxing expert Marta Zaczkowska is hosting a four-day retreat in Marrakesh, Morocco, on January 1–16, 2024. The Waxing Specialist Business Retreat will focus on building effective business strategies for the year ahead. Activities will include group coaching, business workshops and a personal branding mini-photoshoot. Find out more at

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Hair & Beauty Federation, has retired to pursue other interests. For more than 21 years, Lambert worked as a chief executive in three different trade associations.

For the second year, French Beauty Expert was official tanning supplier for the National Television Awards. The distributor used products from Fake Bake to ensure celebrity guests such as Alex Murphy and Helen Flanagan were ready for the red carpet.

Everlasting Brows has launched an Advanced Microblading Course for artists who want to improve their Microblading and PMU skills. This two-day accredited course includes training on manual ombré brows, lips and eyeliner shading techniques.

New beauty salon Skin Loft has launched in Kensington, London. Founded by Daiva Kamysova, the salon offers hero treatments including Daiva Kamysova’s Signature Face Sculpting Buccal Massage and the JetPeel Facial.

The EU microplastics restriction: what the beauty industry needs to know

Changes to the European Union (EU) chemical legislation, REACH, came into force from October 15, 2023, aiming to contain the release of around half a million tonnes of microplastics into the environment.

The Commission's proposal follows the European Chemicals Agency’s findings that microplastics pose an inadequately controlled environmental risk.

The beauty industry should take note as the European Commission has adopted measures to restrict the sale of microplastics intentionally added to products, including cosmetics.

Cosmetic products in the spotlight include glitter used for nail services, and cosmetics containing microbeads used to exfoliate. 

However, a separate UK ban on microbeads came into force in 2018.

Although not explicitly mentioned in the proposal, the sale of loose glitters within skincare, body enhancements, bath bombs, personal care, hair, make-up and tattoos will also fall under immediate restriction as glitter is made of the common plastics PET or PVC and coated with aluminium or other synthetic material to add shine.

Townhouse grows nail salon number to 30 with acquisition of London Grace

The Townhouse group of nail salons has announced further expansion with the acquisition of 10-strong nail salon group London Grace.

London Grace has a strong presence across the capital, with salons in Angel, Bank, Belgravia, Canary Wharf, Chelmsford, Clapham, Leicester Square, Marble Arch, Putney and Shoreditch.

Founded in 2015, London Grace was created to offer social beauty destinations combining a nail salon, cocktail bar and coffee shop.

The brand also has a retail collection of nail polish and manicure tools which will remain under the ownership of London Grace.

Meanwhile, Townhouse currently has 20 salon locations, with 14 located in London. 

Townhouse said it is committed to retaining all the professionals who have contributed to London Grace’s reputation, ensuring job security.

The London Grace salons will undergo refurbishments to bring them in line with the Townhouse brand and aesthetic. In the meantime, they will continue to run as normal.

News in brief 

Hotel group The Set Collection has partnered with skincare brand U Beauty. U Beauty, founded by Tina Chen Craig, has created its first ever selection of treatments for the hotel group’s Akasha Spas, using its range of science-led products.

Titanic Spa in West Yorkshire has been recognised as a leading eco-spa location for the third year in a row, achieving Highly Commended in the Best Sustainable Spa category in the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023.

Spa booking agency Spabreaks.comhas launched a plus-size robe service, following widespread demand to make robes available to men and women of all sizes. A dedicated email address, now allows consumers to order the robes in time for their spa break for peace of mind.

Dr Uliana Gout is now offering treatments at The Dorchester Spa in London. Dr Gout is an aesthetic specialist and founder of Harley Street’s London Aesthetic Medicine Clinic. At The Dorchester, she will offer treatments including the exclusive LAM Luxe Celebrity Facial with radiofrequency, exosome infusion, electroporation and LED.

Emerald Laser by Erchonia has signed aesthetic doctor and Skin Medical founder Dr Sabika Karim as a key opinion leader.

Dr Sabika is a specialist in non-surgical and laser procedures, facial rejuvenation and body contouring with 17 years’ experience.

