The natural beauty business is honing in on the mystical side of wellness, which involves ritualistic practices said to help people to achieve harmony between themselves and the outside world.
Over the past few years, wellness has become a mainstay of the beauty industry, and there’s a burgeoning trend in the space to integrate New Age and mystical elements of wellness into brand experiences with the use of healing crystals, tarot cards, bundled sage for smudging and more. For example, Fourth Ray Beauty — the new skin-care line from fast-beauty company Seed Beauty — launched a Ritual Kit last week that includes sage and crystals, while Herbivore has set up a wellness category on its online shop featuring crystals and tarot cards. In October, perfume brand Pinrose plans on launching a Starter Witch Kit at Sephora featuring a nine-piece gift set that includes tarot cards, sage and a rose quartz crystal.
The general concept behind all these products is they provide an opportunity for the user to reaffirm their intentions — for example, to be kinder to themselves, love thy neighbor, or whatever habit they aim to keep up. Through ritualistic practices that include “cleansing” a crystal with burning sage, or holding the crystal near the heart or in the hands, a person is directed to think about their intention in order to pass it along to the crystal.
As consumers have become more educated about product ingredients and their relationship with health, such as how they can be absorbed into the bloodstream, the conversation around natural beauty has shifted to focus on both inner and outer beauty. Beauty brands are now offering a complement to their topical beauty products by directly offering products that focus on inner beauty, created through the repetition of concepts such as mindfulness. Overall, the wellness industrial complex swelled to over $3.7 trillion in market size in 2015, and now beauty brands are seeing a marketable opportunity to appropriate the objects and habits of New Age wellness to make a profit by reaching new customers looking to experiment with the movement.
For Fourth Ray Beauty and Pinrose, their wellness kits are aimed at introducing new customers neatly and succinctly to the brand, as well as creating an association of good-vibes feelings with the brand. The Fourth Ray Ritual Kit includes the five Fourth Ray skin-care products, tools and accessories, as well as a handful of other wellness products: bath bombs, a sage bunch, a candle, matches and a bag of crystals.
“From personal experience of struggling with my skin in the past, we realized that [wellness] goes beyond skin care — feeling good on the inside means looking good on the outside. We believe in the ritual of taking care of your whole being, not just your skin, and investing in yourself,” Laura Nelson, co-founder and president of Fourth Ray Beauty, said, adding that the purpose was to help create a lifestyle around the brand.
By selling branded crystals and their ceremonial counterparts, brands are able to create an engagement with their customer in the offline world and in their homes. It’s also an engagement that is supposed to be repeated and helps customers grow more comfortable with the products, said Erika Shumate, CEO of Pinrose.
“Familiarity is one of the ways to get people to like something, and get them to understand it,” she said. “One of my goals is for our customers to get to know a scent that might be a little strong today, and then in a month, pick it up and say, ‘Wow, this is beautiful.’”
To that end, the Pinrose Starter Witch Kit includes a step-by-step guide on how to “create and cleanse your ceremony space, charge your crystal, read your tarot card and anoint your fragrance,” according to the brand. Each fragrance is matched with a tarot card based on its notes, which allows a person to get to know a fragrance one-on-one and establish an emotional connection with it, Shumate said.
“It’s a discovery kit for our fragrances, as well; doing a ceremony allows her to better engage with the fragrances and know them more and know how they feel about it. You can’t try a bunch [of fragrances] all at once, so this method allows her to try a new fragrance each time she picks a card.”
Reaching the right audience
While there is not one particular reason for the rise of wellness — everything from the decline in traditional organized religion to the poor U.S. health-care system has been offered — there is a particular customer that is seen as attractive to approach, which are those willing to experiment with New Age concepts, even if they do not believe in them.
“We want to reach the people who are on the border edge [of believing mysticism], but we don’t want to intimidate them. There are already so many boxes that are extremely niche, and we don’t want to be the box that’s just witchcraft,” said Katie Huang, co-founder of new wellness and beauty subscription box Moonbox.
Moonbox, created in 2015, is meant to help people set their intentions with the beginning of each moon cycle, or New Moon, and includes a guided meditation, step-by-step rituals, recipes for botanic tea, essential oil blends, crystals and beauty products. The box relaunched in April with the additional element of beauty products, in order to attract more mainstream customers unfamiliar with New Age wellness, Huang said. Because most beauty products are used habitually, it felt like a natural fit for Moonbox to include products like natural body oil and facials sprays, she added.
“I think it’s definitely had a positive effect. We look at feedback from customers — a lot of them have really loved it, and casting the wider net has helped us reach the people we want.”
Getting in front of this customer — especially those merely intrigued by the concepts of mysticism — is a common tactic for brands. Shumate, for one, said mysticism was an “amusing and joyful” way for people to discover her brand.
“It’s more playful and has less stigma [now]. We don’t think it’s going to tell us what our future is, but [it helps us] reflect on our inner selves and what our intuition is trying to tell us,” she said.
Appealing to the wellness bystanders also represents the greatest opportunity to reach new customers eager to spend their dollars to chase the feeling of harmony and balance. Wellness, and New Age, in particular, have moved away from their previous hippie-dippie associations and now give off an air of affluence, with products on the market like the $150 Ritual Kit from Fourth Ray, the $46 Wellness Crystal Collection from Herbivore and the 30-day supply of supplements for $55 from Kora Organics.
“It’s this idea of an aspirational lifestyle, which is key to the wellness trend and brands promoting certain ways for these customers to live,” said Anagha Hanumante, analyst at CB Insights. “A lot of this mainstream mysticism and New Age spiritualism [comes from] the shift in consumer values, and how mainstream mysticism doesn’t have to be tied to a specific dogma in order for you to feel more healthy and balanced.”