HOW SOCIAL MEDIA MAKES BEAUTY OPEN
My journey into beauty began as a child. My mom started taking me to the hair salon at 5 years old to have my unruly-curly hair blown out (a ritual that is incredibly common in the Dominican culture). Then, at 13 I begged my mom to allow me to wear concealer and powder. I wanted something that would help me cover up the acne that had started taking over my face.
The various aspects of beauty became tools that I used to cover up my flaws. But as I dove in deeper and deeper into the world of beauty, my relationship with beauty expanded far beyond something I used to cover up a zit. I began to have a true passion for the industry so much so, that it became my career.
I saw the positive effect it can have on a woman’s self esteem and I also realized that beauty starts a conversation about deeper topics such as different cultures, societal norms, insecurities, and even politics. These conversations are now amplified with the introduction of Social Media.
The topic of social media being an asset or a hindrance is often polarizing. On one hand, one can spend hours scrolling through an Instagram feed comparing oneself to heavily filtered and edited photos that create a want to live up to absolutely unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, because of the support and camaraderie you can find on social media, you will find many people saying fuck you to unrealistic aspirations and showing the world that any size is beautiful or that skin imperfections are normal and that’s ok.
Social media has been an incredible asset to the beauty industry because it has allowed companies to have a direct link to consumers and their needs. In turn, through social media consumers have become incredibly vocal. When consumers complain that they cannot find their foundation shade, beauty companies listen (and when they don't they fall behind). Rihanna's beauty brand Fenty has been so successful because it launched on a platform based on embracing diversity with "40 boundary-breaking shades."
While on the topic of diversity, another topic comes to mind. A topic that is absolutely inevitable when speaking about social media; Blogging. The blogging industry is big. HUGE actually, and it’s because it’s the thing that everyone needed that no one knew they needed. Speaking from a minority perspective, there weren’t a lot of models that looked like me growing up and as previously mentioned, there weren't a lot of foundations that looked like me either. My journey was filled with experimentation (this shade is too light, this one is too dark and there’s no other option so like, maybe I’ll mix them together???) but NOW there are so many bloggers that not only look like me, but tell me which foundations work best for us and show me the best way to apply it. After a 10 min YouTube video I feel like a makeup expert (maybe even a contour expert, GASP).
Growing up, I don’t remember ever seeing a woman in a hijab in a beauty ad, or being informed about the skincare regimens in Korea but with bloggers, we have access to people that look like us and understand our challenges and this is obviously not only important in terms of culture or race but also in terms of issues such as problematic skin, skin disorders, difficult to maintain hair and a list of issues that we all deal with daily. As consumers, we want to know how to deal with our challenges from someone that is a consumer just like us, not from a company telling us that they can fix our issues because they want to sell more product. Bloggers are an essential liaison between beauty companies and consumers. We trust bloggers. They're witty, they're funny, they know things, sometimes they don't know things and they get paid thousands of dollars per post (just like us, right?).
Social media has been a catalyst for openness in the beauty industry. Not only has social media served as a tool for people to be open and vocal about what they think is beautiful, but it has forced the beauty industry to evolve and be open to other forms of beauty than what has been traditionally considered the norm.