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What Beauty Professionals Need to Know Today

Discover the most recent and relevant industry news and insights for beauty professionals, to help you excel in your job interviews, promotion conversations or simply to perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distils business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events, exclusive interviews and conversations — to deliver key takeaways and learnings in your job function.

Explore global job opportunities in beauty on BoF Careers today, from a beauty and wellness project manager at Karla Otto in London, to a fragrance and beauty product development director at Tory Burch in New York, or as a Fenty Beauty brand manager at Chalhoub Group in Dubai.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for marketing professionals today:

1. Gen-Z Is Already Worried About Looking Old

Gen-Z is already thinking about aging.

Though the oldest among them is only around 26, Gen-Z is already anxious about looking older. They’re opting for makeup products with anti-ageing benefits like fine-line reduction and SPF protection, and 70 percent use anti-ageing serums daily, according to intelligence firm Circana. Botox start-up Peachy said Gen-Z was its fastest-growing cohort. Prevention, rather than correction, has become the status quo.

[…] Gen-Z’s early appetite for anti-ageing beauty has created an opportunity for brands to tap into a consumer they historically haven’t considered in the category, said Rich Gersten, co-founder of True Beauty Ventures. Efficacy, fast results and cost are front of mind for the group, but there’s still much to determine about how their preferences will evolve as they grow up.

2. How Mini Beauty Became Big Business

An assortment of products in Fenty Beauty's mini Fenty Snackz line.

When Fenty Beauty entered Target via Ulta Beauty last month, it had the markers of a mass diffusion line: a new brand name, Fenty Snackz, and lower price points. But the products themselves were no different from Rihanna’s core Fenty Beauty assortment of Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizers or Match Stix Contour Skinsticks — they were just smaller.

Once relegated to grab-and-go checkout bins, mini-sized or travel-sized beauty products are finding a more prominent position in retailers like Target, Sephora or Ulta Beauty. At Ulta Beauty locations, mini products are often dispersed throughout stores, sometimes placed next to their full-size counterparts. Rather than approach mini beauty items as last-minute impulse buys, beauty companies are increasingly trying to use mini products as a customer acquisition tool, notably price-conscious consumers shopping with value in mind.

3. How Beauty Brands Cut Through the Holiday Noise

A consumer picking a beauty product off the shelf while Christmas shopping.

Throughout the retail sector, the last three months of the calendar year are referred to as the “golden quarter”, with some brands generating as much revenue in that period as they do throughout the rest of the calendar year, according to retail strategist Wizz Selvey, as shoppers splurge on their loved ones — and themselves. […] Brands roll out special holiday promotions, including gift sets and beauty advent calendars, which are subject to high demand, often selling out months before Dec. 1 and retailing for triple-digit figures.

But this year, times are looking leaner. A UK report by KPMG and the think tank RetailNext found that 39 percent of consumers will have a smaller gift budget this year, which the report chalks up to high interest rates on mortgages, as well the overall higher cost of living. Still, the beauty sector has reason to be optimistic. Foot traffic software monitoring company says visits to beauty and self care stores were up 3.7 percent in September year-on-year. Consumers are still shopping, but their priorities have shifted.

4. How Ozempic Changed the Face of Beauty

An image of two vials and a syringe.

When 29-year-old Maria, a social media executive from New York, arrived for a routine Botox appointment, she was surprised by an elective add-on her doctor proffered: Ozempic. “[My doctor] said, ‘Oh, do you want a shot of Ozempic while you’re here?’ like she was offering me an extra napkin or something.”

In the blink of an eye, Ozempic, otherwise known as semaglutide, and its competitors like Wegovy and Rybelsus, went from a little-known medicine for diabetics to a cultural touchstone. […] The drug’s prevalence has led to less consumption of candy and beer, per Walmart, and the rise of Ozempic face, a “suddenly gaunt, hollow-looking … prematurely aged face,” leading clients to change their minds on once-undesirable roundness and plumpness, said Dr. Ahmed El Muntasar, a general and aesthetic practitioner in the UK.

5. Unpacking Beauty’s End-of-Year Price ‘Hacks’

The Rouge Dior Minaudière Clutch.

In a recent TikTok with over 6 million views, influencer Stefanie Price unboxed the “cheapest” bag available to purchase from Dior. The gold rectangular clutch with a shoulder chain she pulled out of the package wasn’t one of the $2,000-plus purses from the brand’s handbag section, however — it was a $290 gift set from Dior Beauty, the Rouge Dior Minaudière Clutch that comes with four lipsticks inside.

[…] Price’s viral content around the Dior gift bag illustrates the current consumer desire for value-driven products amid continued inflation and other cost-of-living pressures. But because cosmetics and personal care products are by nature cheaper than handbags and ready-to-wear, beauty is the only luxury category seeing year-over-year sales growth going into the holiday season, according to market research firm Circana. Sales of US luxury beauty were up 10 percent this year in the second quarter, Circana data shows. Luxury apparel and footwear were down 9 percent for the same time period.

6. Baby, You Smell Good

Dior's new Baby Dior line of beauty products is part of a wider trend.

Luxury strollers, designer clothes and even premium baby food are all de rigueur in well-heeled parenting circles, but the launch of Dior’s new Bonne Étoile fragrance, priced at $230 and scented by legendary perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, may rise eyebrows at daycare. However, the fragrance […] is not really an outlier. Last year, Hermès released an option for children aged three and up, Cabriole, priced at $116.

They might sound like an indulgence for only the most pampered infants, but they’re also a way for brands to build an even deeper and more personal relationship with a new generation of shoppers. […] Neuroscientists theorise that scent takes a more direct path to the brain’s limbic system, which deals with emotion and memory, giving it potent nostalgic and mood-making power. Perfumes, by that logic, are a fast pass to accessing memories or setting a mood.

7. Thousands of Black Women Claim Hair Relaxers Gave Them Cancer

An employee in a meeting, smiling and looking at someone speaking.

Sheila Bush, a cosmetologist, was lounging in the recliner at her St. Louis-area home last winter when an advertisement from a law firm flashed up on her television screen, urging viewers to call a toll-free number if they or a loved one had used hair relaxers and been diagnosed with uterine cancer. After seeing the advertisement three times, Bush, who said she had used hair relaxers every six weeks for most of her life and was diagnosed with uterine cancer about a decade ago, decided to pick up the phone.

The ads were part of a nationwide effort by law firms to sign up Black women to file lawsuits alleging at least a dozen cosmetic companies, including L’Oréal and Revlon, sold hair relaxers containing chemicals that increased the risk of developing uterine cancer — and failed to warn customers. The success of the legal claims will hinge on demonstrating the products were harmful and that the companies knew, or should have known, of the danger and failed to warn customers.

8. The Business of Beauty Haul of Fame: Vacation Brings Back Orange Gelée

The zany and beloved sun-care brand Vacation announced a multi-month build-up to the release of their new product, a reformulation of the cult beauty favourite Orange Gelée tanning gel.

At the end of November, the zany and beloved sun-care brand Vacation announced a multi-month build-up to the release of their new product, a reformulation of the cult beauty favourite Orange Gelée tanning gel. Although the news breaks now (like, right now; consider this the exclusive announcement), the actual product won’t hit stores until summer 2024. Instead of a drop, where products are launched in limited quantities as a fast-and-furious surprise on social media, Vacation is doing a drip, giving fans a long runway to prepare to “add to cart.”

[…] Why is Vacation confident it can hold our attention for so long? Partly because Orange Gelée has a built-in audience of devotees. First created by Bain de Soleil in 1925 to serve France’s nouveau beach set, the tanning gel went extinct in 2019, setting off a serious hoarding spree among fans. Copycat products like Carroten tried to fill the void; an eBay black market for the original commands about $350 a tube. A petition for its return has over 10,000 signatures, and even the New York Post has decried its demise.

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