It's no secret that the beauty industry evolves at a rapid pace. It's not uncommon for new brands to emerge and capture consumers' hearts in months, only to fade away as the "hype" dies down. But what separates the trendsetters from the brands that are truly standing the test of time? BeautyMatter explores the beauty brands that have managed to outlive their "hype" era and continue to thrive in the ever-changing market.
NARS, founded in 1994, is a fixture in the beauty industry. The brand, known for its bold, high-pigment shades and innovative product formulations, has over time become a fan favorite among makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts alike. Despite the constant influx of new makeup brands and trends, NARS, collaborating with fashion designers like Erdem and Christopher Kane, has managed to maintain its position as a go-to for those seeking high-quality, fashion-forward beauty products.
A global survey conducted by Tribe Dynamics revealed that NARS was the 10th most popular makeup brand for Q1 2022. The survey was based on responses from over 1,200 women and included both drugstore and high-end brands. In addition to its popularity among consumers, the brand has won numerous awards over the years, including several Allure Best of Beauty Awards and a Vogue Beauty Award. How did they do it? The cosmetic brand is committed to staying ahead of the curve when it comes to evolving trends and changing consumer preferences. Rather than chasing what seems to be “in” at the moment, NARS continuously researches and analyzes the market to identify new opportunities and potential shifts in consumer behavior.
Only in its junior year, 4AM Skin, founded by Jade Beguelin and Sabrina Sade, has already garnered itself a cult-like following, filling a place in the beauty market where buying into a brand made consumers feel a part of a trusted community. The brand quickly became synonymous with the night-luxe lifestyle popularized by TikTok, generally involving indulging in the pleasures of life and experiencing a sense of glamour and opulence. However, the brand's longevity outlasts that of the -core aesthetic thanks to both founders creating a community surrounding their product with a focus on skincare and a pared-down approach. One factor that shows that 4AM has outlived their hype era is their commitment to quality. The brand consistently delivers high-quality products, services, and experiences, showing that they are hands-on every step of the way to develop a loyal customer base that will stay with them even after the hype has died down. “I believe that at the core of a brand is the actual products you are producing, and if the products you produce have integrity and are solving a problem for the audience you are targeting, you will have a long-lasting brand,” says Sade. “Without an actual good product to back it up, you may become a drive-by brand without cult-like consumers who come back because you are actually changing their skin for the better.”
Having high-quality, well-thought-out products to support the brand you are building helps guarantee more longevity than brands that can start to feel like gimmicks without the product to back up their branding. Become the trend, don't follow them. A brand that has a reputation for quality can also charge a premium for their products, which helps them to remain financially stable. Furthermore, the brand's continued popularity is its social media following. 4AM Skin has over 10.7K followers on TikTok since launching in 2021, where the founders regularly front the brand's posts and share product updates, tutorials, and mood board inspiration. "The reason behind this is that our brand has always led with authenticity," Beguelin adds. "We weren't sitting in a board room with 50-year-old men brainstorming about what would go viral on TikTok or appeal to a Gen Z demo. We built a brand that we felt was missing for ourselves when we walked down the aisle of a Sephora or Ulta."
4AM Skin also collaborates with fashion brands, artists, and top influencers to create organic content and increase its reach among new audiences. According to a survey conducted by market research firm Piper Sandler in 2021, TikTok was the top social media platform driving beauty product purchases among Gen Z in the United States. The survey found that 58% of female teens had purchased a beauty product recommended by a TikTok influencer, compared to 39% who had done so based on a recommendation from Instagram.
Starface, which you may know for creating fun and innovative skincare products to cover up pimples and other skin blemishes, has managed to stay relevant in a fast-paced industry, constantly churning out new brands and products thanks to its commitment to innovation and inclusivity. "Our North Star is changing people's relationship with their skin for the better, and we believe that mission will always be relevant," says Kara Brothers-Phillips, President and General Manager at Starface. "Of course, where and how you communicate that vision is always shifting—for us, that means meeting people where they are by experimenting on new platforms like TikTok and BeReal before they're proven, and making sure everything we put out into the world remains true to our brand ethos."
Over the years, the brand's hero product, Hydro-Stars, has evolved into a full range of other products, including their latest launch, the Fruit Patch. Four times larger than Starface's Hydro-Stars, Fruit Patch is a kitschy new option for consumers to shrink more than one spot at once and all over their bodies. "In giving people ways to find confidence and self-expression in their breakouts, we've been able to foster an entirely new set of consumer behaviors—people are proud to wear Hydro-Stars out in public and on social media, they're collecting and coveting their Starface collections like Beanie Babies (instead of hiding them in their medicine cabinets, like most acne products)," says Brothers-Phillips. Starface's offering reflects its ability to adapt to changing consumer demands while remaining true to its DNA that consumers initially fell in love with it.
To be successful in the beauty industry, it's not just about creating a buzz—NARS, 4AM Skin, and Starface are brands that have shown potential to outlive their hype era by demonstrating a strong commitment to building a strong brand identity, establishing a reputation for quality, and providing exceptional customer service. Firstly, NARS has established a reputation for delivering high-quality makeup products that appeal to a wide range of consumers. Meanwhile, 4AM Skin is an emerging brand that has already gained popularity among skincare enthusiasts thanks to its focus on sustainability and natural ingredients, which has resonated with customers who prioritize ethical and environmentally conscious practices. A study by Accenture in collaboration with the World Economic Forum found that companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices are more likely to outperform their competitors over the long term: "Sustainable companies consistently perform better financially, are better positioned to mitigate risk, and can expect greater longevity than their less-sustainable peers." Finally, Starface has differentiated itself from other acne skincare brands by bringing joy and acceptance in treating acne. While the beauty industry can be fickle, brands that can strike the perfect balance of quality, authenticity, and innovation are the ones that are likely to stand the test of time.
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