Book Review: Branded Beauty – How Marketing Changed The Way We Look

There is something that I adore just as much as my beloved beauty industry and that is reading!  I love disappearing into the pages (or sometimes the auditory world) of a tantalising, engrossing book!

I am a bit of a geek to be honest (albeit a very glamorous one, if I say so myself!!), and I think you can see  form the nature of my blog posts that I like to thoroughly investigate my themes and offer an informative view on the world of  beauty.  As a beauty insider, I am not only passionate about the amazing products that are launched, but also about the business of  beauty  itself –  I am enthralled by the innovation and creativity that is exhibited and I also love watching videos such as this too (I told you I was a geek)!!

As I mentioned in a previous post the global beauty industry is worth billions of (US) dollars and here in the UK, a recent market research report produced by Euromoniter, stated that the beauty industry was the most resilient (non-food) sector within retail during the tumultuous years following the economic implosion of 2008 .  As a nation, looking good is very, very important to us!

So how excited was I when I saw this book featured in an issue Stylist Magazine late last year….

….. a book  combining  both of my passions – beauty and the business of beauty!

The book is authored by Mark Tungate, a British journalist who currently resides in Paris.  His credentials include authoring several books on fashion and luxury marketing , writing for broadsheet newspapers such as The Times and the The Independent and he also teaches courses on branding and advertising at the Parsons Paris School Art and Design.

The Synopsis

In “Branded Beauty” Tungate delves into the history and evolution of the beauty business.  From luxury boutiques in Paris to tattoo parlours in Brooklyn, he talks to the people who’ve made skin their trade. He analyses the marketing strategies used by those who create and sell beauty products. He visits the labs where researchers seek the key to eternal youth. He compares attitudes to beauty around the world and examines the rise of organic beauty products.

As it was published in 2011, it is bang up to date – and covers the changing marketing communication channels – with the rise of social media and the increasing influence the  beauty blogger  posses – and the effect this is having on the industry.

The book is written in a pithy style,  that is very accessible and not  loaded with technical jargon.  I really enjoyed charting the journey of the development of the beauty industry and was fascinated by the fact that many of the strategies that were devised all those years ago  (such as ‘Gift with Purchase’ ) are still the mainstay of the industry today.

I also enjoyed reading about the impeccable women that have shaped this global industry – Lauder,  Arden, Rubenstein…to name a few.   Their emphatic belief  in the utility of their products and the sheer determination and drive they deployed to ensure that their vision came  to pass was truly inspirational.  It is often said that the beauty industry is frivolous and sells nothing but ’empty promises and hope in a jar’ – but ‘hope’ does not forge multi-billion dollar businesses – tenacity, perseverance and passion do.  Tungate quotes the late Estee Lauder who said of her enterprise;

“I didn’t get [here] by wishing or hoping for it, but by working for it”

Tungate’s investigation is candid and balanced and he does not aim to sugar coat aspects of the industry that can  be  somewhat disconcerting.  I very much appreciated this, as I am a big believer in giving people the information for them to make an informed decision about how they feel about a subject or topic.  He covers darker issues that surround the industry such the airbrushing of advertising,  the  impact of the  ‘ anti aging’ phenomenon and the spectacular rise of  cosmetic surgery- and the reasons why this is the case –  however unlike other books about the industry, it does not focus solely on these ‘perils’  and does not damn the whole industry as a sardonic, money making, evil.

The book does have a very European/Caucasian bias though – only 8  of the 277 pages in the book talks about the diversity of  the global beauty industry and only 2 pages specifically mentions the beauty of  Black women.

How did the beauty industry develop outside of  Europe and  North America?  What was happening in Asia Pacific, Australia and indeed Africa?  As Tungate states in his book that only 3%  of the people on the earth can be classified as Caucasian, it would have been interesting to have discover more about these women and the entrepreneurs that has served them.

Where is my story?*

Despite this, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to beauty enthusiasts, marketing students and professionals and aspiring  business leaders alike!

Buy ‘Branded Beauty’ on Amazon or Waterstones (saving up to £3.80 on the cover price)!

* Image: ‘African Beauty’ by Artbeat

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This is why I love the beauty industry…so creative!
As they say…you are what you eat!

lacedinleather

Everybody knows that Ladurée is famous for their delicious macaroons but now the brand is about to launch a make-upline. When you enter a store of Ladurée, everything looks very chic, sweet, retro and oh so french. And the make-upline will give you the exact same feeling. Here are the first images:

F X

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Skin Deep

In last Sunday’s  Sunday Times Style magazine, there was a brilliant article looking squarely at the issue of being a mixed race young woman in Britain today.   An extremely beautiful 24 year old called Alexandra Simon, recounted her journey of realising and accepting her identity…and the challenges and triumphs that she encountered along the way.

Source: Sunday Times Style (15 Jan 2012)

Race and ethnicity are still hot topics in the UK and I hope that the candid, honest debate continues and that developments in the beauty industry can contribute to this debate.

