What Beauty Professionals Need to Know Today

Discover the most recent and relevant industry news and insights for beauty professionals, to help you excel in your job interviews, promotion conversations or simply to perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distils business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events, exclusive interviews and conversations — to deliver key takeaways and learnings in your job function.

Explore global job opportunities in beauty on BoF Careers today, from a cosmetics sales manager at Oceanium in either the UK or across the EU, to a senior beauty, jewellery and accessories art director at Bloomingdale’s in New York, or as a beauty ambassador at Chalhoub Group in Dubai.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for marketing professionals today:

1. Why Blush Might Catapult Hailey Bieber’s Rhode to Beauty’s Top Tier

A woman with bright pink cheeks places a blush stick to her face
Hailey Bieber’s Rhode launched this month. (Rhode)

Since launching in 2022, beauty’s obsession with Rhode and its founder has only grown. While the initial assortment (a serum, a moisturiser and peptide lip balms) led with Hailey Bieber’s skincare-first, doughnut glazed ethos — it’s her subsequent teases into makeup, tinted versions of her peptide lip treatments and now, blush, that confirm Bieber’s stickiness with beauty trends and online fandom. The brand’s first entry into colour cosmetics is a mini stick blush that is meant to be used on-the-go and debuts in six shades

A-list talent can typically guarantee a big launch, but celebrities have a relatively short window to prove their validity once a line hits the market. That Bieber is seemingly a real beauty enthusiast could be her secret weapon, said Kirbie Johnson, host of the beauty podcast Gloss Angeles. “Hailey has proven that she is a beauty girl,” said Johnson. “She was doing skincare ‘get ready with me,’ makeup videos long before her brand launch. When you have a celebrity brand launching every single day … it [can be] hard to believe that they actually use these products regularly and believe in them.”

2. Beauty Brands Tread Lightly With ‘Tradwives’

A collage
Cooking, cleaning and more – made glamorous. (BoF Team)

A portmanteau of “traditional” and “wife,” the term refers to women who undertake traditionally gendered roles, such as cooking, cleaning and child-rearing, as their primary duties. Some beauty and lifestyle brands have been quick to move in. Nara Smith, who has soared to the height of TikTok fame for both her model-esque good looks and domestic prowess, has promoted the K-Beauty brand Laneige and filmed a beauty tutorial for Vogue.

However, the tradwife trend has a dark underbelly. Creators such as Gwen the Milkmaid mix extreme right-wing views and conspiracy theories alongside otherwise innocuous videos of pasta making or tending to their gardens. Brands are still trying to figure out how to navigate these tricky waters. Though Gwen the Milkmaid’s roughly 65,000 TikTok following is dwarfed by Smith’s 7.6 million, in some viewers’ eyes, they’re all part of the same content stream, or they’re at least on a slippery slope to becoming more radicalised.

3. Inside Sephora’s Niche Fragrance Strategy

With an early eye to the niche fragrance boom, Sephora has turned its stores into a fragrance discovery destination, acting as a launchpad for trendsetting brands like Kayali and Phlur.
With an early eye to the niche fragrance boom, Sephora has turned its stores into a fragrance discovery destination, acting as a launchpad for trendsetting brands like Kayali and Phlur. (Instagram/commodity)

When Europerfumes founder Vicken Arslanian purchased the shuttered fragrance brand Commodity in 2019, he didn’t have much of a plan on how to revive the cult line. But he did know one factor was key to unlock the brand’s future: get back on the shelves of Sephora. “Sephora doesn’t leave success for chance,” he said. “They’re working with a brand on a consistent basis, to talk about activation, to talk about in-store visual merchandising, to talk about sampling, all of the above.”

After a brand refresh, which included a logo update and new scent profiles, Commodity made its Sephora comeback in 2022. Like countless other retailers, including department stores and discount shops, Sephora stocks fragrance scents from giants like Dior and Tom Ford, but the inclusion of Commodity — with its accessible price point, limited availability and scents that straddle the boundary between niche and mainstream — exemplifies much of what has made Sephora’s fragrance offering distinct today.

“They understood, before a lot of the competitors, that niche is going to be the mainstream of tomorrow,” said Romano Ricci, founder of Juliette Has a Gun, which has been sold at Sephora since 2016. Juliette Has a Gun was part of an early wave of fragrance brands to debut in Sephora like Kayali in 2018, Boy Smells and Phlur in 2022, and Nette in 2023.

4. Why Milani Cosmetics Is Playing Sports

Milani (Milani)

Milani is getting into the brand-building game. The affordable cosmetics label, known as an alternative for prestige beauty products, announced Thursday it is rolling out a new campaign, its first featuring celebrity spokespeople. Called “Face Set, Mind Set,” the campaign stars WNBA player Sabrina Ionescu, gymnast Jordan Chiles, volleyball star Chiaka Ogbogu and weightlifting champion Mattie Rogers. It highlights Milani’s Make It Last Setting Spray, a top-selling SKU. Casting top female athletes is meant to underscore the product’s performance.

