Wednesday, 17 October 2012

World’s first DNA skin test for personalised anti-ageing at Organic Pharmacy

Image: The Organic Pharmacy

There are so many active ingredients in skincare products, so how do you know which will be most beneficial for your skin’s own needs? geneOnyx, a provider of genetics analytics for cosmetics, may have the answer, with the launch of a world-first on-the-spot DNA skincare test.

Launching as an in-store treatment at The Organic Pharmacy, Kings Road, London, the geneOnyx DNA skincare test is designed to help consumers identify the most beneficial anti-ageing products for their skin, by identifying variations in the gene that relates to collagen breakdown – the process that causes skin to age.

Unlike most DNA testing, it requires no lab, no skilled technicians and no time: a swab of saliva is simply taken, which is then injected into a DNA microchip for analysis. This microchip is plugged into a USB device to provide test results within 30 minutes. The geneOnyx database will then provide a list of active ingredient recommendations that are directly related to each person’s skincare requirements.

This service doesn’t come cheap at £295 for a one hour consultation, but if it really works then it could save women a fortune in expensive skincare products that don’t live up to their claims. And given that the technology is also being used to improve genetic research, testing and treatment for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, the geneOnyx DNA test has some pretty hefty credentials behind it, too.

Would you invest in a service like this?

Boots Little Me Organics ad banned by ASA - the murky waters of organic labelling

The beauty industry is no stranger to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) banning adverts because of misleading communication, but I was surprised by the reason for a recent Boots Little Me Organics advert being banned.

Following a single complaint that said “claims that the product was ‘organic’ were misleading because they implied it met an independent organic standard,” the ASA upheld the complaint and has said it mustn’t appear again in its current form.

However, rather than the judgement being based on something that was said within the advert, the ASA took issue with the actual brand name ‘Little Me Organics’ misleading the consumer into thinking the products either met a defined organic standard, or used a high proportion of organic ingredients (when in fact, the product had less than 5% organic ingredients).

Rather than this directly being related to text used within an advert as is the usual realm of the ASA, this delves into the much murkier waters of organic labelling and the fact that there is no legal definition of what constitutes a beauty product to be organic.

As it stands currently, beauty products are allowed to be called organic if there is any organic ingredient within the product – so although consumers think they are buying an organic product, it could actually contain just 1% of organic ingredients.

But while there is currently no legal criteria for calling a product ‘organic’ - something the natural beauty sector has long taken issue with, it seems that brands who use the word ‘organic’ on an advert – even if it is just within the product name, now risk being punished by the ASA instead.

With organic certification being so costly to brands and often confusing to consumers (because different organic certifications have different standards), surely it would be a lot easier for everyone involved if the law was just changed to set a certain legal criteria for organic beauty labelling? After all, for foods to be labelled as organic, under EU regulations at least 95% of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants and animals, so why can’t the same be done for the beauty industry?

What do you think?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The new face of Chanel No.5 is a man… and Brad Pitt no less!

Using a celebrity to represent a fragrance is nothing new, of course, but now Chanel has made the bold move of using a man to represent its iconic women’s fragrance, Chanel No.5, as it is revealed that Brad Pitt will be the new face of the perfume.

Launching next week, it is the first time that Chanel has used a man to front a women’s fragrance campaign. “To keep a legend fresh, you always have to change its point of view,” Andrea d’Avack, president at Chanel Fragrance & Beauty told WWD. What a fantastic quote! Chanel No.5 is indeed a legend in its field and continues to outsell its rivals more than 90 years since its launch. So it’s a brave – and expensive – leap by the fashion and beauty giant, whose investment in Brad Pitt alone will be in the millions.

Could this be a new page in an industry that is well known for its use of female celebrities within its marketing campaigns? It will be exciting to find out and I’m sure Chanel’s peers will be watching the impact with great interest.

If you can't wait until next week, here is a little teaser campaign, complete with Brad Pitt's husky tones. Enjoy!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols - a new beauty concept store

It seems retailers can’t get enough of beauty at the moment – following my recent articles on Marks and Spencer’s new beauty hall and BeautyMART at Harvey Nichols, along comes the launch of Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols.