Prestige beauty sales up 13.5% despite rising cost of living

Sales of UK beauty brands are proving resilient to the rising cost of living, according to consumer complexity advisor Circana.

While many shoppers have cut back on nonessential spending and “traded down” from their usual brands, Prestige beauty has proven an exception, with value sales growing by 13.5% to £1.4bn and unit sales by 10%, in the year to end of August 2023.

Social media was cited as a contributing factor to the growth, with make-up sales rising 17% and unit sales 11% compared to the previous year, buoyed by the wide availability of online tutorials by influencers on TikTok and Instagram.

Most notably, as the ombré under-eye trend surfaced on social media, concealer and blusher segments grew value sales by 35% and 60% respectively year on year.

Circana’s account director for Prestige Beauty, Emma Fishwick, said: “The ultimate goal for these beauty buyers is to improve self-confidence and feel good and that is worth the self-indulgence of a premium beauty purchase.”

Positive outlook as beauty and hair sector remains steady, says NHBF report

The hair and beauty sector is in a positive position and generally remains stable, according to the latest National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) quarterly State of the Industry survey.

Compared with previous surveys in April and July, there has been a slight rise in businesses making a small or good profit (45%) and a similar number breaking even (42%). Slightly fewer businesses are making a loss, which continues to be a move in the right direction.

The general trend towards increasing prices is levelling off, according to the stats. Over the previous three months, 55% of businesses raised their prices and a further 51% will do so over the next three months. 

Reliance on external support continues to stabilise, with 44% now reporting that they are not reliant on continued Government support.

The most positive finding was that three quarters of those surveyed said they are confident in their survival. However, only 27% are definitely or likely to take on new staff in the next three months.

NHBF’s director of policy and public affairs Rosina Robson said: “Most of the indicators haven’t fallen and some of the net trends show an improvement.”

News in brief

Gaia Skincare has signed three new spa partners, including its first partnership with a destination spa hotel in mainland Europe. The brand is now working with Thyme Beauty and Wellness in Herefordshire, Aria Spa in Cheshire (pictured), and Casa Timis, Romania.

Brow HQ in Cheshire is celebrating after winning National Brow Salon of the Year at The Brow Awards 2023. Brow HQ’s areola artist Anna Ishak also recently won Areola Artist of the Year 2023 at the UK Permanent Make Up Conference and Awards.

Wizz Selvey, founder and chief executive of Wizz&Co, has introduced the Online Education and Strategy Mentoring Programme to help beauty professionals learn more profitable ways to build brand awareness and sales, gain market share and budget strategically.

UK aesthetic distributor Wigmore Medical has acquired a minority stake in the UK entity of Dermaroller, gaining exclusive distribution rights for its professional skincare range XCellarisPro, and its microneedling device XCellarisPro Twist.

Protein Formula has appointed celebrity nail artist Robbie Tompkins as its brand ambassador. The brand said Tompkins’s expertise and impressive clientele, including celebrities Hailey Bieber, Amanda Seyfried, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, made him the perfect partner.

Olympia Beauty 2023 unites the industry at its first ExCeL London show 

For the first time under the Professional Beauty umbrella, Olympia Beauty opened its doors to the industry on October 15-16, running alongside Salon International at ExCel London. Some 13,305 professional visitors joined key exhibitors from across the beauty industry, including skincare, aesthetic devices, nails, make-up, lashes, spa and more.

Visitors were treated to exclusive education via two live stages and a workshop programme. There were also two live competitions: Nailympia and the National Massage Championship.

Georgina Lewin, director of exhibitor OPI, said: “It’s been a tricky few years for our industry, not just in nails, but beauty as a whole. It’s wonderful to look around and see these kinds of shows coming back to life.”

Emily Ferguson, co-owner of exhibitor Dali Artistic, said: “It’s been well worth coming. Most of our customers are in the North, so it’s good to come down to London and introduce ourselves here as well.”

Register your interest for Salon Beauty -the new name for Olympia Beauty – which will be held at ExCeL on October 13-14, 2024. Find out more at And don’t miss our review of Manchester show Professional Beauty North from page 58.

