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Is Social Media Changing the Way We Create Beauty Products?

Are beauty products being created for mass social media appeal?

It could be said that social media is changing the world. And its effect on product development can be seen in the world of beauty.  Cosmetic companies now have to cater to the demographic of skincare and beauty fans that dominate social media.  And with so many social media platforms, competing cosmetic and skincare lines and millions of influencers, beauty brands are in a race to win the same group of customers.

And numbers don’t lie, in 2016 a Facebook IQ report stated that 53 percent of cosmetic and skincare purchases were influenced by what beauty specialists shared on social media.  And 44 percent of purchases were influenced by what beauty brands posted.

As a result, cosmetic companies have begun to focus on trending beauty online first by changing their formulations and packaging to catch the attention of the consumer.  Now, they are more concerned with what image will make the consumer stop scrolling on social media and take notice?

How have beauty brands changed their products for social media?  Some have added glitter or foam into their cosmetics and skincare.  And makeup that use sponges and water droppers are popular now.  Masks and palettes decorated in metallics are trending right now too.

AdobeStock face mask beauty

Changes that are made to grab the eye of the consumer have been utilized by known brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Too Faced, Glossier, Maybelline and Covergirl just to name a few.  Natasha Jen, a partner at the branding agency Pentagram, said, “There’s a big desire today to create something that results in an Instagram moment, where a product is very photogenic and encourages consumers to take a picture of it. Those moments lead to word of mouth and are huge advertising opportunities.”

For example, take a look at Katarina Van Derham X LA Splash Cosmetics “Glamour Garden” Limited Edition Lipstick Collection.  Not only do the lipsticks stand out on their own, the packaging is attention grabbing.  Floral and with a mirror and personalized message inside, the packaging becomes a treasured keepsake box.  You certainly won’t throw it away after you use the lipsticks!

And when it comes to outside packaging, Birchbox, a subscription beauty box service, redesigned its beauty boxes in 2017.  How does the new box differ from the older model? It is salmon pink and has positive affirmation phrases on it such as “Yes!”  And each customer’s name is preceded by adjectives such as “The Clever…” or “The Tenacious…”.  This is done to personalize the overall effect of the beauty box.  And as a result, it increased social media mentions and shout outs.

However, there are some who question if catering towards social media appeal is actually helping the consumer.  In fact, one of Glow Recipe’s founders, Sarah Lee, said, “There are a lot of Instagram-popular beauty products that have catchy hooks and can be visually satisfying to watch, but that doesn’t always mean they deliver results.”

Still, beauty brands are designing both their products and packaging for high noticeability on images the size of a thumbnail. In the past, brands were concerned about visibility on shelves. Today, emphasis is placed on grabbing your attention on your social media feed.

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