Beauty is a complex social phenomenon that has been a topic of discussion for ages. There are multiple factors that have shaped the ideal appearance, from capitalism to racism to our innate sense of beauty. We can’t deny that achieving a “perfect” appearance is expensive and can have adverse health consequences. As such, creating an equitable beauty industry ecosystem is not an easy task.
However, there are signs that a change is afoot. In the last decade, the number of Black beauty brands has increased dramatically. And, according to a recent survey, 83 percent of respondents said that they would rather buy a Black beauty brand than a comparable non-Black beauty brand. That’s a lot of Black consumers willing to spend their hard earned cash on a product they believe will improve their looks.
This is a promising sign that the beauty industry is starting to pay attention to the Black consumer. Yet, this is not to say that a shift will happen overnight. It will require the industry to address its pain points and implement a range of changes, from better partnerships with Black brands to educating itself on the wants and needs of Black consumers. A small start has been made by rebranding many of its products as “countercultural” advertising campaigns. Those campaigns are not only empowering, but they have tapped into a new consumer base.
One major lag is the lack of diversity in ad campaigns. Having a diverse set of products that are marketed to a variety of consumers is not only a smart move, but a necessary one. When a brand doesn’t offer its customers a broad range of products, there’s a good chance that they’ll have to settle for inferior products or the next best thing.
Despite the myriad of obstacles, there are some bright spots in the beauty industry. In particular, the beauty industry has become more open to the burgeoning Black entrepreneur. By investing in Black-owned and -operated companies, as well as providing greater support to emerging brands, the industry is more likely to meet its potential.
While we’re on the subject of change, the beauty industry could benefit from an overhaul of its ad campaigns. According to a survey, the most attractive ad campaigns are the ones that include a wide array of consumers. For example, the most appealing ads feature people of varying skin colors, ages, and ethnicities. This reflects an evolving population of shoppers, whose preferences are constantly changing.
Finally, the best beauty treatments involve an individualized approach. For instance, a cosmetic procedure that changes the shape of a nose is unlikely to work for everyone, but the correct facial shape for each individual is essential to a successful outcome.
Overall, the evolution of the beauty industry has been a mixed bag. In the past, the concept of beauty was a bit of a gimmick, and in many cases it has been used to increase the power of a privileged few over the needs of the masses.