BY HANNAH AHDAB
Fashion expression would not be what it is without the integral presence of the beauty industry. Makeup is an extension of our personal style and provides the same creativity that goes into fashion as an art form. In the past few years, the beauty industry has made incredible strides in widening the scope of high-quality products that are accessible to everyone regardless of their skin tone or gender.
Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s makeup company created in partnership with LVMH’s Kendo beauty division conglomerate, shocked the cosmetic industry when it launched over 40 foundation shades. Not only did this range include a surplus of options for individuals with darker complexion, a gap previously held in the market, but it also provided options for individuals on the lighter side of the spectrum; providing creative expression for everyone. Part of the reason for Fenty’s instant rise to popularity was its backing from the Kendo division which provided a direct pipeline from production to huge international retailers like Sephora.
Rihanna, who had previously been vocal about her struggles to find makeup that properly suited her, capitalized off her authenticity and quickly rose to become the most successful celebrity makeup brand in the industry. Today, Fenty Beauty is worth over $2.8 billion, surpassing both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, other leading celebrity makeup brands in the industry. Rihanna’s overwhelming success is attributed to the quality and authenticity of her products.
In September of 2020, Selena Gomez joined the list of celebrities creating their own makeup companies. The brand was met with overwhelming success, generating over $60 million in revenue within its first year. The brand accredits its success to its authenticity with its mission. After going public with her struggles surrounding being diagnosed with Lupus and undergoing a kidney transplant, Gomez created a company preaching self love. Rare beauty raises both awareness and money for mental health support and services.
In tone with their mission, Rare beauty encourages its users to embrace their own uniqueness instead of using makeup as a way to hide their ‘imperfections.’ Arguably the brand has become known for their liquid blush that broke the internet. Recently, the purple shade of the liquid blush has gone viral on Tik Tok for being the perfect shade for individuals with darker skin tones.
However, makeup companies don’t need to be started by celebrities in order to be successful. Glossier, a brand that has seen incredible international success began from a blog called ‘Into The Gloss.’ Glossier’s original business model was so intriguing when it entered the market as it highlighted makeup that was made to be minimalistic. The company began as a strictly online retailer focusing on creating products that brought consumers back to the basics of makeup. After years of exclusive online retail, the company began introducing pop up shops to create further engagement with their consumers. In 2019, Glossier pushed the envelope of makeup having no gender by making singer Troye Sivan the face of their ad campaign. The brand has continued to see growth and positive responses with 2021 being their most profitable year yet, earning $20 million in revenue.
Fashion expression wouldn’t be what it is without the beauty industry. With greater diversity in the makeup and fashion industry, we are all able to grow and learn from one another’s personal style. Increasing inclusivity and transparency in the industry have allowed more and more people to find their own creative expression. Makeup brands like Fenty, Rare Beauty and Glossier contribute to the idea that fashion, in any form is for everybody. These brands continue to push the envelope of what beauty is and raise the standard of inclusivity for all makeup brands.