TRENDS AND SIGNALS FROM CULTURE
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Trends and signals from culture Issue 3 — Fall 2018 email@example.com brandpie.com
E D I TO R I A L D I R E C TO R
MaryLee Sachs E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F
C R E AT I V E D I R E C TO R
Jonathan Herrera Santiago Gomez
C O N T R I B U TO R S
Rosanna Beart Hannah Conway Rik Haslam Michael Mackay Austin Randall MaryLee Sachs Andrew Sacks-Hoppenfeld Lauren Strickland
New beauty in the age of inclusivity Transformative times are shaking up how we see each other and even what we see when we look in the mirror. New voices are transforming the very definition of beauty, while scientific advancements are reformulating it. In this third issue of magpie, we dig deeper into the intersection of culture and business, exploring the trends impacting the beauty industry. From new markets to old misconceptions, from the scientific to the surreal, we highlight the cultural shifts that are shaping beauty norms the world over. Drawing on a broad array of perspectives from some of the most recognized voices in the space as well as faint whispers from the future, we aim to connect the dots and draw out powerful insights that inform and entertain. Whether it’s the evolving definition of masculinity or the influence of technology on beauty products, the articles in this issue explore and explain a broad range of forces influencing the modern definition of beauty and their implications for brands operating in this flourishing and fast-evolving sector.
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As always, we hope you’ll find an engaging mix of factual rigor and well-informed trend forecasting in the pages ahead. We do encourage you to reach out to us with any comments or suggestions that could help us make future issues of magpie even smarter. Austin Randall Editor in Chief
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©Brandpie Inc 2018. All rights reserved. This publication or any parts thereof may not be reproduced in any form, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means – electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission of the publisher. Published by Brandpie Inc, 154 W 14th St, 2nd Floor, New York, 10011, USA, telephone +1 917-887-3202; email firstname.lastname@example.org; www.brandpie.com. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily coincide with the editorial views of the publisher or Brandpie. All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the author’s and the publisher’s ability. However, Brandpie Inc does not accept responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on it.
Understanding the global ingredients market
Gender and identity in the age of new beauty
How technology is shaping an industry
The Make-up of Beauty The Changing Face of Beauty
Not Your Poster Child
32 Showing Face How do you define beauty?
The biology of beauty and going clean without compromise
12 Table of Contents
Interview with Caroline Hadfield
62 A look at anti-aging trends, wrinkles and all
Zero Waste The Ageless Age
A radical new approach to environmentalism
56 Modern Masculinity
Exploring the implications of new age masculinity
46 New opportunities in the growing Muslim market
Our Social Self Reflections of self in social media
Technology & beauty brands are combining to radically transform how we manage our appearance
Throughout 2018 we’ve started to see the beauty industry seriously embrace 3D printing, biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, the Internet of Things, augmented reality (AR), facial recognition, DNA analysis and new interaction technologies (voice and touchless gestures). A very significant indicator of the fast-shifting environment was the acquisition of beauty tech specialist ModiFace by Estée Lauder in April for an undisclosed sum.
Anyone who has visited a department store in the last few months will have noted that large AR smart mirrors are an increasingly disruptive and differentiating presence. The ability of in-store smart mirrors to personalize and visualize beauty recommendations in a simple, fast and convenient manner changes the store dynamic, making a beauty purchase as seamless and user-friendly as ordering an Uber.
Photo credit: O2NAILS
ModiFace was launched 11 years ago in Toronto, Canada, and quickly became the beauty industry’s leading provider of AR and AI. Prior to the acquisition, Estée Lauder had worked with ModiFace to develop an application enabling AR hair coloring experiences.
The purchase is a smart business move and it’ll be interesting to see how competitors respond. Coty, L’Oréal and Sephora have also worked with ModiFace. And although ModiFace claims it will honor existing relationships, it’s hard to see how Estée Lauder will allow its competitors to benefit from a technology that is fundamentally changing the retail landscape.
Memomi is another leader in this space. It creates high-end digital mirrors for luxury shopping environments. Shoppers use simple body gestures to get 360-degree back and side views of themselves wearing new outfits. The color or pattern of an outfit can be altered with just a single gesture. Users can virtually add accessories and other items without the need to physically try on anything. The company’s makeup smart mirrors can also record makeup sessions and remember any products you try. They have also created applications for eyewear, making it super simple to check out and compare the glasses that best suit your features. Lighting is always key in a retail environment and the Memomi mirrors, like others in this fast-growing category, simulate natural sunlight to ensure the image and videos on-screen are color-corrected in the right way to enable shoppers to adjust the light environment to judge how they’ll look in a variety of settings, from parks on a sunny day to offices or low-lit, romantic evening destinations. As consumers become increasingly familiar with these types of functionality, it’s expected they’ll flock to those brands that deliver best-inclass experiences. Estée Lauder has recognized this trend and appears to have stolen a march on the entire industry. And this is likely just the beginning.
Owning the consumer digital experience in-store is vital because within a few short years smart mirrors will be a fixture in every self-respecting bathroom. Suddenly the bathroom mirror becomes an augmented reality e-commerce store with personalized video tutorials, customized product recommendations and purchases enabled by a simple voice command or wave of the hand. The brands that prepare themselves for this shift by establishing strong digital relationships ahead of time will be the ones best-equipped to maintain their customer relationships once every home effectively has a beauty store in the bathroom. Now that ModiFace has been snapped up, similar technology players have an opportunity to play catch-up by partnering with Estée Lauder’s now exposed competitors.
Photo credit: Memomi
Connectivity & our most private spaces As smart mirrors and devices make the leap from store to home they will enhance people’s daily beauty routines in remarkable ways. The HiMirror Plus is an Alexa-enabled mirror and personalized skin analyzer that also connects to a smart body scale to measure and display weight, body fat ratio, body mass index, body water, muscle mass, bone mass and basal metabolic rate. Smart mirrors make this kind of data visible, meaningful and actionable by presenting it in an intuitive, engaging way in our most comfortable and private spaces. Myra Mirrors is taking a big picture view of the technology. They see the mirror as a personal assistant where beauty is just a single element of the experience. They expect smart mirrors to serve as a personal concierge, and information and entertainment hub. But there is a barrier. Nobody wants a camera spying on them as they step out of the shower naked: watching them pee, floss or sing off-key while styling their hair. CareOS is a start-up that’s trying to solve this major privacy issue. Its head of communications, Chloé Szulzinger, likes to say, “What happens in the bathroom, stays in the bathroom.” Its purpose-built operating system creates a private, secure network that allows devices such as smart scales, toothbrushes and mirrors to talk to one another within the bathroom while handing consumers complete control of any data they allow to leave the home.
Photo credit: Emauge
CareOS hopes to become the bathroom standard and many partners are already onboard. The platform offers multiple features that should appeal to consumers. 4D visualization enables a smart mirror to give users eyes at the back of their heads, making styling hair a cinch and enabling people to confidently dye their hair by seeing how much product has been applied to the back of the head. Other features include product recognition. This means that a smart mirror can scan a product, identify it and then display a video tutorial on the mirror. It’s like having your own personalized makeup assistant at your beck and call 24 hours a day. The software will also track blemishes. And though this won’t enable medically qualified diagnoses, it will enable users to track changes in size and color to act as an early warning system. CareOS has also thought carefully about the mechanical side of the experience. Smart mirror displays have to deal with steam and humidity. Touch interactions are likely to smudge the screens of smart mirrors. CareOS has solved this issue by integrating touchless gestures and voice interaction. One partner already working with CareOS is Romy Paris, which has developed a kind of Nespresso for skincare. Romy’s figure formulator, is like a 3D printer that makes personalized skincare products in the home. The company developed an algorithm in collaboration with dermatologists to understand what combination of ingredients will work best for your skin. The figure formulator uses an app to analyze your skin then combines that with other data (local pollution levels, weather, amount of sleep and exercise, etc.) to create the most appropriate skincare product for your needs at that precise moment in time.
Romy are by no means the only company innovating in this space. bareMinerals offers an application that analyzes skin in a similar way so they can offer custom-blended foundations. The technology that enables these personalized recommendations is increasingly powerful. One provider who has developed such software and licenses it to a range of companies is Cambridge Consultants. The firm brought the skin diagnostic platform, Skintuition, to market.
The technology that enables these personalized recommendations is increasingly powerful LVMH-owned retailer Sephora also has a similar technology which it has deployed in-store. Sephora and Pantone Color IQ use photographs to appraise skin tone and recommend foundations and concealers based on personalized data. Neutrogena also have a similar skin scanner offering. Some companies are even using DNA to make beauty recommendations. Pathway Genomics Skin IQ uses gene testing to make skin assessments, and SkinGenie takes a similar approach combined with AI to assess risks based on specific skincare traits and curate product recommendations tailored to a user’s genome. Skinshift is another company jumping on the DNA skincare bandwagon.
It’s a fast expanding market Emauge is taking the trend for customized cosmetics a step further. Its machine uses a range of plant-based oils, selected from organic, sustainable and fair-trade farming cooperatives to create more than 100K product combinations in just 3 — 10 minutes. The Japanese OpenNail project uses Toshiba’s 3D-printing tech to produce nail tips that perfectly fit a user’s nails. O2Nails is already ahead of the game. Its mobile nail printer and app enables users to design and print nails in less than 60 seconds. The Chinese company
Photo credit: O2NAILS
behind the miniature printer was recently recognized by Forbes magazine as one of China’s top 10 most innovative products. FOREO’s UFO is a handheld innovation that hopes to replace facial sheet masks and deliver a better alternative that works in seconds. The UFO does this by mixing advanced dermal technologies with Korean mask formulas and then applies a patented technology to deliver T-sonic pulses to boost the absorption of those active ingredients. You simply hold the device in your hand as it glides across your skin. The company also claims it puts the power of LED light therapy in user’s hands with three targeted photofacials in a single at-home device. Glamour magazine wrote, “For those who struggle to sit under a sheet for more than 10 minutes, you’ll be in heaven — it takes just a minute and a half to complete a treatment.”
