The Changing Faces of Beauty Retail

Aesop Mayfair, London. Image courtesy of ‘Aesop and Studio Ilse’

We have noticed a transformation in the nature of Beauty Retail.  Beauty stores are creating environments that both represent the brand and incorporate lifestyle aspects. Consumers who look to high-end beauty retailers for high quality beauty products are now looking for more.

Customers can now expect an experience that wholly immerses them into the brand and what it represents. Through integrating experiential aspects into the retail environment and softening the approach to what a beauty retail brand is companies are creating a holistic service that also has the opportunity to enhance both the pre and post purchasing experience.


An example of how a beauty brand has achieved a sense of natural informality whilst remaining premium  is Cowshed. The new spa at Shoreditch House is a beautiful example of how the brand uses materials and its interior as a further representation of what the brand stands for. The use of natural materials and encompassing lighting creates a homely ‘rural retreat in the city’. It provides the perfect place to meet friends, eat, drink and shop as well as indulge in sociable grooming.  The spa has a cosy cabin retreat atmosphere, with big recliner chairs and simple product display whist being gracefully peaceful and elegantly decorated.

The use of pale fabrics against the natural woods and tiled floors enhances the high-end and fresh feel of the beauty spa. The pale colours add to the simple nature of Cowshed which is seen in their candle lit treatment rooms.


Aesop is a high-end boutique botanical skincare company, they have developed as a brand through offering more to their consumers and making themselves more accessible and well rounded as a high-end brand . Beauty retail has been softened through the brand offering more of an experience within and beyond the store. Aesop originated from Australia and now have stores across New Zealand, United States, Europe and Asia.  This is a brand that has created retail spaces to inspire and provide interior experiences that exemplify the brand and what it stands for. Each store interior is different throughout with no relation to another, but each maintains aspirational in their belief that good design can improve your life.

The innovative design that goes into Aesop’s stores is particularly inspiring in the Adelaide, Australia store. The ceiling is formed from recycled bottles sculpted into wave patterns which light is shined though. The result is a stunning low glow from the traditional brown Aesop glass bottles. This contrasts to the bright crisp lighting of some of Aesop’s other stores which create a more clinical feel.

Aesop’s products are derived from plants which reflect the current seasons crops and like wines, their results will vary from year to year. This is considered an inherent feature of the line and brand who aim to provide premium in product and sensory pleasure. The company aims to deliver these objectives with solid science and uncomplicated packaging with an unwavering sense of humour.

Aesop’s Flinders Lane, Australia shop is an example of the brands ethos, to be playful with design and creative in their interiors. The store uses stacked corrugated card and boxes for its display solutions. The linear formations create innovative  shelving that compliments the packaging of the stores botanical skincare ranges. Aesop’s creative use of materials within its interior contrasts to the majority of beauty stores who let the store space drop back in their aim to promote the product. This concept of creating inspiring retail spaces which soften that approach to selling is changing how consumers shop and encourages people to interact with the shopping experience.

Aesop’s Doncaster, Australia shop is a dramatic contrast to the other shop spaces we have focused on. The linear and clinical display of products and the use of a soft colour palette creates a calm space from the outside mall. The use of simple materials, tiles, plywood, and steel are subverted to stimulate and engage the customer. The shifting layout of the wall tiles and the bright fluorescent lit space creates a calm sense of movement.

Aesop’s ethos goes beyond its products, incorporating inspiring interiors with lifestyle and experience. Consumers are provided with a lifestyle guide that surrounds the brand and the social behaviour of its customers. Aesop give A-Z city guides for its major city locations, and monthly online newsletters of recommended places to eat, drink, attend, support, watch, hear, discover and enjoy. Consumers are not only entering stores and looking at the website for product information they are looking to Aesop for a social guide to their lives.

Malin & Goetz

Malin and Goetz is a beauty company from New York offering head to toe pH balance for the face body and hair.  The store is a collaboration of natural high-end products that are well packaged and housed in beautiful interiors.  The decor acts as a backdrop for rows of unisex haircare and skincare products, which line the back and sides of the space.

The contrast within Malin and Goetz flagship store designed by Craig Konyk is a great example of the playfulness beauty retail is adopting. The use of exposed brickwork and black panelled back wall creates a natural and bold mix of materials in contrast to the crisp white and coloured packaging display of Malin & Goetz products. The white linear brightly lit customer service area and the bare brick walls with a central black display table for products draws customers through the space.

Interesting features of this store is its creative display of brightly packaged products within a dark and raw space. Another feature is the space within a space box created by the bright entrance which has been built within the outer walls, the tunnel holds and directs the natural light through the space.

This newer Malin & Goetz store also designed by Craig Konyk in New York has a sleek, modern look similar to the prior store with clean white panels surrounding a modern cash wrap, which is made less austere by walls and ceilings of reclaimed wood with circular cut outs and display shelves. Located in a storefront that formerly housed a barbershop the space is a refreshing and exciting playful environment which creates a soft and interactive approach to Malin and Goetz range of sought after products.

A clear trend coming through these stores is a focus on a repeated sense of playfulness. The creation of environments that interact with the space, the brand,the products and the creative use of materials with attention to detail adds value to beauty retail. These stores all provide the grounding for accomplished and immersive brands which engage their consumers in the beauty retail experience as well as a lifestyle experience. This is the changing face of beauty retail.

4 responses to “The Changing Faces of Beauty Retail

  1. A very interesting and well researched article. A great barometer for interior design trends!

  2. If the exterior and interior looks good people will have confidence in their treatments.

  3. the shapes and innovation in this design seems to be rather good

  4. I really like the fresh and original designs that are modern but not garish.

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