Set to open in late autumn 2012, Harvey Nichols has gone all-out crazy for beauty and dedicated a whole stand-alone store to its Beauty Bazaar, spanning a whopping 22,000 sq ft over three floors. With the aim of ‘redefining luxury beauty and being the antidote to the commoditisation of beauty’, Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols will be a one-stop-shop for your every beauty need – and then some.

The ground floor will be packed to the rafters with more beauty products than you can shake a stick at, including the usual suspects such as Chanel, YSL and Crème de la Mer as well as new and niche beauty brands. 

Step on up to the first floor and you’ll find a whole host of beauty treatments on offer from pedicures to brow bars and everything in between. It will also be home to a Champagne and Cocktail Bar which hopes to become a destination in its own right. 

The second floor is committed to privacy to ensure comfort for more discreet treatments such as waxing and tanning and a range of high-tech medi-treatments.

Although concept stores of this nature usually launch in London, Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols is actually debuting in Liverpool. While this makes it harder for some to be able to get to with ease, I’ve heard on the grapevine that other Beauty Bazaar stores will follow across the UK.

What do you think about the Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols concept store?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

‘The Curve’ liquid eyeliner

I love it when innovation is applied to commonplace make up products – it’s all too easy to not consider the design of make up items that have been around for years and sometimes just a little tweak in design can make application a whole lot easier, and have us all wondering why someone didn’t think of it sooner.

So I was most intrigued when Wizard PR uploaded a teaser image to its Facebook page this week, showing The Curve: “an ergonomic shaped liquid liner that makes application mistake-proof.” I’ve never really questioned whether the usual pen shape of eyeliner makes application difficult, so it will be interesting to see if the rounded shape of The Curve liquid eyeliner will make a marked difference when applying eye liner.

Wizard PR is keeping its cards close to its chest as to which brand is launching The Curve eyeliner, so keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Urban Decay and the downside to beauty’s growth in China

Image credit:
It’s no secret that China’s beauty market has experienced phenomenal growth for a number of years - in fact, China has become the fastest growing beauty market in the world over the last decade. Prestige beauty is particularly strong, with NPD Group reporting a market growth of 21% in 2011 alone. So naturally, China is now very much in the sights of many UK beauty companies wanting to capitalise on a whole new - very lucrative - market.

However, entering the Chinese beauty market comes at a price, because Chinese law states that before any beauty products can be marketed in China, the country may require the products to be tested for safety in China’s own laboratories… on animals. While this may not be an issue for some beauty companies, for any brand that bases its identity and ethos on being animal-friendly, it basically makes China a no-go area unless it manages to get granted exemption from animal testing.

A number of beauty brands have already launched in China with great success; in particular L’Oreal, which tipped over one billion euros in sales last year. But one brand’s decision to enter the Chinese beauty market has come into the firing line this week: Urban Decay. For a brand that is staunchly against animal testing and has built up huge consumer loyalty around this ethos, Urban Decay's move has prompted shock, outrage and a backlash from its consumers. Urban Decay has issued a press response in its defence, which states:
“Do we like China’s policies? No…and that is really the point. Going into China was a huge decision for Urban Decay. But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes.
“Yes, we are a for-profit company. And yes, we would eventually like to make money in China. But we don’t stand to turn a profit in China for quite a while, partially because the market isn’t quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand like ours. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years. But our foray into this market is also about participating in an amazing time of change in China.” (You can read the full statement here.)

Unfortunately, Urban Decay’s decision to deny they entered a booming market for financial reasons and instead did it to encourage animal-friendly practices, even though it is prepared to pay for animal testing to be done on its products in China, has only aggravated the situation. As one reader commented on Lipglossiping’s blog post: “If they don’t expect to make a profit in China anytime soon, and they know that their product doesn’t necessarily appeal to the current market, then what’s their goal? It is so presumptuous that they will enact change by their entrance to the market when human rights advocates, NGO groups, and others have yet to achieve it.”

Furthermore, the BUAV has just announced that Urban Decay has lost its Cruelty-Free certified status because of its decision to sell on the Chinese market. So whatever Urban Decay's intentions may be by launching in China, it could be at the expense of its brand credentials and its existing loyal consumers worldwide.