Bio Sculpture partners with Manisafe gloves for nail services 

Gel polish brand Bio Sculpture has launched a training module for manicurists in the UK around UV protection to maintain healthy and youthful skin for regular gel manicure clients.

To deliver the module, Bio Sculpture has partnered with Manisafe, which provides UV protective gloves with holes for the fingertips, to protect the skin of the hands from UV light during manicures.

“More research on nail lamp technology is helping us understand the effects this artificial UV light source has on our skin, such as premature ageing, as well as the benefits of protection,” said Manisafe founder Candice Quinn.

Claire Aggarwal, chief operating officer of UK Bio Sculpture distributor Re:New Beauty, added, “The goal is to help set best practices for manicurists and raise the standards of the beauty industry.”

Influencer marketing named best tool for salon sales

Influencer marketing has been reported as the most effective marketing channel for generating sales, according to a survey of small and medium beauty and hair business owners conducted by Dojo, a payments solution company.

The survey asked 197 small and medium beauty and hair business owners and key decision makers which marketing strategies they use, as well as which strategies they found to be most effective in sales generation.

Businesses that used influencer marketing found it more effective than traditional social media marketing such as organic social posts on Instagram.

ABC Medical to distribute Cynosure, Delo and EMA 

Aesthetic device distributor ABC Medical (formerly ABC Lasers) has announced the addition of three new distribution partnerships with Cynosure, Deleo and EMA Aesthetics.

ABC Medical managing director Alastair Sawyer said, “ABC’s heritage in the UK is working with premium medical aesthetic brands, so we are extremely proud to be partnering with three companies who are just that.”

He added, “Each of our new brands offers something unique to the medical aesthetic industry, so we are optimistic and looking forward to growing their presence in the UK, remaining fully committed to maintaining growth and excellence for our customers.”

Elemis and Morro launch plastic-free sample sachets 

British skincare brand Elemis is collaborating with natural materials brand Morro to develop plastic-free biodegradable sample sachets.

The collaboration, which was facilitated by, aims to see leftover plant waste from Elemis product ingredients turned into biofilm, with the long-term goal of replacing single-use sachets used to package samples of its skincare products.

Sachets are a popular format with both brands and consumers but there has so far been an unmet demand for plastic free alternatives to traditional multilayer barrier sachets.

The project has been supported by a grant co-funded by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK.

Morro natural materials will be extensively tested to demonstrate its market capabilities when used with Elemis products.

Laura Kay London and Susan Gerrard Beauty Academies join forces for SPMU training 

Laura Kay London Academy, known for semi-permanent make-up, has partnered with the Susan Gerrard Beauty Academy.

The collaboration will offer semipermanent makeup training to all of Gerrard International’s professional accounts.

Laura Kay founded her eponymous London academy in 2015, offering specialist training to both new and experienced technicians. “Raising standards is something very close to my heart,” she said.

“Having witnessed many botched treatments by untrained or not properly trained practitioners and seeing the distress it can do both physically and mentally, Iam on a mission to eradicate these practices with the best education as well as consumer knowledge.

“This is why Laura Kay Academy, with Susan Gerrard Beauty Academy’s network, will further grow the training side of the business.”

Diary dates

// November 6–9

Global Wellness Summit Hyatt Regency Miami, USA

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) will convene international spa professionals with the theme “A time of transformation”.

// November 10

Aesthetic Medicine Ireland RDS Dublin The show returns to Ireland, with a conference, stages, demos and more.

020 3841 7365

// December 2–3

The Beauty Beat Tavistock Place, London

An exhibition dedicated to meeting the beauty needs of women of colour.

// February 19–20

Professional Beauty Dubai Festival Arena, Dubai

The biggest industry event in Dubai includes live stages, workshops and competitions.

+971 (0) 4375 7300

// March 4

Professional Beauty and World Spa & Wellness Awards 2024

The Brewery London Celebrating the top UK salons, spas, clinics, teams and individuals.

020 7351 0536

// March 4–5

Professional Beauty London 2024 ExCeL London

PB London returns with stellar education, competitions, networking opportunities and some of the industry’s biggest brands.

0344 443 4411

This article appears in November 2023

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November 2023
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