I recently found myself faced with a large amount of ‘empties’, as they’re called within the beauty community, and contemplated whether or not I should repurchase repeats. After a couple of days with the devil and angel on my shoulder and binging Skincare with Hyram, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t need the limited edition, novelty products I was once attracted to. This revelation led to a long-awaited spiral as I spontaneously decided to purge my entire beauty collection later that evening. Let me tell you, for someone that doesn’t wear lip products, I sure had an array of lipsticks.
Guilt washed over me as I stared at handfuls of palettes, mascaras, concealers, eyeshadows, bronzers… you get it. Most of these products had gathered dust, barely hit pan and due to the short life span of beauty products, were about to meet their death. As Marie Kondo would say, this did not spark joy.
Among this mass, there was a prominent brand that stuck out. My first true love: Glossier. The revolutionary ‘indie’ beauty brand to achieve cult status. I initially fell in love with the, dewy, natural, no-makeup-makeup ideology the brand presented. Their products focused on enhancing your skin rather than covering it up, their packaging was elegant yet simple and it’s exclusivity sealed the deal on why I had to have it. But over time, the bubblegum pink, millennial aesthetic didn’t speak to me anymore.
It wasn’t an abrupt change, no switch or anything. I think I just grew out of their fresh-tween demographic. I no longer felt the desire to enshrine the products in my bathroom. The pastel pink, glittery packaging didn’t excite me like it once did. The thought of standing in line to enter their store filled me with dread. I couldn’t justify spending money and time trying to transport their products to Australia. My excitement vanished thinking about their latest product launches.
I feel like Glossier is the bookend of a chapter in life where I first stepped into the beauty community. It was the surge of new beauty, niche brands and K Beauty started getting recognised, deservingly of course. I felt included in the community, we learned about products together but more importantly, we learned how to love our skin for being skin.
The community aspect was and is a blessing but it’s almost as if brands thrive off of this. They’ve adapted and formed personalities to infiltrate our communities and sell us more. It’s almost as if we expect brands to have a personality and a relationship with us when in reality, they’re a brand.
The beauty industry pushes for constant consumption and while there are numerous conversations about fast fashion, there seems to be little discussion for the beauty realm. I find that a hefty amount of beauty products are often of poor quality made with cheap ingredients or white labelling. Because it’s such a highly profitable industry, brands mimic the same strategies that have worked in the past. You know the one, it’s the limited edition, often seasonal, quick release. And it works. The industry knows it can always feed off the bright-eyed, marketable, young generation that’s entering the beauty world.
That just wasn’t me anymore.
Lately, I’ve been falling for drugstore, K beauty and indie brands that invest into their formulas, results, R&D rather than marketing. Brands that understand skin is skin. Brands that aren’t trying to fix all of my problems. Some of these include: Saie, Tower 28, InnisFree, CeraVe (yes, I really love Hyram), Another Dose, Topicals and Bread Beauty Supply.
Who knows, maybe in a year or two, I’ll feel different and re-fall in love with the industry, but until then, I’ll be keeping my space.
Visuals by Nicole Kapper
Words By Anna Lowe