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I agree with all your points but also like to add that the market is so saturated right now, and company’s are coming out with the same products (e.g. those orangey warm toned palettes from a couple years ago, nude lipsticks that bring nothing new) that it can often feel a bit boring. Some brands can be innovative, but in general there isn’t anything interesting or new at the moment from the major brands (at least in terms of colour cosmetics). I find that there are products from much smaller companies that are more exciting and different, but I’m not really comfortable buying products online.

The biggest challenge is unequivocally youtubers/ instagrammers who have created this kind of voracious need for more and more; so many influencers use a palette on their media one time and never again. The other problem is that influencer makeup is NOT AT ALL real life makeup; they buy a Dior palette and try to create blown out Instagram makeup and say it’s not a good palette when it doesn’t perform for that purpose, and all that influence towards those massive blown out metallic/ glitter looks confuses the industry.

The other big hurdle for high end brands is their lack of promotion for their makeup; I mean if you scour Instagram you can see images, swatches and just recently a YT video on the new Dior “power” collection for fall-winter that is over a month old, but the collection isn’t on the website and Peter Philips hasn’t released any images or videos on it. Moreover when you do see a video of the collection released by Dior the products aren’t always listed so you can’t figure out the lip color or whatnot. And finally these higher end brands will create whole collections and only release them in certain parts of the world or countries (Hourglass has been bad about it recently), so it creates this exclusive buzz on social media but it’s not available even on the brand website. When that country-exclusive thing happens I get so frustrated I want to leave the brand behind. I mean Dior did an entire Rising Star collection this spring that only made it to certain European countries and Asia; I was so frustrated, especially when I saw all the pastels in the Lolli Glow collection release here, which aren’t for a lot of people

I agree with your points, Christine. I also think consumers of cosmetic/beauty products are more educated than they were in past so are more likely to question nebulous claims and less likely to fall for the stuff that companies still try to foist on us (“this product will only work in a synergistic relationship with the other products in the line, so in addition to this cleanser, you need to purchase our toner and serum and essence and moisturizer….” – a Dior rep used this spiel on me a few months ago and I just laughed and said, “Thanks, but no….”. Many, many people also care a great deal about animal testing – more and more won’t purchase from companies that test on animals or use ingredients that are possibly tested on or sourced from animals.

Due to glut of new beauty companies that seemingly sprung up overnight just during the past several years, the biggest challenge is being able to stand out from the pack as different enough from the existing brands, I believe. Pretty difficult to accomplish in a virtual sea of brands!
Another challenge that *mostly* older, more established brands face is being able to keep up with newer ones when it comes to showing creative genius, inclusive skintone shade ranges in foundation etc., and keeping things fresh without becoming ridiculous with using inappropriate shade names that have sexual references, ethnic slurs or are overtly spiritistic.

I would add that there’s a lot of jaded negativity out there too; so many “been there, done that” comments in reviews of new releases. I still believe there’s room for innovation in textures, finishes, ingredients, and I also believe that’s where most companies should be concentrating. In an environment where there are people who actually get angry because an eye shadow quad has a brown in it, I’m not convinced any wars will be won with color choices.

The market is saturated with brands and every variation of every color and texture. Nothing is new anymore, really, so it comes down to marketing and packaging. I think we’ve officially jumped the shark with brontouring and foundcealer, hacks we’ve all done on our own but there seemed to be an attempt to market “new” products based on that for a nanosecond. This and many more tips and tricks and multi-use have always been widely known among makeup artists, maybe even new and/or long time makeup users, but now with social media, products seem to be invented for the sole purpose for something like brontouring or foundcealering and it’s like the second coming, if only for a nanosecond until the next new thing.

Lack of originality. Competition and trying to increase their profit margin while the age-old model for the business is breaking down. The older companies are doing a bad job adapting. (See how the home video industry waited too long to face this back in the day, and how the music industry is still pretty guilty of this). Customers are standing up for themselves and others by demanding diversity in products, shades, hiring, and advertising. Increased knowledge among customers thanks to the internet and social media: We know what’s worth the money; we’re knowledgable about or can easily look up ingredients; we have swatches and reviews to check before we buy; we know what other companies make basically the same product…and cheaper. We can see when owners act like morons or just a$$holes and avoid those brands if we chose.