I do believe that 2012 will be a significant year for the ethnic beauty here in the UK, as several of the large beauty brands – both mass and prestige – have launched foundations to target this burgeoning sector of the population.

So what’s on the agenda?

Lancôme

Lancôme launches its latest foundation, Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation (£27)  next month, it comes in 18 Shades and you can receive a complimentary, 7 day sample at selected Lancôme counters nationwide.

Arlenis Sosa for Lancôme

The new campaign will feature Lancôme’s stunning spokes model Arlenis Sosa, who joined the brand in 2009.

There will be an impactful in-store presence –  I look forward to seeing Arlenis’ beautiful face grace the pages of  glossy mags and  department store counters.  I will also be trying the foundation out…so will let you know what I think

Chanel

Last year I blogged about the latest addition to the Chanel foundation family – the Perfection Lumiere Fluide Foundation (£36), which was launched in the States last August.  I was praying that the range would hit the UK…and what do you know…it has arrived!!  It seems like only 16 of the 26 shades are available…but there are a good number shades that will suit a darker skin tone.

You can purchase the new range online from Selfridges, or pop into selected Boots stores to also get your hallowed Advantage Card points!

Avon

British beauty Alesha Dixon continues to expand her business empire  – and was recently announced as Avon’s  ‘Beauty and Empowerment’ Ambassador for the UK and Ireland and the face of the new Ideal Flawless Invisible Coverage Foundation (£12).  I was eagerly anticipating the launch of this foundation as I had heard that it would be available in 16 shades!!   Although Avon has an extensive range of bases suitable for dark skin tones that are currently retailed in the US – these shades have not been available in the UK for a number of years.   Ideal Flawless launches in February  – but alas – the darkest shade in the range is a warm honey tone called ‘Earth’ – it would be suitable for women such as the caramel toned Miss Dixon – but there are no shades suitable for a deeper chocolate skin tone such as my own.

L’Oréal Paris

I have long seen the adverts for L’Oréal Paris’  True Match  Foundation (£9.99) featuring (new mum)  Beyoncé but to be honest, I had never really investigated the range, as I just assumed it would not have a shade that would be my true match.  However recent press coverage in this month’s Marie Claire magazine stated that the range now comes in 20 shades!   It looks like the deep shades Golden Cappuccino and Cocoa have been added to the range here in the UK – these shades are featured on the L’Oréal Paris  UK website – but they do not seem to be available on the high street as yet – I will keep my eye out to see if changes and let you know!  Again, I discovered that the True Match range that is available in the US comes in a whopping 33 shades – 10 of which would be perfect for deeper tones just like mine…  (oh well!!)

Check out Mrs Carter’s latest US commercial for the make up.

So, what can I say?

As I mentioned in my previous foundation blog post – things are getting better for us dark skinned beauties here in the UK – but I still can’t help feeling that there could be so much more to choose from…

Anyway, I will be updating you soon on my foundation picks for 2012!


British Beauty – Going for Gold

Olympic fever is certainly hotting up!

As mentioned in my previous blog  I am really excited about the year ahead – and the impending Olympic Games is a major reason for this!

I was selected to be an official Games Maker in December last year, which absolutely made my day!!  I truly believe that the Games will have a lasting legacy on London and on the nation and I am humbled to have been given a chance to be involved.

My first training session is in February….will let you know how it goes!!

*******

In November last year the global FMCG company Proctor and Gamble (P&G), owners of  brands such as Olay, Pantene, Ariel, Pampers,  Max Factor and Gillette, announced that it will be supporting 11  British athletes leading up to and during the London 2012 Games and these athletes will act as ambassadors  for the company.

P&G's Olympic Ambassadors

The selection includes the incredibly talented female athletes Jeanette Kwakye, Keri-Anne Payne, Victoria Pendleton, Paula Radcliffe, Jessica Ennis  and Jenna Randall.

Yesterday, Pantene, Olay and Max Factor announced partnerships with cyclist Victoria Pendleton, pentathlon champion Jessica Ennis and swimmer Keri-Anne Payne respectively.

Victoria Pendleton, Keri-Anne Payne and Jessica Ennis MBE

All 3 athletes are worthy role models and are indeed beautiful women.  I was particularly thrilled to see that Jessica Ennis (MBE) will be the face of Olay.

Ennis is of a mixed heritage background, the offspring of a Jamaican father and English mother.  In a week where race relations in Britain is again front page news – with the conviction and sentencing of  two of the murderers of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence dominating the headlines-  I hope that Ennis’ partnership with Olay will serve to remind the nation that unity and cohesion can be and is a hallmark of our society and that we should not let the negative incidences overshadow this important fact.

However….I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed to see that 100m sprinter Jeanette Kwyake  was not a part of the beauty ambassador group – after all Black women wash their hair, moisturise their skin and wear mascara too!

