Healing Perfumes, Sea Moss and AI Beauty: What Wellness Looks Like in 2024

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Last year, my New Year's resolutions were pretty simple: move house, read more and save some money. I was pretty happy that I managed to complete the first two, but it's safe to say that my bank account is looking even worse as we move into 2024. Although I'd still like to try and put a little bit of money away, my main resolution this year isn't so easily quantifiable. You see, after a winter of picking up every sickness bug under the sun, my goal for this year is to really focus on my health and well-being, and it seems I'm not alone. According to April Preston, global product director at Holland & Barrett, the total worldwide wellness market is forecast to grow by 15% to $6.9 trillion by 2025. Let's face it—modern life isn't slowing down for anyone, and as things seem to get busier and busier, a lot of us are turning to wellness practices to help keep us grounded and healthy. 

Not only that but with the rise in use of social media (TikTok in particular), we have more information than ever at our fingertips about how to care for ourselves. Did you know that the hashtag #wellnesstips has over 4.5 billion views on TikTok alone? As great as this is, it also means that it can be hard to separate the good advice from the bad, and I know I find it completely overwhelming to figure out what "advice" to listen to and what to avoid. In 2023, we saw everything from the "everything shower" to "bed rotting" and even mushrooms in our coffee, but where can we expect wellness trends to take us in 2024? 

Giacomo Santus, science and innovation lead at AWvi, says that 2024 will bring about a heightened focus on wellness. "The expanding realisation that wellness encompasses not only physical health but also mental and emotional well-being is becoming more prevalent," he says. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to a whole host of experts to get their opinions on the future of the wellness industry and find out what it will look like in 2024.

During the pandemic, we saw lots of people start to invest in their skincare routines. Not only was this due to having more time for self-care, but thanks to the explosion of TikTok, consumers were getting more educated about what products to use on their skin. According to consultant dermatologist Dr. Alexis Granite, in 2024 our focus is set to shift slightly, and people are going to become more aware of how to care for the skin on their body, too. In fact, she told me that the bodycare products market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.23% by 2027 as "awareness and consumer demand for these types of products has risen."

So, where has this demand come from? As Dr. Granite explains in her 2024 wellness report, "98% of our skin is found below the neck, so it stands to reason that building awareness of caring for the skin beyond the face is vitally important." Many creators on social media have started to catch on, with practices such as dry brushing and the "everything shower" already taking off. It seems that brands have been listening too, as I've noticed an uptick in bodycare launches over the past few months, from Necessaire's The Body Retinol to Sol De Janeiro's Delícia Drench Body Butter. We're seeing popular skincare ingredients (such as retinol and vitamin C) make their way into body washes, lotions and more, and I expect to see a lot more of this in 2024.

Is it just me, or is everyone suddenly talking about how to lower your cortisol levels? All I see on TikTok and Instagram are videos on cortisol-friendly meals, cortisol-friendly workouts and even cortisol-friendly morning routines. Holland & Barrett has listed "cortisol-conscious workouts" as one of the key health trends for 2024. So, why the sudden buzz around this hormone? As described by Holly Roper, nutritionist at Holland & Barrett, "Cortisol is a hormone found naturally in the body that helps control blood sugar and blood pressure, but probably what it’s most known for is in relation to our stress levels." Although some levels of stress are completely normal, Roper says that with increased workloads, our "always-on" culture and the cost of living crisis, it’s no surprise that customers are exploring holistic ways to support and reduce their cortisol levels.

Of course, social media has had a part to play in this. "TikTok mirrors this trend, with #cortisol accumulating 1.2 billion views and #cortisolimbalances at 7.1 million views," reveals Roper. She expects customers to be more "cortisol conscious" in the year ahead as people look to improve their sleep (high levels of cortisol can affect the quality of your slumber), explore mindfulness and include more colourful, whole foods in their diet.

