Beauty Through The Looking Glass: Is Less Make-up And More Skincare The Norm?
I got introduced to the world of Beauty bloggers somewhere around 2016. I was pursuing my undergrad and had this urge to start learning about all the products there are in the market before I start investing in make-up. Up until then, my go-to college/party/ everyday look consisted of 2 things- an eyeliner and lip gloss. Now that I look back at it, I think it was appropriate too for a 19-year-old girl.
From a very early age, I had an attraction towards one make-up product and till this day, it stands true. People who know me can take a guess here….yes, you’re right, drum-roll please….and the answer is….LIPSTICK!
At the age of 5, my father bought me a fake children’s mini lipstick after I broke my mom’s very new Lakme red bullet lipstick. If only he knew he’d have to buy me so many more lipsticks in the future!
Even though I love lipsticks, since then, I’ve had to develop an interest in other beauty products as well and honestly, I quite like it.
Just recently, my love for make-up and skincare crawled back to the surface when I started shopping for a wedding I had to attend. After lockdown, this was the first time I had the chance to go full-glam and yes, my full-glam is nowhere near the real Shaadi glam people go for.
When I used to watch Beauty bloggers like “Nikkie Tutorials” back in 2016 and 2017, it used to be primarily about make-up amongst beauty gurus/ influencers. They would promote tons of products you needed to pile on your face to get that perfect look. Through the years, I lost interest and touch with this side of the social media world but even then, I knew what was happening. The influencer world started shifting. The new “it” thing was Skincare. And it’s been growing ever since!
From the early 2000s up till now, various trends have come and gone but here are a few things that I’ve noticed have changed the game of beauty:
1. Beauty Bloggers rule the world
Beauty gurus like Nikkie de Jager from “Nikkie Tutorials, “Tati”, “Jeffree Star” are some of the biggest names when it comes to all things make-up. The thing about these gurus is that people want to hear and see what they’re talking about. Through the years, they’ve gained the trust of the viewers and subscribers that if they put their stamp on a product, then it’s sure to be sold out in a few days.
2. This leads me to the next point….awareness amongst customers aka transparency
Back in the days, regular women like me and you didn’t know or care about what they’re putting on their faces. The 90s and early 2000s was a time when Indrani Dasgupta’s fresh and plump face was enough to make Lakme’s Peach Milk moisturizer a cult product among women. Fortunately, the tables have turned. Women care enough to read the ingredient list of a product and decide basis that whether it’s worth investing in a product.
If my mom and my mausi were to have a chat about skincare, they’d probably go as far as Olay Anti-Ageing cream. When my sister and I have a conversation about skincare, we talk about Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Panthenol, Retinols and Humectancts.
3. Customers want to buy cruelty-free/ vegan/ paraben-free products
Millennials and Gen-Z are apparently the woke population. I guess it’s got to do with ‘karma’ being so popular in western culture now. But whatever the reason, people don’t want to buy products that are not vegan and not cruelty-free. Vegan products don’t have paraben and sulfates in them and instead have more natural ingredients which are better for the skin, and also don’t harm the environment as they don’t have animal by-products. Your conscience has awakened too right? Now you know why people pay those extra bucks….to keep their conscience clear! Haha!
4. A shift from Make-up to Skincare
Like I said earlier, the biggest shift the industry saw was the shift in people’s attitudes towards make-up and skincare. Skincare became the base for your make-up. Earlier it used to be for celebrities but now, women advocate and understand that good skin translates to good make-up and more so, good skin means less cakey make-up.
5. The “No Make-Up” Makeup look
The introduction of the “no make-up” make-up look acted as a catalyst for the shift of focus from make-up to Skincare. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra have endorsed this look for quite some time. The idea was to look beautiful without looking “made-up”. Clearly, the “no make-up” make-up look required women to focus on having good skin and less texture if they were going to wear sheer foundations or CC creams. Because of this trend, a brand like Glossier which wasn’t even around till 2012 has become a favorite amongst women who want a more natural finish to their face.
6. Introduction of Korean Skincare and the pursuit of the Glass Skin
Oh, my! Her skin looks so glowy and radiant. How do I get that?
In comes the parade of Korean Skincare. Koreans genetically have great skin but they also take a lot of care with their skin. Brands like Innisfree, The Face Shop and Laneige banked on the promise of the glass skin which a lot of Korean influencers were endorsing on social media and to date, their game is going strong. Hell, even I keep falling for products that promise that “glow-from-within” look!
7. Brands forced to cater to a wider range of skin tones
The one great thing that has happened is that more and more brands are researching and launching a wide range of inclusive products, especially foundations. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty changed the game in 2017 with the launch of 40 shades in its foundation line. Since then, brands are being forced to introduce varied products to suit a variety of skin tones and textures to stay relevant.
8. Investing in Skincare/make-up is considered acceptable (especially in India) with the availability of foreign brands
The rise of the upper-middle-class has surely affected the way we spend money. Most Indians still prefer not to wear make-up on a daily basis and if they do, it’s restricted to the eyes and the lips. As Sonam Kapoor said in her Vogue Make-up video, “The dark eye is a very Indian thing cause we have big eyes and beautiful eyebrows and we always try to accentuate that and a lot of Indian girls actually don’t have to get best, like I said, there are foundations that we don’t have for our skin and stuff like that. So we just kind of accentuate our eyes because we don’t have the right skin stuff.”
But now with the availability of foreign brands in India, women have access to brands that offer tons of shades in foundations and tinted moisturizers so that one can customize it to their skin. There’s also been a change in attitude where wearing make-up is not considered superficial in our country and it’s not considered “wastage” to spend on make-up and skincare.
With the ever-changing standards of beauty, the world has surely come a long way with the demands of the consumer dictating the innovation of the products. Many home-grown and drug store brands are also catching up in the race to grab a spot in India’s vanity. As a dark-skinned Indian woman with blemishes and dark spots on my face, it makes me happy to think that I have a right to ask for products suited to my skin and not feel hesitant about it.