Women are becoming more holistic in their attitude to beauty, as Carly Gibbs and Mike Tweed discover.
In a time when exercise, nutrition, and self-love have formed an overall wellness movement, the way we look at beauty is changing.
From mental health, greener products, and fewer boob jobs — the industry is going holistic.
Investigating underlying health issues before treatment is a priority, as is educating women to self-accept.
"If a young girl comes to us and is concerned about acne, we have a chat with them about their lifestyle," says beauty therapist Jade McCreedy.
"We look at things like their gut health and what they're eating.
"We then consider a range of holistic treatment plans designed to help tackle acne and help [them] feel better about themselves," she says, noting social media can magnify females' quest for perfection.
"This is especially true for young girls who follow influencers on Instagram, who have seemingly perfectly shaped bodies, skin, brows, and lips. What most young girls don't consider are the photographic and video filters."
Vogue magazine labelled Instagram influencers "the retailers of the 2020s" because moving product and driving sales have become their most valuable skill.
Renata Thomas, owner of House of Beauty and Cosmetic Tattooing on Victoria Ave in Whanganui, said cosmetic tattooing had been around for 30 years, but today, it was "one of the biggest" parts of the beauty industry.
"It's so big because I'm doing your eyebrows, and eyebrows frame your face," Thomas said.
"If you think back to the 70s, women had really skinny, over-plucked, eyebrows and now the fashion has gone towards a bushier look.
"Busy mums, they don't have time to stand in front of the mirror in the mornings, so that's when they come to me."
Thomas, who trained for a year before starting the practice, said cosmetic tattooing was different to body tattooing, with different pigments and techniques.
On average, she has three to four clients a day, with each procedure taking around two hours.
"You need to have a colour boost about once a year, just to freshen things up a little bit. It all depends on skin type of course, and age, and how you look after your skin in general.
"The average age of my clients is around 30 to 50, busy mums with busy lives. If they at least have nice eyebrows, then the rest is fine.
"Younger people are interested of course, but I think the price could be a factor as well."
Thomas' tattooing procedures (for brows, lips, and eyelines) require two appointments, with the first being $380 and the second $180.
"I always say that women don't need much to look beautiful. The fashions today that follow the Kardashians and all that, it's too much. I sell my business as 'simple is better', because you don't need all that crap on your face. Women go through a massive effort to cover their freckles, for example. Just leave it, it's you, it's your natural beauty."
Thomas said she discouraged her younger clients from Botox because "they don't have a single line on their face".
"When you say Botox you'd imagine older ladies perhaps, but they're coming in at 20 years old.
"It's the same with lip fillers. Don't get me wrong, lip fillers look good up to a point, but they start to deform themselves and they don't look natural. Why do they do it? Because they follow all this 'beauty' on Instagram.
"I went to a cosmetic tattoo conference last year in Australia and, I'm not lying, I think I was the only woman there out of 150 or so who hadn't had any Botox or lip fillers."
The owner of Indulge Skin Spa on Whanganui's Taupo Quay, Annette Jones, said a lot had changed over the course of her 25 years in the beauty industry.
"People used to think of things like facials as a luxury, and they were," Jones said. "They are definitely looking after their skin more these days, and the younger ones are looking after it much earlier.
"Back then there was a beautician and a beauty therapist. Now you've got a makeup artist, a wax artist, a brow artist, a facialist."
The impact of influencers on the beauty industry was apparent too, Jones said.
"Influencers work with all sorts of brands that are useless, but they sell. There are very few ranges of professional skincare now.
"One brand will put all their money into marketing and the other brands will put all their money into research."
Jones said there was no need to "buy everything you see on Instagram", because skin cells changed every six weeks and the constant application of different products would result in skin confusion.
"If someone hasn't been a client of mine for 20 years and they walk in here with a skin problem, you can guarantee that they're using about 15 different things.
"You buy a cleanser, then you need a pre-cleanser, then you need a pre-pre-cleanser. You're building up this product range that your skin could never use."
Caleb McNabb, who is a makeup artist at Indulge, said that most of his clients wanted to maintain a level of "authenticity", as opposed to a "cakeful of makeup".
"I think it's nice that people just want to look like themselves and just accentuate what they already have," McNabb said. "It's still a mask, but it's not as much of a mask as it used to be, I guess."
