Beauty releases are getting out of control…

Beauty releases have gone into overdrive lately. Brands are coming out with new products at an alarming frequency, with some companies dropping a new products every. single. week. The real question is: what impact are these releases having on the brands, the consumers and the industry as a whole?

Monday marked Anastasia Beverly Hills’ seventh and eighth palette launch within 6 months. Previously, ABH would release their palettes periodically, usually one every three months. They are the most recent addition to the list of serial offenders when it comes to boring, constant releases – joining Colourpop and Makeup Revolution. However, these brands are certainly not alone. The whole beauty industry machine has started to speed up.Β 

Quick question…

Who asked for this?

Who explicitly asked for 5 new releases every week? Why has Colourpop taken it upon themselves to completely oversaturate the market?Β And do brands really expect consumers to have the money to keep up with this?Β 

It’s clear that the beauty industry has changed – new brands are launching all the time and non-beauty brands are increasingly dipping their toes into a lucrative market for a quick cash grab. Things have felt pretty crowded for a while. Perhaps because of this certain brands feel the only way to differentiate themselves is through constant releases. While the brand might be burnt into people’s minds, it’s pretty unlikely that it will be because of the products they’re launching, but rather for a more negative reason.

Brands

In my mind, for every beauty launch there needs to be buildup so consumers can really lust over a product, followed by a period of promotion to keep the launch in the minds of potential buyers. Part of the excitement is seeing ‘your’ product everywhere and not being able to get it off your mind. Seeing product tutorials and influencers using it builds the desire to own it.

Surely it can’t be good business to be dropping new products left, right and centre? If you launch something week-on-week, it doesn’t create desire, but instead portrays the product as dispensable and not worth having. It also doesn’t give each new product enough time in the spotlight before attention shifts again.Β Brands do not spend such a long time perfecting product formulations and packaging for lazy (if any) marketing and gimmicks. Many launches now drop with little-to-no warning, which leaves many potential buyers caught off guard if they’re not given time to save up. It also seems rather presumptuous to assume that consumers will be able to afford product launches at a moment’s notice.Β 

Does any of this sound positive to you?Β 

When asked about the increase in new releases, Norvina from Anastasia Beverly Hills said on Twitter:

β€˜It’s just the way the market is now we have to launch new stuff all the time because the consumers get bored and want more choices’.

By feeding into this toxic fad, it actually just serves to perpetuate the trend for themselves and other brands within the industry. To me it also shows a massive misunderstanding of what the consumer actually wants – coming out with vast amounts of unappealing products is the root of the problem, not the fact that the consumers want to move onto the next thing.Β 

She went on to say that someone who would buy the Norvina palettes (which are a series of bright warm colour stories, but you knew that) are unlikely to buy the Carlie Bybel palette (largely cool toned shimmers). This is certainly not false – they’re vastly different palettes with colour stories that would appeal to very different target audiences. However, I’m not sure that fact justifies dropping 4 palettes in the space of a month just because the target audience would be different. Norvina has tried to justify the situation by stating that the ‘Norvina’ line is to be a sub-brand within Anastasia Beverly Hills… but this was not made clear to the consumer at all, leaving that to sound remarkably like an excuse. The key issue with a higher end brand coming out with lots of new releases is the price point. When Colourpop started releasing their colour capsule collections, no one really batted an eyelid because the palettes only cost $12. However in the case of ABH, they have released 3 $45 palettes, 2 $29 mini palettes and 3 $60 palettes in the last 6 months alone. It is almost more acceptable for more affordable brands to release products more frequently as the price point is so much lower, but when a higher end brand jumps on the bandwagon too, it cheapens their brand massively. The exclusivity is gone, the feeling that you’re purchasing something special has vanished and die hard customers are left alienated by a company that seems intent on taking their money.Β 

If the aim is to increase the amount people are buying, then I’m afraid to say that that has flopped. People are probably more conservative with their spending now because there is so much to actually buy that consumers want to make sure they are spending on something worth while.Β 

Quality not quantity!

To me, these brands seem so desperate to stay relevant with their consumers that they’re actually making themselves irrelevant. It is possible to be a beauty brand these days, release products periodically and drum up some serious excitement! Brands like Hourglass or Nars have recently come out with their holiday collections which garnered so much interest! What’s confusing is that all these brands have their core fan base that will support their every launch… before it became a weekly event.

Consumers

Beauty is, of course, subjective and what appeals to one person won’t appeal to another, but that in itself is not justification for mass product launches (but thanks anyway Norvina). In the beginning, I’m sure some people felt a compulsion to ‘keep up’. However as the beauty launch machine started to spew out more and more product, most people (if they’re sensible or don’t have a bottomless bank account) gave up.

Instead of new palettes and fresh ideas drumming up excitement and encouraging people to buy, it has created a feeling of dread, boredom and disinterest. We’re not able to get excited about a single ABH or Colourpop launch because another one follows so closely afterwards and wipes all memory of the previous one. Also as mentioned before, very few will be able to afford consecutive launches. The consumer feels STIFLED – it all feels like a money grabbing gimmick.

Wastage

Seeing as it’s 2019 and it’s relevant, let’s look at it from a purely environmental point of view, or from a wastage standpoint. It’s pretty much guaranteed that no one will be able to use up the product they have before it expires. Most beauty addicts struggle with their existing collections, let alone trying to get through new products too, so most of that waste will probably end up going straight to landfill. In trying to fulfil this odd desire to pump out new product every week, Colourpop has actually taken a step back in terms of sustainability. Previously, their palette packaging had been made of cardboard, whereas now it has changed to hard plastic. WHY!? It just reinforces yet again that not only is it not benefiting the consumer or the brand, but it also doesn’t benefit THE EARTH.

It’s odd to me that brands have got this so wrong. I haven’t heard a single person praising the influx of releases. Maybe brands will start to get the message and stop making a joke out of the amount they release (Colourpop, I’m looking at you). Or maybe they’ll only get the message when their sales start to dwindle as people put their interest in the brand to bed once and for all.Β 

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When does makeup stop being a dupe and start being a rip off?

What is wrong with a dupe you might ask? It’s cheaper, more accessible and lets you try out a product that you otherwise wouldn’t have bothered/been able to afford otherwise – what more could you possibly want? Wellllll, it’s a little more complicated than that.

If you are a beauty enthusiast then you will know that there has always been dupe makeup. Products from the high end have always filtered down into more affordable brands whilst still looking very akin to the original product. However, recently there has been more of a fuss around brands that come out with dupes for higher makeup, and claims have began to swirl that their ideas have been flat out stolen.

Dupes in general are not a new concept. Everything we wear from the high street comes from the designer catwalks from around the world. In this day and age it’s almost impossible to come out with anything that someone hasn’t done before, so why is there so much whistle blowing when it comes to beauty?

I have no issue with finding cheaper alternatives to more expensive products – quite frankly I can’t afford all the products I want, and if I can find a version that is cheaper and from a brand I like and can trust then then I’m happy. However, I have a massive issue with companies who completely copy the concept behind the product, their packaging, their branding and their marketing… and there is a hell of a lot of it going around at the moment.

This year’s biggest controversy that kicked everything off was HudaBeauty’s launch of her baking powders which copied Beauty Bakerie. Beauty Bakerie’s entire line revolves around baking, with their powder being called the ‘flour powder’ and coming in a little sack that looks like a bag of flour. Huda, whose brand has always revolved around glamour, then launched her powders and the campaign revolved around wholesome baking, using very similar marketing images to that of BB. To make the link between baking your face and baking a cake is not super original, but the big issue was that it was very off-brand for Huda and as BB is a much smaller brand people considered it stealing. Huda pretty much failed to address it, which in my eyes says that she’s guilty – she did do a video on the powders where she seemingly tried to justify the names and the idea but it didn’t come off well.

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More recently, I’ve spoken on my Instagram stories (@smalltownbeautyaddict) about Make Up Revolution’s various rip offs. A few weeks ago they came out with an IDENTICAL dupe of Fenty’s gloss bombs and then this week ripped off the Huda Beauty mini 9 shade palettes. This is nothing new for Make Up Revolution. Here in the UK they are pretty much known for ripping off Urban Decay and Too Faced on the regular. The thing is, a dupe is only a dupe when it’s actually good. To copy the exact packaging and the same colour and order of shadows is not a dupe if the formula isn’t there. The whole point of a dupe is for it to be as good as the more expensive product you’d like to replace. If a product is crap, it can’t be a dupe. That is why dupes don’t exist for entire palettes… because it’s copying. I saw BeautyNews say that they don’t consider duped makeup news and I completely agree. I personally want to buy makeup from a company that has their own ideas and integrity. I don’t want to spend my money on a brand that actively goes searching for ideals to steal in order to make money.

Even Aldi have been getting involved with this. Their own brand ‘Lacura’ has been having a great time recently ripping off Sand and Sky, Pixi and even Jo Malone. If you love beauty, you will recognise that all of the packaging below is IDENTICAL to the original product. And this is where I have a problem. To create a pink clay mask or a glycolic toner is not copying in the slightest – you can find an abundance of them on the market. However, look at the packaging and particularly of the Pixi/Aldi comparison. Most glycolic liquid products do tend to be orange (take REN as an example), but pairing it with light green packaging is not an obvious choice. Even worse still is the Sand and Sky rip off. In the original, the container for the mask is blue and the box is pink. If it’s a coincidence then it is one hell of a coincidence, and frankly I’m not buying it. Get some originality.

Image result for aldi glow tonic pixiRelated image

They’ve even launched their ‘own’ makeup range. Play the fun game of trying to work out which products they’re ripping off below! It. is. PLAGIARISM. Where is your integrity as a brand? It’s actually disgusting and really makes me alter my opinion of a brand. Also, I’m really not sure how they avoid lawsuits with branding this similar…

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I’m perfectly aware that not everyone can afford more expensive products, and that is completely fine. But there are far better products to buy instead that are affordable, rather than to purchase a rubbish knock off from a petty brand that completely lacks in any originality. You can create a budget friendly product without completely stealing another brand’s work. I have friends that won’t see any issue purchasing one of these products because they’re getting the product for much less money than the original. What you aren’t getting is a formula that is as good, ingredients that are as sound or potent or a brand that cares who they step on to make money. The real issue arises when the duplication extends further than the actual product itself – i.e to the concept (product name, shade names), the packagingΒ and the marketing. At the end of the day it’s shady, unoriginal and alienates a lot of potential consumers.

I’ll reiterate once again for the people in the back that I have no problem with buying makeup or skincare that has been hailed a dupe for a more expensive product, but I often find that the best dupes are not ones that are explicitly trying to imitate that product. Brands that specifically go out to copy another person’s work don’t have my respect. In any other walk of life, this would be plagiarism. I’ll just leave that there.

Let me know your thoughts on dupes!

Xo

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