Inquiry into non-surgical cosmetic procedures: oral evidence sessions
The APPG has recently launched an important inquiry into non-surgical cosmetic procedures to investigate how standards for undertaking and advertising treatments such as botulinum toxins or similar anti-wrinkle injectables, dermal fillers, polydioxanone (PDO) threads and cogs, should be improved to support the beauty and aesthetics industry and protect public safety.
Over the coming months the Group will be inviting witnesses to give oral evidence in its inquiry. Below are dates for the upcoming sessions:
23rd June 2020 – What is the concern?
7th July 2020 – Standards and qualifications
21st July 2020 – Regulation and enforcement
Dates will be announced in due course for subsequent sessions on the topics of:
Ethics and mental health
Advertising and social media
Concluding session with Government representatives
The oral evidence sessions will be made available to watch on the APPG’s YouTube page within 24 hours of the meeting.
The APPG is inviting written submissions to the inquiry here.
Panel Session: The Impact of Covid-19 on Online Beauty and Wellness Platforms
On Thursday 21st May, the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing held its second virtual panel session on the impact of COVID-19, which will focus on the impact on online beauty and wellness platforms.
The Group heard from from:
- Giorgia Rossi, COO of Treatwell
- Abi Selby, Founder of Spabreaks.com
- Jack Tang, CEO and Co-founder at Urban
Topics for discussion included:
- How are online platforms supporting the businesses that rely on their platforms during this time?
- What has been the short-term impact of COVID-19 on their platforms? What is likely to be the long-term impact of coronavirus on bookings made through the platforms?
- As non-essential shops are allowed to re-open, how can online platforms help rebuild consumer confidence?
- How will online operators ensure that businesses using their platforms comply with Government measures around social distancing and the use of PPE while performing treatments?
- How can the Government support both large and small businesses in the industry to ensure they recover from the crisis? How can online platforms contribute towards this?
A video recording of the session is available on the APPG’s YouTube page here.
Panel Session: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing Industry
On 7th May, the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing held their first virtual panel session on the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. The APPG members heard from industry representatives about the immediate and longer term impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry, whether the existing Government business support measures have been effective and what support the Government can provide to ensure the long term health of the industry.
The MPs heard from Caroline Larissey, Director of Quality and Standards at National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF), Ian Egerton, NHBF President and London-based hair and beauty salon owner, Helena Grzesk, General Manager at the UK Spa Association, Lesley Blair, Chair of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC), Lisa Gerrard, Managing Director of Gerrard International and Chair of the Beauty Companies Association, and Kerry Stuart, owner of an Ilminster-based hair, beauty and aesthetics practice.
The lack of clarity around PPE guidelines
All of the panellists raised concerns around the lack of clear guidance on health and safety procedures that the industry would have to adhere to once the lockdown restrictions are eased. Caroline Larrisey, Director of Quality and Standards at the NHBF, said in her opening remarks that many of their members, comprised mainly of small and micro-businesses, are concerned about the provision of PPE that would be available to them and how small salons can comply with social distancing requirements.
Salon owners, Ian Egerton and Kerry Stuart, echoed these concerns. In particular, Kerry Stuart highlighted that as a small salon owner, she has been actively reviewing her salon layout, operating hours and the working patterns of her staff. She acknowledged that these measures, while necessary, will ultimately increase her overheads.
In addition, Helena Grzesk from the UK Spa Association highlighted that their survey showed that almost 80% of participants believed the use of face masks and PPE will need to be introduced, with many participants concerned about the costs of PPE.
The uncertain future of Government support measures
The panellists also raised their concerns about the financial viability of many businesses in the industry and what Government support will be available in future. Lesley Blair, Chair of BABTAC, praised the Government’s Bounce Bank Loans Scheme, citing that many of BABTAC’s members have received payment within 24hrs of the initial application. However, she also pointed out that many businesses are not eligible for schemes such as the Job Retention Scheme, meaning that businesses that were once thriving may not be able to survive in future.
This was emphasised by Ian Egerton, President of NHBF and London-based salon owner, who explained that his business has struggled to benefit from Government support as his rates exceed the scheme threshold.
