D&AD – Research and Development

“Break new grounds in beauty branding”

So, what is the issue with the beauty industry at the minute? Everything is my answer. You see a perfume advert, skinny photoshopped girl. You see a lipstick advert, skinny photoshopped girl. You see male skincare billboard, muscled photoshopped man, and so on. It’s a very broad, multi billion pound market that aims at everyone from young teenagers to the elderly, transgenders, males, bisexuals, females, tall people, black people, white people, asians, people with acne, wrinkles, hair-loss, pale people, overweight people, people with rosacea…. the list is endless. But what’s the problem with that?  Well, the problem is that 95% of the beauty industry is using the same advertising methods as you can see below:

What I get from the above is a bunch of photoshopped, unrealistic beauty standards that are constantly throwing this goal of a skinny, flawless appearance to real women and men who simply can’t achieve what they are claiming their products create.
This sort of advertisement is unhealthy, not only is it impossible to achieve (unless they produce photoshop in a tub) but it is constantly feeding the same images and the same standards to people, making them feel inferior because they don’t look like the models in the ads.

There is also the issue of race and gender within the beauty industry. Focusing first on gender, if you look on the shelves of any shop that sells/specialises in beauty products, you will see products for men and for women. Stereotypically there is no product for transgenders for example – whether the beauty industry realises it or not, they are ruling out so many different classes of people with different gender identities, sexual preferences etc with their closed minded packaging designs and ads.
It’s almost like this industry is in favour of a society that has the same goals in mind.
Looking at race, not only is there a lack of mixed ethnicity women and men in a lot of beauty ads, but the modelling industry who promote these individuals are also unfair when it comes to their black/asian/mixed ethnicity models. Take a look at the post below:

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After researching skincare products by scouring the shelves of my local Boots, Sainsbury’s and Superdrug stores I came to realise that almost every product is aimed at and advertised by caucasian men and women, also on the Boots Website there is a lack of skincare aimed at people of different ethnicity (other than caucasian). Also there is none that aren’t gender specific – males products look dark, bold and metallic (as a generalisation) as a pose to the feminine and elegant packaging of “Woman’s” products.

Beauty products are always blurting out claims as you’ve seen in the ads earlier in the post. “You’ll be more beautiful in days” “You’ll be skinny” blah blah are all just claims as the products themselves don’t work miracles, though it seems false advertisement isn’t a phrase this industry is in any way familiar with in any way.

I have taken a look at different websites for beauty brands and just as I suspected, they are filled with pretty pictures of ladies with perfect skin, hair and smiles. There is no section for men on a lot of these sites though if there is, it’ll be full of the same kinds of issues previously mentioned. I have screenshotted some of these sites below:

Tony Moly

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Estee Lauder
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Etude House
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The beauty industry is unsafe
Some may find it shocking to discover that the beauty products they are buying and using on their bodies are unregulated and in some cases, unsafe.
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Because of the lack of labelling regulations, there are little or no requirements for the information divulged to consumers meaning ingredients and the like can sometimes be missed out. Not only this, there is no stopping these companies from filling their products with body-harming substances and synthetic materials that aren’t good for the skin or the environment. For example, microbeads in facial exfoliators are being washed down drains and into our oceans, causing pollution and harm to the environment and fish in the sea. Not only this, but because they are synthetic instead of natural exfoliants such as coffee or sugar, they can create micro tears on the surface of the skin, this is the redness consumers see if they over exfoliate.

The environment isn’t taken into consideration either, lots of products contain not only synthetics harmful to humans, but animal “oils” and “secretions” that are harmful to the animal and in some cases, the animal is killed to obtain this. Though it’s sometimes a bi-product of the meat industry, it still can’t be justified by a lot of people.
Below are lotions and potions containing Sheep Placenta, Pig Collagen, Snail Secrete, Horse Oil and Stem Cells.

Looking at beauty standards in general, even outside the beauty industry there are a few companies who fight for the 99% of the human population that aren’t 5’10/6’2, skinny/muscly and look like models.  The gender specific marketing remains an issue it seems.
Below is a campaign from Victoria’s Secret and above that is one from Dove, Dove made this ad after VS did to contradict them and say “well actually, nobodies body can be labelled as perfect or imperfect.”

An article I came across that challenges these standards is completely brilliant and makes a very valid point. The intro goes”With her short hair and androgynous looks, Rain Dove doesn’t fit the mold of the typical Victoria’s Secret model – but she thinks it’s time for the lingerie retailer to break that mold.”
To see the whole article, CLICK HERE.

This concludes my research thus far.

Thank you for reading 🙂



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