Everyone on the planet is launching a beauty brand, apparently
Recently, I wrote a column about how celebrities of all stripes seem to be launching their own beauty brands, whether it’s fragrance, skincare, haircare or makeup. And frustrating though it is, I know it’s not just celebrities who are scrambling for a slice of the considerable beauty market – it’s like a new brand appears on a near-daily basis, and already established brands are, themselves, branching out. I recently learned that king of controversy Jeffree Star is launching skincare, hot on the heels on the likes of Kylie Jenner and co. Is there anything new he could possibly bring to the skincare market besides hot pink packaging? All I can think is, there aren’t enough faces in the world for all these products.
I love beauty, and I find myself asserting that very frequently – it’s often what prefaces my critiques, or complaints. I love beauty, but this is too much. I love beauty, but I can’t accept this. I love beauty, but a line has been crossed. But what can one expect: if fashion is indeed the favourite child of capitalism, beauty should be the second favourite.
I find myself periodically exhausted with the barrage of new beauty brand launches, even if they occasionally catch my interest – Tracee Ellis Ross’s Pattern haircare line, Charlotte Cho’s Then I Met You skincare range, to name a few. But the overwhelming majority is mediocre. We’ve reached a point where the threshold to putting a new product on the market is so low, people seem to be stumbling into it half by accident. What we’re being sold here are really the same products in different packaging, sometimes with an influencer signature or IP tie-in to seem more appealing. Are people still buying disney collabs, of which there have been at least six this year alone? Are people still buying cardboard-packaged neutral eyeshadow palettes designed by influencer #45924? Apparently, yes, but the industry is reportedly headed for a downturn. People are getting sick of the sheer volume of product being churned out on a daily basis, and sick of seeing the same handful of influencers peddle them on youtube in the same old format.
Perhaps we’re seeing a return to text, to communication beyond the visual, if that is at all possible in the age of social media. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking coming from a writer. But if I talk to my friends, or strangers on the internet, I hear similar sentiments. Not a trend towards the written word necessarily, but a trend away from the heedless consumerism we partook in at the peak of social media beauty culture.
Beauty culture is a material one, that will not change, but it can do to be more measured. I don’t think we need as many “innovative” beauty sponges, airbrush-finish foundations or buttery-smooth eyeshadow palettes as we all seemed to think, myself included, five years ago.