Our Approach to Beauty Is Rapidly Different to What It Once Was

Updated 04/26/19

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Today, at the time of writing, Glossier announced on its Instagram account the launch of a brand-new acne-fighting product (an exfoliating skin perfector, if you will) within the next 24 hours. I can’t even purchase Glossier in Australia, but I’ve already spent the better part of the last hour trying to track down the ingredients listing on Google, and compare to my current acne-fighting favourites to see how it will fare. I’ve double-tapped, commented, checked if it’s cruelty-free, and analysed the packaging (which looks amazing, by the way). Welcome to the beauty industry, as created by millennials.

No longer are we okay with being spoon-fed claims from big business, or impartial to where our products come from. We basically buy our beauty via Instagram, and are pretty savvy when it comes to ingredient listings. Start-up style companies are having an impact on the way the industry works (I mean, look at Glossier). Many women don’t want to be told they need makeup to look amazing or shop every step of their skincare routine from the one place. 

The beauty industry is shifting, and this is how—keep reading.

Digitisation

What even is a beauty brand without a digital presence? Now, more than ever before, we have an open platform to voice what we want, and what we don't. The chief executive of cosmetics giant L'Oreal Jean-Paul Agon hit the nail on the head when he told CNBC; "I think the future of beauty will be more and more about technology, about quality, about formulation, about individualisation, about digitalisation, about responding to specific needs."

Digital, and more importantly social platforms, are basically public discussion threads where feedback (albeit good or bad) is hand-delivered straight to beauty brands. We are quite literally building digital communities to talk about beauty. And it's amazing. 

Small, Independent Brands Rule

There's a fair chance your mum bought all her makeup and skincare from the one big brand. And she probably did because her mother did the same? Stores like Mecca Cosmetica and Sephora have introduced a huge range of international brands, and opened up access. What's more, smaller, indie brands are cropping up everywhere, giving big beauty conglomerates a serious run for their money. Lanolips, for example, started on a remote Australian sheep farm, and is now one of the most loved lip balms in the country (trust us when we say it's the best).

The beauty industry isn't just a space for major players now. Kat Von D talked to Forbes about how the barriers to entry have been lowered, creating a very real threat to the established players. "It’s like music, everyone can do it now so in order to succeed you actually have to be f**king good... millennials really do care." Truth. 

A Holistic Approach

Guess what? We don't want to paint 16 layers of heavy-duty war paint on every day. We want natural, glossy skin, and brands are responding. There's demand for beauty products to enhance our beauty, not cover it. 

What's more, there's a call for non-toxic, cruelty-free products. Cosmetic houses are also feeling the pressure to be open about what their testing looks like, and what ingredients are in products. We're so conscious of what we put onto our skin. A fan of natural brands? Enjoy this write up on the best organic face serums we prepared earlier. 

Inclusivity

No matter where you are in the world, six shades of foundation and three concealers just won't cut the mustard anymore. Also, what's gender? Beauty is for anyone, of any colour. The raging success of Fenty Beauty is a pretty strong case study. With 40 shades of foundation and two universally flattering lip colours, the response has been mind-blowing (Since its launch last September, hero product Gloss Bomb cracked Sephora Australia's top ten selling products list in 2017, even though it had only been available for three months). U.S. brand Milk Makeup is another golden example. Its gender-neutral ad campaigns have been so well received by its millennial audience, and the company has sky-rocketed since. 

We're Savvy When It Comes to Ingredients

All you have to do is look at cult brand The Ordinary to see that we are super clued-up when it comes to ingredient listings. The brand sells a range of serums with very few ingredients, some only one, and we're taking advantage of the price points (they all sit at around $10-$15) to custom-build a serum to rival the $150 product they previously used. 

No longer can brands fudge claims, or pack its product with cheap fillers—because millennials will call them out. The result has been greater transparency, and tighter quality when it comes to formulations. And we're not complaining. 

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