The rise of at-home beauty


Beauty treatments used to be something people were shy about admitting to having – those who indulged in them wanted everyone to assume that their good looks were natural or that they were younger than they really were. As that stigma faded, going to clinics for cosmetic surgery and beauty treatments became a fad, and as prices dropped, people from all backgrounds started using the services. Now the market is changing again with new technologies making it possible for people to do at home what they would once have paid a professional to do.

Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening was once the preserve of specialist dental hygienists. Now there are a number of different at-home options available, including bleaching and abrasive toothpastes, whitening strips and brush-on whiteners for use after meals. They’re much cheaper than traditional dentist-prescribed products and they’re designed for ease of use. The market for these products is now worth $1.4bn annually, with around 39 million Americans thought to have used them in 2017, and the figures continue to grow.

Hair removal

Hair removal has been seen as a social necessity for women for longer than tooth whitening, but salon treatments designed to accomplish it have always been one step ahead of at-home options. That’s now changing. Women can now not only body wax at home, but can use abrasive treatments previously available only in spas, and can even undertake at-home electrolysis. Although electrolysis is meant to remove hair permanently it might be seen as having limited commercial potential, so large sections of the home-use market remain untapped and the sale of machines is supplemented by the sale of gels to be used with them.


Many forms of beauty treatment that once required surgery are now being superseded by non-surgical options as new technologies become available. Among the most popular options for facial sculpting are fillers, and while most of these still need to be administered by a trained professional (after all, you wouldn’t expect to make a first attempt at any other kind of sculpture and get professional quality results), others can be used at home. Lip fillers are the most popular, creating the Kylie Jenner-style pout popular among young people.

A changing market

The availability of all these new products and the growing public appetite for them has led to retailers expanding their beauty sections. If you visit you’ll find a range of at home beauty products, proving the popularity of such items. Skin care and make up products alone generated almost $1bn in 2016. Attitudes to beauty are changing – young people are no longer satisfied with enhancing what nature gave them but want to undertake more fundamental change.

If this seems odd to older readers, it’s worth noting that young people don’t have the same attachment to the idea of naturalness. They’re much more focused on keeping up with fashion, and products that enable them to do so in the comfort of their own homes look likely to remain popular for quite some time to come.


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