What do you think of Urban Decay's decision to enter the Chinese beauty market?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

M&S Your Beauty - Marks and Spencer's new beauty hall

Marks and Spencer Your Beauty new beauty hall. Image credit: Harper's Bazaar
Following the rumours that have been circulating about Marks and Spencer’s new beauty offering, the store has finally revealed its new beauty retail concept - M&S Your Beauty: The Best of Nature and Science. And it’s exciting! Launched yesterday in its High Street Kensington store, M&S Your Beauty is distinctly premium and high tech and looks set to rival the best of the department stores.

Back in 2009 M&S decided to abandon its premise of only stocking own-branded items in its food halls, and this ethos has been extended to its new beauty offering. So alongside 14 of M&S’s own brand beauty lines, consumers can also find a large range of premium and niche brands such as Nuxe, Apvita and Philip Kingsley. Keen to be a step ahead of the crowd, M&S has also bagged a handful of UK exclusives including Dr Murad (US), Roger & Gallet (France) and Skyn Iceland (Iceland… obviously).

One thing I really like about M&S’s Your Beauty concept is that its beauty advisors aren't working on a commission basis, thereby eliminating any potential pushy sales techniques, or recommending products that aren't necessarily right for the consumer.

Also in the offering is a Virtual Makeover Counter which lets consumers digitally select different shades of cosmetics across foundation, blusher, lipstick, etc. to find the most suitable colours for their skin tone. There is also an online version of the M&S Virtual Makeover Counter, from which you can upload an image of yourself to virtually try out different shades.

M&S Your Beauty: The Best of Nature and Science has also launched on the M&S website and will soon be rolling out to other stores. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

‘Self-style social sharing’ opportunities for beauty brands

Although a relatively new phenomenon, over the space of just a few years, social media marketing has gone from being the domain of the pacemakers to now seeing social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs incorporated into most brands’ marketing plans. And then came along the rise of ‘self-style social sharing’.

While social sharing is nothing new, social sharing image platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Polyvore are becoming increasingly popular and now boast millions of daily users. Combined with the trend for street style photography where ordinary people share their own individual styles, it presents enormous potential for beauty brands.

To put the idea of self-style social sharing into practice for brand potential, let me give an example: Back in 2009, Burberry launched its Art of the Trench website, which allows consumers to upload and share their street-style photos with their own take on an outfit featuring a Burberry trench coat. Burberry was definitely on to something; according to digital agency Made by Many, Burberry experienced an 85% sales increase in trench coats. This is particularly poignant given that back then, luxury brands in particular were hesitant to embrace social media for fear of losing their exclusivity and aspiration.

Fast forward to now and Jimmy Choo has just announced its new 24:7 Stylemakers initiative. Along the same premise as Burberry’s Art of the Trench, Jimmy Choo 24:7 Stylemakers goes one step further, by allowing consumers to click through from the image that has been shared to then buy the product featured direct from the Jimmy Choo website.

This kind of engagement is invaluable: consumers are directly interacting with a brand and promoting its products. They are spending their own time and effort creating these looks, to become part of a community to inspire and be inspired. They are showing the product in real life, instead of as a pack shot or on a model. What’s more, these consumers will then share the image through their own social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, thereby increasing potential traffic to the brand’s social sharing platform.

So far, it has largely been fashion brands to capitalise on self-style social sharing, but I think there is huge scope for beauty brands to do the same. While fashion bloggers photograph Outfit of the Day (OOTD) blog posts, beauty bloggers photograph Face of the Day (FOTD) and Nails of the Day (NOTD) blog posts, to showcase their own beauty looks and the products they used to achieve it, and this is exactly the premise that beauty brands can adopt on their own turf.

So to maximise the full potential of the social stratosphere, it’s no longer enough to simply converse with consumers; to truly embrace ‘social’ opportunities, brands and retailers need to give their consumers the platform to display their own interpretation of the brand's products to the world.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

BeautyMART: a new ‘editorial’ beauty retail concept

I have been following the BeautyMART blog, as penned by ex-Vogue beauty journalist Anna-Marie Solowij and brand creative Millie Kendall (of Ruby & Millie fame), for a little while now. With a teaser stating “BeautyMART, an exciting and unique new space to shop, in-store and online, for all your favourite beauty products”, I was keen to find out more about exactly what this new beauty retail landscape would offer.