I agree with you, Christine and all those who have commented before me. I rarely see anything fresh and innovative. High end brands have many issues that they never address as they crank out new shades of their iffy formula’s. Indie brands and often have very nice products but there are so few of them produced that getting your hands on the product can be difficult. I also don’t feel like either HE or LE brands pay enough attention to social media . Sure they will have an IG account, Facebook page, ect but they either don’t look at the comments or they ignore the comments. We have all seen enough warm shadows to last us many lifetimes over but they continue to put them out there. If you are only going to produce warm toned palettes then you need to find a way to add pops of colour that work with those shades and release them together. There are holes in the market where a really innovative brand can make a splash, particularly if their products are good quality. Look at Sydney Grace. Offering the shadows in pans that can be stored in palettes, Viseart that makes all of their smaller palettes with removable pans that you don’t have to struggle to get them out. All brands should be doing this.
Anyway, the beauty community is stagnating secondary to lack of vision and inability to produce products that create a social buzz.

I think the biggest challenge is a kind of self-manufactured one, where many brands have continuously stepped up production to release more and more new products, many of which are limited edition, so they always have something NEW for influencers to talk about. I think there’s a lot of pressure to keep releasing new things, and this leads to less innovation and quality, and more new stuff for newness’s sake. And if they have too many products which feel like they were rushed to the public and which don’t perform well (or worse, have serious problems like mold and mystery fibers), it can really cause long-term damage to a brand’s reputation, because a bad product seems to go viral faster than a good product.

I too find the amount of choice overwhelming. I cannot keep up. A lot of times I will look online at products and give up. I am tired of all the neutrals, the browns, the oranges, etc. Maybe some cosmetics stores can have a database for customers to look at if desired – type in some of what they are looking for and be presented with options.

There are sometimes good sales associates in department stores here for higher end brands. Some are honest and will not try to force you to buy everything from X line. They know that some customers know a lot about the products. A problem in a smaller regional city is the lack of staff in a department store, the proliferation of ‘million dollar stores’ where only certain locations will get the newest launches/products. Some locations have limited products on display and a lot of empty shelf space. I don’t always have the time to drive 45 minutes to a store that sells X product. I should not have to and either I skip the product or may buy online.

The loyalty program of a gift with purchase used to be a nice touch by the major brands. These days, in Canada, they are far and few between. The minimum spend thresholds increase regularly. The gifts get cheaper and repetitive. The higher priced step up gift is usually gone in a day or two. Some GWPs may be phasing out next year and you will get ‘samples’ depending on how much you spend. I am happier to receive a 15% discount. Some clerks have informed me that if I shop on a certain day, I can probably get a discount on my purchase. Some stores will match others’ sales.

Some drugstore stuff is usually messy, tucked away and hard to find.

Brands need to take a look at their packaging. Some palettes are cumbersome and not work friendly. I take transit to work and in winter with the wind and snow, I usually have to touch up at work. Lugging a palette that takes up half my bag is not an option.

Some of the older brands are not really keeping up with changes in the industry – same old colors, same old product. Not much to attract the younger customer and retain him or her with their products. Just seems to be a free for all right now and throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the customer and if you get sales for the first week or two, you move on to something else. And that’ll stick for another week. I’ve become jaded and disinterested unless something really catches me.

The biggest challenges I think brands are facing now are:
Ethically sourced ingredients that are safe to use – none of this ‘not eye safe’ rubbish or are produced in places we have never heard of….
Competition to product high quality products at a sustainable price – the brand has to pay its staff decent wages, they have overheads etc. You don’t have to produce every beauty item, but like Sydney Grace, do a few really well and keep the price reasonable.
Genuine innovation in terms of smaller boutique collections that are all about the quality and colour. You don’t have to have 30 items in a collection – make it 10 and make them good.
Trying not to be repetitive – not the same shades year in and year out.
Equal access to the market for all. Make sure that those who live in other parts of the world can access the product too. Like me.

Without knowing too much about the inner workings of the industry…I think the biggest challenges are the increase in the number of makeup companies and the increase in influence of, well, “influencers.”

Clearly differentiation! (Your latter point & Phoebe’s, Nancy’s etc..) You have the first issue you mentioned because of the lack of it and can’t have the second without it. Everyone wants “new” but also “extreme” quality (in product, service and even more and more the company’s ethics, etc.) and those two combinations are hard to deliver in a saturated market (as mentioned).

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