Make Way for Commuter Cosmetics & Active Beauty

Cosmetics are now conforming to the active woman’s lifestyle. Here’s what you need to know.

Chances are, most of your customers are active women on the go. It seems this new movement is truly having its moment in the spotlight. After all, even if your customers are sitting still, they have the world at their fingertips. Beauty in action has multiple meanings, from beauty in transit, when women paint their faces on public transport (minus the fear of being shamed) to beauty designed to hold up no matter what women do–that’s right, we’re talking hot yoga-proof cosmetics. All of this has led up to a new class of high-performance products. These innovative tools are not only easier to use but don’t require as much effort and precision to put on, so you can apply them anywhere. Your customers are probably already experimenting with these on-the-go products, so show them that your store is ahead of the game with on-trend stock and displays that will catch their ever-moving eye.

PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF APPLICATION
Doing makeup on the go is the ultimate time-saver–it definitively kills two birds with one stone. However, not everyone is on board with the trend. After a video of a man in the U.K. telling off a woman for doing her makeup in transit went viral, the subject was thrown out in the open. To gauge public opinion on the act, Metro UK conducted a poll on Twitter, asking 449 respondents: “Is it acceptable to put your makeup on in the tube [British slang for subway]?” Although the results were overall positive, with 34 percent agreeing “of course” applying makeup on the go is totally acceptable; 40 percent preferred it to be just a “light touch up”; and 26 percent were in complete opposition, declaring, “totally not.”

Whatever the reason for being against it, the old guard is going to have to get used to the new wave of commuter beauty. As people work longer days and have less time for themselves, the trend may even become the norm. YouTube is full of tutorials on how to do makeup on the go. Even Drew Barrymore got involved on Instagram, posting an image of herself applying makeup on the subway using products from her Flower Beauty line with the caption “Concealing on the subway!” According to global market research firm Mintel, 30 percent of adults in the U.S. use public transportation. Of those, according to the American Public Transportation Association, 55 percent are women.

"This campaign is a celebration of the many ways women use makeup to represent themselves—however, whenever and wherever they choose.”

–Ukonwa Ojo, global SVP, CoverGirl

To change any negative opinion about applying cosmetics in a public space, and to empower women to do so, CoverGirl stepped in–the ultimate voice of beauty authority. Their “Cosmetics on the Go Campaign” or #ProjectPDA (Public Display of Application) takes aim at the idea that beautifying in public is inappropriate, instead emboldening women to do so wherever they are–with pride. The inspiration for the campaign all started from a NYC subway sign, which effectively compared putting on makeup with clipping your toenails (something we can all agree is dissimilar).

“[The sign] encourages people to only apply their makeup in the restroom,” a brand rep commented about the PSA. This got the team at CoverGirl wondering why there is a stigma surrounding makeup application in public, and bigger-picture judgments about wearing makeup in general.

To challenge the idea of shaming those who apply makeup in public, CoverGirl spotlighted unapologetic self-expression through cosmetics. To really drive the point home, the company set up mirrors around NYC, documenting public makeup application as one would a grand-scale art project. “This campaign is a celebration of the many ways women use makeup to represent themselves–however, whenever and wherever they choose,” said Ukonwa Ojo, global senior vice president of CoverGirl. “It’s about rejecting the notion that people have to apologize or hide for their makeup choices and where they apply it.”

WHAT COMMUTERS WANT
Now that being empowered to apply makeup is officially a thing, how do we get great face in motion? Consumers’ active lives have demanded a response from brands. You might not have noticed, but they’re listening. Mentions of “convenience”, “ease of use” and “on the go” have been steadily used by cosmetics companies launched from 2015 to June 2017. In 2016 alone, 19 percent of products referenced “ease of use” in their campaigns, 4 percent made mention of “on the go” and 2 percent pointed to their “convenient packaging,” according to analysis from Mintel.

Since consumers want their makeup with them, products are innovating to make sure they fit in, literally. Often, that translates to more makeup. Customers have expressed a preference for kits and palettes, which means they can take their options with them. Mintel reports that 25 percent of women in the U.K. ages 16 to 24 bought an eye palette, compared to 9 percent who bought a single eye shadow. As a beauty store business owner, that’s a valuable piece of intel; millennial customers aren’t willing to settle for a single option.

