Gone are the days where ‘vegan’ and ‘cruelty free’ claims were the tipping point for consumers making beauty purchases. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they still are, but consumers are wanting more. And as beauty brands, you should be listening.
We found in our latest Future of Beauty research
that only 5% of women still want to see ads with “aspirationally beautiful” models. Consumers are becoming more sceptical of brands that heavily edit images and make marketing claims that suggest an ideal of perfection, preferring imagery that reflects themselves – and this is also reflected in the way they shop.
“While the beauty industry has made strides in recent years to be more inclusive, there is still work to be done.”
– Clare Hennigan, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel.
But how do brands begin to make these changes? Is it with packaging? Diverse models? Inclusive foundation shades? Or does it go further than that? I wanted to explore some of the top beauty brands that are making inclusivity waves at the moment and what the industry can learn.
It’s been no secret that the Queen herself, Rihanna, has created an incredible legacy of inclusion with Fenty, with many even saying it “literally changed the way we define beauty”.
When launching back in 2017, the brand carried 40 foundations (since expanding to 50) that included shades for everyone and a marketing campaign that promoted diversity in so many ways. Interestingly, the word “inclusive” was not actually used in Fenty’s initial marketing strategy, but the all-embracing “Beauty For All” mantra and campaign continues to be incredibly effective because, essentially, it is redefining the idea of beauty.”
Rihanna’s ‘Beauty for All’ campaign was the first time “under-represented, under-served women and cultures were featured in a global prestige beauty campaign
.” And this just highlights that inclusivity goes beyond how many foundation shades you have, it should be evident throughout your entire marketing efforts.
Iconic makeup brand, MAC, are considered one of the first large beauty brands to pioneer inclusivity and have been paving the way for decades. And did you know that they are an LGBTQ+ owned makeup brand? Inclusivity is something that’s taken very seriously as part of their philosophy, which states, “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.”
Not only do they have an extensive line of makeup shades, but in 1994 they launched a single red lipstick to raise awareness
and funds for those living with and affected by HIV & AIDS. Their iconic VIVA GLAM lipstick charitable campaign came at a time when the AIDS pandemic was dramatically affecting fashion communities, as well as the wider world. And to this day, the full retail price of every VIVA GLAM shade sold
is still donated to organisations that support the health & rights of people of all ages, all races and all genders.
The brand has even partnered with a variety of non-profit organisations, like the Hetrick-Martin Institute
, which is the nation’s oldest and biggest org for LGBTQIA+ youth, to help them provide a safe environment for ages 13 to 24.
Highlighting that beauty is, and should be, for everyone.
Now this brand has a special place in my heart because I LOVE Lady Gaga and everything she stands for. HAUS states that their goals are “to provide a positive customer experience to all our customers, and we aim to promote accessibility
Accessibility is a key word here. Because beauty should be accessible to everyone.
Not only does the range focus on multi-use gender-neutral colour products but the brand’s first campaign focused on breaking societal stereotypes and included LGBTQ+, non-binary and black models. Plus, the brands Born This Way Foundation
donates $1 for every purchase to support the mental health of young people.
“We really want people to feel free and to love themselves
, no matter how you identify…" – Gaga. She also claims that these movements shift the way that society views beauty standards and the way people feel about expressing themselves.
Guide Beauty are a brand paving the way for those with disabilities. Led by Founder Terri Bryant and Chief Creative Officer Selma Blair, Guide are redefining the beauty industry with products that bring joy to a broad universe of makeup users. From the beginner learning new techniques, to those who have challenges with movement or strength, and even the professional makeup artist on set, their mission is #ConfidenceByDesign.
Bryant was diagnosed with Parkinson's, which left her with dexterity issues that impacted her ability to apply makeup, and so Guide Beauty was born. "Makeup techniques I could once execute with little to no effort felt foreign and strained. I began to rethink makeup
and how we apply it in terms of how we design it."
The brand ensure that the range can be used by anyone, regardless of their physical ability. We know from our Future of Beauty research
that 58% of people believe disabilities are under-represented in health & beauty and should be shown more, and this extends to brands making their ranges inclusive of all abilities.
But inclusivity goes further than this.
Change & innovation should also be happening internally at your brand, not just externally.
Dr Emma Meredith, Chief of the UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association (CTPA), says ensuring beauty is an “industry for all as a career
” is so important but just one side of the inclusivity approach.
For example, the British Beauty Council’s Future Talent Programme
, is dedicated to ensuring clear and diverse beauty career pathways are promoted to young people. They’re collaborating with STEM Learning
and Careers and Enterprise
to develop the first dedicated beauty-related resource for secondary schools, showcasing and demonstrating the enriching careers across the beauty and STEM sector.
Round of applause for BBC👏
So the key learning here for beauty brands, is making sure that these exciting opportunities are available for all. Like I said earlier, diversity & inclusion goes deeper than just having a huge range of foundation shades. Make your brand is one that encourages diversity from within and places themselves in the industry as championing this issue.
Whether you’re innovating with a brand that is inclusive of all shades, producing products that support societal causes or showing diversity from within your company, there are many ways beauty brands can get involved and pave the future of inclusivity. Because at the end of the day, shouldn’t everyone get to feel beautiful?
For more information on how your brand can make change, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted 8 June 2023 by Liv Povey