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How Beauty Brands Are Navigating Body Positivity
Blog / Health & Beauty

How Beauty Brands Are Navigating Body Positivity

With the body positivity movement continuing to expand, beauty brands are facing a new era of advertising.
We’ve all heard about the much-needed body positivity movement happening in the beauty industry (if not… where have you been?). Largely driven by the realisation that only showing one body type in advertising, actually, has quite a toxic influence on how people view their own bodies.

Shock to, oh… absolutely no one!

Our recent Future of Beauty research discovered that 53% of women want brands to promote body positivity by showing a range of body types in their advertising. While 21% said they want brands to feature real users of their products. Unsurprisingly, just 5% of people included in our survey wanted to see ‘aspirational’ models in the adverts they saw.

But, how have beauty brands navigated the body positivity movement and integrated it into their advertising strategies?

It’s all about what the consumers want to see…

There’s been a change in what consumers want. They’re SO over the idea of ‘beautiful’ being shaped by big beauty brands as nothing more than a marketing ploy to help them sell more of whatever ‘hope in a bottle’ they’re promoting.

It’s simple, people just want to see other real people, with real, unedited bodies.

We can also see how authenticity is being held to a higher importance with the rise of social media platform Be Real. An app literally designed to show what your friends are doing, in their real, non-aesthetically pleasing, ‘Instagram-able’ lives. Just real people, stripped of filters & fakeness.

So, how has this shift in consumer attitude been addressed by beauty brands?

We’ve come a long way…

When I turn on my TV, I am met with less 6ft, size 6 models prancing round the streets of Paris, and with industry heavyweights like Vogue producing articles on the importance of the movement, we have to give credit where credit is due. It appears we have come a long way, with more & more brands spreading the self-love word.

So, who are the front runners redefining beauty advertising?

Rare Beauty

Now, this is a brand that takes body and skin positivity seriously!

Launched in 2020 by Selena Gomez, with the aim of “breaking down unrealistic standards of perfection”. Rare Beauty launched their first ever advertising campaign for the Liquid Touch Foundation. Using only un-retouched photos of a diverse group of models, testing their 48 … yes 48 wide shade range! The brands Instagram is also filled with similar, un-retouched content – how refreshing!

Elyse Cohen, the brand's Vice President of Social Impact said, "People have felt trapped by unrealistic beauty expectations that are impossible to achieve, Rare Beauty is about celebrating who you are and what makes you different, we're using makeup to shift the narrative to shape a positive conversation around mental health."

As if this all wasn’t enough, in the newest launch of Rare Beauty’s Kind Words Lipstick Range, which was created to remind make-up wearers to be kind to themselves, their shade names are complementary words such as, “Strong”,” Worthy” and “Talented”, so users can give themselves a positive affirmation a day - I’m not crying, you are!


ASOS were by no means the first retail & beauty stockist to promote body positivity, but when they did, they did it well.

In 2017, ASOS made the decision to stop editing the stretch marks on their models’ bodies, which was (of course) met with an overwhelmingly positive response. Since then the brand decided it was time to use their “influence among young fashion-lovers for good,” inspiring their “customers to feel confident, express themselves and achieve amazing things”.

Since then, they have committed to displaying each of their clothing items on varying body types and have promised ‘Fashion Democracy’, committing to provide all 30 of their clothing sizes at the same price and partnering with Paralympics GB to help the brand learn more about adaptive clothing for people with disabilities. 

ASOS say, “It’s important for us to promote a healthy body image – we’re not about conforming to any stereotypes – so we work with more than 200 models to represent our audience”.

Isle of Paradise

As a self-tan lover myself, this campaign made me so happy! In 2019 Isle of Paradise launched their ‘Get Body Posi’ campaign featuring a diverse group of male and female models, from Love Islander Megan Barton-Hansen, to disabled beauty blogger Tess Daly.

The campaign was designed to break free from body shaming & comparison culture and included a downloadable ‘guide to body positivity’. Not only this, the brand also donated £25,000 to the mental health charity Mind with the Movement.

But it’s no one off marketing fad, Isle of Paradise pride themselves on doing more than just one campaign to promote body positivity, they say “Our brand was built on the sole objective of diversifying the self-tan category – creating products that not only champion self-love and body positivity, but also that welcome people of all skin tones, sizes, genders and abilities”.
With over 18,000,000 #bodypositive posts on Instagram, there is no doubt that the beauty industry is facing a new era. It’s more important than ever before that companies listen to their consumers and join the body positivity, diversity & inclusivity movement. Those who aren’t agile enough to meet their customer demands, risk being left behind.

Posted 31 August 2022 by Paige Byrne