Mirrors and tools that are built into a cosmetic product offer a more complete package. As Mintel reports, 68 percent of both German and Italian women think it is important to check their appearance in the mirror throughout the day; his no doubt applies to women in the U.S. as well, and lends itself not only to the idea of commuter beauty, but beauty 24/7. Products that are easy to use, portable and require less precision to apply fit within this beauty category.

Now that the demand for these types of products has been solidified, we can expect innovation across the board–especially when it comes to mobility, since consumers take their phones everywhere and touch-ups on the go are crucial. Addressing this, as well as the universal wish to take the perfect selfie, Pout Case reached the market in the summer of 2017. Pout Case looks like a standard iPhone case but is actually a built-in customizable makeup palette. Not only can consumers choose their perfect colors, they can also select which phone case color they prefer (it comes in four options). Similarly, Ferrari launched a fragrance case under the same premise; the Scuderia Ferrari Fragrance Phone Case is always with you, and it holds 25 milliliters of their signature scent.

Multipurpose products that have combined usage are also on our radar, because more is more when you have room for less. We foresee three-in-ones and two-in-ones, like the TrèStique Highlight Stick, which has a highlighter on one side and a sponge on the other, as the new wave of products to look out for. Not only do they offer bang for the buck, they’re perfect for all those that live on the move.

GYM-READY COSMETICS
Not just a trend, commuter beauty indicates that women want to look their best all the time, and want the cos- metics on hand to help them do so. Naturally, the gym extends into that “all the time” bracket. Just because your customer is sweating, doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to look her best. Enter active beauty, the gym-time equivalent of commuter beauty.

If the real trend is looking amazing 24/7, then active beauty and a category of workout-proof cosmetics are the obvious next step–especially because fitness has become part of our everyday lives. It’s not easy to stay made up during a hard workout, but brands are working on the perfect products to get us there.

“To us, active beauty isn’t a trend—it’s really a lifestyle that we are seeing more and more women living.”

–Taryn Hemmings, COO, Sweat Cosmetics

Sweat Cosmetics was founded on the notion that you can give 100 percent in fitness and still look great while doing so. As the creators of the brand put it, “Sweat was inspired by our own everyday lives!” The brand’s founders, Taryn Hemmings and Emily Hines, were college students and soccer players when they first came up with the idea for Sweat. As they transitioned into becoming a professional soccer player and a CPA (respectively), the need for products that were compatible with their dynamic days hadn’t gone away.

“We were leading super active lives, running from one practice to the next, or the office to lunchtime yoga and back, and needing lightweight but high-performing beauty products that we could use on the go,” Hemmings says. When asked about active beauty, she is fast to note it is a way of life. “To us, active beauty isn’t a trend–it’s really a lifestyle that we are seeing more and more women living. From the ingredients to the packaging, we are creating products that are 100-percent dedicated to making the active woman’s life a little bit easier.”

If you’re looking for makeup strong enough to endure a workout, Hemmings advises keeping an eye on mineral powder. “Mineral powders are something we focused on creating first because they are breathable and easier on the skin, especially while your pores are open and sweat is creating an environment where bacteria can thrive,” she says.

To create a truly sweat-proof product, testing was everything. “When we were creating these products, we weren’t doing the normal photo-proof testing; we were testing them during our 90-minute soccer games in the middle of summer,” Hemmings says. “While there are a couple things that add to the sweat-resistance of the powder, the biggest is how finely milled our powder is compared to other mineral powders on the market. It allows the powder to adhere more closely to your skin, helping it not only outlast sweat but look and feel completely natural.”

She sums it up with what could be the ethos behind this trend–no matter what the consumer is doing, there’s a product for that. “We created Sweat to survive an athlete’s toughest workout, but our products are really for any woman with a hectic, active lifestyle,” Hemmings says. “No matter what your day holds, you want to be wearing the right products that can protect and enhance your skin!”

If the active beauty trend teaches us anything, it’s that the consumer wants access to cosmetics at more places, with a more accessible application on the go; and they want to keep their makeup on, even at the gym. That being said, it’s a good time to be in the beauty business. Customers are coming to you as the authority for what’s best in every situation, from the train to the dance floor to the treadmill. Carrying the latest goods will help you stay ahead of the competition, while keeping your customers looking their best–wherever they are.

[Photos courtesy of Cover Girl and Sweat Cosmetics]