Ukrainian Beauty Industry Among First to Recover, But Not Without Challenges – KyivPost

Ukrainian Beauty Industry Among First to Recover, But Not Without Challenges – KyivPost


When the war broke out, the Ukrainian economy went on hold. While Russia shelled many infrastructure facilities and destroyed factories, smaller areas of the economy – such as the beauty industry – also shut down.

In Lviv, a city of around one million people in western Ukraine that had sheltered hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people from areas bombed by Russia, nothing was working. All the stores and all the services were closed. Still, as Anna found out, some did work in the shadows.

Anna was looking for a manicurist to remove her nails, which had grown very long and were interfering with her typing. It affected the quality of her work from her: She was constantly making typos, and getting insanely annoyed about it. While the beauty salons remained closed, using her connections from her, and looking in the back of residential areas, in old courtyards, she found a small room, only 10 meters square, where several manicurists worked with selected clients. There, for $4, Anna got rid of her problem and removed her over-grown nails for good.

According to the Gradus Research survey that was conducted in May the beauty industry in Ukraine is among the most highly rated – 44% of Ukrainians who left the country because of war highly evaluated its price-quality ratio.

Many Ukrainian beauty professionals see that their services and work are very valuable abroad. Natalia first just took her child abroad to avoid war risks, but many refugees asked her to stay for work, and although she attempted once to return to Ukraine, but just a few days later she went back to work in Germany.

“Faced with the mundane reality of a coveted (life) ‘abroad,’ Ukrainians looked at their life at home in a new way, felt its benefits. I hope this will be another ingredient in the recipe for a leap forward of the country, ”explained Eugene Bliznyuk, director of Gradus Research.

Cosmetologist Svitlana still remains in Ukraine but every day she thinks about leaving. She has already received several job offers in Europe during the war.

“I want to stay in Ukraine, it is my home here, but I am afraid that Russia will attack again. I am told that Ukrainian beauticians in Europe are very needed. My colleagues are highly valued there: the services are more expensive and we are very competitive,” – summed up Svitlana.

At the same time, many beauticians in Ukraine have lost their clients. Today Svitlana has one to three clients a day. Previously, her schedule was busy for weeks in advance and her workday was 10-12 hours long. To attract clients, the beauty industry tries not to raise prices or give discounts but with the rising cost of imported goods and severe inflation (predictions of 30% till the end of the year), they may soon be forced to raise prices.

In late April and early May, beauty salons began to open in western Ukraine where Russia was shelling less and since June large beauty salons in Kyiv opened as well.

Lora had been in the beauty business all her professional life. Before the war, she ordered expensive equipment from Europe for cosmetic procedures and almost lost it because of the hostilities. Then in April, when the capital of Ukraine was still nearly empty, few cars on the roads and almost no business, she began to accept her first customers who already knew that they could get the services they needed in Lora’s new office de ella.

She is from the Donetsk region and had survived the Russian occupation in 2014. Back then she had hoped Ukraine would be able to repel the attack and, for a while, stayed during the hostilities. In Donbas, the beauty industry came to life before others.

“The girls were running to me for cosmetic procedures. I even went to Odessa and searched for the right materials. I got the impression that everyone in Donetsk needed beauty, ”– says Lora but she soon had to leave the occupied territory.

Like many others, the beauty industry is adapting to the new war conditions and is desperately looking for customers.

“Beauty is like a declaration that life goes on,” the beautician said.

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