Although cortisol levels can be complex to understand and are different for everyone, if you're looking for some general ways to reduce stress, Roper recommends simple things such as going to bed at the same time each night to help create a good circadian rhythm, limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake (alcohol can increase circulating cortisol levels), consuming nutrient-dense foods and trying "cortisol conscious" exercise routines by introducing mindful movement such as yoga, pilates or short walks outside.

According to Dr. Granite, "the age of emotional beauty" is set to be one of the biggest wellness trends of the year. "The impact of stress on our emotional and physical health is well known, especially in the field of dermatology, [because] stress impacts a wide variety of common skin conditions. We also now know beauty routines can offer emotional benefits, not [just] through results but also as moments of self-care and mind-body connection. Brands will look to combine this knowledge into products that help build on stress relief through ingredients, textures and efficacy data," she says. This is particularly evident through fragrance, and as noted by Dr. Granite, lots of brands are looking at creating scents "driven by neuroscience."

Speaking to Yasmin Sewell, founder of Vyrao fragrances (the first brand to fuse energetic healing with perfumery), she explains that scent can have a huge impact on how we feel on a day-to-day basis. "With our scents, you can use them in different ways. You can choose what you want to evoke and what emotion or feeling you need and base your scent choice on that. That moment when you spray the scent and are reminded of those good feelings is so precious." It seems that more and more fragrance brands are starting to take this holistic approach. Take Gabar, for example. This brand has three scents, one to help you feel calm and centred, one to help ground you and one to encourage creativity. Then there's Bibbi, a luxury fragrance brand described as "a collection of scents that awaken the subconscious." 

It's not just perfume either; products such as Neom's Wellbeing Pod work to fill your home or workspace with relaxing or uplifting fragrances to improve your overall mood. With more and more brands cottoning on to this mind-body connection, I don't doubt that this trend will be huge for 2024.

I don't know about you, but when it comes to supplements, I'm never really sure what I should be taking. It seems that the experts agree. "There are so many supplements out there, with each one offering something different for your body, and so it can be tough to know where to start," says Roper. She advises figuring out which supplements you really need by consulting a healthcare professional, as everyone's needs are different. That being said, there's certainly a trend appearing for 2024, and that's supplements from under the sea. From sea moss to marine collagen, there's definitely an underwater theme, with Holland & Barrett reporting a 158% growth in searches for sea moss on the website and sea moss gel taking the top spot as the website's best-selling chilled product in its new food range. Not only that, but the hashtag #seamoss has over 1 billion views on TikTok, with #marinecollagen racking up almost 48 million and #seaweedbenefits reaching over 200,000 views. 

So, what are the benefits of these supplements? According to Gold Collagen's in-house nutritionist, Dr. Vidhi Patel, "Marine collagen (which is typically sourced from the skin of fish) is actually the best, highest and most bioavailable source of collagen that is easy to digest and hugely beneficial for human consumption." Dr. Patel says that it can improve skin elasticity and joint health and enhance the overall structure and appearance of the skin.

When it comes to seaweed, Dr. Craig Rose, marine biologist at Doctor Seaweed, told me that there are plenty of benefits. "Seaweeds are naturally rich in key minerals crucial for our vitality and health. One specific species, Ascophyllum nodosum, also known as "knotted wrack", is a natural source of essential iodine. This nutrient is key and has scientifically approved claims for supporting your thyroid health, energy and metabolism, nervous system, skin health, and brain health." However, when it comes to sea moss, Dr. Rose says that although the benefits are varied and full of potential, products very often go without specific approved health claims.

Everyone seems to be using LED face masks at the moment, and for good reason. According to Alana Marie Chalmers, founder of Déesse PRO, "LED is not just a trend but a skincare essential." If you didn't know, as explained by Chalmers, "LED light therapy offers a gentle yet effective way to rejuvenate and treat the skin." This treatment is non-invasive and is able to target various skin issues, making it a great addition to your routine.