It has now been revealed that BeautyMART is a new beauty concept store opening in Harvey Nichols in August 2012 that will offer a tightly edited selection of beauty brands, from mass to premium, niche to mainstream, all under one roof. And unlike other beauty retail concepts, BeautyMART’s founders have handpicked only the best products from each brand to stock on their shelves, rather than stocking the whole range. Anna-Marie Solowij told Vogue that she filled the store ‘as akin to doing the perfect edit for a beauty page’.

What this essentially means is that every single product in the boutique has a seal of approval from two of the beauty industry’s heavyweights; it’s not enough for them to recommend, for example, the Becca Cosmetics range – they’ll go one step further and provide you with only the best products within that range. It’s like editorial-style shopping and I love it.

This notion of ‘editorial shopping’ isn’t just limited to the product selection; it’s also an integral part of the shopping experience. As the website states: “We’re making our boutique feel like a magazine come to life, with stories to inspire you and advice that you can trust.

Prior to the boutique’s launch, BeautyMART will install its own beauty vending machines in-store, with the view to also take them to other arenas such as airports and salons, offering beauty essentials and mini products at the click of a button. Imagine waiting for your train to arrive and impulse-buying a few beauty goodies in the meantime? I better warn my bank manager.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Astalift: bringing photographic film expertise to skincare

When I first heard that photographic film company Fujifilm was launching a skincare range called Astalift in the UK, I thought it was a gimmick. I assumed that, following the demise of film photography, Fujifilm had decided instead to try and make a quick buck out of the beauty industry by creating a range that made skin supposedly look ‘photo-perfect’ (I’ve obviously been in the marketing game for too long!). You can’t blame a girl for being so cynical; the beauty industry is often taken advantage of for its high profit margins and speed of consumer replenishment.

But actually Astalift goes a lot deeper than that and looks to be a serious contender on the UK anti-ageing skincare market. And here’s the really interesting thing: some of the most advanced ingredients in skincare are actually used within the photographic film industry too, and so Fujifilm has a vast background in the research and development of these areas.

For instance, collagen – a skincare ingredient and a vital component of the skin that keeps it looking plumped and youthful, is also a key element of photographic film. Who knew?! What’s more, antioxidants, a regular on the skincare ingredient circuit to fight free radicals which cause the skin to deteriorate, are also used to prevent photographic film from fading. Finally, nanotechnology, a very targeted method of ingredient delivery deep into the skin (based upon ultra-fine particles), was also used by Fujifilm for film and data storage innovation.

All these ingredients and technology can be found in Astalift and, going a step further, Fujifilm is also utilising a little-known super-ingredient called Astaxanthin, a natural antioxidant that is said to be 1,000 times more powerful than the popular Co-enzyme Q10 ingredient favoured by beauty giants such as Nivea.

All of this makes for a superior skincare range and, having already experienced great success in the Asian beauty markets, I expect Astalift will not only make waves in the UK beauty market but will also bring the use of Astaxanthin to the fore.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Move over BB Creams – CC Creams are heading to the UK beauty market!

Have you got your head around BB Creams yet? Well you better had, because CC Creams are now on their way! Having been alerted to their existence by British Beauty Blogger’s recent post, upon researching the market I’ve discovered that CC Creams (like their BB counterparts before) are already popular in the Asian beauty market.

Harnessing all the existing benefits of a BB Cream (moisturiser, skin repair, anti-ageing, primer, foundation, skin refiner and sun protector), CC Creams (which stands for Colour Control) will have a lighter consistency in a non-oily formulation – which is a bonus for those with oily skin who have found BB Creams to be too greasy.
chanel complete correction cc cream
Chanel Complete Correction CC Cream
(image credit:

CC Creams will also offer a higher level of coverage (more akin to a foundation), contain more nourishing ingredients and a high SPF for additional sun protection, with a darker range of shades available as most BB Creams are only suitable for lighter skin tones (because of their skin-whitening origins in Asia).

Given the huge impact of BB Creams on the beauty industry over the past year, I’m anticipating the same hype with CC Creams. Hot off the mark is the Chanel Complete Correction CC Cream, which is yet to hit the UK beauty market but I imagine will be one of the first to do so.

It makes you wonder if DD Creams will be next to hit the market – perhaps increasing bust size while perfecting skin (see what I did there…?!).

