#24 What I’ve learnt about beauty, and this industry.
I’ve been in the beauty industry for almost a decade. It’s aged me*.
Writing for, creating, and consuming other brands, and most recently over the last four years, documenting the build and growth of Fluff, I‘d like to say I’ve learnt some things. Why not share them:
It’s brutal. Hardly pretty, this industry isn’t for you if you’re not prepared to come out a little dusty, anxious, or disheartened. Honestly. Competition stifles creativity, profit stifles purpose, and ego stifles integrity. It’s not to say this isn’t deeply fulfilling at times, because it is. Beauty is connected to identity and identity is what connects us to each other — it can provide a sense of belonging.
Community is everything. Without it, you’re basically just gambling, because a formula for success exists to win the game: ad funnels, influencers, pricing, millennial branding, etc. These are the rules. But there are also exceptions: your first 100 fans will stay with you forever. They will sell your mission and vision, not your products. They are your biggest investment.
Everything, just like in life, is a tradeoff. Search for non-plastic components but launch a year late; don’t pay influencers, save money, build authenticity, but grow slowly; scale with retail but lose on margin; get funding but surrender control — investors are handcuffs, golden or barbed-wire.
Everything has a cost. Everything. Whether that’s monetary, your relationships, or your health, be it physical, mental, emotional.
Sustainability is mostly marketing. It’s hard for us to truly say if the production of glass is better than plastic, if using compostable poly-mailers is better than boxes, etc. For every pro article, there is a con. Let us not forget that the best keep cup you can own is one you already have: a mug, that’s sitting in your cupboard.
Editorial is advertorial. Remember when beauty journalists could prioritise what they cared about? Designed to manipulate rather than inspire, the beauty industry — and advertising — wants to make us feel less without products. “You’re worth spending that extra $100 on eye cream… This elixir will wind back the clock… pigmentation can be fixed.” It doesn’t tell us that we’re enough as we are, that beauty is inherent, and changing, it doesn’t tell us to look like ourselves, but rather to look like someone (anyone) else, and at a price. We buy products to dry our ‘blemishes’ out only to buy additional products to moisturise and repair the damage we’ve just done.
Makeup is great. It can be an incredibly empowering tool and form of self — expression, and when intention and consideration is applied to formulations, packaging and messaging, it is also an expression of ones values, extending to community, responsibility, and consumption.
Incredible brands and products close down. While terrible brands and products make money. The truest shame. It’s a creators world: big budgets and big followings (celebrity brands) will almost certainly trump indie brands. (Especially in the short term).
Our skin has everything it needs. It can literally moisturise, replenish, and heal itself. And it’s been this way all along. Clever, right?
Ageing is inevitable. As Jessica Defino so perfectly puts it. “You’re Gonna Die Someday No Matter How Young You Look”. If I could give you any advice for trying to beat nature at its game (lol), it’s this: don’t smoke, certainly don’t vape, eat healthily — everything in moderation especially alcohol, get outside and find an exercise routine that works for you. Meditate. Have fun.
No cream, powder, or serum will do this for you overnight or in 30 days. The only thing that will ‘hide’ wrinkles is botox and that’s just poison. Literally.
A thought: I’m excited to get to know my face at 35, 40, 50, 60, 70, 90, whatever. I want to see how the years and experiences will leave notes on my skin. I want to love each version of me, rather than trying to freeze one in time.
When I wear less, I feel more. Since creating and wearing Fluff, my skin has never been better, I have never felt better, and I have never had more compliments.
I love that I can get ready in ten minutes. I love that I can wake up and run out of the house without makeup on. I love that I’m not spending money on products that I don’t need, on empty promises from an industry designed to make me feel like I’m not enough. I don’t hope for a new ingredient or formulation to work better than the last. I trust my skin to support itself.
I love that Fluff is all I need.
Everything can tell a story. Most days I feel like there’s nothing left to create, that we’ve had enough of content, that it’s all been said and done before, that nothing is original anymore. And then those closest to me remind me, that this is the whole point. We’re all just the combined effort of everyone and everything we know. I’m grateful for those people, who continue to show up and lend me their heads, their hearts, and literally their hands, to bring feelings and ideas to life. You can see Fluff’s new campaign, Behind the Cloud, shot by James Whiting over at @itsall.fluff
Beauty is so much more than makeup. How have we forgotten this? How can we remember this? How can we share this?
We’ve all got to do something with our time. May as well be this.
Fluff’s website has reopened for 7 days for our next drop of makeup. If you haven’t tried it before, I’d love you to have a look. Our refillable Bronzing Powder and Lip Oil, Kabuki Brush, and Face Oil #1 is truly all you need.
We feel these products not only meet our high standards and expectations of design, packaging, and payoff, but in allowing you to get ready in five minutes, it makes the idea of ‘beauty’ matter less, something we care a lot about discussing.
I’m going to be writing more frequent, shorter updates soon. It’s taken me a while, but here we are.
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*Was that going to happen anyway?
**But — it still can inspire. You’ve just got to look a little deeper for the magic.