Beauty In The Digital Age
There was a time when a woman only had one option in terms of beauty. She would find a magazine clipping she liked, take it with her to her local beauty parlor and hope that the local stylist could accurately recreate the chosen look. The number of talented stylists was limited, so results varied dramatically with this method.
In this environment, Hollywood stars and Madison Avenue executives became the shapers of trends in beauty and style for generations. Whether it was the beehive hairdo and brightly colored dresses of the 50’s, the mod styles of the 60’s, or Farah Faucet with her golden locks and red bathing suit in the 70’s, film, television and magazines have been setting the trends and shaping the face of beauty for most of the last century.
However, the digital age is here, and the revolution will not be televised; the development of the internet and the proliferation of cell phones have put the power of beauty and the ability to shape trends into the hands of regular people, all over the world. Tech companies like Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat have become the great equalizer in terms of accessibility. They allow a generation of people who have grown up in a digital world to show off their style and fashion sense, while sharing ideas and techniques with their peers.
No longer are celebrities the only icons out there, the internet is creating its own breed of home-grown style icons and beauty gurus. Today there are thousands of people who call themselves vloggers or bloggers (depending on their medium of choice), creating free content and posting it on the internet. Whether
you’re looking for step-by-step tutorials of different beauty techniques, product reviews, or you just want to see people who show off what they’re wearing on any given day, there’s very likely a site, blog or video for you.
Google and YouTube allow today’s beauty consumer to find just about any content they can imagine. YouTube has become one of the internet’s go-to sites to find out what is, and what is not, considered a beauty trend today. In fact, the Think with Google Conference stated that beauty on YouTube is growing at a rate of 50% year over year, and content regarding beauty has generated over 45.3 billion views.
While discussing the changes taking place in the beauty industry, Joico Colorist, Denis DeSouza, of Andy Lecompte salon in Los Angeles had an interesting take: “Change is necessary in the beauty world with the advancements of technology. It is a part of the evolution of easy access, but the beauty parlors will always be there, unless computers start cutting and coloring people’s hair.”
Beauty is a multi-billion dollar industry because it serves a basic human desire to express and feel good about oneself. From the beginning of time, humans have tried to express themselves by changing their outward appearance. So while technological changes have shifted the manner in which we consume beauty products and services, it has not mitigated our desire for those goods and services. Rather, it has increased our access and awareness to types of goods and services we otherwise might have never known about, while simultaneously giving us a portal through which we can better express ourselves to a wider audience than ever before.
This may cause challenges for the marketers of beauty products, since where there once was a simple formula, there is now a seemingly ever-changing landscape in which they are forced to be more creative and find new partnerships.
However, challenge also comes with new opportunity, as it offers these companies the ability to interact directly with their customers in ways they never could have before. So while icons and trends will inevitably continue to change and evolve as technology and information advance, so will the way we consume beauty good and services. What will not change is our desire for these goods and services, and our desire to express our personal style to the rest of the world.
The age of the matinee ideal may be over, but the age of the internet icon is just beginning.
YouTube beauty gurus are more and more influencing standards of beauty when it comes to products and techniques. There are even companies that specialize in bringing these content creators together. Platforms such as Vidcon or Beautycon are creating even larger communities.
Beautycon’s mission is to bring fans, brands and creators together in one place while discussing, trending news, fashion, and beauty.
Moj Mahdara, CEO of Beautycon Media, states, “Beautycon is a platform for content creators and the fans that love them. We give a voice to an underserved generation of 84 million kids that live in an entirely digital world. So many companies focus on marketing to this generation—we’re focused on creating a community for them where they feel comfortable [embracing] their eccentricities and be true to who they are.”
Not only has the internet made information more accessible, it’s also made getting beauty services easier than it’s ever been. Call it the on-demand economy or the “uberization” of beauty, but now you don’t even need to leave your home or office to get your hair or nails done. With the touch of a button you can order professional beauty services, anytime and anyplace.
There are currently ten major on-demand service apps functioning in the U.S. allowing beauty professionals to be their own boss and command their own hours. Companies like Priv, Glamsquad and Vensette, just to name a few, offer instant gratification and convenience to today’s busy consumer.