What is the CVS Beauty Mark all about?

Hi friends!

Today we’re shifting away from products and talking a bit more about bigger picture stuff. Not sure about you, but as a beauty lover I (try to) follow news & trends as much as I can. CVS is one of my favorite places to shop beauty, so whenever they are in the headlines my interest is piqued immediately. And they are currently making some bold statements in the industry with their Beauty Mark initiative.

I first mentioned this initiative in a post last year after CVS announced their plans to significantly expand their beauty offerings both online and in-store in early 2018.

Read this: Has CVS brought us the future of drugstore beauty?

THE CVS BEAUTY MARK INITIATIVE

In a nutshell, CVS promises that by the end of 2020 all of their marketing imagery (including print, in-store, digital, & social media) will be completely untouched by Photoshop or any other editing software. From their perspective, this is a major strive towards total transparency, and a move away from unrealistic beauty standards.

Boom.

The Beauty Mark is our pledge to pass a healthy self-image on to the next generation.

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CVS Beauty Mark tagline
CVS Beauty Instagram

Read this: Major Drugstore Beauty Brands Are Helping CVS Reach Its Goal of Eliminating Photoshopped Imagery

To avoid any potential confusion on the consumer’s part, the Beauty Mark will appear on every unaltered image. You then have 100% certainty that the marketing image you’re seeing is in its purest form, so to speak. As it stands now, CVS estimates that about 70% of their imagery is now Beauty Mark-compliant.

See the difference below.

THE Response from BRAND PARTNERS

Several big drugstore beauty brands and their celeb ambassadors, like Kerry Washington, Ashley Graham & Ayesha Curry, are fully in support of the CVS Beauty Mark initiative. Neutrogena, CoverGirl, Revlon, & Olay are just a few of the legacy brands taking a major role in helping CVS reach its 2020 goal. A plethora of other beauty brands are set to join in the initiative in 2019 including Physician’s Formula, Aveeno, Rimmel & Burt’s Bees.

CVS Instagram statement on Beauty Mark initiative

MY THOUGHTS

I think CVS is making a pretty powerful statement in taking this initiative. Over-manipulated beauty images have been a long-held industry standard, and it’s only amplified even more since the dawn of social media.

There’s definitely an opening now to start a conversation about unaltered beauty, especially as more emphasis is put on body positivity and mental wellness. When I take selfies, either for this blog or for my Instagram, they are never manipulated in any way. I think it’s important to show what I really look like; my skin tone, my freckles, my blemishes, everything. Not some face-tuned version of myself.

We all have a responsibility for what we put out on the internet, especially when so many younger, more impressionable people are interacting online.

Do I think this means that all the companies, all the advertisers, all the marketers will now stop using Photoshop because of the CVS Beauty Mark initiative? Hell no. It’s just one step in a positive direction.

You can read more about the Beauty Mark initiative here.

What do YOU think about the CVS Beauty Mark? Let me know in the comments below!

Xo, Erica

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Learn about the CVS Beauty Mark initiative, and how one of the biggest beauty retailers is tackling the industry’s fixation on unrealisitic standards.
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Join me for a makeup declutter!

Hi friends!

I like to keep my makeup collection in check as much as possible. So every 6 months or so I go through my existing stash to see what I have or have not used to make room for newer items. Sometimes I will do it more often, but it really all depends on how much I’ve bought in any given time period.

Here are my main declutter criteria:

a) I haven’t gotten much use out of the item, say within the past 3 or 4 months;

b) it’s in relatively good condition and not horribly old (I’m talking like past 5 or 6 years old);

c) it can be santizied (i.e. no liquids or creams).

If all the above criteria are met, I will take it out of my collection and put it in a “donate” pile to give to friends or family. (I’m still trying to find women’s shelters around me that will take makeup and/or other toiletries.) So I did a little declutter of my stash just recently to make room for some newer purchases, but before I give those items away I thought I’d take you through what I’m parting with. Sound like fun? I hope so, so let’s start!

FACE

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Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Box o’ Blushes from a limited edition holiday collection

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Interior of the Box o’ Blushes. Top row from L to R, Dandelion, Bella Bamba, Sugarbomb, Watts Up Cream Highlighter sample. Bottom row from L to R: Hoola Bronzer, Coralista, Rockateur, mini brush.