It seems there’s no beauty product that can’t be made smart In 2017, L’Oréal partnered with Withings to introduce a smart brush that can tell if you’re brushing your hair too hard. And Schwarzkopf have an handheld device that measures hair moisture, quality and color. However, it’s not all about looking good. La Roche-Posay has introduced a stretchable, smart UV patch. When applied, this nonintrusive, ultrathin, ultra-water resistant patch monitors your exposure to harmful UV rays and communicates with your smartphone to help educate users on sun safety.
Beauty tech — behind the surface If it’s the gadgets that have the wow factor and seduce consumers into engaging with new experiences, the real impact may lie beneath the surface. Tech is fundamentally changing how the beauty industry operates Two trends are important to observe from an operational and business model perspective. The first is how enterprise software solutions are changing the landscape. Kustomer is a CRM-style customer experience platform for the beauty and fashion industry that makes it easy for even the smallest salons or product start-ups to offer their customers a best-in-class experience. FlexyBeauty is another salon and spa cloud-based solution that already has a customer base of over 4,500 salons who use the platform to offer simple booking, e-commerce stores, mobile apps, etc. For those outside the beauty industry such enterprise software solutions might not seem revolutionary, but until recently the journey experienced by many customers was far from best-in-class. Now such software is enabling small beauty businesses to know their customer’s drink preferences, what treatments they enjoy, whether it’s their birthday, if their stylist or therapist is running overtime with a previous customer, etc. Under the hood of such systems are performance management dashboards that help owners understand which services are creating the most value and other business critical KPIs. The second trend having a major impact is the emergence of direct-to-consumer subscription services offering customized beauty boxes. The low cost of technology, cloud services, ease of fulfillment, etc. have made it much easier for new entrants to scale quickly and build brands in ways that would have been impossible just a few short years ago. Birchbox, BoxyCharm, Ipsy, Julep, Glossybox and Scentbird are just some of the beauty box subscription services consumers can choose from. And now the mainstream brands are getting in on the act. For just $10 a month, PLAY! by Serphora curates the new and best-selling products it claims to be most excited by. Recipients get five makeup, skincare and haircare samples, bonus products, exclusive tutorials, makeup bags and invitations to special in-store events. The beauty box trends caters to all kinds of niche markets. Love Goodly targets vegan beauty enthusiasts with their all-natural, cruelty-free, eco-friendly mix of beauty, wellness and lifestyle products. The cruelty angle is an interesting one for the sector. MatTek in Boston grows human skin in its lab and sells it to companies making anti-aging creams, tanning lotions, etc. In Europe, many animal testing techniques are now illegal and it’s likely only a matter of time until all new beauty products will have been tested on synthetic human skin. The fact that the industry is taking this biotech seriously is evidenced by the fact that MatTek’s main competitor is EpiSkin, a subsidiary of L’Oréal.
Photo credit: O2NAILS
The ability of beauty tech to quantify every wrinkle and recommend the perfect personalized solution will undoubtedly have some unintended consequences. As if smartphone portrait modes and society’s obsession with instagrammable moments haven’t made us all narcissistic enough already, the ability of AI to augment appearance and guide us to our “better” selves may lead to ever-increasing levels of anxiety and self-absorption. Or perhaps all this data will provide us with a sense of control, making us feel more comfortable in a world that’s changing faster than we can comprehend.
While consumers increasingly demand that brands play a positive role in society and do no harm, the bigger impact of technology might not be quite so straightforward. One thing is for certain. As technology enables mirrors to gaze at us ever more intimately, the brands that we trust to become the center of our smart bathrooms and dressing rooms will become our daily "truth tellers," establishing ever more intimate relationships with us. Those that succeed will do so through the quality of experience, differentiated functionality and the simplicity, seamlessness and perfectly executed design with which they can make themselves part of our most valued environment — the home.
Photo credit: Anna Sastre
Showing face In 2018, beauty is more than skin deep Undoubtedly, it’s an overwhelming time to be alive. The acceleration of media and its mass consumption, technological disruption and a shifting value system have led to the most hyperconnected generation yet. At this moment, there are 500M daily active users on Instagram, with 40 billion photos shared to date. The rise of social media has changed the way that we present ourselves: today, one’s appearance exists not only in the real world but in a virtual one as well. At first glance, two polarizing ends of the beauty spectrum are immediately
apparent — natural and made-up.
Photo credit: Amanda Dalbjorn
At one end, more and more people are embracing what seems to be the softer side of the industry — the widespread adoption of skincare regimens, the growing demand for all-natural products, and the pressing desire for regeneration, both in the body and the planet — all this pointing toward a type of person who turns to their beauty regimen to promote an inner sense of peace, positivity and growth in themselves and their environment.
Society has always impacted the way we present ourselves to the world. But in an environment where appearance plays a heightened role in our lives, many recognize how our current climate shapes the way we fashion ourselves. We can extend the spectrum in another direction: those in the previous camp, who view beauty as an expression of interiority, and those on the other side acknowledging beauty as a reflection of the reality around us.
But through further scrutiny, we can acknowledge that these opposite poles are not as far apart as one would first think. Rather, both the natural beauties and the makeup maniacs embrace the beauty industry whole hog, using the tools given to them to represent who they are and what they believe in.
We must then ask the question — does everyone see beauty through the lens of individual expression? Or do some view beauty as a means to fit in with the world they live in?
Representation, at either end of this spectrum, is the primary platform to show one’s interior self.
Photo credit: Greg Kantra
At the other end of the spectrum is the embrace of “extra”: acrylic nails as ornate as the Hall of Mirrors, pastel hair in every shade, the short-lived (but nevertheless unfortunate) glitter bum phenomenon at Coachella. The move toward such exuberant self-fashioning seems completely at odds with those consumers seeking out all-natural products as a way to improve their everyday well-being.
Some recognize the harmful effect of the media and the beauty industry on their conception of self, and have taken a stand against the beauty images that previously were conceived of as “truths.” Saying “no” to photoshopping is not enough — people are calling for the vindication of characteristics like body hair, wrinkles and acne. This tribe embraces the natural state of being by acknowledging and actively resisting the ideologies surrounding beauty standards that exist in our society. Others recognize the role that appearance has in their own self-realization. The term “pretty privilege” speaks to the unacknowledged benefits that individuals reap due to their physical attractiveness. The embrace of beauty products and cosmetic procedures is not vanity: it’s necessary to one’s success in the world today. Through this exercise, we can identify four archetypes:
Conception of self is multifaceted
Photo credit: JECCA Makeup
I got it from my mama
Photo Credit: Charisse Kenion
“natural, vegan skin care”
Rihanna’s “Fenty Beauty” offers concealers in all shades
Glossier “skin-first, makeup second”
“Pimples are in” —Justin Bieber
The armpit hair resistance Photo Credit: Billie
Makeup is me
I got it from my mama The embrace of all things “natural” — natural hair, natural skin, products with all natural ingredients — is a way that people identify themselves, with respect and self-worth at its very core.
Makeup is me
Photo credit: Joe Robles
The beauty market has a fan-base. Enthusiasts assert makeup, hair, nails, etc. as a personal choice and expression of identity.
The resistance People today are engaged and active in issues they care about — individuals address the harmful role that society’s valuation of beauty has played in shaping our sense of self.
Photo credit: Rosalye Simard
Pretty privilege The rejection of “normative” beauty standards is not actually the norm. Cosmetic procedures are ever increasing in America, as well as the rest of the world.
Plastic surgery is subsidized by the government in Brazil
Photo Credit: Ali Marel
South Korean plastic surgery
Conception of self is multifaceted, as such these trends must be recognized on a larger spectrum that is not composed of hard lines, but rather a gradient. These opposing viewpoints on what it means to be beautiful all coalesce around one idea: in 2018, representation matters. It is deeply aligned with one’s personal vantage point, perhaps more now than ever before. The way people represent themselves in their appearance, both on their social feeds and in everyday life, speaks to their view on what our notion of beauty is and where it comes from.
I got it from my mama
The rise of â€œself-careâ€? in many ways should be seen as a turn inward â€” a desire of individuals to regenerate, grow and embrace new ways of being that promote a happier and more positive lifestyle. According to a survey of millennial women by mindfulness app Shine, 72% of millennial women resolved to make mental health and self-care priorities in 2018. There is a duality here, as this commitment to care for the self extends to a commitment to care for the surrounding world. The same audience embracing self-care want to give back, and do so by choosing products and services that are good for the planet. Those who embody this movement express their commitment to its ideals through the beauty products they purchase and the experiences they indulge in.
Photo Credit: Christopher Campbell
bodies as the foundation of their beauty routine and say “no” to chemicals that might do them harm.
“Well+Good is your healthiest relationship.” The beauty and wellness publication sees 8M monthly unique visitors, 1.2M social media followers, and 800K newsletter subscribers. Fast Company, 2018
Beauty category includes more than 50 participating brands.
choice — Meow Meow Tweet is one brand that boasts chemical-free deodorant, and has seen exponential growth since opening in 2009. BBC, 2017
Routine=ritual Wellness is expressed not only through words, but by the repeated actions that make up one’s day-to-day life. Consumers take up routines that promote both mental and physical health — from adopting an active lifestyle to engaging in spirituality in new ways — and their beauty products play an intrinsic role in these routines.
The sale of “athleisure” apparel totaled $97 billion last year, up 40% from 2010. Fast Company, 2017
Sweat Cosmetics is a makeup line founded by athletes, for athletes who work out in the sun — this year, its monthly revenue has grown over 560%. Fast Company, 2017
Mindfulness apps have surged in popularity in the past five years. Bodha is a beauty brand that sells aromatherapy products to help consumers engage in all five senses during their meditation sessions.
Jade rollers are an ancient Chinese skin tool that have had a major uptick in adoption in the US, with many an influencer incorporating the tool into their daily beauty regimen. WWD, 2018
Self-care is earth-care
Respect for the self extends to respect for the planet. More consumers are looking for products with traceable ingredients, that are cruelty-free and zero-waste.
20% of Gen Z respondents selected “It’s good for the planet” as the MOST important reason they reach for their natural or organic product. Influenster Green Beauty Report, 2018
Be transparent about the effect your company has on the natural environment by showing the process by which your products are made and distributed.
