It’s safe to say the beauty industry is flourishing with sales in the industry rocketing over the past half decade and reaching an all time high. Selfie culture means people want to be more photo ready than ever, and with an abundance of beauty vlogs are now more likely to head online for ideas and tutorials rather than going to talk to a beauty advisor in store. Social media has built a platform to share, discuss and buy, as well as giving beauty lovers a chance to live out their passion. The hype is real, with website servers crashing as fans wait in anticipation for a latest product to drop, which later end up selling for ten times its value on the market place.
With such a strong community we see endless talent and creativity gracing our screens from amateurs and professionals alike. Watching products gracefully sweep across a face is both satisfying and captivating. We’re intrigued and excited by a full on special effects Halloween makeup tutorial to a simple smokey eye. Some experiment with everyday makeup, pushing boundaries to what we though was ‘the norm’ for beauty. The possibilities and opportunities become infinite.
Although encouraging creativity amongst beauty lovers, it could also be asked if the collective nature of social media means the beauty industry is in danger of falling into a repetitive pattern. Perhaps this platform that we felt would thrive with creativity could have a less positive side, with certain looks and ideals dominating our screens. It feels the looks we share are lacking diversity as we see yet another influencer with big matte lips, feathery eyelashes, strong contour and glowing cheekbones, listing practically the same products as their counterpart.
Of course this could be put down to trend, as every era has a dominating look, be it neons and high glamour from the 80s or cool grunge tones from the 90s. The difference however is postmodern beauty is on a colossal level. Where as in the past, street style and glossy magazines inspired beauty ideals, social media platforms such as instagram see influencers sharing looks that impact the masses. The result? A cycle of regurgitated looks that inspire clones rather than the freedom of expression and creativity, questionably taking the fun out of makeup and the beauty industry.
The social aspect also plays a part, with feedback from others online also impacting our choices of what too and what not too wear. The comment section regularly sees hate from viewers on makeup redeemed too unusual or not correctly applied, just because it doesn’t fit with the prevalent trend. Some independent brands can be seen breaking the mould with more experimental colours and exciting finishes, however many brands lack innovation, opting for repetitive shades and duplicates.
According to Research and markets, the global cosmetic market is estimated to grow up to $675m by 2020. Social media is clearly impacting sales in the industry, but is it also hindering creativity? Has beauty finally found a platform in which it can creatively thrive, or is it in danger of being stuck in a rut?