Photography via instagram.com/glossier

Why Are Internet-Famous Beauty Brands Doing the Most Right Now?

Chasing authenticity in the marketing world is a tricky thing.

In 2014, matte skin was over and influencers were dead. At least, according to Glossier’s Emily Weiss, who introduced her new homegrown brand in a personal essay on her site, Into the Gloss, a conversational, crowd-sourced forum on all things beauty, skincare with an added, near-perfect quirkiness. “Glossier begins with YOU,” Emily penned, “which is why our first products are all about letting your personality shine through…glowy, dewy skin.”

Her timing couldn’t have been more spot-on: Glossier launched at a time when the seeds of informed beauty and skincare regimens bloomed across the internet. Suddenly, overnight it seemed, beauty enthusiasts abandoned the scrub-which-must-not-be-named and collectively obsessed over sunscreen and double cleansing, swapping traditional powder for watery tints, loading up on finger-applied cream blush and highlight.

At first glance, the immaculately curated birth of Into the Gloss, then Glossier, originally represented a beacon of come-as-you-are beauty, a haven of sage advice and entry point recommendations. But now, dewy, empowered faces are a thing of the past. On August 1st, Glossier launched their “Wowder,” the antithesis of their marketing strategy since the brand’s conception. Just before that was Milk Makeup — the similarly cool-girl-promoted brand — with their full-coverage foundation, released in July.

The pride and joy of Glossier and Milk was previously found in their supposed effortlessness. Glossier, through simplified routines and barely pigmented formulas, and Milk, through easy-to-use chubby roll-ups, syringes (or push-up sticks), and tubes in matte, translucent packaging, at once an accessory and beauty staple. The brands choosing to forgo their guiding principles for a more pronounced embrace of the traditional beauty industry, — that is, actual makeup, and not trendy almost-makeup — is confusing, at best. When keeping in mind that items like Glossier’s perfecting skin tint come in a whopping five colours, or that Milk’s blotting papers are cheekily multi-purposeful, it appears both brands prioritize aesthetic-driven word-of-mouth over…well, makeup.

If Milk and Glossier’s most recent launches are any indication of what’s to come, one thing is for certain: their malleable philosophies take a back seat to trends. Chasing authenticity, whatever that means, is a tricky thing, especially in beauty branding. The catch, however, is in the follow-through. If a skin tint is up your alley, that’s great. And if a full-coverage foundation better fits your bill, that’s great, too. And if minimalist, feminist-leaning campaigns were what rallied up the dedicated followings of the brands, backtracking now seems out-of-character. Setting powder and full-coverage foundation aside, the choice is yours — there’s no moral high horse in the game of marketing, no matter how many glorified brow gels are a part of the bounty.