Although these face masks are popular, in 2024 you can expect LED to not only target your skin but other parts of the body too. As Karina Sulzer, founder of Skin Gym explains, "We have found consumers want the same effect as LED therapy—most commonly found in spas and salons—in the comfort of their own homes." This is obvious when looking at key beauty launches over the past few months. Dr. Dennis Gross just released the DRx Spectralite LipWare Pro device, which harnesses the power of LED light therapy to stimulate collagen, helping to tackle fine lines and plump the lips. Similarly, in November we saw MZ Skin launch its first-to-market LED patches for the under-eye area, to have the same effect under the eyes. If you think it stops there, you'd be sorely mistaken, as brands such as CurrentBody are even using this technology to target the skin on our hands and the hair on our heads, so who knows what 2024 could bring. Certainly, there will be plenty more advancements when it comes to LED.

AI technology has caused quite a stir over the past year, with many torn between the pros and the cons. Whatever your opinion, it looks like it's making its way into the world of wellness in 2024. "The incorporation of AI will help advance the wellness industry, particularly as technology will ultimately allow for more personalised health solutions," says Dr. Granite

Claire Triantis, co-founder of Dcypher 

(the world's first fully customisable foundation brand) agrees and says that AI will make its way into the makeup space too. "Use of AI to help make smart choices in cosmetic purchasing decisions is becoming increasingly expected by consumers. As a result, many of the 2024 trend forecasts are predicting AI and hyper-customisation to be one of the most important and influential movements within the beauty industry in 2024," she says. 

So, what are the benefits? Well, as summarised by Triantis, "Brands are traditionally built from a restrictive, off-the-shelf, mass-manufacture model. This makes personalisation difficult, as providing a large enough range of products to meet the individual needs of every customer is stock-heavy, costly and risky. AI presents an opportunity to signpost consumers to the best solution for them, or better still, to create 100% bespoke products for each and every individual."

Of course, there are downsides to this. Triantis says that AI needs to be developed to be robust, accurate and trained on the right data in order to give the correct solutions. Not only that, but brands will need to have a suitable breadth of products and these products will need to be available to meet the diverse needs of a consumer. That being said, I can definitely see more brands moving towards this way of working in the future, and it will be interesting to see how far AI can go within the beauty and wellness spaces. 

No, I'm not talking about green juice, I'm talking about matcha. You might be thinking, hasn't matcha been around for ages? Yes, it has, but according to the experts (and social media), 2024 is the year to take things up a notch. If you didn't know, matcha is a great alternative to coffee that can help you feel ready for the day. "Research [from a study published in the National Library of Medicine] has shown that three of matcha tea’s ingredients—l-theanine, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and caffeine—may affect cognitive performance and improve your attention span," says Roper

She explains how we've seen a shift in drinking trends recently. "Although coffee is still the go-to for customers wanting to boost their energy levels, we predict that consumers will be moving more towards coffees with wellness benefits which are created to support their gut health, mental focus, energy and immunity, for example."

On top of that, thanks to social media trends such as blueberry matcha (the hashtag #blueberrymatcha has 5.5 million views on TikTok alone) and recent launches such as Rochelle Humes and Bryony Deery's Cloudcha matcha, it seems that this is the drink to try in 2024. Not only could it improve your attention span, but as said by Humes and Deery, "Giving a few minutes of your day to enjoy the ritual of making a matcha gives you time to stop and be present."

Opening Image: @rochellehumes, @monikh, @anaasmood@emmahoareau

Next Up: I Just Tried TikTok's Viral Shower Routine and It Transformed My Skin

Grace Lindsay
Junior Beauty Editor

Grace Lindsay is the junior beauty editor at Who What Wear UK. At the age of 18 she decided to train as a makeup artist before going on to study english and media at Goldsmiths University. It was during that time that she explored her love for journalism by interning at a small beauty start-up based in Shoreditch. Since then, she has worked at a number of publications including Marie Claire and Hello!, where her love for all things beauty continued to grow.

As Who What Wear UK's junior beauty editor, she covers everything from the latest hair trends to the stand-out makeup products of the season.