From selfie to shelfie: how skin care can take social media by storm

From selfie to shelfie: how skin care can take social media by storm

If you didn’t see it on Instagram did your product even launch? I jest, of course, but social media has been credited with spurring sales of make-up to stratospheric levels in recent years and skin care has finally worked out how to get in on the action.

Indeed, companies are now considering the insta-appeal of a future product at the development stage, according to a fascinating report published by Digiday’s sister title Glossy.

Of course, beauty inspired by social media trends is nothing new; back in 2014 when the selfie sensation was at its peak, you couldn’t move for camera-ready products promising to smooth over imperfections. Then came the contouring craze, spearheaded by Kim K herself. But the latest wave of product development has more to do with how the product photographs rather than its wearer.

“There’s a big desire today to create something that results in an Instagram moment, where a product is very photogenic and encourages consumers to take a picture of it,” Natasha Jen, Partner at branding agency Pentagram told Glossy. “These moments lead to word of mouth and are huge advertising opportunities.”

Whereas once branding was designed to stand out on shelf, it’s now all about those squares, where on-trend shades such as millennial pink, sparkle, pattern and inspirational slogans reign. The deal is no longer closed at the till, a brand needs to encourage its consumers to engage with the product once she gets it home.

And it’s not just Joe-shopper who is scouring social media for the latest beauty buys. Those precious pixels lead to headlines in all the major publications. ‘These are the most Instagrammable Beauty Brands’, reads a recent sell from Harper’s – and it’s one of many. Lixir Skin, launched last year, generated miles of column space about its pink packaging alone.

In a nutshell, from selfies to shelfies. If you chime with the ’Grammer’s aesthetic, shoppers will essentially do your job for you, providing user-generated content that spreads the word. And the recent resurgence of skin and body care sales is no coincidence. By shifting the focus from the after to the before, they too have been able to harness the power of social media. L’Occitane’s recent collaboration with Rifle Paper Co is a case in point.  

And all this ties in to WGSN’s Vision 2019 – a forecast of the most influential macro trends for next year. Dubbed ‘Creative Manifesto’, self-expression and creativity will be one of the key trends driving shopping habits through the next two years, says WGSN. Consumers want to take a product and make it their own, whether that be by applying lip tint to your eyelids and cheeks (slated by Huffington Post as 2018’s biggest beauty trend) or by artfully arranging your photogenic products for flatlay-fabulousness.

At the same time, WGSN predicts that product design will be increasingly influenced by emotions and feelings. For skin care, that translates neatly into a sensorial element – something we’re already seeing over on the ‘gram – gel-like textures such as the coveted K-beauty Watermelon Glow Sleep Mask, foam, and an element of sparkle all generate likes in their thousands and sell-out status for brand-owners. Expect to see sales soar.