Do you think CC Creams will be a big beauty trend?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Beauty brands: your power to make a change for the better

While beauty products may be considered by some to be a shallow and unnecessary indulgence, I think they play an extremely important role in a woman’s self esteem and confidence in how she portrays herself to the world. I know I for one feel a million times better about myself when I’ve styled my hair nicely and put on a slick of make up before leaving the house.

But the beauty industry has the potential to play an even more vital role in the lives of women young and old, as beauty brands have the power and positioning to talk directly to women and influence their perceptions of beauty ideals.

Dove is a pioneer in portraying realistic ideals of beauty and now its new campaign launched this week encourages girls and women to have a positive relationship with themselves and their appearance. With the strapline ‘Together we can make a difference. Dove brings self-esteem education to girls’, the initiative comes off the back of research which revealed that 53% of girls in the UK have avoided certain activities because they feel bad about their looks.

What I like about Dove’s campaign initiatives is that they don’t just talk the talk for the sake of marketing activity, they also walk the walk – the whole darned mile, in fact. Back in 2006 the company set up The Dove Self-Esteem Fund (DSEF), designed to inspire and educate girls and young women to widen today’s stereotypical view of beauty. To date, activity has included self-esteem programmes in schools and an investment of £250,000 to run one-hour workshops in partnership with the Beat Eating Disorders Association.

This really demonstrates how beauty brands can not only get their products talked about in the press but also really make a difference to the lives of the women they are selling their products to, and aim to make change for the better in society.

Another initiative in the pipeline is The Body Shop’s Beauty with Heart campaign. Aiming to ‘inspire individuals and transform the boundaries of beauty’, the initiative will encourage people to Look Good, Feel Good and Do Good. Launching in May, as yet it isn’t clear as to what the ‘Do Good’ part will entail - the main press so far has been about the ambassador of the campaign; Lily Cole.

The campaign may simply be a way to voice The Body Shop’s longstanding community and environmental projects or it could actively encourage customers to make a change as well - whatever those changes may be. I’m hoping it’s the latter, as this presents a real opportunity to encourage people to make a difference to their world, as well as sell more products.

An organisation that may well be worth beauty companies getting involved with is Campaign for Body Confidence. Co-founded by MP Jo Swinson (the same person behind the various complaints to the ASA which led to a number of L’Oreal ads being banned for being misleading), its aim is to create diversity in the models used in beauty and fashion advertising, along with responsible retouching of these images.

So far, BareMinerals has got involved by sponsoring the impending Body Confidence Awards, which will reward the brands, products, organisations and industry figures that are best promoting healthy body image. But Swinson seems to be making waves in this arena and I think that if like-minded beauty brands were to team up with Campaign for Body Confidence, together they could have a really positive effect on the beauty industry.

Do you think beauty brands can make a difference to our society?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Beauty trend: high fashion 3D nail art

One particular area of the beauty world that has been dishing out innovation with sheer abandon is the nail sector. I wrote a blog post back in May 2011 entitled Everyone’s Talking About Nails, and it appears that almost a year later, they still are!

Something that’s really caught my eye though comes from the gorgeous girly nail brand Ciate, which is launching its Caviar Manicure next month. Bringing high fashion 3D nail art to the home, the Ciate Caviar Manicure comes with a pot of teeny colourful ‘caviar’ pearls that can be poured onto freshly painted nails then gently pressed down. An accompanying tray stops the pearls going everywhere and a tiny funnel allows the pearl balls to be poured back into the pot afterwards.

I love, love, love this idea. Although I’m a little concerned as to what would happen if I absentmindedly chewed on a nail; maybe Ciate should bring out an edible sweetie version – a bit like the top of a fab lolly, yum!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Beauty trend: beauty adhesives & Face Lace by Phyllis Cohen

Watch out for make up artist Phyllis Cohen’s new beauty line Face Lace launching at the end of March 2012 – guaranteed to be top on the lust-lists of beauty junkies.

Face Lace by Phyllis Cohen

Beauty adhesives are a continually growing trend in the UK market, largely aided by Chanel’s transfer tattoos adorning the catwalks back in 2010. Since then, nail art tattoos, adhesive eyeliner patches and stick-on lash art are all making their mark on the beauty scene, and not forgetting the Violent Lips lip transfers for the braver beauty mavericks among us.

