As a growing roster of celebs try to cash in on signature beauty ranges, Gen Z consumers are starting to seek out more authentic brands that represent a more diverse and democratic community.
With this in mind, we spoke with London beauty creatives Natalie Vest-Jones founder of Sanxtuary Magazine, Disha Daswaney chief creative officer of Kohl Kreatives and Polina Nagornykh founder of Sharp Beauty. The trio gave us an insight into the beauty circle.
“I do feel consumers have been recognising the value of self-care more since the pandemic. Beauty was one of the categories that performed the best during the pandemic due to the fact that people were taking more time out for themselves,” says Disha Daswaney, CCO of Kohl Kreatives.
With the large increase in beauty and wellness brands globally, consumers are now considering what brands are the right fit for their needs and desires. According to WGSN, with 79% of Gen Z believing beauty brands have a responsibility to represent all skin colours and tones, inclusivity and diversity is a fundamental key pillars for beauty brands.
Certainly the beauty industry has become a major player in the creative industry. The global beauty market is projected to exceed $784bn by 2027 according to Common Thread Collective, with digital and social trends driving a speed up in sales. Moreover, the e-commerce sales of health, personal care, and beauty retail have grown 15.9% from 2022 to 2023, with $99.12bn.
But some creatives say shoppers are starting to turn away from the high-speed of some beauty trends. Vest-Jones says: “Consumers can see through when products are made just to make money vs when it’s innovative.”
Nagornykh also weighs in on the topic of celebrity brands. “Celebrities jumped on the beauty bandwagon with the rise of Tiktok and Instagram influencers. New beauty brands popping every other day confirm that now almost every celebrity wants to profit from selling beauty products.”
So, rather than seeking celebrity brands that confer a sense of affluence and popularity, consumers are now looking for beauty brands that reject the traditional Euro-centric beauty standards.
One of those is independent beauty brand, Kohl Kreatives, an inclusive beauty brand run by two sisters, Disha and Trisha Daswaney. The brand specialises in tools supporting motor disabilities, transgender and cancer care communities. By showcasing products from their lines to highlighting upcoming talents, Kohl Kreatives set new standards of how companies represent products for each consumer’s wants. With the recent launch of mystic stickies and oracle card decks alongside them, Kohl Kreatives is planning a more exciting innovative release shortly.
“The beauty industry is going to be even more community-focused than it currently is because we crave that from brands – the need to be authentic,” says Disha Daswaney.
Image courtesy of @kohlkreatives
Photography & Creative Direction: @jasmine_desilva
Hair and Makeup: @natashalawes
Set Design: @setdesignbykate
Food Prop Styling: @sonalishahfood
Shoot Co-Ordination Assistant: @elisabethliisberg
Nails by Glaize @glaize.co
The media has also navigated the conversation to fit the beauty trends. “Magazines have helped highlight beauty creatives before social media, almost like Pinterest before Pinterest,” says Vest-Jones. Physical and digital magazines are a source of curation of inspiration.
The Sanxtuary by Natalie Vest-Jones recently released Sanxtuary Magazine seeking to spotlight BIPOC & Queer Creatives. Ranging from BIPOC & Queer designers at London Fashion Week to featuring genderless sustainable brands, Sanxtuary Magazine is pushing boundaries in 2023. “Sanctuary magazine is good if you want to find content 100% by BIPOC & Queer artists,” says Vest-Jones. With their first issue released back in December of 2022, we can expect more diverse conversation and inspiration to be generated by Sanxtuary Magazine in 2023.
Image courtesy of @the_sanxtuary
Creative Director & Photographer: Natalie vest-jones:@natalievestjones
Stylist: Dams Tyson: @damstyson
Styling assistant: Marilena angelides: @lenaangelides
Hair Stylist: Tarik Bennafla: @tarikbennafla
Visual Fx Artist: Oluwaseyi Sodipo: @_evenlyodd
Model & Makeup Artist: Myla: @pradaolic
Designers: Studio FCLX @studio_fclx
Oriol Clavell: @oriolclavell_
Juliette Nastasia: @julietee_nastasia
As a makeup artist and creative director, Vest-Jones advocates for creating an inclusive community. While publications have generated diverse creatives as part of their brand, it lacks spaces for creatives to be fully seen independently. “I feel like the beauty industry is heading in a more inclusive direction. Definitely. Slowly but surely. What I want to see is instead of just models in beauty content but actual creatives – the people behind the scenes and those roles given to a more diverse set of creatives,” says Vest-Jones.
On the artist side, Polina Nagornykh is a Moscow-based makeup and hairstylist, channelling avant-garde looks to the beauty industry. As a makeup artist and creative director, she looks for the narrative. She says: “I want a story, I want your experience and perspective reflected in the beauty look you created.”
In addition to her career as a makeup artist, she has also created an editorial beauty magazine called Sharp Beauty in 2018 consisting of Russian-speaking artists from all over the world. As a Ukrainian-born creative based in Moscow, gathering artists from Moscow, Paris, London, Kiev, Minsk, and Tbilisi was a therapeutic creative process, she says.
As Nagornykh would put it: “Our safe place where, art, beauty, utmost love and admiration for each other made us feel good.” However, with the Russian invasion in February 2022, Sharp Beauty quickly took a turn as continuing with beauty content felt morally wrong. Moreover, with the censorship in Russia, it became physically impossible for Nagornykh to continue with Sharp Beauty. While Nagornykh is currently in the stages of figuring out the next steps for Sharp Beauty, she hopes to rebuild the community and believes that beauty will save the world.
Image courtesy of @polza_mua
Art direction and makeup: @polza_mua