Your time to shine
It’s the beauty buzzword, slapped on everything from body oil to blusher. But is ‘glow’ more than a marketing term, asks
to use the word “contouring”, preferring “bronzing”. “For a long time, swooshing layer after layer of bronzer was the solution to being tired, ill, spotty or whatever,” she says. But then we reached critical mass. “I think it’s in part a backlash against that overdone makeup look.” Beer has embraced “glowing” by switching from Armani Maestro Fusion foundation (which is mattifying) to Armani Maestro
Glow. And, it seems, social media is in agreement. At last search, the word “contour” had been hashtagged more than 4m times on Instagram, while the word “glow” was at more than 5m. “Health and beauty brands know this – ‘glow’ is a word that sells,” she says.
However, unless we’re treating the skin from within, we’re not implementing any structural change. Enter nutricosmetics, another movement in the beauty industry that has been vital to the success of glow, and which views skincare as an oral supplement. An early adopter of the term was the Beauty Chef, an Australian nutritionist. Its bestselling supplement is called Glow, and contains various nutrients and probiotics that “synthesise collagen in the skin and help contribute to normal skin function as well as support digestive health”. Selfridges also has a large range of ingestible beauty supplements at its Beauty Workshop. According to a retail assistant at Space NK in Covent Garden, London, collagen-building pills are among their bestsellers.
Glow is, then, one of the few words that straddles the internal and external, what we eat and what we slather on our skin. Theresa Yee, senior beauty editor at trend forecasters WGSN, reckons that this is “perhaps why it’s taken off ”. It is about looking like you feel, or want to feel, the epitome of aspirational beauty, and going as far as you can to make that happen. This may seem harmless, but does in fact take us back to social media, where truth and reality are compromised. If the elusive glow is about obtaining a look of health, rather than youthfulness – of appearing fresh, gym-fresh or even pregnant – what are the ethics of faking it?
The beauty industry is under duress to come up with new ways to sell stuff. It promises a lot of things and relies on an arsenal of buzzwords to do it. Previous words – contouring, strobing, baking – are big, but most tend to apply to a product or method of application. Few have the multitasking properties of “glow”, which is as much about how you feel as how you look. Glow may be another confection of a multibillion pound industry, but it comes from something deeper than that. And no serum will make you look pregnant.