Social Throwback 2022: Shades of marketing evolve in the beauty industry

cosmetic business
cosmetic business

From moving beyond the three shades of colours to getting more inclusive in their communication, here’s a look at what the cosmetic business did in 2022.

The cosmetic sector in India is a rapidly growing industry. As per Statista, India ranked fourth globally for generating the highest revenue from the beauty and personal care market in 2021. This year, the beauty industry in India saw many changes, some of which stood out exceptionally. Here’s a throwback of trends that were seen in the makeup industry in 2022. 

Moving beyond ‘Ivory’ & ‘Wheatish’

Being colour inclusive in a ‘colourist’ country was a big hurdle to cross. Traditionally, where makeup brands stuck to providing only minimal shades of makeup products that usually only catered to the fairer complexions; this year many brands broke this barricade and moved beyond the shade cards.

From being colour-inclusive when it came to base makeup like foundation or powders, brands also focused on being inclusive with lipstick and other makeup products. 

Shivani Behl, CMO, Plum

Talking about this, Shivani Behl, CMO, Plum said, “There certainly has been more than just a step ahead in terms of colour inclusivity in India for makeup brands. This can be seen from the number of shade extensions being launched across brands across product categories. The presumed importance of fair skin, though still prevalent in some sections of the country, is slowly starting to die down, especially in metros.”

More Men in Makeup

This year, men in ads embraced all shades of make-up. We saw a lot more men talk about makeup as a way of expressing art and questioning the traditional definition of ‘masculinity’.

Joining in on the conversation, many brands used their platform to share the message. SUGAR Cosmetics onboarded actor Ranveer Singh along with Tamannah for their wedding season TVC. Lakme collaborated with influencer and makeup enthusiast Ankush Bahuguna for their newest digital series – ‘Wing it with Ankush’.

Throughout the year, Kay by Katrina gave a shoutout to multiple male-led makeup pages. Additionally, the brand also included male models to showcase their products, making makeup a bit more gender-neutral.

Saahil Nayar, COO, Swiss Beauty

Speaking on how the representation of men in makeup is gaining momentum, Saahil Nayar, COO, Swiss Beauty said, “Men in ads have already started to gain light, with skincare for men being a very major category now. A lot of brands have rolled out makeup products specially curated for men, and I see this getting picked up big time in the coming year or two.”

Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics

Vineeta Singh, Co-founder & CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics mentioned, “Not very long ago, men wearing makeup would have been ostracised, but the way beauty has taken long strides to shorten the distance between what normal is and what normal should be is commendable.”

She further adds by saying that for SUGAR cosmetics inclusion isn’t just a trend, hence ensuring the products are targeted towards all genders and age groups.

Also Read: Social Throwback 2022: Viral moments that triggered marketing waves

Ageing with Makeup

This year was also game-changing for age representation in the cosmetic business. Many brands stepped forward and not just talked, but showed the change this industry needs. Brand campaigns onboarded older models to feature and showcase the same products alongside younger professionals.  

Shobana and Naveethan, Founders – BlushBee

Talking about how the makeup space looks like for the older generation, Shobana and Naveethan, Founders – BlushBee mentioned, “We saw a lot of ads with older people and men in the advert space. It’s more about age neutrality than age positivity.”

Vineeta Singh added, “Brands are more open to having a wider audience for their campaigns, including older people and men, as beauty is not just restricted to women or certain age groups. Even if the change is slow, it is very much present, and it is evolving by the day.”

Communication Through Makeup

Many brands went beyond the colours of makeup and initiated deeper conversations. This year saw a lot of industries talk about mental health, freedom of speech, and oppressed communities.

Maybelline’s Brave Together campaign provided resources to encourage society to have open and honest discussions about anxiety and depression. 

SUGAR Cosmetic’s #WhenIAmReady Campaign talked about how women are now breaking free from societal expectations regarding their personal life choices.

MakeUp Through The Gen-Z Lens

In 2022, a large number of home-grown brands mushroomed. Traditionally loved brands that often took the spotlight had to share the pedestal with brands that resonated with the youth. 

Makeup brands like Gush Beauty, FAE Beauty, POP XO, and more saw a rise in popularity. These trendy brands were especially loved by Gen-Z who found a resemblance of the Western and East-Asian cultures in their products. 

The consumers were especially attracted to brands that included organic and healthy-skin-friendly products this year. 

Talking about how consumer behaviour changed, Shivani Behl said, “People are more open to exploring and trying new brands for a superior sensorial and overall experience. This paves way for more innovative product formats and new brands emerging in this space.”

Saahil Nayar added, “Today’s consumer wants complete disclosure of the product. They want to be more involved in the brand’s story, its packaging, its journey, its promises, sustainability etc. Moreover, they expect the brand to be conversational, like churning out content, videos that tell the consumer about the brand while also building the resonating thought with them.” 

Shobana and Naveethan said, “The consumers took into consideration many things. One of which was taking products under a microscope. I mean literally to find organic alternatives and formulations for ingredients used in regular cosmetics. We think of how we translate it into plant-based, clean ingredients.”

While the cosmetic business has taken a few steps towards inclusivity, the advertising industry still needs to match the evolving perspectives of today’s youth.

Social Throwback is Social Samosa’s marquee editorial property that recaps the important happenings of the industry from the year that went by. You can catch up with 2022 here.


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