Milani is just the latest beauty label to tap female athletes as spokespeople. In March, L’Oréal Paris named Australian footballer Mary Fowler as a brand ambassador, while Glossier served the WNBA’s beauty partner since 2020. “Women, historically, would never show up in full face makeup to whatever their competition was,” said Jeremy Lowenstein, Milani’s chief marketing officer. “It’s become more and more accepted for them to show up as they want to be seen. Makeup is a huge part of that.”

5. How Merit Won Over the Grown-Up Glossier Girl

Merit Beauty products in the brand's signature bag.
Merit Beauty products in the brand’s signature bag. (Merit Beauty)

Merit’s January 2021 launch came as the beauty world was obsessing over the decline of Millennial pink and the beauty “girlboss” era. As industry commentators were hailing the end of the curated Instagram aesthetic and rise of Gen-Z brands with colourfully chaotic style, Merit, founded by Katherine Power, founder of fashion editorial website Who What Wear, opted for a handful of products like its Flush Balm blush orb and Bronze Balm stick bronzer in understated gold, beige and lucite packaging.

Her instincts have paid off. Merit, which is sold direct-to-consumer and through Sephora, is profitable and surpassed $100 million in retail sales last year. In 2024, it is projected to reach over $100 million in revenue with its line of products geared toward creating fast and easy “no-makeup makeup” looks. With its quick ascent, the brand has its eye on the future. In February, it appointed former MAC Cosmetics global president Philippe Pinatel as CEO. This year, it also tapped Goldman Sachs to explore exit options.

6. Why Women With Cancer Are Suing Big Beauty Brands

Set of cosmetics for contouring makeup on color background
Set,Of,Cosmetics,For,Contouring,Makeup,On,Color,Background Set of cosmetics for contouring makeup on color background (Shutterstock)

Scores of British women are taking leading cosmetic companies to court in the United States, claiming that they contracted mesothelioma – a particularly nasty, treatable, but incurable cancer of the lining of the lung, heart or stomach – through their use of beauty products. The ingredient they hold responsible is talcum powder, which is ubiquitous in makeup. You’ll find it in bronzer, blusher, eye shadow, foundation, mascara, lipstick and even dry shampoo, because it does an excellent job in absorbing moisture and preventing caking.

Talc is a mineral that is mined from underground clay deposits, but it can also often have veins of asbestos present in it. Almost all of the big brands use it in their cosmetics, and they reject any suggestion that they may be tainted. The Estée Lauder Companies group, which includes Clinique and Bobbi Brown as well as Estée Lauder itself, said: “We only use talc that is tested and certified as asbestos free. Additionally, all our ingredients undergo a comprehensive safety review and evaluation, and our products are safe for their intended use.”

7. Dior Names Rihanna As the New Face of J’Adore

Dior Beauty has named Rihanna as the face of "J'adore" in a bid to reinvigorate the flagship fragrance range.
Dior Beauty has named Rihanna as the face of “J’adore” in a bid to reinvigorate the flagship fragrance range. (Courtesy)

Dior Beauty has named Rihanna as the face of “J’adore” in a bid to reinvigorate the flagship fragrance range. Her first campaign for the brand, shot by Steven Klein, will be revealed Sept. 1, the company said. The revamp of J’adore is poised to be Dior’s biggest perfume launch since Jennifer Lawrence-fronted “Joy” in 2018. A mixture of floral, fruity and sweet aromas, J’adore was initially launched in 1999 before quickly growing into a global business that consistently ranks among the top 10 scents across regions in consultancy NPD’s annual market share rankings.

Recent years’ momentum, however, has been more focused on Dior’s blockbuster mens’ scent, Sauvage. Rihanna’s appointment comes amid a long-term push to align Dior’s fashion and beauty image after decades of the two units operating rather independently despite both being owned by LVMH.

8. The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Beauty Is in Its ‘Eras’ Era

Chantecaille Beauty is hyping its Just Skin tinted moisturiser with a pop-up in New York, plus summer visits to London, Hong Kong and Seoul.
Chantecaille Beauty is hyping its Just Skin tinted moisturiser with a pop-up in New York, plus summer visits to London, Hong Kong and Seoul. (Chantecaille)

After decades of music acts turning summer into their own personal tour season, beauty brands are following suit. Fittingly, it was a pop star Ariana Grande, who really sparked the trend, with her R.E.M. Beauty tour, which made stops in Paris and Los Angeles, this spring. It included Instagram photo set-ups, product testing stations and a chance to meet the future Glinda herself.

But Grande has her own movie tour for “Wicked” gearing up, which means other brands are stepping up to the mic in her stead. On June 12, Charlotte Tilbury took over Sephora in Herald Square, Manhattan and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. On June 14 and 15, Westman Atelier is holding a meet-and-greet for their new blush at 10 Nordstrom locations, including stores in Oregon, Tennessee and Phoenix. And Chantecaille Beauty, is hyping its Just Skin tinted moisturiser with a pop-up in SoHo, New York, plus summer visits to London, Hong Kong and Seoul.

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