“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is what we are always told, right? However, plastered all over the internet and social media, are photographs and marketing campaigns reinforcing how women are “meant” to look, creating a culture of self-conscious girls, who take those insecurities into womanhood.
From the initial market entry of makeup, it has always been promoted to women who are caucasian, and was created for women to change things about themselves that they were dissatisfied with (Werle 2019) as well for women to see these products on models and want to replicate what they see on themselves.The majority of cosmetic brands unfortunately tend to make money from targeting women’s insecurities and suggesting they will look and feel better using specific products.
However, what if brands in the industry took a stance and changed their marketing to alter the idea of what “women” should look like?
One brand doing just that is The Quick Flick.
Perth entrepreneur and Curtin University alumna, Iris Smit created The Quick Flick almost 3 years ago and ever since, has maintained their product marketing to represent all people. The Quick Flick is a beauty-hack, eyeliner invention that makes it a lot simpler to create the “cat-eye” look, that can be time consuming and difficult to master. Makeup brands tend to use young women with perfect skin and thin bodies to promote their products, however what The Quick Flick does well, is that all their campaigns and new-product launch photoshoots use actual customers, instead of professional models for promotion. As eyeliner is typically a bold look and only ever used on young models, it is difficult for older women, or women with a different eye shape to see how the product may look on them, and therefore not buy the liner.
In all The Quick Flick campaigns, the customers modeling are always inclusive of all types of women, and different eye shapes and to avoid marginalising any type of woman. One of the most successful marketing campaigns The Quick Flick has run, is “A Wing for Every Eye” (The Quick Flick 2020), which was created using their own customers to model the eye liner on all types of women, so everyone can feel they identify with someone in the campaign. This is clever not only for the fact of creating an inclusive and safe culture for people who use the brand or are thinking about using The Quick Flick, however by using real customers it also conveys they are responsive to their customers. Smit has said many times they never photoshop their models, as they want people to see the product for exactly how it appears on others.
The Quick Flick also recognises makeup is not just for the traditional woman anymore; there is a whole new market in those people who identify as women, who are gender fluid, as well as them breaking stereotypes using men to demonstrate their products, further reinforcing how inclusive a brand they are. For example, the men who are a part of The Quick Flick’s team are photographed on the website wearing their favourite size eye liner; this being revolutionary for the cosmetic industry due to the outdated perception of makeup only being for women.
“The Quick Flick is much more than a beauty brand, it’s a platform where customers are allowed to express themselves through makeup, rather than to use it as a mask to cover up who they are.” - Iris Smit
While the beauty industry is still very much an industry of using traditionally beautiful and thin models to promote their products, a few other brands are taking a stance against these rigid beliefs of “beauty”.
After the American civil rights movement in the 1960s, more brands began to use “coloured models”, however found that very few brands could cater for this, including Revlon who declined to expand their range when asked (Werle 2019).
Singer Rihanna, released Fenty Beauty in 2017, and her line was one of the first to take off, and create shades of foundation representing all skin colours, rather than most brands only creating colours for fair skin tones. Up until then, it was only a niche market to have a range suiting darker skin tones. Brands such as M.A.C and Maybelline have also created more diverse lines around the same time as Rihanna. From this, many brands including Too Faced have also diversified their colour range of products (Chadwick 2020) and therefore had to change their marketing strategy to be inclusive of all types of women and now men.
(Fenty Beauty 2020)
While brands are catering more for the diversification of cosmetics needed, there is still a gap to be filled; just because a brand creates the colours, they need the follow-through to promote these colours in their campaigns. Most brands you wouldn’t even know catered for darker skin tones or older women purely because they just don’t market it as much.
The world is changing and slowly more we are seeing more advertisements and marketing towards makeup products for people with darker skin, and not to what the traditional woman is. With brands such as The Quick Flick and Fenty Beauty making strides in changing the way cosmetics are marketed, hopefully this shift in using real customers as the promotional canvas and not professional models can assist in changing the somewhat toxic environment brands and their marketing strategies have created. Marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to utilise, and should be used in a positive manner.
Feiam, Ally. 2020. “We Don’t Focus on Competition: 15 Minutes with The Quick Flick CEO, Iris Smit.” Power Retail. https://powerretail.com.au/in-focus/we-dont-focus-on-competition-15-minutes-with-the-quick-flick-ceo-iris-smit/
Chadwick, Melanie Rud. n.d. “The Makeup Industry is Now More Skin Shade-Inclusive Than Ever.” Shape. Accessed July 9, 2020. https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/beauty-style/makeup-shade-inclusivity-evolution-beauty-industry
Werle, Adrianne. 2019. “Beyond Light, Medium and Dark: Diversity and Inclusivity in the Makeup and Beauty Industries. Honours Thesis, Western Kentucky University. https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1838&context=stu_hon_theses
The Quick Flick. 2020. The Quick Flick. https://thequickflick.com.au
Fenty Beauty. 2020. Fenty Beauty. https://www.fentybeauty.com