A lot has changed in a hundred years. Between feats of technology and a cultural renaissance, a boom in population and in interconnectivity, the beauty industry has seen a lot of change. But how exactly has it evolved over time, and what does it mean for beauty consumers?
Changes in Practice
Cosmetic specialists Transform Hospital Group have created an intuitive timeline for the evolution in beauty trends over the last century. It charts technological advancements in cosmetic care, contrasted with the relative hardships of wartime Britain in the 1940s – and the surge in popularity of non-surgical treatments in recent years.
In the 1920s, makeup was becoming acceptable in mainstream society, with red lipstick and liberal use of mascara in vogue. Lipstick was commonly applied to make the lips look smaller and cherubic, while blush was used to make the face seem rounder.
By 1940, rationing resulted in the short supply of certain make-ups, and invention by necessity; beetroot powders and burnt cork became crucial ingredients for make-do make-ups, and a more natural look emerged.
By 1960, chemical facial peels had become increasingly popular, and the availability of a wider range of colours made for a more vibrant palette – a palette which would come to the fore in the 1980s, with excess becoming a major theme.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, elective procedures like face-lifts and rhinoplasty became more common, while revolutions in skincare technology had skin cleaner and fresher than ever before. In recent years, skincare has leapt forward yet further, with anti-aging and non-surgical treatments such as skin rejuvenation and hydrafacials contributing to more pared-back, natural style of make-up.
Changes to the Industry
The cultural landscape has changed significantly over the last century, and with it industry as a whole. Technological leaps, hand-in-hand with increasingly global societies and the democratisation of knowledge, have seen cosmetic innovation shift from the make-up and skincare giants of early industry to smaller, independent brands and start-ups with powerful messaging. The beauty industry is a more complex machine than it has ever been, with highly competitive markets and a more polarised consumer base fuelling the stratospheric rise of newer, innovative products by companies and entrepreneurs ready to meet demand – whether organic products, sustainable skincare lines or simply businesses with a strong moral message.
What are the Benefits?
The seismic shift in the balance of the beauty industry can be seen as a daunting thing, especially with the explosion of new brands and an increase in competition – but its benefits are well documented. Make-up artist Nami Yoshida said of the industry: “Diversity of beauty has changed and is changing. Individuality is more accepted and that is a wonderful thing.” Meanwhile, more technological approaches guarantee a higher quality of product, with competition between companies driving innovation for the consumer.