Face Lace takes stick-on beauty adornment to a whole new level, with a line-up of 15 intricate ready-to-wear make-up designs ranging from modest Mini Eye Laces to more elaborate full-face designs. It brings art into the commercial beauty market to create something truly beautiful and exciting.

I am completely inspired by the promo video for Face Lace, which is a work of art in itself. If moody, intimate and atmospheric videos are your thing, I promise you’ll love it. It reminds me of Pringle of Scotland’s short film shot by Ryan McGinley in 2010, which I was equally captivated by.

The Face Lace short film consists of nothing but close-ups of the models wearing the product, and yet it manages to be gripping thanks to clever use of light and shadow and a bad-ass sound track. Hats off to camera man and director Jeff Leyshon. When creative talent like Leyshon and Cohen combine, I think it creates something very exciting for the beauty market and I hope to see more of it in our industry.

In another exciting collaboration for Phyllis Cohen, she created bespoke designs for fashion designer Corrie Neilson's catwalk show on the opening day of London Fashion Week last Friday. With exquisite tartan face art referencing the Scottish vibe of the collection, I predict exciting developments from Face Lace in the future.

Image credits:

Monday, 6 February 2012

‘Super serum’ Snoxin launches – but is it product results or media hype that drives sales of so-called ‘wonder products’?

A new so-called ‘super serum’ called Snoxin hits the shelves of Boots today, claiming to ‘combat all aspects of skin ageing appearance, including the look of dynamic wrinkles, deeper folds, fine lines, crow's feet, textural irregularities and sagginess.’ Snoxin promises to ‘expect results within 7 days with continued improvement for up to 12 months’.

Snoxin is produced by Indeed Labs, the makers of Nanoblur - a Skin Corrector which launched among much media hype last year with the very bold claim of ‘look 10 years younger in 40 seconds’ and resulted in sales of one Nanoblur being sold every 10 seconds. As regular readers of this blog will know, I am always very skeptical of bold product claims in beauty and I’m in favour of honest claims in return for consumer trust and loyalty.

Remember that Channel 4 TV programme 10 Years Younger? Well the women on there did look 10 years younger at the end of each show – but not before undergoing a vast amount of invasive cosmetic surgery, a complete makeover and a whole new wardrobe. How a beauty product can claim to do the same in 40 seconds with just a swipe of cream is beyond me. I nearly fell off my chair when I read on Indeed Labs’ website that its objective was to ‘eliminate all marketing hype from skin treatments’.

At least Snoxin doesn’t hold quite such bold claims as its predecessor, although I’m anticipating the same amount of hype. I find it fascinating when beauty brands hail new launches as 'wonder products' and go on sale with such instant frenzy - or in some cases, the hype starts before the product launches to create waiting lists for something that isn’t even available yet, thanks to some very clever marketing.

I deem sales statistics of 'Wonder Products' (which they can then quote to demonstrate the popularity of the product) - in Nanoblur's case ‘one sold every 10 seconds’ - is less indicative of how effective the results are and more about people rushing out to buy the product because of its hype; I believe this works on the psychological level of ‘Oh my goodness everyone has this product, I HAVE to have one too. Everyone is talking about this product, I HAVE to be able to join in. Maybe THIS is the product that will finally work.'

The actual results of many 'Wonder Products' tend to be open to debate. Reviews of Nanoblur were mixed – many said it didn’t work (and when claims are so bold you are only building your consumers up to be more disappointed), while others said they loved it. When it first launched, I was sent a Nanoblur to try. I barely have any eye wrinkles so I thought, well if it’s going to work, it should definitely work on me because there are not that many wrinkles to fill in. It didn’t work at all.

But what I found interesting was, when I gave Nanoblur to a 60-something relative to test and told her about the claims, she applied some to her nose to reduce her pores, looked closely into the mirror and declared that it had really worked. And while I couldn't see any real difference, it's fascinating that using a cream can make someone feel more confident about their appearance, whether it be based on well-marketed claims or actual results.

What do you think about the media hype surrounding beauty 'wonder products'?