Like Jones and Thomas, McNabb said influencers played a large role in the beauty industry, for both men and women.
"Clients will show me pictures of what they want to look like, but they don't realise that a picture on a phone is different to real life.
"There are a hundred of layers on a photo to make it look flawless, and if you wore that in real life you'd look like an idiot.
"Real life is completely different to online."
Because you want it
Plastic surgeon Dr Tristan de Chalain's patients' post-op social media posts help generate more work, but it's important females have surgery because they want it, he says, not because of anyone else's influence, and that includes their partners.
New Zealanders can expect to pay about $5000 an hour for aesthetic surgery, and de Chalain cautions any decent plastic surgeon won't do a procedure for the sake of it: "A lot of what we do is based on psychology."
He pushes the point it's your body, however, there's a very real phenomenon of "plasty surgery-olism".
"I would say most women would have one [procedure], but it's not uncommon to have two or even three," he says.
"When I started in practice in Auckland [20 years ago] it was still very hush-hush, you didn't mention you had something done, and now it's getting to the point where 'Shucks, it's my right. I'm a liberated woman, I can pay for this and I'll flaunt it'."
De Chalain is Canadian-born, grew up in South Africa, and has worked in the United States.
His most sought-after female surgery is labiaplasty (reducing the size of the Labia minora — the inner vaginal lips), a procedure that he performs once or twice a week.
Excess tissue can cause discomfort when wearing tight clothing or during exercise but the surgery can also be purely cosmetic.
Rhinoplasty (nose jobs) are always popular; eyelid, brow surgery, and mini facelifts for women aged in their 40s; and full face and neck lifts for women in their 50s and 60s. De Chalain is a specialist craniofacial surgeon and also does facial trauma work.
When it comes to breasts, explantations (removal of implants) are on par with the number of augmentations, with many women worldwide reporting ailments they believe are tied to their silicone implants.
Smaller, more natural-looking breasts are making a comeback and breast reductions and lifts are likewise a frequent request.
Women want to feel better on the outside and on the inside, says beauty therapist Laura Vaughan of LV Body and Skin.
"If it makes them happy and their life brighter, go for gold," she says, explaining some clients [aged up to 70] come weekly for their organic spray tans, because of the boost it gives them in confidence.
"My vision of beauty is how it makes a person feel," the 30-year-old says.
Her thoughts are backed up by cosmetic nurse Clare Rodwell at the Skin Centre, who says women want to look great for their age, not necessarily younger.
"Females want to look good.
"If they look good, they feel great."
What's available now in the beauty world is huge, says McCreedy.
"It can be confusing when considering which product to use, and, without professional advice, you can have adverse reactions or undesirable results."
To name but a few trending treatments: there's plasma skin tightening at Features Inc; skin needling; and a sonophoresis facial, which uses ultrasonic technology.
At the Skin Centre, there's laser hair removal; Platelet Rich Plasma, which sees your blood drawn, spun to separate the platelets from red blood cells, and put back into your skin.
Furthermore, a fat transfer can be performed under local anaesthetic by a doctor in surgery to achieve a "natural" breast augmentation.
Product choice is also vast, with an increased emphasis and pressure on the industry to go plant-based from skincare, haircare, make-up, body care, and edibles.
Gemstone face rollers and anti-ageing facial yoga are also popular with the au natural folk who swear they're wrinkle-fighting wonders.
McCreedy says the industry's holistic approach is about educating women to self-love and self-accept.
"Being healthy is beauty, confidence is beauty, and being kind to yourself is beautiful."
Trending in beauty
• A move towards holistic practices.
• Spray tanning (many salons use organic products). A tan lasts seven to 10 days depending on how you look after it, and costs around $45.
• Summer fashion. Megan Hewett from The Style Company says metallics, sheer silhouettes, pink with orange, big sun hats, petite bags, and feminine dresses will be all the rage.
• Cosmetic tattooing. Microblading, powder/ombre brow, or combination eyebrows, all cost $500 for the initial treatment, then $200 for a touch-up four to six weeks later. For further information, see: featuresinc.co.nz
• Botox and fillers. The cost of treating a frown is roughly $250 at the Skin Centre. Dermal filler prices start from $650 per millilitre. Botox lasts three to five months, and fillers depending on where they're placed, nine to 12 months. Lip filler costs $650 for 1ml and normally lasts six to nine months.