I actually just referenced this in my beauty anti-wishlist post from last week! After writing that, I got a bit tough with myself. Cute packaging is no reason to hold onto an item that you barely use anymore, so you know what? I’m getting rid of it! I’ve always loved Benefit’s box blushes, and I still do to a certain extent, but I just don’t prefer them anymore. As you can probably see they’ve all been gently used except the Hoola Bronzer which I don’t believe was ever touched. (I do need to toss the little Watts Up sample before I give this away; it’s gotten hard and gross since it’s a cream.)

EYES

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Clockwise: L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1, Sephora Colorful 5 in Mild to Wild Khaki, & NARS duo in Brousse.

The L’Oreal palette was a ‘skip’ in my last Snatch or Skip post on drugstore palettes. It’s nice enough and you can get some pretty good looks with it but I’m just generally underwhelmed, especially for the price. The Sephora & NARS palettes are very nice quality products, but I just don’t reach for them much anymore. Time to move on!

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Clockwise: Clinique duo in Like Mink, MAC single in Ricepaper, MAC single in Greensmoke.

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MAC single in Greensmoke

I actually didn’t buy this Clinique duo; it was included as a gift-with-purchase. I never used it once, I think because I was just bored when I looked at it. Anyway, that’s my excuse. But Clinique shadows are usually very good quality, so I’m sure it’ll work for someone. Ricepaper from MAC was a little too yellow for me, and Greensmoke just didn’t flatter me although it’s quite lovely when you look at it in the pan.

LIPS

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Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink Liquid Lipsticks in shades Dreamer (left) & Loyalist (right).

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Loyalist (left), Dreamer (right)

I know “no liquids or creams” is one of my declutter rules, but these are quite new and they’ve barely, I mean barely been used. I only used Dreamer once; Loyalist never got used at all except to swatch. I really love the formulas of the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Inks. The deeper mauve-pink shade Lover is one of my all-time favorite drugstore liquid lipsticks. But I had one of those “what was I thinking” moments when I picked up both these shades. They are beautiful colors for sure, but just way too light for me. Dreamer gave me that horrible “butt-hole” look! Sorry I had to! It’s in such contrast to my natural lip color that it looks like I have a ring in the center of my mouth (hence “butt-hole”). So they gotta go!

Have you decluttered anything from your beauty stash recently? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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Check out what I’m parting with in my latest decluttering!

Has CVS brought us the future of drugstore beauty?

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve read up about CVS a lot recently and it certainly seems like they’re taking an aggressive position when it comes to beauty. Last week I spoke about how they’ve partnered with Kiss Products, Inc. to launch the brand Joah Beauty, bringing K-beauty inspired cosmetics into mass retail. Well, it turns out that CVS is broadening its beauty offerings in a big way through at least two other strategic partnerships. Firstly, they’re collaborating with the on-demand, at-home beauty service company Glamsquad to pilot BeautyIRL (IRL stands for “in real life” by the way), an exciting store-within-a-store concept that reimagines what the beauty aisle of CVS could be. And secondly they’ve also partnered with eSalon, the bespoke hair color company, to bring their Allure award-winning custom color kits to the masses.

Each partnership brings more fun, more personalization and more convenience to the beauty-shopping experience which really hasn’t existed at the mass retail level before.

Totally exciting stuff!

If you’re lucky enough to live in Andover, Massachusetts, Stamford, Connecticut or Florida you may have access to one of these BeautyIRL concept stores right now. So far CVS has made it available at just 4 locations in the U.S. (FL got 2, while MA & CT got 1 each), but there are plans to expand the offerings online and to more store locations by 2019. I have my fingers and toes crossed that one will come to NY soon! (However I’m not horribly far from Stamford, so maybe a field trip is in order 😉.)

So what is BeautyIRL exactly? I believe the idea is this: you feel like you’re walking into a stand-alone beauty retailer but in reality you’re simply wandering into the (enhanced) beauty department of your local CVS. It seems there’s a whole bunch of uber cool offerings in these concept spaces. There’s a “trending” section with up-and-coming indie brands; an expanded K-beauty section; more natural and/or organic products; and a whole section where you can shop just beauty mini’s. If that doesn’t excite you already, well get ready! A whole slew of on-demand, personalized beauty services are also on the menu thanks to Glamsquad including consultations, makeovers, blow-out’s, and various skincare services. Also, in massively big news for me, there were will a “Test-and-Play Hygiene Bar” where you can (finally!) sample and touch your favorite drugstore brands. Oh my gosh, are we finally getting drugstore testers???

But CVS is not stopping at just cosmetics & skincare. You can also now get bespoke hair color kits in the new BeautyIRL locations thanks to their partnership with the e-commerce company eSalon. Color consultants will be on-site to match customers to their perfect hair shade and to operate a device that will create and dispense custom shades. The whole hook is making the product available for immediate purchase.

