Miruna Codeanu

Stop shaming the cosmetic industry

In cappuccino on May 12, 2014 at 7:27 am

One of the biggest markets in the world, one of the oldest, most profitable: cosmetics and personal care products. Yet, I can see a trend shaping up. Along with the self-acceptance, also comes a hate-speech targeted at cosmetics companies. Some of the most famous: “If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business. (Gail Dines). I’ve seen this shared by many of my friends, acquaintances and I feel it around me. It happens in the interactions with my friends: in public it would seem cosmetics are not a major interest, but in a one-to-one talk it’s about skincare and skin problems. We’ve also seen Dove’s “Real Beauty” strategy.  However, I believe Dove’s strategy is part of a new trend in advertising I named antivertising. 

Dines_-Gail-Mark-Karlsberg_-Studio-Eleven-360_Size4Who is Gail Dines? “Gail Dines is a feminist anti-pornography activist, author, professor and lecturer.” ( Wikipedia) You can see Gail Dines in the photo. I see lipstick on Gail’s lips. And blush. And probably foundation, and probably eyeliner. Moreover, Gail Dines probably used a face cream, maybe concealer. Gail Dines probably uses an anti-aging cream. Gail Dines probably removes her make up. And I could endlessly go on with my assumptions but I will not. Via simple logic, we could all assume Gail Dines does not really like her body, as she supports the cosmetic industry by using make up and cosmetic care. It could just be a leftist speech targeted at one of the most profitable industries in the world which would bring us to a whole new debate. However, feel warned: I am on the right side of the political argument.

Well, there’s always more than meets the eye. There’s always more than meets the eye about the cosmetic industry too. The general audience probably thinks of cosmetics as being make up, face care and maybe some body care. The cosmetic market value worldwide is about $200 billion, thought to reach $265 billion by 2017. Probably, one of the few markets for which the future looks bright. Cosmetics are not just colored cosmetics. Personal care, hair care, skin care, body care, fragrance and make up are what the cosmetic industry is made of. There’s more, judged by its ingredients and formula we have different categories again, of which the most famous probably are dermo-cosmetics. So, yes, again, it could be a leftist hate speech target at a profitable market. There’s more than that, as people identify themselves with these words.  

It’s a combination of the leftist speech, remember we live in the times of “Occupy movements“, numerous “Springs”, sharing economy, with the antivertising trend in advertising. And it results in seeing that quote everywhere.

Now let me tell you: there’s no conspiracy. We don’t create your problems. We identify your problems and than try to deliver you products that would fix them. To invest in new products targeted at problems that don’t yet exist would be quite nonsense when we have real problems and we know people would want those fixed. I know you probably think you know better, that there’s a secret meeting where strategist invent the new problems for which they create products. Well, no. Why invest twice as much energy in creating problems and solving them when you can just solve an existent problem. Don’t undervalue us.

Most part of the cosmetic market belongs to the “care” segment. Makeup accounts for maximum 20% of the whole cosmetic market. An important part of the cosmetic market is made of what we assimilate to basic hygiene products: shampoo, shower gel, deodorants, etc. These are now basic in the western world. We wouldn’t imagine life without them and I’m sure we wouldn’t want to. The biggest segment is skincare. I’m sure you forgot the first definition for skin your learned: the skin is our biggest organ of the body. If you care for all the organs in your body you should also care for your skin as it is the biggest. Environmental changes also led us to develop special segments like sun care.

We don’t undervalue our customers. It’s a first “don’t” for any person or business who sells anything. We don’t think you are ugly. We, the human race, have reached a point in our development, where everything is over specialized, micro segmented. So, is the cosmetic market, a natural development. There is research behind a cosmetic product, there are studies, there is a person who dreams of a beautiful world. There is a reason for which the person specialized in putting make up on your face is a make up artist, because beauty is an art, and there are different perspectives on beauty and in art. For each region of the world is an ideal beauty pattern: the Western beauty ideal is not the same with the Chinese one and we have created products to help women get closer to what they want, which doesn’t mean we think you are ugly.

Finally, for those of you who are enclined towards the political left, a $200 billion with a bright future creates jobs and feeds people.

Dear all, stop shaming the cosmetic industry or you can just go live in a century when there was no cosmetic industry. Mind you, there are 6000 years of human cosmetic history.  



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