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The pandemic has turned our customer’s routines upside down over the past twelve months – and that includes their beauty routines. With more time spent at home, and party dresses left at the back of their wardrobes during the long months of social restrictions, shoppers have focused on some well-earned “me time” by embracing skincare and bath products. 

At M&S, we’re focusing on making our beauty offer more relevant to our customers as we emerge from the pandemic. We’re backing the trends that have been popular in lockdown and adapting our ranges to reflect the more casual way consumers are living and dressing. 

We’re also focusing on helping our customers pick the right products for their individual beauty and skincare needs. This week, we’re holding our first Sparks Live focusing on all things Beauty. Experts, including beauty director Sarah Jossel and our very own M&S beauty buyer Rebecca Cullen, will give the inside scoop on skincare. 

As part of our mission to extend the reach of our beauty offer, we’re exploring new categories, including perimenopausal and menopausal skincare. We’ve teamed up with leading skincare brand PRAI Beauty and last month launched our first co-branded beauty product range, MenoGlow. Exclusive to M&S, the range has been scientifically formulated and expertly designed to help guide our customers through the biggest change their skin will go through. 

From Michelle Obama speaking out about hot flushes on her podcast to Davina McCall admitting she was initially embarrassed about her symptoms, there’s no question that the conversation around menopause is changing. Menopause is no longer something to be whispered discreetly about or a topic to be avoided around the dinner table. Staying silent about such a key issue in women’s physical and mental health is not an option. 

But there’s still plenty of work to do, and barriers to be broken. When we interviewed 273 of our female customers aged over 45 to dig deeper into attitudes towards menopause, almost 70% said they believed perimenopause and menopause are still “rather taboo” subjects in the UK. Nearly 90% said they were keen for brands to start breaking down those taboos and not sweep menopause under the rug. 

As one of the UK’s biggest retailers, we feel a responsibility to be part of the conversation and open up discussions around menopause.  We also want to help our customers bring out the best in their skin as it changes. There’s a genuine demand from our customers for skincare products that address the biggest symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, including loss of collagen, dehydration, and hot flushes.

All five products in the MenoGlow range have cooling, reviving and moisturising properties. Ingredients in the range include Tripeptide Syn-Coll, a peptide that boosts the skin’s collagen production and protects against collagen loss; Centella Asiaatica extract, which helps the skin build collagen and calms redness, and Cloudberry Seed Oil, which helps to stimulate collagen while brightening and energising the skin. We’ve already had great customer feedback and we’re looking forward to hearing more as customers continue to buy into the range.

Taking on a new category – perimenopausal and menopausal skincare – is just part of how we’re extending the reach and relevancy of our beauty offer. 

By adapting our ranges and giving consumers new ways to shop, we’re ensuring our beauty business is putting its best face forwards. 

Five ways we’re shaking up our beauty business: 

  • Backing the trends that have been popular during lockdown and that we know will continue to be popular, such as skincare and bath products. Bath fizzers have been a particular favourite with customers.
  • Adapting our beauty range for post covid shopping behaviours, including the acceleration of online. We’ve introduced fragrance tester sets to help customers buy perfume online, for example.
  • Reflecting post Covid customer habits in our beauty ranges, by ensuring we have plenty of light products that emphasis glow, such as highlighters & tinted moisturizers.  
  • Continuing with our cult products and the offers we know our loyal customers love, including our much anticipated beauty boxes.  
  • Developing and innovating exclusive to M&S products