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17 May 2019


Digital - Branding


The Power of “Fast Beauty”   

17 May 2019

Author: Alexander Shapiro

Beauty and Beauty Standards have become more important for brands and marketing programs due to the increased use of smartphones and social media. Smartphones screens and social media apps allow users to quickly and easily identify, like and share photos and videos of “beautiful people”. Giving and receiving beauty likes and positive comments has proven to be highly desirable and addictive for users especially self image obsessed 12 – 24 year olds. There are over 310 million photos with the hashtag #beauty on Instagram.

Social media algorithms and photo editing apps allow Beauty Standards to be instantly focused so that consumers can quickly react positively to beauty influencers and familiar photo formats. Beautiful faces and attractive bodies have gained in popularity compared to more complicated artistic and cultural images.  Brands that learn how to integrate “Fast Beauty” Creative Directions and “Swipe Friendly” User Interfaces across their consumer touch points will significantly increase engagement and revenues.

Kylie Cosmetic – Fast Beauty Product Leader

Who is leading Fast Beauty and the creation of Fast Beauty Standards? In a word KYLIE.  Kylie Jenner built the superlative Fast Beauty Brand “Kylie Cosmetics”, now worth over US$1 billion, between the ages of 19 and 21. Kylie Cosmetics generated US$ 420 million in digital direct to consumer sales within 18 months. To put that into perspective, it took Tom Ford Beauty a decade to hit the $500 million revenue mark. In addition Kylie has been providing her Fast Beauty Genius to numerous other brands via partnerships including OPI, Puma, Balmain, Beats, Top Shop, Sinful Colors, E! and Quay.

Pitu – A super fun Chinese picture editing app from Tencent

What are the key visual elements of Kylie Beauty?

  • Big eyes looking directly at the camera with a calm confidence.
  • Long thick black eye lashes curled dramatically upwards.
  • Long thick arched eyebrows creating a slight questioning effect.
  • Heavy layers of makeup with a tan, brown and cream pallet that highlight cheekbones and elongated facial features.
  • Long glossy black hair.
  • Highlighted or exposed décolleté with consistent skin tones.


Kylie Jenner – Consistent and clear fast beauty standards

Kylie’s glowing cosmetic looks are now worn by tens of millions of women every day from Singapore to Los Angeles including most top social media influencers regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. Kylie products create a polished and unifying mask that can be applied to augment or cover up facial features helping women to feel more confident and protected.

Refined and sophisticated Beauty Standards and exclusive beauty products with delicately constructed brands have been replaced by simple, bold and inclusive messaging. Building on the success of “Fast Fashion” and the rise of Social Media Commerce, “Fast Beauty” has become a global obsession. “Fast Beauty” is a critical element of social media traffic generation and countless highly profitable digital beauty business models including MAC, Fenty Beauty, Colour Pop and Glossier. “Fast Beauty” brands are now partners with and being acquired by large classic beauty players and their methodologies integrated across product ranges and brands including Tarte, NYX, Urban Decay and Birchbox.

Kylie and sister Kim Kardashian – Social media queens

“If you can’t see anything beautiful in yourself, find a better Mirror.” Kylie Jenner

Social Media is defining global Beauty Standards. Like most things Social Media defines it is doing it faster, simpler and with more consistency than ever before. With the help of increasingly powerful influencers, “Fast Beauty” brands create “on-trend products” that are produced and launched quickly, with the help of agile supply chains, constant digital marketing feedback and user generated content. Selfies, short videos, bold text, likes, follows, shares, comments and KOLs now establish what is Beauty and enable Fast Beauty Products to drive cosmetic industry sales. Traditional Beauty Media and Beauty Institutions including fashion magazines, beauty pageants, beauty products and beauty counters have been forced to adapt to social media and fast beauty trends.

The disruptive, constantly interactive and always on nature of smartphones is perfect for promoting and selling “Fast Beauty” content and products. New Fast Beauty Standards have been made easy to identify, wear, share and celebrate by leading cosmetic, fashion and media brands including e.l.f., FashionNova, Gucci, TikTok, WeChat and Instagram.


“Fast beauty brands are accelerating production cycles and thereby challenging the bigger and more established brands through this agility and speed,” Research Expert Alexandra Rastall, Kantar Millward Brown.

The Fast Beauty trend in cosmetics and media has become big business in Asia, driven first by the rise of Korean KPOP Beauty and then a craze for all things Japanese. The trend has been for young Chinese to skip reserved and classic beauty products and go straight to extreme eye shadow palettes and heavy foundations allowing for a Fast Beauty Transformation. “People are comparing their appearance to people in Instagram images, or whatever platform they’re on, and they often judge themselves to be worse off,” says Jasmine Fardouly, a postdoctoral researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. The insecurities and self image doubts created by social media are quickly and effectively addressed by Fast Beauty products and videos. Fast Beauty models and products are much more down to earth, practical and easy to understand than classic beauty super models and products and solidifies their success.

Smartphones and Apps have become essential for Fast Beauty helping consumers quickly receive, give and share emotional rewards and how to videos. One of the most popular and effective digital rewards is the recognition and affirmation of “Beauty”.  Over 580 million people have used the hashtag #beautiful and 507 million #cute on Instagram and liking a portrait of a person immediately establishes their beauty. Simple positive comments and emojis signifying a persons beauty are commonly used across social media demographics, psychographics and geographies.

Orbis Research estimates that the Global beauty industry will reach over US$ 800 Billion by 2023. The lipstick index seems to be at work here. This is the phenomenon where, when times look tough, women turn to make-up as an affordable treat while they cut back on other purchases. When the digital world becomes too confusing people turn to fast confirmations of their external and internal beauty.

Fast Beauty requires that marketing managers use Slow Brand Strategy Methods. Due to the rapid changes in beauty and fashion products, messaging, pricing and distribution channels consumer brands need to be more focused and carefully designed. If brands want to be recognised and build value in this emotional and fast moving environment they need to establish consistent and clear brand identities based on emotionally relevant big ideas and engaging key visuals. Fragmented social media experiences and distracted consumers prefer simple and clear brands. Consistent Brand Strategy is essential in today’s Fast Beauty World.

Elf Cosmetics – Direct to consumer cosmetic hero brand.