VOGUE Australia

State of beauty

In an era of unpreceden­ted change within the beauty industry, three insiders ask each other about the triumphs, challenges, and innovation­s driving the business forward.


VAL GARLAND Make-up artist and L’Oréal global make-up director

JO HORGAN: “In recent years, do you think there has been a democratis­ation of beauty, and what role has backstage beauty played in this?”

VG: “Yes, definitely. Backstage beauty access means that it’s no longer a closed environmen­t only available to industry insiders. Everything we’re doing and the beauty products we’re using are no longer inside trade secrets. There’s incredible informatio­n on social media about how and why profession­al make-up artists apply make-up backstage and everyone is now much more clued-up on the products available and how to use them. You don’t need to ask an expert anymore – expertise is a click away and you are your own expert.”

ZOË FOSTER BLAKE: “Make-up artists coming through are self-taught, thanks to YouTube, Instagram etc, but there can be some sameness to it. What are your thoughts?”

VG: “I was completely self-taught during the 80s. My skills were honed on the people I was with at the time – we were a tribe, and it was about the music we were into, the clubs we were going to, our individual­ity, identity and subculture. Make-up will always be a form of self-expression but I do wonder with all the make-up tutorials on YouTube whether young people nowadays will be led into thinking there is only that way to do make-up. Many seem to be versions of the same thing: the heavy base, the cut crease, the super-defined brow, all the highlight and contour … Is there now, more than ever, a pressure to look and do things a certain way? I hope not. I would like to believe future generation­s will continue to demand individual­ity and free self-expression.”

ZOË FOSTER BLAKE Author and founder and chief creative officer of Go-To Skincare

VAL GARLAND: “How can beauty brands use social media to speak to and learn from their audience?”

ZFB: “Social media is such a free kick when it comes to engagement, feedback and loyalty. People have opted in to listen to you, and chat to you, and maybe even buy what you ask them to. Never take that for granted. If you’re wondering how to grow your audience, I would say forget about all but a small segment of them, your core. Look into Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans, which is the idea that if you have just 1,000 true fans whom you nurture, educate, listen to, entertain, delight and essentiall­y work for, and they use, love and talk about your products, then you’re doing it right.”

JO HORGAN: “Sustainabi­lity is an important talking point in the beauty industry. How do you stay informed and meet the changing needs of customers?”

ZFB: “Our social impact is very top of mind. We have been carbon neutral and reducing non-essential packaging for years, but there is a new urgency behind our sustainabi­lity push. This is in part due to a swell of requests from customers, but chiefly because we want to do the right thing by the planet, customers and future generation­s. We’re moving towards innovative suppliers who are future-based in their thinking (or prodding current suppliers to get their act together) but in all honesty, it’s confusing, and frustratin­g. We make a move towards bioplastic­s, for example, then our consultant will gently point out sugarcane crops increase agricultur­al production, which means land clearing, so you’re back to square one. But we are determined. To do it right will take time. And we want to do it right.”

JO HORGAN Founder, Mecca Brands

ZOË FOSTER BLAKE: “How do you see beauty and tech working together in the future?”

JH: “It’s crucial to remember that technology and innovation means anything from updating our internal IT systems to using it to better serve the customer with data and AI for personalis­ation. In this case, tech is something that needs to be considered as a guide rather than to completely govern; there still needs to be that human touch. Tech has always existed in beauty – that’s what keeps it evolving and moving forward. It could be research and developmen­t of product design or formula. As with the rise of the skincare segment, we’re seeing more devices come on the market, both ‘lo-fi’ and ‘high-tech’ and undoubtedl­y there will be more to come.”

VAL GARLAND: “What’s happening outside of the beauty industry that is helping to drive the category forward?”

JH: “With so many brands out there now, you can really find the one that speaks to you. Environmen­tal consciousn­ess is now a given. We have an eco-option for our online orders and try to make choices that are environmen­tally aware. The growth of the wellbeing and wellness industry has also fuelled the growth in skincare; there’s so much room for dermatolog­ist-run skincare brands to grow. Customers are demanding results from products that are backed by science, and brand authentici­ty is absolutely necessary. As part of that, there have been some brands that have blurred the lines between skincare and cosmetics, too. The same goes for the sleep industry: there are now more and more products out there that deal with improving sleep quality.”

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia