5 Ways the 21st Century Impacted the Beauty Market

While I mostly tend to write reviews or tutorials on this blog, another subject that fascinates me is the ever-changing world of beauty and how trends are driven by the world around us.

Whether it’s a historical event such as the Great War (which saw women sporting shorter skirts and shorter hairstyles), or a particular person (did you know that Coco Chanel started the trend for bronzed skin when she was accidentally sunburned while on a cruise of the French Riviera??), the face of beauty is constantly evolving and the market is always changing to reflect this.


So here are 5 interesting ways in which the beauty market changed in the 21st century, and why:

1. Everything is “Long-Lasting”

Have you noticed how many products claim to be “long-lasting” in the title nowadays? Foundations, lipsticks, powders, etc… This may seem like an obvious quality for a beauty product, but it only really started emerging in the last 15 years or so. Our lives are now more busy than ever, with people working longer hours and going out later and later. We need our makeup to keep up with us! Marketing moguls soon cottoned on to this fact and soon everything was claiming to be “long-lasting”. I wonder how much of it actually is?

N.B. The inventor of the first long-lasting lipstick was Hazel Bishop, a chemist from New Jersey. She wanted to create a lipstick which wouldn’t rub off on to clothes or while eating, and began experimenting with different acids and wax. In 1948, she came out with her “No-Smear” Lipstick which was a huge hit. However, it was so long-lasting that even soap couldn’t get rid of it and women usually woke up the next day with still-stained lips. They marketed it with the slogan, “Wake up Beautiful”. 

Save vs Splurge - Red Lippy

2. The Recession Effect

The 2008 Financial Crash had a great effect on women’s cosmetics. I recently read in the L’Oreal “Beauty Trends”  report (which is available on their website and is a really interesting read!), that during the recession, women began to buy and wear more conservative, plain makeup with the sale of nude lipsticks and plain eye shadows being much higher than before. Perhaps this reflected the worry and depression permeating through society. However, as time went on, women started to “fight back” against the recession and opted for bolder, brighter colours.

3. The “Foundation Factor”

Another interesting fact discovered through the L’Oreal report! You may have heard of the Lipstick Index, a term coined by Leonard Lauder, chairman of  the board of Estee Lauder, which claims that lipstick sales increase in times of economic downturn. This is because women are less likely to spend their money on expensive clothes or perfume, and will instead cheer themselves up with a cheaper-by-comparison lipstick.

However, L’Oreal claim it is now the “Foundation Factor”. During the recession, when women were most likely to be stressed and worried, the sale of foundation increased dramatically. This is due to the negative effect that stress can have on skin.


4. Eco-Concern

Our increasing knowledge surrounding the effects of pollution on climate change and the damage caused by deforestation, have forced companies to care more about their environmental impact. Of course, this can only be a good thing! Companies such as L’Oreal and Estee Lauder have adopted policies which promise to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure sustainability in the future.

The Green Effect has also impacted the beauty market as more people lean towards organic products, such as coconut oil, and stay away from products with a high chemical content.

5. The Celebrity-Effect

With the rise of social media, celebrity culture is bigger than ever before. Todays supermodels are no longer the silent, elusive beings of 20 years ago, but are in constant contact with their fans, posting intimate snapshots of their everyday lives on Instagram and Twitter. Nothing is too personal to share and their lifestyle seems more attainable than ever.

This instant-effect has driven many beauty trends. You may all remember when Kim Kardashian posted a picture of herself on Instagram showing the makeup process she goes through to achieve her ultra-contoured look. Now, contouring products are everywhere and there are thousands of tutorials all over the internet on how to recreate it at home (mine is here if you want a look!). Red hair seemed to be everywhere after Rihanna debuted hers in 2010 and Cara Delenvigne brought back the bold, bushy brows at a time when thin brows were all the rage.



It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the beauty market. Do you have any surprising facts to share? And what can you see being a big trend in 2015?

Thanks for reading!



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Hi, I'm Jo. A marketing girl with a love of bold lips, luxury skincare, delicious food, and travelling to new places. Continuing to blog all my adventures...

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