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A bespoke color dispensing device from eSalon in a BeautyIRL space. Image source: CEW.org.

The concept of BeautyIRL builds off CVS’s biggest beauty campaign yet, the “Beauty in Real Life” campaign which initiated earlier this spring. All of the beauty promo imagery from this campaign was released with absolutely no retouching or digital manipulation of any kind to foster more realistic beauty standards. It also featured a diverse roster of “real” women (so no models or celebs) to give the campaign a more relatable feel.

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Image source: Allure

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The new CVS Beauty Mark which stands for ‘Beauty Unaltered.’ Image source: CVS Instagram

If the BeautyIRL concept is a success for CVS, I think it will mark a definitive change in drugstore & other mass retail beauty shopping. If you read any article about the future of retail there are a few trends that always get discussed: enhanced experience, more product choice, and more personalization. Consumer expectations are shifting and we generally want more of our in-store shopping experience. CVS is attempting to answer to those needs with their new beauty initiatives. I’m excited to see what happens next!

What do you think about CVS’s beauty initiatives? Would you go into a BeautyIRL space if it was in your local CVS? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Sources used: Allure, InStyle, Elite Daily, CEW.org. Cover image source: InStyle.

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Want to know how ColourPop became so successful? Read this.

I’ve always been fascinated with ColourPop’s skyrocket to success and the dizzying rate with which they launch their products. Since 2014, it’s been the brand on every beauty lover’s tongue, in their wishlists and in their hauls. You turn around and there’s five more major launches and collaborations from them, it’s crazy. To me it seemed like they exploded out of nowhere very quickly, am I right? They were considered very mysterious at the time since there was no official spokesperson for the brand and the founders remained very much in the background. But of course there’s always a story to tell.

Interestingly, I’ve barely tried any ColourPop products before. My mom bought me an old Kathleen Lights collaboration from a while back which consisted of four Super Shock Shadows, Blaze, Kathleenlights, Glow & Cornelius (some or all of these were discontinued I think). Otherwise I’ve never touched one product. This is what’s truly ironic about this scenario. The reason that ColourPop has been “unsuccessful” selling products to someone like me is exactly the same reason (or one of the key reasons) why the brand has been so wildly successful selling to millions of other consumers. Haven’t guessed yet? It’s a true e-commerce brand for the modern digital world. I still rarely buy makeup online that I’ve never used or at least sampled before. This probably makes me “old school” but I’m fine with that.

But despite my inexperience with their product line, as a former student of business I find ColourPop to be its own terrific case study, and I’ll explain to you why.

What does being an e-commerce beauty brand for the modern digital world have to do with being successful at selling and marketing to consumers? Well, everything actually. I wrote briefly about ColourPop’s backstory in my older post on indie beauty brands, but I’d like to go into more detail here. If you don’t know much or anything about the brand, you’ll find this interesting I’m sure. The founders are two siblings, John & Laura Nelson, who grew up in the beauty industry since their father bought Spatz Labs, a beauty supply/manufacturing company, in the late ‘80’s. They saw an opportunity a few years ago that was ripe for exploitation: the meeting point between the prevalence of social media & influencer marketing, and the expansion of consumer spending in the beauty industry. If they created a beauty brand that was entirely e-commerce (no dependency on brick-and-mortar retailers) and targeted beauty influencers who would market their products to millions of followers, well that could be pretty successful. And don’t forget they had experience, heritage and first-hand access to a cosmetics manufacturing company.

So the Nelsons founded Seed Beauty, a brand-incubation company that became the parent to ColourPop Cosmetics, the first official brand under its umbrella. (If you’re curious, a brand incubator nutures and helps grow smaller startups to become full-fledged brands.) From the very start, ColourPop had definite advantages with customers. Like a lot of other e-commerce brands, its digital-first, social media-driven strategy gave it broad & fast exposure to their customer base. Social media marketing has broken down a lot of barriers that used to exist between brands and consumers; they can interact in ways they never used to. This newfound closeness has fast become the modern way to grow community, make sales and boost success. Much like Glossier, ColourPop claims its products are not conceived of nor designed in board rooms, but through interactions with their customers. They’ve designed products specifically requested by influencers and customers.

