Is the beauty industry losing its touch?

Reading Jane’s (of BritishBeautyBlogger) recent blog post about experiencing “Beauty Fatigue”, I could only agree. I’ve only been involved with beauty culture for a short while – I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was 18 – and I’m already exhausted by it. Now, I don’t mean I no longer care about beauty. I love it. It’s close to my heart and my main interest. But the way the industry looks right now – the way it works – is just disheartening. Like Jane, I don’t get excited about the launches anymore. I’ve always been a critical person, but this is different… I’m not even interested in being critical. Does that make sense?

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Four hyped up but basically identical palettes.

The issue is that the pace of the beauty business is breakneck, the hype is exaggerated, we’re bombarded with mediocre launches and identical youtuber collabs. How many all-matte “nude” eyeshadow palettes with rusty accent colours do we need? I can think of 5 in this year alone!

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Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever released near-identical lipstick collections this year, with the same packaging concept and similar shade ranges.

As soon as a trend emerges, it explodes and dies out within what feels like minutes – and within those minutes every brand, blogger and magazine is on it like white on rice. It reminds me of how the fashion industry seems to operate today as well, churning out up to 7 “seasons” a year – but who is wearing these clothes? who is buying the same liquid lipstick over and over? It’s forced, uninteresting and a painfully obvious cash-grab from the corporate end. Consumers are criticised for their hunger for newness, but the ones causing the hunger are the brands. Corporations have enough clout to trigger pretty much any desire in consumers – that’s how they get by, by creating demand. The only person who wants this fast-fashion system is the person benefiting from it – and that’s the guy at the top of the corporate ladder. And he – because it’s usually a he – probably doesn’t care if that new highlighter is good or not, as long as it sells.

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Speaking of identical packaging – the Victoria Beckham for Estée Lauder collection looks just like the Tom Ford Orchid collection.

It’s clear that quantity-over-quality thinking is central to this model. And we fall for it.
I fall for it!
The dazzle of newness works. Or it did. Now I’m not so sure – more and more consumers are rolling their eyes in unison at over-hyped, under-developed launches. Make up artists have been groaning about the state of beauty culture for years. Jane mentions the Victoria Beckham for Estée Lauder collection in her post – as if the Kendall (?) Jenner-fronted “Estée Edit” wasn’t enough, they had to desperately tack on another celebrity name, hilariously using the exact same packaging as Tom Ford.
And I just wonder: Haven’t we had enough? How long can we keep this up? How saturated can the market get before bursting at the seams?

8 months ago

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