Jeanette Kwakye - Going for Gold

In fact, according to the market research agency Mintel,  British women of ethnic origin spend up to 7 times more on cosmetics and toiletries that her Caucasian counterpart.  A report published by the agency in 2009, stated that the market for Black or Asian beauty products in the UK remains a niche one, valued at £70m, or just 2% of the total market for women’s haircare, skincare and makeup, well below their percentage of the population. This is blamed partly on the fact that there is a “lack of commitment by mainstream companies to ethnic beauty needs”.

The report also identified that a lack of advertising spend and use of models that represent this market was a source of frustration for women of colour .  In my eyes P&G missed a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that it is in touch with the needs of its consumers and to lead the way in showcasing the beauty of the multicultural Britain that we all reside in.

What are your thoughts?  Let me know!


Beautiful Black Britain

Happy New Year!!

I am so excited about the year ahead.  There will be no other place to be than in London this year! So you will see that I have updated my blog name to BeautyPulseLONDON.  I will be bringing you more beauty and fashion news and views from this incredible city in 2012.

As we look ahead to all that 2012 will unveil, I thought that it would be apt to first take a look back.  As 2011 drew to a close, I felt immensely proud to be a Black woman in Britain – our beauty, intellect and talents really shone for all to see.

Here are some of my highlights:

Jourdan Dunn – RELOADED

Jourdan Dunn for YSL Beauté

At just 21, West London born supermodel Jourdan Dunn had a stellar 2011.  She was the face of the YSL  Touche Éclat campaign that launched the iconic product in 2 new shades – suitable for darker skin tones.

Dunn and Delevinge

Her relationship with British superbrand Burberry continued to blossom.  She featured in both the S/S and A/W campaigns and also was the face of the 2011 Burberry Beauty campaign (alongside Cara Delevinge).  I love this tutorial that can be found on the Burberry YouTube channel showcasing how Jourdan’s nude look can be recreated.  Can I just say I *heart* the powder brush!!

Another strong  partnership that Jourdan has forged is with the cult British  fashion and culture magazine i-D…I will say no more about this image – as a picture speaks a thousand words!

Stunning!

Jourdan proved that she is more than a pretty face last year, she was very vocal about the way young black people were being portrayed as the main perpetrators of the summer riots that revenged many of the nation’s major cities.  In an article in the London newspaper The Evening Standard, Dunn stated that she was “annoyed by claims that all the rioters were young and black, adding: “Not all young people are criminals”.

I am looking forward to seeing and hearing more from Miss Dunn in 2012 as she continues to do a stellar job representing British Black women in a positive light.

Positive Hair Day

Sarah Naomi Lee (Image: Plenty Productions)

I was having a lazy morning in late November,  listening to Women’s Hour on  my favourite radio station, BBC Radio 4 and my ears pricked up when a lady of mixed  heritage discussed the ‘issues’ that British Black and Mixed- Raced women face when dealing with their hair!  Her name was Sarah Naomi Lee and she is a playwright, former BBC producer and Creative Director of Plenty Productions – a community interest  company that facilitates high quality, collaborative, community-based arts and media projects.

Sarah recounted her experience of growing up in Brigton and coming to terms with her own cultural identity which was expressed in many ways, including in the way she wore her hair.  She went on to found the Postive Hair Day workshops  – a fantastic project  based in Brighton which uses hair as a focus for building a greater understanding of  Black and mixed heritage people’s identity and culture.  The project runs free workshops and activities including  a regular Hair Care workshop where free  advice and tips are offered on how to care for Black and mixed heritage hair.  She was on the radio program to promote her latest venture – Snakes and Ladders.  Snakes and Ladders is a bold and powerful comic drama about race, identity and the testing of family loyalties and waspartly inspired by stories and memories collected form the  Positive Hair Day project.

The work was showcased in November of  last year – and unfortunately I couldn’t make the the performance …so I delighted to find a couple of videos of the play on YouTube.

Got It Covered

Black women graced the covers of numerous UK glossies last year. Leading the pack was none other than Miss Rowland – who featured on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Health & Fitness and Marie Claire to name but a few.   Kelly’s make-up for many of these shoots and her X-Factor appearances was the handy work of  the talented British  MUA, Pauline Briscoe.

Celebrity MUA - Pauline Briscoe

 

Recreate Kelly’s celebrity looks with tips from Pauline featured on the glamourmagazine.co.uk website.

 

 

 

 

 

Stylist also featured supermodel Alex Wek on the cover of the special London Fashion Week edition of the magazine….

Incredible! (Image: blog.fabmagazineonline.com)

…and even John Lewis (yes – John Lewis – the epitome of middle England) featured the stunning black model Aba (of Zone Models) on the cover of the Christmas issue of their consumer magazine Edition.

Fabulous.

Never knowingly under sold or fashionably upstaged!