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Models Own Bottleshop – true retail innovation

Cosmetic and nail brand Models Own has proved it's a step ahead of the game when it comes to store experience with its impending Bottleshop launch; quite literally, a stand-alone store that is shaped like a nail polish bottle laying on its side. Genius!

Due to open in Westfield London Shopping Centre (Shepherds Bush) in April 2012, Bottleshop will stock the full nail line up as well as store exclusives and is bound to attract shoppers’ attention among all the other stores and encourage them inside.

After my last blog post, which discussed beauty brands hiring editors and stylists to help create a more interactive shopping experience, it’s great to see more beauty brands getting creative with their store experience.

Have you seen any other innovative retail initiatives from beauty brands?

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Editorial’s loss is the retail industry’s gain

I have watched with great interest over the last few years as magazine editors have upped sticks and left the struggling publishing world to take up creative positions at fashion retailers (Vogue’s fashion director Kate Phelan is now creative director at Topshop, ex-Grazia editor-in-chief Fiona McIntosh is consultant creative director at online retailer and Jeremy Langmead, previously editor of Esquire, is editor-in-chief at fashion retailer Mr Porter), and now this trend looks set to influence the beauty industry, too.

This month, fragrance and beauty brand Jo Malone has announced that Charlotte Stockdale, stylist and fashion director at ID Magazine, is taking up a new position as Style Editor at the brand. With her role described as ‘developing the brand’s image, contributing to campaigns and in-store experience and managing collaborations with young talent’, I think this is a fresh, exciting move for the beauty industry.

In an interview with Really Ree, Charlotte explained: "As a stylist I can see where we can be more textured and colourful. I see potential for new multi-sensorial shopping experiences that integrate smell, taste and sight and an opportunity for more interaction with customers."

As magazines have struggled over the last few years thanks to a continuing decline in advertising revenue (owing to both the recession and the boom in cost-effective online opportunities for brands), I had wondered what would become of the many talented journalists and stylists whose jobs were being axed and not replaced. So perhaps it is a natural conclusion for beauty companies to harness this creative talent to make their brand and store experience stand apart from their competitors and bring something fresh, stimulating and innovative to the table.

What do you think of this trend?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Bare Escentuals Force of Beauty campaign... so near and yet so far

Last night I saw a post on my Facebook feed pop up saying something like “Bare Escentuals is shaking up the beauty industry with its new ad campaign, which set out to find the world's most 'beautiful' women, without seeing any of their faces beforehand; instead choosing ‘beauty’ by real women’s inspiring stories”.

I thought WOW. What a freakin’ great idea. Why the hell didn’t I think of that??!! I love it when beauty brands make truly innovative and brave moves in advertising and marketing, and sadly it doesn’t happen enough.

So I rushed to write a blog post about it and started to research it further. But upon watching the Bare Escentuals Force of Beauty campaign casting video, my heart sank almost instantly. After a promising start to the video, with the statement ‘finding the beauty in a sea of pretty’ (‘yes!’ I was thinking. ‘YES!!’), the video states ‘How We Did It’... and then a woman casually explains; “we started the selection process by sending out a survey to models and actresses...”


WHAT a let down, and what a missed opportunity for Bare Escentuals. Yes, it’s a brave move for a brand to blind-select the faces of their brand based upon personality and inspirational stories and it is definitely a step in the right direction for advertising in the beauty industry. But is there really any risk involved for the brand when the selection process only involves models and actresses?

Yes, Bare Escentuals won’t know what the people representing their brand look like until they have been cast, but they do already know that those people are going to be conventionally pretty; after all, these people are already making a career out of their looks.

Leslie Blodgett, executive chairman for Bare Escentuals, told The New York Times: “Do you know what a huge risk that is? What if all five of them were blonde, blue-eyed and 30?” What, you mean like the bulk of models already representing the beauty industry? Hmm, not such a huge risk, Leslie.

I do applaud the idea, I really do. I think it is a great way to encourage better role models in a celebrity-obsessed society where people are famous for sleeping with their premier league footballer brother-in-law, or for getting kicked off the X Factor for taking drugs (ironically, both of these people I refer to ended up on Celebrity Big Brother this year).

But I wish Bare Escentuals had been truly courageous and opened up the selection process to real women everywhere. Now that would have been brave, bold and inspirational; all the elements that they want their brand to portray.

What do you think?