What does the rise of injectable cosmetics mean for make-up?

18 : 07 : 2017 Beauty : Digital : Media
Cara Delevigne for YSL Rouge Cara Delevigne for YSL Rouge

When you look at the current beauty and cosmetics landscape, it’s clear that we are in the midst of generation selfie – a phenomenon fuelled by social media influencers and celebrities alike. You need only open up the Explore tab on Instagram to see the impact of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, particularly on the beauty sector.

Driven by the rise of selfie culture, sales of bronzers in the UK almost doubled to £43m ($56m, €48m) between March 2016 and March 2017, according to data analytics company IRI, while the eyebrow product and concealer market are estimated to be worth £42m ($54.7m, €47m) and £52m ($67.7m, €58.2m), respectively, boosted by supermodels such as Cara Delevingne.

‘The impact of the so-called selfie generation – where people are spending disproportionately long periods of time studying their faces and making sure they are camera-ready – is not just driving sales for certain cosmetics, but also boosting demand for ancillary products such as eyebrow kits, sponges, pencils and brushes,’ says Chloe Humphreys-Page, a retail account director at IRI.

While the IRI study explores how consumers looking to make themselves selfie-ready are shaping the make-up industry, a similar shift is happening in the world of non-invasive procedures. This shift is seeing consumers increasingly approach non-invasive cosmetic procedures as an extension of make-up rather than a non-surgical procedure.

Earlier this year, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons released figures that revealed a dramatic drop in the numbers of consumers going under the knife. A fall of 40% in 2016 from a record-breaking high in 2015 contrasts with figures that highlight the rise of non-surgical procedures such as Botox over the same period.

Social media, its culture of ‘likes’ and the growing cult of celebrity are no doubt responsible for the increase in young people investing in non-invasive procedures.

In the US too, non-surgical procedures are overtaking surgical ones. Figures released by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery show that the number of injectable treatments carried out in the US rose by 10% in 2016, with an increase of more than 30% among consumers aged between 19 and 35. Although under-18s account for a very small fraction of consumers that have undergone non-surgical procedures (0.4%), usage among this age group rose almost 70%.

Social media, its culture of ‘likes’ and the growing cult of celebrity are no doubt responsible for the increase in young people investing in non-invasive procedures, and are fuelling their normalisation.

‘Millennials are seeing that it’s not scary to be injected, they’re seeing good results,’ says dermatologist Dr Ava Shamban in an interview with Business of Fashion. ‘They look at it more along the lines of, ‘oh, well I’m going to go and have my nails polished, and I’m going to have my hair cut and coloured, and going to have my teeth whitened’.’

The same Business of Fashion article cites a poll conducted by Dr Tijion Esho, a UK-based non-surgical procedure specialist, found that one in three of his patients consider injectables as complementary to make-up.

This shift in mindset may be viewed as an opportunity by make-up brands looking to capitalise on the rise of non-surgical procedures, but they should remember that these procedures can be problematic, causing anxiety and potentially peer pressure among young consumers in the short term. Rather than focusing on short-term gains, beauty brands would be wise to use their content, campaigns and products to alleviate the long-term pressure on young consumers to conform to trend-led standards of beauty.

For more on how the beauty sector will change over the coming years, buy our Beauty Futures Report 2017.