All-natural deodorant has become an increasingly popular
they put on any product that is all natural. This Clean
Signal your brand’s positive impact with language that matters — “organic,” “allnatural,” “vegan,” “plastic-free.”
Sephora recently rolled out a “clean seal” which is a sticker
Mintel Beauty, 2018
Respect for the self extends to respect for the planet. More consumers are looking for products with traceable ingredients, cruelty free and zero-waste.}
Read more in
“Zero-Waste” on page 52.
What actions to take
“66% of French beauty consumers buy natural and organic beauty and personal care products because they are ‘better for their health.’”
Introduce new rituals with your consumer that take their holistic well-being into account.
The embrace of “skincare” runs parallel to the embrace of all-natural products. People recognize wellness in their skin and
All natural everywhere
Makeup is me RuPaul, of the hugely successful RuPaul’s Drag Race, spoke to Time magazine last year: “Drag is the physical embodiment of understanding who we really are… Drag takes it to the next level, which is — Oh, I can do whatever I want? Yeah, you can!” Gen Z is seen as the most accepting generation, with studies showing that gender classification does not define a person as much as it used to in this group (J. Walter Thompson, via Huffington Post). In the US, Gen Z is the most multicultural generation in all of its history. “Different” is no longer a bad word, and makeup, hair products and nail polish are the mediums of people’s freedom to assert their unique outlook on the world.
Photo credit: Bernard Osei
Mintel Beauty report, 2017
1 2 3
Rihanna released Fenty Beauty in 2017, offering over 40 different shades of foundation, to mass success. bareMinerals has created an app that analyses the user’s skin tone and creates their perfect shade. JECCA Makeup works specifically for trans women “covering beard shadow, birthmarks, and acne.”
The art of extra The word “extra” used to be a pejorative term — but in the beauty sphere it’s been co-opted by those who embrace larger-than-life trends as a signifier of their gleeful exhibition. Makeup and beauty are not there to be subtle; rather, it’s an arena of play, joyful self-expression and art.
“1.1M makeup tutorials are watched on YouTube daily (up from 800K in 2017).” YouTube, via BBC News, 2018
Australian beauty influencer Tina Yong’s video “I Tried Extreme Japanese Nail Art!” has over 2M views since she aired it in October 2017. In Japan, people are embracing “ishoku-hada” (異色肌), which can mean “unique skin” or even “remarkable skin.” It’s inspired by the otherworldly characters who appear in
“40% of US users ages 25-34 are frustrated by products that don’t match their skin tone.”
Counteract makeup shame with pride — cosmetics are not “cover-up” but rather a tool to reveal your consumer’s inner view of who they are.
call to action to address every consumer’s need, not just the majority. Read more in “Not Your Poster Child” on page 36.
The beauty industry has historically privileged the Caucasian, gender-normative set — however, there has been a recent
Showcase the artful ways that beauty products can be applied by featuring consumers or beauty artists who aren’t afraid to “go big.”
Right to make up
235K people posting photos to the hashtag #yellowhair, 1.5M posting to #greyhair and 5.2M posting to #pinkhair.
Beauty by choice Men and women alike are fighting against the stigma of being “overly” made-up, and rather emphatically announce the use of beauty products as a vehicle of self-expression. Brands are responding by embracing makeup as a means to showcase one’s individuality.
“63% of men think that women wear makeup to trick people into thinking they’re attractive.”
The term “Makeup shaming” has pulled up 69K videos on YouTube, with many influencers speaking about the different reasons they wear makeup. David Beckham released his beauty line House 99. On ulta.com, he elucidates, “I created House 99 to give people the inspiration as well as the right products to try out something different and feel completely at home doing so,” encouraging men as well as women to use beauty products to be “different.”
Outrageous hair color is going mainstream — with over
Covergirl’s rebrand from “Easy, breezy, beautiful” to “I am what I make up” signifies a huge change in this beauty giant’s stance on the role cosmetics play for its consumers.
What actions to take
Direct consumers to products most relevant to their individual needs through personalized interactions (quizzes and chatbots are easy tools for this aim).
anime, movies and video games. Kotaku, 2017
Last year, Justin Bieber posted an Instagram story of his bare forehead, covered in acne. “Pimples are in,” he declared to his 100M followers. The harmful effects of society’s valuation of beauty on the individual are widely recognized today, with the majority of women (53%) strongly agreeing that the media holds them to unrealistic beauty standards (YouGov, 2017). This June, The New York Times published an article titled, “Acne Can Increase the Risk for Depression,” detailing the findings of a study by the British Journal of Dermatology that discovered a correlation between mental health and “bad” skin. This recognition has led to a surge of activism around defying beauty norms and rejecting labels that are harmful to us all.
Photo credit: Billie
platforms to show that they too have acne, scars and body hair.
British actress Lola Kirke received death threats after choosing not to shave her armpits for the Golden Globes. Greek model Sophia Hadjipanteli describes herself as the “Founder of #UnibrowMovement” on her Instagram feed. Over 187K people follow her as she posts pictures highlighting her signature brow. At Milan Men’s Fashion Week, Malaysian designer Moto Guo purposely sent out models with blotchy, mottled skin. The Cut, 2016
New lexicon Brands recognize their consumers’ call for more inclusivity, and are coming up with a newer, more positive vocabulary to address their audience.
“78% of men and women agree that the media holds women to unrealistic beauty standards. YouGov, 2017
Publication Allure announced last summer that it would no longer use the term “anti-aging,” citing, “Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is
Choose brand ambassadors who embrace a critical POV — and allow them to speak to this perspective freely.
a condition we need to battle.”
Miss America drops the swimsuit segment of its pageant (Highsnobiety, 2018), with the statement: “We are no longer a pageant. Miss America will represent a new generation of female leaders focused on scholarship, social impact, talent and empowerment.”
Dove Men+Care describes its mission: “Dove Men+Care celebrates a new definition of strength: one with care at its center. Because Dove Men+Care believes that care makes a man stronger.”
A beautiful cause
Acknowledge the harm that the beauty industry has done on the collective psyche from new angles — and express creative solutions to this problem.
In her 2015 video “You Look Disgusting,” beauty influencer @paleskinblog bares her acne as well as the criticism she’s received for it on social media — the post has been viewed over 28M times.
Find your brand’s purpose, and support causes that relate to the impact your company is trying to make on the world.
The world’s most beautiful people are rejecting classical beauty norms — with American A-list celebrities using their
Show it off
promote causes most important to them.
“85% of Americans took part in some form of activism in the past year. Adweek, 2018
The Lipslut makeup line launched in 2017 — its first ever product was named “F*ck Trump.” The brand donates 50% of its proceeds to charitable organizations promoting women’s rights. Refinery29, 2018.
Skincare brand Beautycounter organized a march on Washington to protest the use of chemicals in everyday beauty products such as shampoo, lotion and deodorant. Fast Company, 2018
What actions to take
People use their purchasing power to protest issues that matter to them. Brands in turn use their social capital to
Thus far, we’ve outlined three trends that differ in many regards, but in one way are similar: each strives toward a body-positive moment in which the individual has agency to appear in whichever way, shape or form that they desire. This last archetype undermines the idea that body positivity is the new normal. Overall, plastic surgery procedures have increased in the US by 115% since the turn of the new millennium, as well as increases around the world. With Instagram’s surge in growth came a wave of Photoshop-style apps that allow users to retouch their images. But this archetype cannot be debased as passé — rather, it encompasses the rather brutal view that the conception of what is attractive comes from our larger societal bodies, and perhaps even our unconscious. The pursuit of idealized beauty is not baseless: it runs adjacent to the pursuit of power, achievement and ultimately, self-fulfillment.
Photo credit: Hadis Safari
Read more about this trend in “Our Social Self ” on page 66.
Facetune, an app that allows users to easily photoshop their images, has been the #1 downloaded app in the iOS App Store for 1.5K days in the past 8 years — second only to Minecraft in the paid app category.
Snapchat’s free desktop app Lens Studio allows users to create their own filters — since its launch in winter 2017, users have uploaded over 100K new lenses. The Verge, 2018
American app Music.ly and Chinese app TikTok are merging — these hugely popular platforms allow users to create and edit short video content and upload it to a global stage. Fast Company, 2018
Offer experiences that make consumers feel luxurious and powerful.
New apps make it easier and more fun for users to retouch photos of themselves — either after it’s taken or in real time.
Plastic surgery is a growing industry — men, women, young and old are turning to cosmetic procedure at increasing rates. These procedures can almost be seen as an extreme form of self-care, giving younger consumers the means to “preserve” their appearance.
Kylie Jenner, of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and 107M Instagram followers, spoke out about getting lip fillers at the age of 17. The Sun, 2017
“Preventative Botox” is becoming increasingly mainstream, with young women and men opting to get the treatment to prevent the formation of wrinkles before it happens. The “nonsurgical nose job” is another procedure that has blown
42% of Korean women ages 21 to 55 have had either Botox or filler injections.
up in recent years. Harper’s Bazaar, 2018
New York Times, 2017
In South Korea, procedures such as eye enlargement, nose augmentation and contouring are especially popular among men. TBWA\Backslash, 2018
Pretty privilege It’s a sad truth that conventionally attractive people have advantages in life. Individuals and institutions are addressing
Handsome men earn, on average, 5% more than their less-attractive counterparts. Good-looking women earn 4% more. Newsweek, 2010
this privilege, and questioning how we can move forward.
Leverage the platforms that people are using to express their “social self,” such as branded Instagram and Snapchat filters.
In Brazil, the government subsidizes nearly half a million cosmetic surgeries every year. Patients are thought of as having the “right to beauty.” Quartzy, 2018 TV host Janet Mocks wrote in Allure: “People with privilege do not want to discuss their privilege — whether it’s privilege derived from whiteness, straightness, cisness. But we must acknowledge our privilege if we are to dismantle these systems and hierarchies. We have to be honest, and I’ll start with myself: I am pretty and I benefit from my looks.” Allure, 2017
What actions to take
56% of facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in cosmetic surgery or injectables with patients under 30 years old in America.
Surgery has no age or gender
Give consumers tools to “look their best” with technologies like augmented reality (AR) and smart mirrors.
Sensor Tower, 2018
The Make-up of Beauty A look at the wild world of cosmetic ingredients
The Body Shop was founded in 1976 by Anita Roddick. The inspiration was a small shop in Berkeley, California, selling naturally scented soaps and lotions, and employing immigrant women from countries that Anita visited on her many travels around the globe. With a vision to sell products with natural, ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients, The Body Shop grew quickly and blossomed into a movement toward social and environmental causes, including a campaign to raise self-esteem in women. The Body Shop was before its time and kicked off an obsession with all things natural for many that continues to grow by generation. The world has gotten decidedly more complex, well-traveled, healthier, wealthier, and age and beauty obsessed, although the definition of the latter has broadened significantly given campaigns such as Dove Real Beauty and spokespeople such as model Winnie Harlow. Consumers around the globe are creating their own definitions of beauty which look beyond age, gender and body type, and they donâ€™t just want to look good, they want to feel good too.
The consumer’s concern about what goes
was worth US$22.89 billion in 2016 and is
onto their body as well as into their body
expected to rise at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2017
has become more acute. It’s as much about
to 2025, increasing to US$33.8 billion by the
what’s not in a product as what is. The
end of 2025. Asia Pacific is set to lead growth
presence of parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde,
— the region accounted for US$7.33 billion
hydroquinone, phthalates, animal products
(32%) of the 2016 total, ahead of Europe
and allergens, all factor into evolving
which came in second, and North America
consumer demands. Brands labeled with the
third (Transparency Market Research [TMR]
new “Clean at Sephora” sticker will be free
from these and other sketchy ingredients. Increasingly stringent government rules on
According to TMR, the strengthening
allowable ingredients may also rein in some of
economy of Asian countries has increased
the sector’s less reputable operators.
the disposable income of Asian consumers. With the increasing purchasing power,
Interestingly, governments in the European
consumers are willing to spend on high-end
Union and Canada have banned upward
expensive cosmetics. China has surfaced as
of 1,300 ingredients from use in cosmetics,
the most prominent for ingredients thanks
whereas the US has banned only 11, leaving
to the presence of a large pool of cosmetics
consumers to fend for themselves when it
manufacturers and the availability of low-cost
comes to vetting product safety (“10 US
Cosmetic Ingredients Banned in Other Countries — Are Beauty Chemicals Safe?”
Alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxyl acids and
talc are some of the examples of commonly used cosmetic ingredients. Among all these
The US, however, is more stringent on
product types, surfactants are expected to hold
cosmetic products with certain medicinal
the market dominance throughout the forecast
effects, requiring extra regulatory hurdles
period, however, conditioning polymers
because they are classified as drugs. Some of
are projected to grow at the highest CAGR
these substances include sunscreens, anti-
between 2015 and 2025.
caries toothpastes, and lip balms. Even though color additives are not classified as over-the-
The cosmetic ingredient market is highly
counter drug actives, they are also subject to
regulated in Europe. Manufacturers need
more regulatory scrutiny in the US than in
to prove and document the safety and
Europe (Cosmeticsinfo.org, 2018).
efficacy of product, and show good practice in terms of supply chain, processing, use,
The global market for cosmetic ingredients has
availability, Corporate Social Responsibility
been growing at a steady pace. The pursuit
and traceability. Ingredients buyers also have
of beauty with increasing consciousness of
increasing demands, especially in terms of
physical appearance, rising awareness of
traceability and sustainability. In addition
skin health and growing interest in anti-aging
to that, European legal requirements make
formulations has fueled the demand.
gaining entry to the market harder every day.
The global cosmetic ingredients market
China, India and ASEAN countries are the key regions driving the cosmetic ingredients market in Asia-Pacific. That said, there have been some new developments in recent months to more heavily regulate those markets as well. For example, earlier this year the Indian government announced a move to make animal ingredients disclosure mandatory for cosmetics packaging. Hot on the heels, Indonesia will become the second largest contributor to skin careâ€™s absolute growth, replacing the US in third place, according to Euromonitor International.
Photo Credit: Alexis Chloe
3. Hyaluronic Acid
In the last two years, the market has seen
Hyaluronic acid is actually a polysaccharide,
numerous launches of skincare products
a large sugar molecule. It’s naturally found
having probiotic ingredients. With more
within our bodies and it holds moisture in the
research suggesting that bacteria — including
spaces between the cells of our skin, helping
lactobacillus and bifidobacterium — are
it to stay plump, but as we age our body’s
beneficial to the skin, this genre is likely to
ability to produce it dwindles. So we’re seeing
grow in both topical and ingestible forms.
hyaluronic acid — as well as retinoids —
“Brands already have us rethinking traditional cleansing and skincare regimes and we expect this category to snowball as product innovation continues,” says Chrissy HiltonGee, senior beauty researcher at trendstop.com.
2. Ingestible beauty goes mainstream While topical treatment is here to stay, there’s a new realization that ingestible skincare has a place in our daily regimens — not the usual supplements such as vitamins, but rather ingestibles that contain skin heroes such as collagen, hyaluronic acid and antioxidant powerhouses (Byrdie.com, 2018).
WHAT’S NEW? 10 TRENDS
1. FRIENDLY BACTERIA
taking the skincare industry by storm because of their powerful anti-aging properties. These help in treating issues such as wrinkles, scars, acne and sun damage, and are very popular in the cosmeceuticals market.
4. Weed allure Products infused with CBD oil are rapidly becoming the product du jour. Derived from the hemp plant, a cousin to marijuana, CBD boasts a number of skin benefits because it’s rich in fatty acids and natural emollients that can help hydrate and smooth the skin. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital, CBD oil is similar to other oils that are often used on skin (olive,
Photo Credit: Biossance
avocado and almond) so it works well on dry skin as a moisturizer and can also be helpful in treating conditions such as eczema (“11 CBD-Oil Products for the Budding Weed Beauty Lover”, Elle, 2018).
5. Biotech beauty Mintel predicts that the beauty and personal care market will experience a fundamental shift during 2018, navigating the conflicting demands of the naturals-hungry consumer with shrinking natural resources by harnessing biotech advantages to create a new generation of enhanced natural product (Mintel Reports, 2017). Take for example squalane. The human body produces its own version, known as squalene, but the amount made and retained in the skin decreases over time. It peaks in our teens and then starts to decline in our 20s, leaving skin rough, dry and vulnerable. Squalene is also found in shark liver but harvesting from sharks isn’t sustainable and overall has a devasting environmental impact. Another widely used source is from olives but the quality depends on weather and crop growth and can therefore be unreliable. Amyris bio-produces a version of squalene from 100% plant-based, renewable sugarcane, which is bio-fermented to create a beautiful end result — highly stable, totally sustainable squalane in an eco-friendly way.
6. Plant stem cell advancement While stem cells aren’t exactly new to
“From the start we saw amazing clinical
skincare, plant stem cells (a vegan alternative)
results from using fruit stem cells in
are set to catch fire. According to Catie Wiggy
combination with antioxidant-rich grape and
of MyChelle Dermaceuticals, “One exciting
Vitamin C in our product,” says Mimi Lu of
area of research is how plant stem cells can be
Juice Beauty. “Not only is plant stem cell
used to target skin problems such as wrinkles,
production sustainable through biotechnology,
visible capillaries and sun damage.” Since
but there are a lot of great clinical studies
all areas of the body contain stem cells that
showing the efficacy of these ingredients and
are in a constant state of renewal, Catie says
how they help improve the vitality of skin”
using products with plant stem cells can help
(“Beauty Ingredients”, totalbeauty.com,
replace the lost and dying cells caused when
the skin endures damage. Photo credit: Ronke Lawal
7. Superfood skincare Given how concerned we are about what we’re putting into our bodies, it was only a matter of time before the beauty industry started to align our bathroom cabinets with those in our kitchens. Expect to see skincare ingredients including
8. Locally sourced Ingredients / From Farm to Face Growing one’s own ingredients, harvesting them only when ripe, making the formulas in situ and in a short timeframe is one direction for natural (Nature Beauty Report for Cosmetic Executive Women, Peclers Paris, Fall Winter, ‘19/20). Equally, locally sourced is increasing in popularity. Take for example Haeckels from Margate, England. From the company’s clifftop lab, it distills and uses only locally growing botanicals, and its star ingredient is hand-harvested seaweed from Margate’s own 14-mile long Jurassic chalk reef. Holding one of only two licenses in England to harvest seaweed from the English coast, Haeckels takes pride in caring for the coastline, utilizing its natural bounty of botanicals and harnessing the powerful antioxidant properties they offer, inspired by the Greek tradition of Thalassotherapy, which uses water, seaweed, ocean mud and marine minerals to replenish and revitalize body and mind. Another company in this space is Farmacy. Its skincare line features a potent plant called Echinacea GreenEnvy™, which was first discovered growing in the wild in upstate New York. This plant, which is patented and exclusive to Farmacy, has 300% more natural antioxidants in its roots than regular echinacea — and it’s the superhero plant that kick-started Farmacy. Its founders claim to work with local farmers to ensure that its key ingredients remain potent and are cultivated in a way that’s good for the planet. They partner with Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Pennsylvania and Patent Wall Organic Farm in the Catskills to cultivate its Echinacea GreenEnvy™.
Photo credit: Anthony Tran
algae, moringa and kale (“The 2017 skincare trends you need to have on your radar”, The Telegraph, 2016).
9. Plumping ingredients
10. Transformative textures
Water tends to be a key ingredient in most
The term ‘K-beauty’ (Korean-inspired beauty) has
products, of course, the focus is more fully on
been around for a couple of years and Asia will
hydration. ‘Products will utilize water-based
continue to influence global beauty trends. Next
ingredients and jelly textures to provide ultra-
year, it will all be about products that change texture
light, breathable finishes,’ says Hilton-Gee.
as you use them: increasingly, we’re after skincare
After all, the more hydrated your skin is, the
that surprises our senses. “You can expect materials
plumper, firmer and more radiant it looks
that build intrigue,” explains Hilton-Gee. “It’s not just
(“The 2017 skincare trends you need to have
about the product itself, but the whole experience”
on your radar”, The Telegraph, 2016).
(“The 2017 skincare trends you need to have on your radar”, The Telegraph, 2016). Meanwhile, personalization is set to reach new
From farm to face
heights as brands strive to embrace total inclusivity. When it comes to ethics, it will be imperative for brands to have a personality that is genuine and a viewpoint that clearly communicates their positioning. Finally, “developments in biometric monitoring will see brands drive unprecedented customization of the shopping experience” (Mintel Reports, 2017).
A newcomer’s perspective on the biology of beauty and going clean without compromise An interview with Caroline Hadfield, president of Biossance We recently connected with Caroline Hadfield, president of Biossance, at a pop-up event at Heyday skincare salon in SoHo, NYC. We asked her about being a newcomer in the ever-changing beauty market and how her company Biossance is making the most of beauty trends.
Congrats on the promotion to president! How has your new role been over the past couple of months? It’s changed a bit because [Biossance] is in a rapid growth mode. We are bringing more people into the executive team, really allowing me to concentrate on where we are going with clean. Clean isn’t a trend anymore, it’s actually the new normal.
What initially drew you to join the Biossance team? When I joined Amyris I was managing the B2B business, we had started an experiment of making squalane and were looking to see if we could cause more disruption [with] their technology and sustainability as a company, by building out a direct to consumer range. So in 2016, we did a lot of experimentation and worked on building the equity of a brand that was clean, with no compromise. And we built up our unique position with the blacklist.
That’s right, Biossance has a long black list… much longer than anyone else’s. Yes... and brands who we like to work with — like Beautycounter and Drunk Elephant — have all recognized the issues [with] the 1,500 ingredients banned in Europe, but in the US, it’s only 11.
You have helped work to expand the business into Brazil and Canada this year. How has that been? Any major differences from launching in the US? Interestingly, in Brazil in 2016 they had just shifted their focus to banning 1,100 ingredients — so by us going to Brazil we were really fulfilling, not a trend, but a want from consumers of clean, efficacious and clinically proven skincare.
And with the consumers, any differences there? Particularly in Brazil their skin need are slightly different. With the humidity and the heat, they shower two or three times a day. So, they were a bit skeptical of how people would respond to facial oils. But our vitamin C facial oil and our eye gel are the number one products there. The other thing they love, because of the humidity, is the squalane mist. So, I think that’s going to be enormous for us.
Right now, you are using your relationship with Sephora to expand into new markets and retailers like JCPenney. You also have a strong e-commerce presence with your website and on Amazon — what next? Back in May we had a Biossance “Clean Beauty Bus” and we brought it to New York and Toronto. Then we took it to Dallas to the HQ of JCPenney, because we really felt we needed to immerse them in clean beauty, and give them an understanding of the blacklist, and the transparency of our formulations.
We don’t see much traditional advertising coming from Biossance like you see from traditional beauty brands. Why do you think businesses like yours are making such a successful impact in the market? In the beginning as a brand we were quite scrappy because we were an experiment and we didn’t have a marketing budget. So, we spent time working organically with influencers, and people like Katie Deno [the celebrity makeup artist who only works in clean color] on education. But there has been a real shift in the last 18 months of the big brands realizing it’s not about paying millions to do a page in a magazine for a product launch — it’s about transparency and education. It’s not about airbrushing and making it look so amazing, everyone is individual. In fact, it’s the transparency aspect of skincare and beauty that has become very strong.
Because of education initiatives that you are focusing on, and as more of the population is focusing on what actually goes into beauty products; how do you see the beauty industry changing in the US over the next 5-10 years? I think there is the want and the need for beauty and skincare that is good for the body and also good for the environment. It’s going to be the new norm. You’re already seeing certain brands who have held their own… Drunk Elephant has done a great job, and they have been going since 2012, and also Gregg Renfrew [CEO of] Beautycounter. They are all making real traction. Companies can’t just change what they say, they have to change the ingredients, because people are reading, and they are now educated.
Biossance recently released a sunscreen — not necessarily always considered a beauty product — what was the inspiration for this? I think it’s personal care. I actually think that the whole category of personal care is where the growth is going to happen. At the end of 2019, you’ve got an ingredient called isohexadecane, D5 and D4, that is used in most cleansing products — and it washes off. The market has all these flash ingredients, cleansers for your face or for shower gel, which are not sticking on your skin and just flashing off into the water. There is a lot of work going into stopping these ingredients for environmental reasons as well as skincare reasons.
As more products come out that blur the lines between health and beauty, like the Lumify eye drops, what challenges, if any, does this bring for traditional beauty brands? To me it’s about how factually right people are being. I can buy an ingredient from an ingredient company — and unless you test it — they might say it’s “X” but it could have other things in it. Like when they banned shark squalene in 2009 there was so much of it that they were blending it with olive squalene.
Read more about Squalane in “The Make-up of Beauty” on page 29.
I think it’s all about people really walking the walk and not saying they’re doing it and actually finding ingredients in there that they shouldn’t have included. And I really don’t like claims, unless they have got clinical support. If you notice on our copy, we try not to say anything that is so far-reaching that it loses authenticity.
One last question. Any new Biossance products coming out that we should keep an eye out for? We’ve just done a soft launch and released the clean deodorant, and we’re not using baking soda or coconut oil. It was launched in Sephora at the end of July 2018.
Photo Credit: Fluide
Beauty brands are searching for solid ground when it comes to the shifting definitions of gender. The subject of gender has dominated the zeitgeist over the past few years, in large part due to the spectrum of opinions it reveals. Men, women, cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, agender, two-spirit — our vocabulary is growing and the rules are changing. This change has led to fervent debate in various parts of society, but it’s especially interesting to see how the beauty industry is reacting. Different voices and stories are coming to the fore, creating a cultural shift toward gender inclusivity. And the consumer marketplace is reacting: in its 2018 Global Trends report, Mintel predicts that “brands will embrace inclusivity by looking beyond age, gender, sexuality, and body type.” The beauty sector seems to have its finger on the pulse and is proving keen to court these new, emerging audiences. More and more brands are offering gender fluid persons a seat at the table, but are they really listening to what the members of these diverse communities have to say? The beauty market is recognizing the opportunity in appealing to the LGBTQIAA community. After all, this group of people has a purchasing power of around a trillion dollars in the US alone (Forbes, 2018). And while brands vocalize support through visibility in marketing, and attempt to define their purpose as they align their values with those of this new audience, is it really authentic? Is there a risk that people might take offense and find themselves feeling as if they’re seeing the mechanics of queer-baiting and tokenism at work?
here are clear parallels between gender visibility and the historical lack of racial
representation in marketing. Take Rihanna’s makeup line. Fenty Beauty launched
in 2017 and immediately sent shockwaves through the industry. The celebrity-
turned-CEO has been applauded for both the quality of the product as well as the
inclusive nature of the brand itself — making headlines with 40 shades of foundation for a diverse pool of skin tones. However, after the launch of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna was asked why she did not use trans women in the marketing campaign that was praised for its inclusive approach to the shape, size and color of its consumers. She responded, “I don’t think it’s fair that a trans woman, or man, be used as a convenient marketing tool! Too often I see companies doing this to trans and black women alike! There’s always just that one spot in the campaign for the token ‘we look mad diverse’ girl/guy! It’s sad!” The response was met with polarizing reactions. Some praised her response as a clarification on true inclusivity, others relegated it to smart marketing. One makeup artist responded, “Rihanna’s point is true where you don’t know who is trans, that’s a very personal question. But what I think that commenter is trying to say is that [Rihanna’s] not making it clear that this is for everyone” (The Cut, 2017). Gender-nonconforming individuals are now facing the same quandary faced by gay, lesbian and all people of color when it comes to visibility. Is an inclusive ad campaign enough? And how are some companies moving away from visibility and heading for authentic inclusivity?
Photo credit: Fluide
G E N D E R N E U T R A L I T Y
ne way that brands are thinking about this question
of “inclusivity” is by marketing “gender-neutral”
products — products created without a specific gender
target in mind. Rather than the heavily gendered stereotypes of pink packaging for her, and “For Men” written in bold blues and grays for the guys, the genderless brands are presenting
An interesting starting point is in biology. Do men, women and queer people really have different beauty and makeup needs when it comes to the formulation of the products? Dr. Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Harley Street’s Skin55, says that while male and female skin do develop biological differences at puberty, gender-specific skincare and cosmetics are not the answer (The Independent, 2018). While Mahto noted distinct differences in male and female skin types (men have 20% thicker skin and more hair follicles), she revealed that the best way to approach skincare is not by gender, but rather on individual skin type. “I always recommend a skincare plan tailored to each individual based on their needs and the best ingredients or treatments for a particular issue.” This insight into the unique construct of all skin types, regardless of gender, has permitted brands to design and formulate products that serve the entire spectrum. Panacea is one company employing a gender-neutral strategy. This K-Beauty – inspired skincare brand was launched late last year by Korean American co-founder and CEO, Terry Lee. In a discussion around the trend of blurring gender lines, Lee says, “Our goal is to understand this shift and how it impacts culture on an intimate level. It’s a balance between understanding and embracing where culture is headed while maintaining brand integrity and being consistent in the values we stand for” (Fashionista, 2018). When launching Panacea, Lee aimed to break down the stigma that beauty is confined to a specific group of people. This is most visible in the visual identity of the brand, which is both accessible and approachable, with warm photography, an inviting neutral palette of soft tints, and minimal design elements on the packaging.
Photo Credit: Fluide
themselves in more unique ways.
P E R S O N A L I Z E D
P R O D U C T S ?
nother approach to marketing products with inclusivity
in mind is to be more direct in speaking to a wider
audience of various gender identities and expressions.
