Makeup means power. Skincare means self-love. Associating superficiality and vanity with cosmetics is no longer valid.
Beauty products can help empower us. If the least they do is make us feel good about ourselves, then they’ve done their job.
It’s also about choice. The option to wear makeup helps us manifest the type of person we want to be.
From a business standpoint, the beauty industry is full of stories of women who have made their lives extraordinary through the power of cosmetics. It’s as if women weaponized makeup and skincare.
We see a lot of women flourishing in the cosmetics industry. Their stories are often about how makeup and skincare are more than just for physical appearances. They’re about women helping women.
Jamie Kern Lima, the American founder of Innovative Technology (IT) Cosmetics, was a former broadcast journalist who dealt with the challenges of high-definition cameras. She suffered from rosacea (redness in the face) and had sparse brows.
She put up IT Cosmetics to find the makeup solution to problems that bother her and other women. She didn’t want to go for what’s trendy or to create colors that only celebrities and theater actors could wear.
The idea clicked. IT Cosmetics was first sold on the shopping channel QVC and drew a following for products like Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer. According to Allure, IT is unique in that Lima demonstrated her products not only on young models but also on 72-year-olds.
In 2016, global beauty giant L’Oreal acquired IT. In eight years, Lima rose to become a brand worth $1.2 billion.
The other night, I got an email notification for the newest beauty line, Glossier Play. Four years ago, Emily Weiss introduced Glossier, a brand that spawned beauty’s social media hits: Boy Brow, Wowder and Cloud Paint, to name a few. With Glossier Play, Weiss has enriched her story as a renegade in the beauty industry.
In 2010, Weiss’ blog Into the Gloss became the cool girl herald, reporting on beauty trends and experiences with a friendly and casual approach.
As an entrepreneur, she turned the old beauty game on its head. Established brands were found chasing after Glossier’s approach to marketing, while emerging ones took a page or two from its minimalist branding.
From a purely online presence, Glossier moved into physical retail spaces while other brands struggled to keep their kiosks open.
Recently, Miss Universe Catriona Gray did a makeup tutorial for Vogue. In it, she used a palette from an independent brand called Juvia’s Place.
Chichi Eburu, of Nigerian descent and a mother of two, created the label to honor her African roots. The Juvia’s Place branding features Queen Nefertiti and black women along with the names of the products. The Nubian Palette is named after a word associated with excellence.
It has only been four years since Eburu launched Juvia’s Place, starting out with a line of brushes. It has remained an independent brand with a strong social media following.
YouTube vloggers attest—sans sponsorship—that the brand is good. This year it will be stocked in one of the leading US drugstores, Ulta.
There are many more brands out there that are fueled by passionate women. In these brands, you can see how women are helping women—and even men!—find the right tools to express who they really are.