In addition, Helena Grzesk said that the UK Spa Association’s survey also showed that of the 92.4% of participants stating that COVID-19 has had a severe impact on their business, a third anticipated they would need to make redundancies without the appropriate financial support.
The panellists were also concerned about the small minority of mobile practitioners continuing to operate and how their actions poses a risk to public health. The panellists were united in their views that this activity is unlawful and a system needs to be established to report non-compliance.
Furthermore, the panellists and MPs were alarmed at the news of some salons continuing to operate despite the Government’s announcement that non-essential businesses must remain closed. The panellists wanted to see clearer mechanisms in place over which public body is responsible for ensuring that salons remain closed for business. Additionally, Carolyn Harris MP raised an important point about how the Government can better safeguard workers against the risks of modern slavery, particularly from the operations of rogue salons.
Call to Action
As a result of the concerns raised during the panel session, the BAW APPG calls on Government to:
- Provide clear instructions and advance warning on when beauty and wellness business can reopen and what treatments they can offer, including for services within hospitality businesses such as hotels, and what grades of PPE must be used.
- Ensure industry access to affordable PPE, being crucial to protect staff and customers.
- Provide clarification on the future of Government support measures and how the Government will continue to support both small and large businesses in the industry as restrictions are eased.
- Crack down on the emergence of the black market of rogue operators continuing to sell services behind closed doors risking public health, and how to report non-compliance.
- Better protect against risks of modern slavery as businesses reopen.
Panel Session: Beauty and the (Plastic) Beast
On Tuesday 11th February, the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing held a panel event in Parliament to hear from experts about what the beauty industry is doing to be more sustainable and to discuss what more can be done and where Government can help.
The Members of the Group heard from Nathalie Bleach, Operations Director of UK & Ireland at L’Oréal, Jenny Collins, Beauty Standards at the Soil Association, Dominic Winter, Campaigns and Sustainability Manager at Neal’s Yard Remedies, Professor Denise Baden, Professor of Sustainable Business at Southampton University and Founder of Eco Hair & Beauty, and Emma Meredith, Director of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association.
Top ten things we’ve learnt
1. The UK’s legislation mandating the ingredients that can be used in cosmetic products is a gold standard around the world, covering all products on the market, no matter how they are made, what ingredients they use, or where they are sold.
2. Legislation does not set standards for the sustainability of beauty products; however independent industry standards exist covering the criteria companies must meet to label their products as organic or natural cosmetics produced to the highest feasible sustainability practices – such as the Soil Association’s COSMOS-standard.
3. While the use of the term ‘organic’ is protected for food and drink products, is it not protected for cosmetics so anyone can label their products as organic or natural, even if they do not meet independent industry standards.
4. Improving recycling of beauty products is crucial to tackling waste in the sector. While the industry must do more to reduce its packaging and ensure it is recyclable, the Government and local authorities must address the varying recycling policies across the country to help brands ensure their products can be widely recycled and help consumers improve their sustainability practices.
5. To date in-store bottle refill and return schemes have had relatively low take up among consumers, and there is a further issue that even if a product is recyclable, most beauty products are thrown away in the bathroom. The beauty industry and consumers need to embark on this journey to improve sustainability practices together to have a real impact.
6. There is an issue with ‘greenwashing’ in the beauty industry, where companies make people believe that they are doing more to protect the environment than may be the case in reality, such as labelling a product as organic while using some non-organic ingredients.
7. Some organisations in the beauty industry claim to be environmentally friendly by putting money into a sustainability ventures that are not core to their business operations, however it is crucial that businesses take bold steps to improve their own sustainability practices.
8. One of the biggest issues around product ingredients that consumers are concerned about is the use of palm oil and mica, being two of the most common ingredients in cosmetics. However, it is not yet clear what impact the use of alternative ingredients will have on the environment. Therefore, the beauty must increase the use of sustainable palm oil and responsibly mined mica.
9. Consumer insights from across the industry show that consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and those using natural and organic ingredients. Change in the industry needs to be consumer driven and education is key to this as consumers need to be given the tools to act in more sustainable ways. However many ‘green’ products cost the same or less to produce than standard products and therefore price discounts could help foster greener consumption.
10. While consumers are interested the benefits of organic beauty products and more environmentally friendly packaging, at the end of the day the products must work, or consumers won’t buy them.