Fluide is a brand that speaks to gender in a very different way. Its mission statement reads: “Fluide is where we meet our irreverent, otherworldly selves, an irresistible future where radical inventiveness & queer kinship thrive. To us, beauty is malleable, political, powerful, play. We are they. We are them. We are you. We are Fluide.” This purpose and sentiment is mirrored in the brand’s visual exterior — using bold colors, dynamic shades of makeup, vibrant contrasts and an outward confidence that jumps off the page. Co-founder and Creative Director Isabella Giancarlo described: “It was important to showcase and celebrate the self-expression of people of all gender expressions and identities — and continue to work to represent an inclusive and expansive definition of beauty” (Teen Vogue, 2018). We’re seeing that fresh perspectives are being brought to the table, and Fluide is empowering individuals to not only take a seat, but to have a voice and discuss beauty, identity and selfhood. Another exciting brand worth noting is England–based, unisex makeup company JECCA. With its simple mantra, #MakeupHasNoGender, JECCA is undoubtedly helping to democratize the industry. Makeup artist and founder Jessica Blackler, who herself is a Stonewall Ambassador, says that her brand “overlooks gender and celebrates individuality” (HuffPost, 2018). Blackler created the brand after recognizing the lack of makeup services catering to the trans community. Now at only age 22, she has launched a brand that has the attention of some true beauty heavyweights. This summer, Blackler met leaders from brands like L’Oréal Paris, The Body Shop and Yves Saint Laurent to offer advice on bringing genderless makeup to the masses (Forbes, 2018). Blacker says
Photo credit: PANACEA
that she hopes “to break down the stigma around makeup and the discrimination the LGBT community face[s].”
W A R
P A I N T
ew marketing tactics and an expanding cast of distinctly different newcomers
are now pushing the industry to be more inclusive by nature, but there are
broader conversations happening too — ones that go far beyond representation
and advertising alone.
Beauty, makeup and skincare have always held a certain power in allowing women to represent themselves in unique and personal ways. For trans, nonbinary, and gendernonconforming individuals, the industry is confronting a complex challenge. Beauty can be a rite of passage — a confirmation of identity, but beyond that, and perhaps most importantly, beauty and makeup can be about safety and protection. Some trans persons’ stories are deeply intimate and personal — and for some, their relationship with makeup aligns closely with their conception of self. One woman, Aaryn Lang, described the power, energy and confidence makeup gave her as a trans woman. Lang says, “Makeup is war paint — that’s how I think about it now. It paints a very pretty picture, but it also gives the wearer energy and confidence” (Refinery29, 2016). When applying eyeliner during her morning beauty ritual, Riley Silverman, who also identifies as trans, similarly describes her makeup as war paint — armor against the outside world (Racked, 2017). Both Lang and Silverman use makeup as a way to affirm their identities, and live as themselves. But the potential power of beauty also has an impact on how both women are perceived in society, and whether other individuals respect their identities.
Transfeminine and nonbinary visibility in the mainstream is also on the rise. From bathroom bills and military bans, to groundbreaking television shows, such as Amazon’s Transparent, and POSE on FX — we’re seeing an increased awareness, as well as an overdue uptick in positive representation. But has this visibility permeated into authentic inclusivity? According to a GLAAD report, 2018 is already on track to become the deadliest year for transgender people in the US. Trans women of color are still at the highest risk of being victims of violence and discrimination. Between 2013 and 2017, over 75% of transgender people killed were black or African American (Fast Company, 2017). If brands are seeking loyalty and want to speak authentically to marginalized audiences like trans women, offering support beyond marketing campaigns is a strong step forward. Some brands, for example Fluide and JECCA, help the cause by donating to organizations that support the trans community. Fluide gives a percentage of its proceeds to LGBTQ organizations such as Callen-Lorde, a global leader in LGBTQ healthcare, and The Sylvia
Rivera Law Project, which works to improve access to social, health and legal services for low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming (Bustle, 2018). JECCA donates to Stonewall, a UK–based charity for LGBT rights. Others have taken it upon themselves to create innovative programs that speak to the trans experience
in new ways. In June 2018, Sephora launched Classes for Confidence, a free initiative that offers in-person, 90-minute makeup and skincare tutorials, hosted in over 150 stores. One class, “Bold Beauty for the Transgender Community,” was developed and often led by transgender or nonbinary employees, and focused on skincare and makeup tips specifically designed for gender-fluid and trans customers. Dominique Anderson, a color consultant says, “I want to instill confidence in my clients so that when they walk out of Sephora, they feel comfortable letting the world know who they are” (Mic, 2018). The Classes for Confidence was a huge success, reaching over 8,500 people in over 850 classes nationwide. On top of that, 83% of participants reported increased confidence after attending. Milk Makeup is another brand that’s doing more than just providing the tools for self-expression.
Being no stranger to pushing boundaries when it comes to gender, its 2017 #BlurTheLines campaign celebrated gender fluidity by featuring seven very different spokespeople from all across the gender spectrum, united by their ability to blur the lines of what gender means by using beauty and makeup (Glamour, 2017). Milk took another step in the right direction in June of this year by launching a “Pride” collection, in what co-founder Georgie Greville describes as a “beautiful celebration of the power of self-actualization.” The brand donated 50% of all its proceeds from the collection to The Center, an organization that provides health and wellness programs for the LGBTQ community in NYC (Bustle, 2018). The contributions and initiatives from brands like Sephora and Milk Makeup showcase the power these brands have to make a real difference in people’s lives. Savvy brands may choose to extend such initiatives beyond simple marketing exercises. The real impact could come from not simply “checking off” diversity, but embracing it as a core business strategy.
Right now, the stakes are higher than just profits in the beauty industry. It is certainly a complex, sensitive
marketing, particularly for audiences that have been so often marginalized. Brands are taking new,
beginning to see positive returns on their efforts. Companies are becoming more personable and honest, defining their positioning and showcasing their purpose to align with their consumersâ€™ own values in the greater world. Whether it be from charitable initiatives or broader social programs, the beauty industry is starting to take strides toward speaking to all gender expressions and identities. The spectrum has always existed, and the industry is finally starting to see the beauty.
Photo credit: Ahmed Carter
Muslim women make up a huge percentage of market share globally and brands are taking notice of their purchasing habits
Like many other trends in the beauty space, “halal-
certified” products have burst on the scene quickly
and grabbed the attention of the influencer community
and brands alike. But unlike many other trends, they
seem to have genuine staying power. This is likely due to the fact that halal products serve a real, practical, unmet need in the beauty market. Practicing Muslims need products that allow them to combine their religious observance with their desire to participate in current beauty trends. This intersection is part of a much wider cultural conversation going on about the shifting definition of beauty and what that means within the context of different cultures. But for the purposes of this article, we will explore the implications it has for brands hoping to break into the Muslim market. To set the stage accurately, “halal-certified” products are manufactured within certain non-negotiable guidelines set out in Islamic law, specifically laying out what is acceptable for a practicing Muslim to consume. The certification not only applies to the products that bear the halal seal, but also the entire supply chain behind the products and each constituent ingredient within them. Simply stated, halal products must not contain any animal products or alcohol — these items are considered haram, which means “forbidden” in Arabic, the opposite of halal. Because most if not all beauty products ultimately go on or in us, a huge percentage of Muslim consumers were being largely left out of the beauty space and reduced to compromising their religious observance or left unable to express themselves in the ways they wanted. A prime example of this is the use of nail polish. Muslim women must perform Wudu before praying five times each day. Part of this process requires that water touch the surface of the nail for the ritual to be done properly and completely. It’s pretty obvious that this makes wearing nail polish a problem for Muslims.
Orly answered this challenge in May when they collaborated
with MuslimGirl.com to release a water/oxygen permeable
nail polish called #HalalPaint allowing Muslim women to
enjoy six shades of breathable nail polish and still observe a compulsory pillar of their faith. The market responded, and it’s clear that at least some brands are taking notice of this opportunity. MuslimGirl.com founder Amani Al-Khatahbeh told Refinery29, “The beauty industry is responding to this, responding to us, and making way for us. It’s an important moment to be a part of.” It is still early days however, there is a certain level of complexity that goes along with getting halal beauty products right. Brands hoping to serve this growing market will need to focus on the details and the unique requirements of Muslim culture, while still making products that can compete on a global level as far as creativity, quality and availability goes. There are a few practical reasons why the emergence of halal products didn’t come sooner. On the production and ingredients side of the equation there are a few main hurdles for any brand to overcome. To achieve halal certification, brands must track their products from the harvesting of the raw ingredient all the way to the placement on the shelf to ensure purity, quality and adherence to Sharia law. This can be a massive undertaking and take years to achieve. You might wonder, “Isn’t that just the same as vegan or organic products?” The short answer is “no.” While halal-certified products must indeed be cruelty-free and exclude alcohol and animal products, there are still unique requirements that prevent brands from simply slapping another label on their vegan or organic products. While many companies make vegan and organic products that occasionally meet the needs of Muslim consumers, up until just a few years ago, virtually no brands were making beauty products specifically formulated from start to finish with halal guidelines in mind. There are also significant cultural hurdles for any new brand in the space to overcome, particularly ones that aren’t founded or led by Muslims. The place where external beauty trends and religious observance converge can produce some uncomfortable conundrums. Those situations require a cultural sensitivity and understanding that doesn’t always come instinctually to nonMuslims. For any brand to be successful at this stage in the development of the halal cosmetics market, they must be authentic — and that authenticity requires authentic Muslim voices in the creation process.
Photo credit: Rendiansyah Nugroho
I spoke to one of those voices, the founder and CEO of Amara Cosmetics to get some deeper insights on this new category of cosmetics and what it means for brands hoping to break into the market and connect with a new generation of Muslim consumers. After studying accounting and business, Shamalia Mohamed ran a successful clothing business in California. She recognized a need among her friends and customers and acted on her vision to create a brand that served the needs of Muslim consumers across the US.
When I introduced Amara Halal Cosmetics, people looked at me as if I was trying to do this to make money... out of the concept. But in actuality, halal cosmetics have opened up a new avenue for manufacturers, as well as retailers, to be able to sell more products to the growing Muslim market.
