Say ‘sales’: Selfies fuel make-up’s meteoric rise – but will au naturel stage a comeback?

Say ‘sales’: Selfies fuel make-up’s meteoric rise – but will au naturel stage a comeback?

This week Estée Lauder Companies reported a healthy set of full-year results for fiscal 2016, with sales up 4 percent to US$11.26 billion for the year to 30 June. And what’s fuelling this rise? Why, selfies, if a BBC report is to be believed.

And the facts speak for themselves, with Bobbi Brown, MAC and Smashbox all reporting double-digit sales growth and turnover for the US prestige giant’s make-up category up 9 percent.

“Everyone is taking photos now and make-up can allow you to transform yourself according to the mood,” a spokeswoman for Lauder told the BBC.

And it’s not just Lauder. L’Oréal reported soaring make-up sales back in the first quarter of the year as the French beauty giant’s Consumer Products division delivered its fastest quarterly increase for nearly three years.  

Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube have all driven sales, as consumers trade beauty faves, tips and tricks – hell, L’Oréal has even created its own emoji keyboard to keep the conversation going (preferably in its direction). There’s entire accounts dedicated to lip color – we’re loving @willitlookgodonmetho over at GCN – and Sephora’s online community are more than happy to tell us when they love a product – Kat Von D Beauty got nearly 600,000 ‘loves’ for its Everlasting Liquid Lipstick.

All this has clearly got the industry thinking: if make-up can benefit from the selfie action, can we? The answer came this week in the form of the latest hair color trend from L’Oréal Professional. Stylists are being trained to identify different face shapes and color hair accordingly to emphasize certain features, while dialling back on less desirable traits with clever placement of high and lowlights. According to the brand, it’s the hair equivalent of contouring – that now-notorious make-up technique thanks to the Queen of selfies herself, Kim K.

Is this the start of a tidal wave of selfie-enhancing products from every category in beauty? Will we see flash-ready tooth whitening kits or insta-effect skin care preparations that visibly tighten and fill for the duration of that all-important pose next?

Or is L’Oréal Professional’s crafty insinuation that the right hair color can negate the need for all that jazz, by which I mean make-up, part of a new era of natural? After all, this week, we’ve also had Girls co-stars Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke pose for an unretouched shoot for New Zealand-based underwear brand Lonely Lingerie. Au naturel is already making a come-back. Although please, note – both girls wore lipstick, if little else.  

Perhaps L’Oréal Professional has seen the future, and it’s all hair and lipstick out there.