Article, Beauty

Lipstick: Beauty is a gesture, and each has their own

“Beauty is a gesture.” The slogan that accompanies the launch of the “Rouge Hermès” collection takes on its full meaning with the application of lipstick. Evelyne Redier, chairperson of the Higher Together agency specializing in Market Research, knowingly unpacks this application technique, which is unique to each woman and intimately connected with packaging.

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By Evelyne Redier Chairwoman of the Higher Together agency
6 Jan 2021

Applying lipstick each morning has not always been easy: up until the 19th century, it was even a religious taboo. Then the practice became widespread with stars such as Sarah Bernhardt and later Marilyn Monroe, who made this beauty product a symbol of glamour and seduction as well as power and independence. The generalization of lipstick application came along with technical developments (“Discover lipstick innovations over more than 120 years”) that helped improve application techniques. In 1915, Maurice Levy invented the twist-up tube. It was no longer necessary to apply lipstick with fingertips or a brush, and it became much easier to bring it into the daily cosmetic routine.

A symbolically feminine ritual

What people like about applying makeup is not so much the result but also the ritual that goes along with it. There is very strong symbolism in applying lipstick: it means showing your seductive side, revealing your femininity. The famous stick is a beauty gadget part of their life. At the age of ten or even younger, little girls imitate their mothers’ movements in front of the mirror, building their own femininity based on that example. Later, they uphold that reassuring makeup ritual which enables them to feel confident about themselves in any situation. Still a reference in old age, lipstick is often the last beauty product that many women continue to apply to bring their faces a healthy glow: a touch of color to the lips adds a touch of color to life.

How to apply it: the new business of beauty influencers 

In addition to the enjoyment of application, of course, lipstick users expect hold and a color effect. Applying lipstick is a very specific art. Give the same lipstick to 10 different persons and each one will apply it in a different way and create a different look. The natural lip shape and color have an effect on the final appearance of the color and texture, and therefore on the expression of the mouth and the smile.

That is why today a whole business is developing around learning: the influencer phenomenon is currently revolutionizing the lipstick market.

Progressively dethroning beauty journalists and makeup sales assistants, these young professionals provide precious advice for makeup application through online tutorials, offering everyone the possibility to learn all the tips and tricks for an impeccable result… Without leaving the comfort of their own home. Blending five shades together to create your own color like Marilyn Monroe did; combining different textures; using a pencil correctly or opting for an applicator… Anything is possible, easy, and just a click away.

At the moment, full lips are all the rage. New, rather advanced techniques are available to plump lips without resorting to plastic surgery. For example, to accentuate the lips’ volume with an optical illusion, some people prefer to draw a contour slightly outside the natural lip line with a suitable pencil and/or use a gloss, creating the appearance of fuller lips. Each new fashion corresponds with new application techniques, and new packaging innovations appear, such as built-in applicators and sharp-edged slanted sticks, to apply various shades and textures even more precisely to the desired areas.

The application technique of the future? Where tradition meets innovation

Through research and development, brands seek to determine the application technique of the future. Might the “stick” soon be a distant memory? A number of brands are already opting for rechargeable lipsticks (“Getting away from the single-use package”). The products must continue to be easy to use, and consideration is going into formulas that provide an ever-more-precise color result while also providing skincare effects to address consumers’ specific needs (moisture-rich formula, plumping, anti-age, glow booster, etc.).

While it still looks that people have an affection for the glamorous, sexy traditional form of lipstick, that doesn’t prevent the development of future innovations that will revolutionize these habits. For example, pigments could be made active inside the lips to color and plump them. Less futuristic, the simple idea of including a small built-in mirror as part of the lipstick package, as Guerlain has already done, is a way of facilitating daily touch-ups for durable perfection.

Consumers at the heart of the co-creation approach

Over the last ten years, the consumer has been central to the Aptar innovation process. Through focus groups coordinated throughout the world, the company tests its products and surveys women of all ages and of all origins on their expectations and consumption habits. The Aptar group has thus developed a true expertise in research and development in the fields of lipstick application (studying the techniques clients use) and packaging. Thanks to keen consumer knowledge, Aptar guides brands through their co-creation approach to tomorrow’s products.

Behind this centuries-old makeup ritual lie a good number of aspiring innovations that are set to bring considerable changes to the continually reinvented lipstick market.

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