Thanks to brands such as Amara Cosmetics, the first major halalcertified cosmetics manufacturer in the US, Muslim women around the globe are finding new ways to combine religious observance with participation in fashion and beauty trends. 49
With Muslims making up
more than 23% of the global
population (PewResearch, 2018), the growth potential is huge, but as Shamalia rightly points out, the “halal cosmetics concept is fairly new in market,” and there are still many obstacles for the up- and-coming brand to overcome. She emphasized the preference many young consumers have for healthier products and sees the increasing demand for organic and vegan products as complementary to her cause rather than competition. She characterizes her typical customers as “educated, young, modest and fashionable Muslim girls who are looking for products that abide with their religious value and are healthy and environmentally clean.” Millions of Muslim women fit this description and are currently enjoying halal beauty products everywhere — the evidence is in the numbers. Right now, halal beauty products make up a $16 billion market, and are predicted to grow to a $50 billion market by 2025 (Grand View Research, 2018). While the lion’s share of growth in this sector is coming from Asia, the US and UK are also major hubs for Muslims and emerging cultural trends — the market is growing every day. Right now the market is heavily influenced by Muslim makeup artists that are already recognized globally, such as, Irene Khan, Nura Afia and Laiba Zaid. Because of the trust issue, leaning on the cultural capital of influencers has been a tried-and-true method for brands making entrée into the halal beauty market. While a few major brands such as Shiseido and Estée Lauder have some halal-certified products for sale abroad, widespread, global adoption has yet to fully catch on and the industry is still dominated by niche companies. A significant opportunity remains for a major cosmetics player to bring the halal beauty section to your local pharmacy or department store.
However, in the absence of halal cosmetics aisles in traditional brick and mortar shops, online shops such as Prettysuci are filling the void by creating halal cosmetics portals that feature hundreds of products. The youth market seems to be a key area of growth as a new generation of less conservative Muslims enter the market. This interest among younger Muslim audiences, even in the West, seems to be forming organically. Shamalia commented, “I believe that anything new introduced in the market will take its time to be recognized fully, and that is exactly what I have experienced. But as the awareness [has] built up among young educated people on using halal products, we [now] get daily inquiries from ladies ages 18 and up on color cosmetics and nail polishes.” To tap into this market and achieve mainstream success, brands will need to appeal to that core audience — one that is young and mildly conservative, but they will also need to “target non-Muslim customers that are looking for natural and organic products” to really achieve maximum growth. So what can brands expect the halal landscape to look like in the years to come? A focus on quality, honesty and authenticity will be of great importance, along with a sensitivity to the unique needs of the Muslim community. As the market widens and new younger consumers seek cosmetics that suit their particular beliefs and lifestyles, brands can step in to fill those needs and help make new halal products commonplace in beauty aisles everywhere.
51 Photo credit: Brooke Cagle
A RADICAL MOVEMENT OR A MOTIVATOR FOR THE MAINSTREAM?
The concept of the zero-waste
switching to bamboo toothbrushes,
movement might at first seem
to larger changes in the way
absurd. The philosophy of this
they grocery shop and eat out at
group of people centers around
restaurants, buy clothing and
the idea of minimizing one’s
even bathe. To say the least,
garbage output to the point of
this lifestyle seems intense
nothing —— through recycling,
and all consuming.
reusing and refusing all products that can’t meet this standard
But in reflection of the growing
of living. Numerous videos on
concern for environmental impact,
YouTube show people pulling
it’s not a leap to suggest that
years-worth of garbage from one
this movement could spread to a
tiny mason jar, detailing the
more mainstream audience. The
exact circumstances that forced
general public is more aware than
them to purchase non-recyclable
ever about the destructive impact
plastics. Blogs listing the ways
of human existence on the planet
that this community avoids adding
—— and zero-waste is one solution
more waste to the planet —— from
that has emerged in this new
seemingly small choices, such as
A recent survey found that
45% OF AMERICANS WORRY “A GREAT DEAL” ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING, AND 68% BELIEVE THAT IT IS CAUSED BY HUMAN ACTIVITIES — THE HIGHEST RATE IN HISTORY. In March, a study published in
Scientific Reports showed that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has grown exponentially, with at least 79 thousand tonnes of ocean plastic floating inside an area of 1.6 million km2, making what multiple media sources are calling “plastic island” more than three times the size of France (Quartz, 2018).
In the context of the beauty market, brands are stepping
up in this arena. Terms such
as “plastic-free” and “vegan”
are the new normal for product
brand —— the itself
planet. “Social media
CONSCIOU NESS and
also to lowering toxins
“plastic-free” —— but through is committed
Guadagno points out that
education isn’t always enough
—— brands concerned about their impact on the environment
also consider consumer
from a practical perspective. He
goes on to say, “You
We spoke with Brian Guadagno,
but you’re also talking to
founder and CEO of Raw Elements,
to get his perspective on how
brands today are tackling the
look at sunscreen will
issue of human waste.
“THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT HAS BEEN AT THE CORE OF OUR MISSION SINCE THE BEGINNING,” GAUDAGNO EXPLAINS, “BUT IT WAS TOUGH COMMUNICATING THAT TO PEOPLE FIVE YEARS AGO.”
specific individual needs.” The idea
of ‘zero-waste,’ or any eco-friendly
order to reach a mass audience.” Brands
zero-waste extreme a
as work that
New definitions of masculinity are changing how brands advertise to men
s the consumer’s conception of masculinity changes, the way brands advertise to men must change as well. A significant shift has begun as brands move toward focusing in on a clear "purpose" and try to align with a new generation of consumers. This shift has also pushed brands to figure out how to be an active part of their consumers' changing mindset. As the industry evolves, brands that advertise to men are still trying to understand how to stay relevant in this transformative time. You can see this transformation reflected in the successful advertising campaigns run by leading men’s "beauty" brands such as Dove Men+Care and Harry’s. These brands aren’t just portraying men through physical attributes such as strength, but instead they’re focusing on more personal attributes such as strength of character. In fact, even calling the category "men’s beauty" marks a significant shift in society’s evolving views.
Men’s health could just as easily be considered a beauty regimen
Photo credit: Jakob Owens
Many men think about shaving, skincare, hair and even fitness routines as "men’s health" and some don’t connect these topics with "beauty" at all. But that’s not to say men don’t want to be beautiful or take care of their bodies. Depending on where you live, what media you consume and many other variables, what one man views as "men’s health" could just as easily be considered a "beauty regimen" by another. The nomenclature is just semantics, but it is representative of the larger conversation going on in our society about changing views on masculinity — it’s not cut and dry. Caroline Hadfield, president of Biossance, a cosmetic ingredients manufacturer, expressed great enthusiasm about this fluid, expanding definition and said, "The whole category of care and personal care, to me, is where the growth is going to happen." The simple fact is that today our views on masculinity are ever-shifting. As men are given more permission to take an interest in their outward appearance and are better able to use products that traditionally wouldn’t have been marketed to them, more and more men are looking for products to enhance their appearance. Brands advertising to men in this space need to appeal to different parts of the spectrum to successfully reach the largest audience possible and stay relevant.
Dove launched their Dove Men+Care brand in 2010 and by 2014 embarked on a global research study, "Care Makes a Man Stronger" with Dr. Michael Kimmel, a sociologist and masculinity expert. They set out to understand how men view other men and the role of men’s health in our society and found that 93% of men don’t relate to the way media depicts masculinity. This realization became the key insight for their entire campaign. Dr. Kimmel’s take on the study was “the core of masculinity today is rooted in [a man’s] strength of character. Traits like integrity, authenticity, and how he cares for himself and those around him are integral to how a man perceives his own masculinity today — versus physical strength, power, and affluence that prior generations may have prioritized.”
of men don’t relate to the way media depicts masculinity Building on this insight, Dove created several successful campaigns that focused on #RealStrength, highlighting character over physical attributes. The success of Dove’s campaigns since then have proven that at least some men relate to this new and more modern way Dove is portraying them in its advertising.
Photo credit: Conner Baker
There really aren’t any rules honestly… the truth is, there’s no one way to be a man
arry’s is another example of a company that is at the forefront of changing views on masculinity. Harry’s has been disrupting the men’s razor market in a major way. With 35% year-over-year growth, Harry’s is growing faster than its largest competitor (Dollar Shave Club) and three times faster than the industry average (Slice Intelligence Report, 2018). Its social mission is based around its “ambition to try and help guys navigate what it means to be a man today.” Earlier this year Harry’s partnered with The Representation Project, which fights gender stereotypes — together they created a short film called A Man Like You. The film tells the story of a boy trying to teach an alien the true meaning of manhood. Shaving as a manly act is woven into the story which ends with the boy telling the alien, “There really aren’t any rules honestly… the truth is, there’s no one way to be a man.” Harry’s doesn’t only sell razors, it sells a lifestyle where men don't need to fit in to outdated stereotypes.
Photo credit: Harry’s
Photo credit: Pablo Merchan-Montes
till some other brands, such as hims, are tackling more sensitive men’s topics such as erectile dysfunction and hair loss. "hims is a one-stop shop for men’s wellness and personal care providing medical grade solutions for men’s hair loss, ED, skin care, and more." hims is finding its own balance when talking to men about the new definition of masculinity. However, even while progress is clearly being made in society, some men are still understandably uncomfortable talking about these sensitive subjects out loud. hims is trying to break down the stereotypes further by saying that certain "male issues" aren’t weird, it’s not taking care of them that’s weird.
Not all brands have caught up with Harry’s, Dove’s or hims’ new and more enlightened views. Many are still using the "get-the-girl" messaging route, where they try to associate the use of its product with an increase in interest from women. Others still are playing on ancient physical representations of masculinity. Force Factor, a men’s supplement company, created an ad campaign and kicked off its TV commercial with the line: "What happened to the REAL MEN of America?" Is the adherence to these age-old views of masculinity limiting growth opportunities for brands?
The male grooming market is estimated to be worth
billion a year and is predicted to grow to
billion by 2024
A starting point for any brand hoping to stay relevant may be to adopt an ideology that enables them to participate in the evolving conversation. Brands that want to lead in this space will need to support men with a message that reinforces a more open and honest attitude and eschews dated and narrow definitions of masculinity. While some successful beauty brands have taken the comparatively extreme approach of taking gender out of the equation completely, what steps can more traditional brands take to keep pace with the changing times? Certainly, packaging products that were traditionally marketed to women in a less gender-specific way is one approach. Most men can relate to borrowing a partnerâ€™s concealer to cover up that zit on interview day, but would they have the confidence to venture into the beauty aisle to actually buy one for themselves? Brands such as Tom Ford are trying to change that and have created a concealer "for men" for just that occasion. Clinique has a menâ€™s face bronzer and Calvin Klein even makes "manscara." Canadian company Formen set out to provide a whole range of makeup products specifically for men in a market that has traditionally been dominated by products formulated and marketed to cisgender women. The market responded and Formen has seen 200% growth in online sales since its launch in 2015 (Formen, 2018). Still another approach is selling a lifestyle rather than simply a product. As men continue to become more interested in self-care products, the brands that make those products more accessible will see the most growth. The global male grooming market alone is estimated to be worth $21 billion a year and is predicted to grow to $29 billion by 2024 (Statista, 2018). An investment here seems worth the trouble for any brand hoping to stay relevant and grow its consumer base in the future. We may one day reach a place where all products are genderless, but for now giving men permission to be beautiful and to care for themselves is a strong first step in moving toward a menâ€™s beauty industry that can reach its full potential.
Is it the end of anti-aging or the beginning of manufactured perfection?
Photo credit: Craig Sybert
Where are the older influencers? Are 20 year olds with flawlessly smooth, glowing skin the best way to market every beauty product? For years, the answer seems to have been — obviously. Our accepted vision of beauty was driven by youth. But as consumers increasingly take control of defining beauty — looking beyond age, gender, skin and body type — beauty and cosmetics brands need to catch up to stay relevant with their marketing. Many brands have made a big push for better equality across gender, race, LGBTQ and people with disabilities in the past couple of years — but age diversity has lagged behind. If anything, the hype around targeting millennials made it worse. But now it seems that there could be a shift in emphasis. Speaking at Cannes in May on issues of diversity, Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer for Procter & Gamble, talked about its upcoming focus on age:
“We’ve done some good work on racial equality, but we need to do more. As a company, we’re now focusing not just on millennials but boomers as well. That’s the next area — the age portion is probably the next frontier. But we’ve got efforts in each of those areas. Watch this space.”
It’s promising talk from the world’s biggest advertiser. Age diversity in beauty and cosmetics has not yet pushed beyond older celebrities starring in campaigns for anti-aging products. It is a start, but for the beauty industry in particular, headline campaigns are a small part of a much wider and more complex ecosystem. Time will tell if these efforts filter down to influencers, vloggers and other online or social-based efforts to really engage the full age spectrum of its market.
A new era for anti-aging Last September, Helen Mirren was featured on the cover of Allure with the headline “the end of anti-aging — our call to the industry.” The magazine vowed never to print the term again, saying that the term reinforces an idea that age is something to be fought. The term anti-aging might be outdated, but the R&D focus of many leading beauty brands indicates there is still significant commercial potential. Consumers still want products claiming to either restore youthful appearances or prevent the signs of aging.
The global anti-aging market is estimated to grow 5.7% over the next five years, reaching a huge $66.2 billion by 2023. But that won’t just be skincare claiming to be effective after prolonged use — brands are increasingly investing in more immediate solutions.
In January, Japanese cosmetics brand Shiseido purchased US start-up Olivo Laboratories and its proprietary biomaterials technology, including its pioneering XPLTM “Second Skin” technology, for an undisclosed figure. While they aren’t saying how much they paid for it, they are less coy about how much they think its product based on the technology will be worth when they release it in 2020 — $87 million. The chemicals used are siloxanes, formed of one atom of oxygen linked to two atoms of silicon. Applied basically like a cream, the technology creates a breathable, flexible and nearly invisible artificial skin. That means you can cover bags, smooth wrinkles and gain the elasticity of youthful skin. A biomedical engineering professor at Columbia University described it as “a sort of Band-Aid over old and aging skin.” You can trick people into thinking you have completely perfect skin. So is this still about youth and age, or more about perfection over imperfection?
Before bed, Olivo’s “second skin” can be dissolved with a simple solution. It’s a temporary fix for aging. It is also an instant one. Sam Cheow, chief product accelerator at L’Oréal, tells WWD that we are becoming more and more “problem-and-solution centric” when it comes to aging. In the immediacy of this world we want our problems solved now, not to use a cream for six months and pray that it works. We have seen a shift from corrective to preventative products in the anti-aging space. In other words, slowing down time instead of turning it back. But getting older isn’t just irreversible, it is also inevitable. An unsolvable problem, you might say. So will 65
perfection with an unnatural solution? It is directly at odds with the way the tide is turning for all things natural in beauty products, but Shiseido is betting that our affinity for all things natural stops short when perfection is on offer.
Photo credit: Kevin Grieve
consumers just cover it up and create the illusion of
Photo credit: Andrew Haimerl
ADVERTISING HAS ALWAYS INFLUENCED HOW WE SEE OURSELVES, BUT WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS AS THE LINES BETWEEN REALITY AND FICTION BLUR?
BENDING REALITY IS NOTHING NEW
In modern advertising we see our reality depicted through the lens of the brands we love. From the hand drawings in the ads of the early 1900s to the extremely posed photos in the ‘50s and ‘60s and even up through today, we have never actually seen real life depicted in the advertisements served to us. This used to be because we were largely limited to what we could do with pen and paper, but now even with photo-realistic editing capabilities, we choose to stray from truthful depictions.
In 1987, there was a major shift that had a huge impact on the advertising industry. Photo editing became largely available for personal computers, and throughout the ’90s and and early 2000s “photoshopping” became the norm. In 2009, The New York Times reflected back on the effects of these applications:
... As the first programs for digital manipulation came into use, some art directors began exploring the potential for creating images with a heightened sense of reality… No one could have predicted how quickly that future would come. Suddenly, images could be changed even as they were being made, replacing backgrounds and filters with the touch of a button, turning night into day. Where the advertisements prior to 1987 clearly operated in the sphere of art, the shift to digital manipulation changed the way that we internalize advertising. Suddenly, what the advertisements were representing wasn’t so much a version of our idealized self, but instead came much closer to our perceived reality. That closeness became quite dangerous and even began to blur the lines of reality. It was in this transition that people began to change themselves in the extreme to fit this more and more “perfect” reality depicted in advertising. Plastic surgery, piercings, tattoos, tanning, even just dyeing our hair became an art form to mold our appearance.
LIVING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
A new surge of tech innovation in the last few years has enabled us to get to a point where even we as the consumer can change our reality — and without permanent consequences. With the introduction of apps such as Facetune and new features such as Snapchat filters on our photos, we have begun to develop a new reality, a “social self.” Elongating our necks, changing our voices, bringing in our waistlines — all with a few taps on our cell phones.
Meanwhile, advertising is continuously becoming more body and identity positive: most famously, the long-running Dove Real Beauty campaign, which calls out the effects of photoshopping on the public psyche. The #AerieREAL campaign, launched in 2014, pushed this idea to a new level, with the promise to its customer base to only show real and un-retouched photos in its campaigns. But while brands have shifted to encompass a more realistic portrayal of people (especially women), now individuals are bringing us right back to the original issues that photoshopping brought in the ‘90s — trying to depict a perfect reality.
The “social self” we see on our channels affects how we feel about our real selves overall. In a recent Vice article, Dr. Giuseppe Riva, a professor of communication psychology at the Catholic University of Milan, notes that “because of the new age filters on Snapchat and Instagram we have developed a behavior where “a social body — self-objectified — is more relevant than the real felt body.” Most alarmingly, when the “social self” looks and feels better than the real self, it can boil back over into our reality. In a 2018 study by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, it was noted that “over 40% of surgeons reported that looking better in selfies on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook was an incentive for getting [plastic] surgery.” Again, bringing society back to that innate desire to achieve the perfect reality
ne influencer, Patricia Bright, openly talks about when and
and why she uses apps to alter her photos when her
cameras distort her photos or they don’t come out perfect. Saying, “It’s about enhancing what you already have, or sometimes what the camera takes away. Sometimes, I take a photo of myself, [and think] I look 10 times better than that in real life! So why is the camera not picking it up?” A study featured on The Guardian earlier this year substantiated this feeling, noting “that a face-on portrait taken from 12 inches away makes the nose’s breadth appear about 30% larger — compared to width of the face — than it really is. In such photos the tip of the nose also appears 7% bigger, compared to the rest of the nose, than it is in reality. By contrast, an image taken five feet away results in facial features appearing in the same proportions as they would in the flesh.” Proving that from this perspective, technology plays a crucial role in allowing the individual to publicly show herself in the same way she sees herself in her mind’s eye.
Bright does go on to say, “You might be looking at Instagram and some people thinking, ‘how do they look so perfect?’” not realizing that there’s probably a lot of Facetune, reshaping, color rising, contour, and lighting going on… remember, Instagram and real life are two different things. OK?”
Photo Credit: Grace Madeline
It’s not all “bad.” The habits and comfort that come with being able to photoshop ourselves in the palm of our hands and developing a “social self,” is providing brands with an opportunity to steer this behavior in a positive way. L’Orêal and Benefit Cosmetics, are just a couple of examples of brands that are using technology in a positive way within the beauty industry, by giving some of the control back to the consumers.
While a tall task — brands should continue to work toward finding a middle ground in using new innovative technologies to continue to give users back some control to “see themselves” using a product, while helping push the body-and-identity positivity movement forward.
We are an ideas business. magpie is published by Brandpie. We are an ideas business that uses the power of purpose to help clients transform their brands, cultures, strategies and business models. Transformation breeds new kinds of organizations. We combine the smarts of a strategic consultancy with the impact of a world-class creative agency.
We are an ideas business magpie is published by Brandpie. We are an ideas business that uses the power of purpose to help clients transform their brands, cultures, strategies and business models.
Transformation breeds new kinds of organizations. We combine the smarts of a strategic consultancy with the impact of a world-class creative agency.
Cover photo credit: Jessica Felicio
TRENDS AND SIGNALS FROM CULTURE