The world of skincare continues to astound, confound and fascinate me. With hundreds of new launches, a gazillion websites and ingredients so complicated they make my brain ache, how do we edit this tsunami into a reasonable, sane check-list of beauty must-haves?
Gone are the days where make-up and skincare were separate offerings. The astonishing rise of Charlotte Tilbury from beauty insider to the woman of the hour is both deserved and refreshing. It’s been a long time (since the heady launch days of Mac) that a beauty brand has had such a dominance – why has this become the must-have. Easy. Fabulously glamorous packaging that you want to hold, and show off, but also make-up that IS skincare. The days of the drying lipstick are over, with a lip treatment that also gives you the colour saturation that you need. Oh, and the counters…. The counters…check out the one in the spectacularly rebranded Fenwick of Bond Street.. No more pared-down minimalism (thanks, that’s so last decade) – a rich, full on experience that makes a woman feel like she’s in a Jackie Collins novel (which is a Very Good Thing)
It’s the most over-used word. Along with revolutionary, and unique…. But the rise of the cult brands remind me of the punk explosion in the 70s, where everybody thought that they could make a record… The world of cosmetics is littered with great ideas but it’s very difficult to get the brands out there and make them a success. Stores like Liberty are particularly adept at finding an “edit” and selecting key products in their gloriously ramshackle centre cosmetics room, where seemingly random oversized glass bowls contain beauty treasures that just need to be tried and bought. A special congrats to Fenwick Bond Street as well who always seem to be focusing on the new and unique.
There’s a peculiar stalemate in the huge department stores at the moment with a sense of bet-hedging: I’d like to see a bit more courage in buying and a bit more exposure to smaller brands. I have a brand in Harvey Nichols’ niche area, where the staff are attentive and knowledgeable, and the thrill of seeing my baby Liquilift in one of the world’s top retailers is infectious. However, you’re always aware that without a monumental investment in PR and marketing you won’t be retiring to Barbados at any point yet…
So where else is great to peruse the latest trends? For me there is only one place, that isn’t “bricks and mortar”, and that’s www.cultbeauty.co.uk; to be on the website at all you have to pass a team of recognised industry experts – and it’s about the ingredients and results – never about the hype. If you’re looking for calm, measured writing and an innate ability to discern the latest trends – head to cult beauty at once.
Gone are the days when we blindly stuck to brands. We’ve become beauty junkies, beauty addicts and beauty mavens, and we know that parabens are bad. Very bad. (We aren’t sure what they are, but that’s by the by….) but seriously, we are starting to look at more radical ingredients with an ethical bias. Colostrum is my big prediction for 2016. When a company finally works out how to market this amazing wonder ingredient, then the sales will follow. Colostrum is the milk that a cow gives to the calf in the first days of life, and is packed with every ounce of goodness that you can imagine… But the calf only needs about 9 of the 27 litres that are produced….. The remainder is one of the most potent anti ageing ingredients that we will ever see on the planet. We’re used to porcine and marine collagen – this next step will revolutionise skincare if done properly. Also. Stem-cell research. The humble Swiss Apple has proven to be a winning success already in luxury skincare (an apple that continued to regenerate cells even after being picked!!! This isn’t science fiction by the way). It’s our chemists and biologists who will be the future of skincare…Rodial deserve a special mention for introducing and popularising many of the very “science-driven products, including the Stem-Cell superfood facial (hugely recommended after a long night)
The Asian market
Wise beauty critters are looking to the East, where emerging markets are changing the face of skincare. Double cleansing will be essential (we do that with our shampoo – why not the face, and the rise of the Essence as a pre-serum skin treat (clinique’s launches soon – proof the world is watching). Multi-masking will be a key trend – using different masks at the same time to address multiple issues. Alexia Inge, one of the most respected and liked women in the business, was the first to coin this phrase, and I love the idea that we can change our face in a matter of moments using different products at the same time.
My key brand to watch is Ginvera. It’s a huge seller in Singapore and South Korea and is starting to make massive ripples here. If you haven’t bought their Marvel Gel, a clear jelly that magically exfoliates your skin without particles in it, you haven’t lived. It’s the best named product ever. And it really, really works.
2016 is going to be a good year for beauty. I can feel it. There’s a sense of buzz in the air, and I think this is the year that retailers will rediscover the joy of selling. Sales are high, targets are being achieved in departments so let’s remember that we are theatre, not finance, and let’s make sure our staff are knowledgeable, polite but most of all enthusiastic. I want every beauty department to feel like a different world to the rest of the store – it’s the place where dreams and hope are created and sold, and should reflect that vision completely…. Let the show commence!!!!