The second key factor here is having the established infrastructure of Seed Beauty baked into the ColourPop model, which gives it unparalleled speed-to-market. Everything from product concepting, R&D, production, and marketing is housed under one roof in Oxnard, CA; no middleman manufacturer or packager is necessary. So basically, they can pump more launches out more quickly. That’s huge. It’s the concept of ‘fast fashion’ yet applied to beauty, as Laura Nelson has stated. Oh and if you didn’t realize, this makes all their products super affordable. Everyone who loves ColourPop loves how affordable they are without skimping on quality. Hopefully now you understand how they are able to do that.

In four years, ColourPop has gone from strength to strength with no signs of slowing down. A little-known company called Kylie Cosmetics became the second brand to come under Seed Beauty after ColourPop. I think we all know how successful they’ve turned out to be (hello Kylie Jenner Forbes cover). The Nelsons claim there are more brands that will be coming up through Seed Beauty soon, one of which just launched a few weeks ago. Fourth Ray Beauty is an affordable skincare line where almost all the products are under $15.00 from cleansing oils to tonics and serums. I’m definitely intrigued by this line.

What do you think about ColourPop’s rise to success? Are you a fan of the brand? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

(Sources used here: Refinery29, Revelist, FastCompany, Northwest Business Review.)

The future is cool & clean: Indie Beauty Expo NY 2018

If you don’t follow me on IG, first off you should (my handle is @weareglamerus), and secondly you wouldn’t know that I’ve been barking my head off for the past few days about attending Indie Beauty Expo (IBE). If you’ve never heard of IBE before, it provides a major platform to smaller, independent beauty brands from around the world to connect with buyers, press and consumers mainly through their large-scale expos. The expos (or conventions) travel around the U.S. and Europe, but luckily for me it was in NYC this past week. I believe the next expo will be in London this October, so I’ll link the website here if you’re interested in looking up the exact info.

Below you’ll find IBE’s mission statement taken directly from their website.

IBE’s mission is to provide a platform to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them

I’m going to talk about the Expo in 2 parts here on the blog. In this first post I’ll give a general overview of IBE, share a few photos and some takeaways. In my next post I’ll talk more in depth about the products I picked up while I was there and the brands I interacted with. So consider this an introduction of sorts.

I booked my General Admission ticket in early July for $39.00, which included a tote bag and discounts on products sold at the Expo. Conversely I could have booked a VIP Admission ticket for $195.00, which included everything from the General Admission ticket plus tons of samples ready for me in my tote bag. (And those bags looked bulky! So now of course I regret being cheap, but oh well.) I believe ticket prices change depending on the location of the expo and various other factors, so don’t take my quotes above as categorical.

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IBENY was held at Pier 36 in the Lower East Side right on the East River. It was a 2-day event that was open to the public on the first night for about 4 hours (‘Shop Indie’), and to trade professionals, buyers and press on the second day (‘Trade Indie’). Over 200 skincare, cosmetics, haircare, bodycare, wellness and personal hygiene brands were in attendance; you can check the full exhibitor list here. Most of these brands I had never heard of before, and this was exactly why I wanted to attend the event. I dedicated an entire post not too long ago as to why I think indie beauty is important, which I’ll link to here. I’m really proud of that post so please go check it out.

There was no line to get into the event space thankfully so check-in was a breeze. I was handed my black, branded tote, a map of the space and sent on my way. I felt the space was quite easy to navigate as I was making laps around each and every aisle and crevice of the pier. There was definitely more skincare brands there than anything else, I’d say. I noticed quite soon upon entering that most of the cosmetics brands like Ellis Faas and Kokie, for instance, got very easily swamped with passers-by, so I had to make several laps before I could come back to play with the products. But there was considerably less cosmetics at this particular expo so that’s probably why.

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The biggest takeaway for me was that independent beauty is really at the forefront of the clean/green/natural (whatever you want to call it) movement. Walking around the pier, the buzzwords I saw and heard were “organic,” “natural,” “vegan,” “plant-based,” and “cruelty-free.” As more and more consumers become concerned not only with what they put in their bodies, but also what they put on their bodies, indie beauty will continue to flourish more and more. I think this really has to do with the level of transparency that indie brands have with their customers. A lot of these brands hand-create their products in small batches, so they know exactly what’s in them and how to market them effectively. And many of the brand founders created these product lines to initially solve skin or health issues of their own or that of a family member. There were a lot of very interesting stories behind the brands, which I’ll get into more in my next post.

I took a short video clip of inside the event space which you can check out over on my IG (again, the handle is @weareglamerus, or scroll up to my IG roll on this page).

Has anyone attended IBE in the past? Do you have any indie beauty products that you’d recommend? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica