It’s my face and I’ll do what I want with it. Make-up is no longer about conforming.11/03/19
The beauty landscape is changing. As we move away from an obsession with perfection, make-up is no longer about hiding, erasing or refining perceived imperfections. And whilst some larger brands still use these ideals in their marketing, many smaller, more enlightened brands are now treating make-up as a toolbox for playful self-expression – and gaining market share as a result.
The brands making the biggest impact are those that allow consumers to experiment with products without the goal of achieving a cookie-cutter look. Those that actively support playfulness and creativity. Gone are the days of a single ‘classic’ look; the one-size-fits-all approach to beauty.
But whilst the overarching message may be to encourage self-expression, brands still need to retain a sense of personality and individuality to stand out from the crowd. One that translates across all touchpoints – including the ever-important social media – and that aligns with consumers in a relatable way.
Take the ‘Go Play’ campaign for ASOS Face + Body. Overlaid with a spoken word soundtrack that states ‘I’m the artist, the canvas’, the short film features models of different ethnicities and genders experimenting with the product range, using glittering eyeshadows, tiny pom-poms and large-scale polka dots to express themselves. Anything is possible. And acceptable.
Taking this stance has opened the door for ASOS to collaborate with like-minded brands that major in self-expression, as seen in the launch of vegan make-up range Crayola Beauty which was released exclusively through ASOS this summer.
In a wide variety of bright, vibrant hues, Crayola Beauty offers face crayons, ‘Mermaid’ eyeshadow palettes and a customisable lip kit with the option to create bespoke shades, encased in the classic yellow and green Crayola branding taking consumers back to a time when their inhibitions were lower, and creativity and outward expression was actively encouraged.
When the rules of beauty are relaxed, people can create new looks that better reflect how they feel – or want to be perceived. To wear make-up is now a choice, not a prerequisite, and consumers of all ages, backgrounds and price points are able to revise their beauty routine based on how they feel at any given time.
This presents a challenge to brands: how to represent – and connect with – such a multi-faceted consumer. One who may not have a ‘go to’ look and aspires to change their make-up regime on a regular basis. The perfectly-groomed model showcasing the latest beauty trend is no longer enough.
Consumers don’t want to be told what they want or who they should aspire to, and now expect brands to flex with them, fitting seamlessly into their lives in a way that doesn’t feel forced or restrictive.
Gone are the days when brands could simply create a world and invite the consumer in, expecting them to fit a predefined mould. But being inclusive doesn’t mean losing the brand mission. Standing for something is as important as ever – it just needs to be sincere and go beyond the superficial.
As part of this shift, enlightened brands are increasingly appointing brand ambassadors that align with a mindset rather than an aesthetic profile, using role models instead of ‘models’ in the traditional sense to appeal to a target attitude rather than a set demographic.
In short, brands need to open up their definitions of beauty to be inclusive and diverse, with products that feel relevant and respectful, and allow consumers to experiment. And it's these brands that accept that the days of one-dimensional beauty and single-brand loyalty are now behind us and realign to fit this new, more inclusive world are the ones that will reap the benefits long term.
Article by Lisa Desforges, Strategy Director at B&B studio. Originally published in Beauty Packaging Magazine