IN SOUTH AFRICA
A TOUGH JOB MARKET MEANS THAT WOMEN HAVE TO INVEST IN THEIR GROOMING ROUTINES TO COMPETE
Roselynne McConnell, like many South African women, feels that looking good means feeling successful. ‘I religiously go to the hairdresser every six weeks, I go for a facial every eight weeks, I have my nails done every second week. I think those things are important when it comes to looking your best and they count the same as going to the dentist or keeping up to date with accounts or going for checkups with a doctor. They ensure you feel confident about life. I treat my beauty routine as a non-negotiable.’
David Gilson, of Carlton Hair in Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg, says that women are spending far more on beauty treatments than they used to. ‘Especially with the job market being so difficult, lots of women feel it’s important to look the part when going to job interviews… Having your hair and nails done is also far cheaper than buying a whole new outfit. So if you can’t afford a new jacket or new shoes, it’s cheaper to get your hair done for a job interview.’
Gilson echoes the 2013 Prosumer Report, which showed that 55 per cent of women feel confident when they look good.
Lindi Low, owner of Vanillia Health and Beauty Salon in Cape Town, says that despite the recent dip in the economy, women have maintained a beauty routine and continue to spend on products and treatments. ‘Women might come for fewer treatments, but they will then buy more expensive products and focus on home care to make up for it. Some women do things the other way around: they’ll buy cheaper products and come more frequently for treatments.’
Several reports and surveys concerning South African women and their relationship with the beauty business corroborate what both Gilson and Low say: women are spending more on personal grooming. The Female Nation Survey revealed that 47 per cent of women spend between R100 and R500 on beauty products per month, seven per cent of women spend between R500 and R1 000, and one per cent spend over a R1 000 per month on preening themselves.
Euromonitor International released a study on the beauty industry in South Africa last year. The results showed a 10 per cent expansion in the beauty industry country wide, despite a general decline in employment and continued income inequality. You’d think that hair care and nail care would be the first luxury to go during a recession, but South African women have remained loyal to their beauty routines regardless of economic decline.
Jade Kirkel, marketing manager of Sorbet, said, ‘We’ve opened 38 salons country wide over the past year. We haven’t felt any pinch from the economy. Women will always make a plan to keep coming for their treatments or to keep affording the products they’ve been using.’
And Sorbet’s clientele is growing more diverse. ‘We do have a lot more white women who are loyal to Sorbet, but the market for black women is growing as well. And the black women who do frequent Sorbet spend the same amount as white women do.’