Borrowing a boujee dress for an event has become a boom industry, with A-list fans such as Priyanka Chopra, Laura Whitmore and Stacey Dooley wearing pre-loved as if it were their own. Even the PM's wife wore a rented wedding dress earlier this year, taking the idea of something borrowed to a new level.
Pre-loved is no longer considered a poor second, rather an eco-savvy way access to the labels that previously our budget would have kiboshed. Business Wire predicts that the fashion rental industry will be worth $2.08 billion by 2025. Could the beauty industry be set for a similar rental boom? It could well be, with the announcement this week that luxury hair tool brand Cloud Nine has launched the world's first beauty rental service called On Cloud Nine. Under the scheme, the brand's Sericite pro-collection of hair styling tools, normally available only to professional stylists, is yours for a monthly fee of £14.99. You receive a bundle of three brand new tools covering all bases: a hairdryer, a curling wand and straighteners.
"We’re so excited to be launching the industry’s first subscription service to make our products more accessible to all," says Cloud Nine's CEO Martin Raye. It comes just a year after Cloud Nine launched its Cloud Nine Recycling Scheme, which allows consumers to send any brand of any hair tool to Cloud Nine for free to be recycled (the scheme impressed us so much that it was shortlisted in the eco category of our Get The Gloss Beauty and Wellness Awards).
"The fashion industry has seen a surge in rental services, so we're bringing this concept to the hair industry, encouraging more sustainable consumption of hair styling tools," he says.
Could it work? After all, there's a thriving rental market for power tools; the app Fat Llama , allows you to borrow anything from drones and projectors via hire cameras and drills from other owners. But while something like a drill can fulfill a one-off need, don't we use our hairdryers and straighteners enough to make buying them worthwhile? Perhaps not if they are Cloud Nine prices (the brand's latest cordless straighteners the Cordless Iron Pro as seen on Love Island cost £349 - now that would be worth renting!)
So how does the maths stack up? The Cloud Nine pro range set of three tools costs from £367 to buy (but only if you are a registered stylist). You receive your preferred straightener, either Cloud Nine Original Iron the Touch Iron, or Wide Iron, as well as The Curling Wand and Air Shot Hairdryer.
If you paid them off over a year, that's the equivalent to a monthly cost of £30.58. At £14.99 a month (the price of rental) it would take around two years to pay off the investment, by which time hair trends may have changed or your straighteners may have run out of warranty and died (we're all familiar with the cords starting to fray) and you're left with something you don't use any more. But you don't have to rent for months on end, you can cancel any time.
While the finances do seem to make sense, if you need three tools, perhaps more compelling is the environmental aspect. Hair tools contribute in no small part to the two million tonnes of electronic waste generated in the UK every year. In theory, with a rental scheme, there will be fewer tools in circulation and landfill and when you're done you know that they will be safely disposed of. When you return tools they will be reused, repurposed or recycled.
Unlike fashion rental, which is often consumer-to-consumer, beauty rental is thus far straight from brand to consumer.
If the boom in fashion rental is anything to go by, we expect a surge in beauty rentals soon.