On November 9 at the historic Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles, CEW’s West Coast chapter held Beauty’s Color Quake—a panel discussion about the factors that have fueled the recent boom in color cosmetics lead by WWD’s Marcy Medina. The event brought together speakers Rea Ann Silva, the president and owner of Rea.Deeming Beauty Inc. and the founder of Beautyblender, Jill Tomandl, Smashbox’s VP of product development, packaging and innovation, and SVP of global marketing for Hourglass Cosmetics, Katie Welch. Beauty Store Business sat down with the panelists prior to the event to talk about the rise in color cosmetics and what these experts predict for the future of the industry.
Without a doubt, all the women agreed that the internet and social media have been the main contributors to the growth of cosmetics sales over the last few years. “Can you scream it through the rooftops? Social media and YouTube,” said Silva, who believes online makeup tutorials have made it easier for consumers to learn through trial and error in the comfort of their own homes. “We grew as social media grew. … It really has created freedom of thought and process and creativity that I don’t think existed before.”
Tomandl agreed, and said, “It’s technology, number 1. Everyone has a phone in their hand, so there’s constant access to information. When it comes to influencers, they’re responsible for the [color cosmetics] boom because they really are powerhouse communicators: They’re the beauty editor, the beauty advisor, the makeup artist and trendy It Girl—all in one.”
“We grew as social media grew. … It really has created freedom of thought and process and creativity that I don’t think existed before.”
–Rea Ann Silva, founder of Beautyblender
In addition to consumers viewing makeup tutorials as entertainment, Welch believes this new fervor for color cosmetics has allowed everyone to become influencers—armed with knowledge about products and techniques like the industry has never seen before. “It’s social media; it’s the democratization of the experts. Everyone has a voice and an opinion,” Welch said. “What that did was not only cultivate tons of beauty enthusiasts, but those enthusiasts drove tons of excitement in the industry. It just broke down the intimidation factor. What it did was start a conversation.”
Celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva says that brand partnerships and collaborations have helped Beautyblender grow not only its sales but brand recognition as well. “[Brand collaborations] are just like the hot dog and the hot dog bun—they go together. You can eat a hot dog and bun separately but together is just better. With Too Faced, we found a real good synergy together. [Founder Jerrod Blandino’s] brand is very whimsical and fun, and I think that’s part of the success of Beautyblender—it’s not intimidating and it’s fun,” Silva said.
In January 2018, Beautyblender will announce a very exciting partnership, and has another collaboration with Too Faced in the works. Silva feels that the color cosmetics category shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. She said, “I think it’s going to continue to grow like it has … and for retailers to be willing to take that journey with you and not be so structured and bent on the formulas that worked for many years opens the doors for more growth.”
Smashbox has experimented with several influencer collaborations tied to its various product launches. For example, a collaboration with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty resulted in a Guinness world record for the World’s Most Expensive Lip Art—the image also went viral on social media, which promoted Smashbox’s Be Legendary liquid lipsticks. Influencer and actress Shay Mitchell was the face of Smashbox’s Cover Shots eyeshadow palettes campaign and influencer/vlogger Casey Holmes, who also almost 1 million Instagram followers, co-created two highlighter palettes for the brand.
"When it comes to influencers, they’re responsible for the [color cosmetics] boom because they really are powerhouse communicators: They’re the beauty editor, the beauty advisor, the makeup artist and trendy It Girl—all in one.”
–Jill Tomandl, VP of product development, packaging and innovation, Smashbox
“The brand has a very wide audience: the very young Gen Z customer, the millennial customer and we also have the 40+ customer,” Tomandl said. “As far as packaging is concerned, we’ve tried to focus on Instagrammable packaging that is really fun. It really is about making things look colorful.” For example, some of the palettes feature lenticulars on the lids for visual interest.
She added, “It’s also important for retail, when you’re in open-sell environments, to make sure things are windowed, so that you can see the product, and that it’s easily shoppable and has a lot of color impact.”
Smashbox will soon release new Always On liquid lipstick shades in a matte metallic finish and repackaged eyeshadow trios. More influencer collaborations are also in the works. “Whether it’s Millennial Pink or Gen Z Yellow, we’re trying to create the trends or be on the cusp of them,” Tomandl said. “… And as we’re evolving manufacturing processes, that’s also evolving the industry in a very big way.”
For Hourglass Cosmetics, Katie Welch stresses that it’s important for the brand to keep its messaging consistent across all platforms. “We’re bombarded with so many things—from social to the way we shop—that you have to be consistent and omnichannel in your messaging, whether it’s your verbal messaging, your visual messaging or your brand experience,” she said.
To do this, Hourglass Cosmetics has positioned itself as a luxury performance makeup brand with signature glossy packaging. “We believe that innovation is luxury,” Welch said. “While other luxury brands perhaps rely on their heritage, we rely on the innovation—high performance ingredients, state-of-the art packaging and marketing with a point of deference.”
"We rely on the innovation—high performance ingredients, state-of-the art packaging and marketing with a point of deference.”
–Katie Welch, SVP of global marketing, Hourglass Cosmetics
Hourglass Cosmetics announced that it’s committed to being cruelty-free and 100 percent vegan by 2020; all profits on its new vegan leather pouch will be donated to Nonhuman Rights Project. Hourglass will open its second brick-and-mortar store in New York next month and in the future, Welch predicts the industry will see more “innovation in texture, and continued improvement on performance.”