Are you growing frustrated over your beauty products? Do you have more misses than hits? Today I am going to take you behind the scenes and show you why copycat beauty products or even dupe beauty products is one of the reasons your makeup bag is leaving you feeling uninspired and you feeling like you're always looking for the hero product.
Fasten your seat belts, we are about to hit some turbulence.
If you're drinking wine, be careful…it's gonna get a little messy.
OBSERVATIONS FROM A PRO
As I go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of creating my line of cosmetics, I have to tell you it’s been a difficult road for me on many levels….
The complete lack of innovation in the beauty industry. Not only on the retail side but even on the development/formulation side.
Everyone has gotten so fucking lazy in this industry. There. I said it… There are some beautiful things out there that the labs can do, but no one bothers to do it.
Why? Why bother?
Copycatting is big business and it's faster to get to market.
There is no better time than now to be in the cosmetics manufacturing game. Cosmetic labs are working at full capacity and some aren't even taking new customers, thanks to social media. But because of social media, I find that we are going down a path that is bad for all of us. Read on to know why.
Fellow blogger KJ Bennett writes a really great piece here about how the cosmetic industry works and how it’s done.
In KJ's article, most brands just slap a stock formula in a pretty new dress, throw a few bows on it, and throw it out there for all of us to “ooh and aahhhh” over as if it's a dog and pony show with glitter.
A lot of times, cosmetic companies don’t even bother tweaking a formula or color to make it unique. As a matter of fact, dare I say if they even care if it's any good?
Today, the game is all about who can get it out the fastest and the cheapest. Why? Because tomorrow the trend may be over and they want to capitalize on that trend before creating the next copycat product.
WHERE DO BIG BRANDS GET THE BIG IDEAS?
So, where do the big brands get the product ideas? From small lines like Viseart, Melanie Mills, PPI, just to name a few. They have the capital and marketing budgets to pretty much get in front. But that's how it goes. We all know this going in.
If I were being completely honest, in my opinion, most big cosmetic companies don’t even TRY anymore. And it’s not just the cosmetic companies, it’s the labs and manufacturers, too, who take direction from these companies. I imagine the chemists are crying in their glass beakers because they WANT to create innovative products but the companies won't or don't let them.
Why? Because copycatting is easier to do. #easybutton
COPYCATTING IS NOT NEW
Copycats happen in every industry…it's just more apparent now because of our easy access to everything through social media. We see it all around us but most of the time do we really pay attention or do we even care?
It's the same old song and dance in the tech world….everyone knocks off Apple and Apple knocks off Samsung. Basically, all these tech companies are doing is making their version of a popular product hoping to grab a little more of the market share.
Remember when Apple was great? God how I miss those days.
Nowadays, I can't say that about them anymore. Why? They are too busy trying to be like everyone else, which sucks for Apple. They haven't lost it completely but they aren't the great tech company I once remember them to be.
As someone who has been in this industry for 30 years, it feels like cosmetic companies don't really care anymore about the quality they stamp their name on. I remember a time when big cosmetic companies launched products much slower and with collections more well thought out.
Here is my question: Where is the brand promise? Where is the brand mantra? Now, it's just shovel shit out for the masses and watch them feast.
What happened to luxurious textures and colors that were perfect for skin tones? What happened to a brand being known a particular product? Why do they need to be all things to all people? Why can't they just do one thing well?
Racing to the market to hit a social media trend has become so uneventful that I have stopped paying attention to most product launches. How many collections did Mac release this year? 732? No wonder people's makeup kit looks like it's having an identity crisis.
To me, the beauty industry looks a little something like this:
We are the lions and the cosmetic companies just throw us a carcass. And we demolish it. Not even caring if it's any good.
EXAMPLES OF COPYCATTING
Copycatting in the beauty industry isn't the same as having the same kind of products. I’m not talking about creating a range of nude eyeshadows and calling them Naked’s or Nudes, there are only so many ways one can call something neutral. I'm speaking to the blatant knock-offs where the one doing the copycatting isn't even trying to call it something different or even spinning it a different way. To me, it becomes a problem is when the design, colors, and color names start to look so similar to the brand who made it popular causes confusion in the marketplace.
Oh, yea that's right? They don't care about innovation, they only care about being the cheaper version of a better brand. It's an entire strategy that's working. Morphe doesn't appear like they want to create something unique for their brand. It's way too easy and cheap to knock off someone else's baby. (and by the way, don't begin to think for one minute these two eyeshadow palettes are the same. It's like buying Kuntry Pop instead of Coca-Cola). But hey, it's selling and making people money.
Or how about this?
Jordane knocked off a PPI product right down to the website copy.
Eyeshadow palettes are some of the biggest knockoffs I see……
Drugstore brand Elf is also famous for it……right down to the packaging.
W7 Isn't shy about it's copycatting….not one bit!
HOW COPYCATTING HURTS OUR INDUSTRY
Most people don’t realize how or why copycat imitation hurts our industry, or hell for that matter even care…. but let me tell my opinion on why it does.
As a pro makeup artist, I can go out right now to any Ulta or Sephora and tell you that 65% of all makeup is complete and utter bullshit…I've been so uninspired with makeup for several years since social media has had such an influence in beauty. It's getting harder and harder to find really great products that do what they say they will do. Mostly because of fickle consumers getting bored and jumping on the next thing, so we are all without sin in this.
Go to any Facebook group that caters to pro makeup artists and you will see a surge in going back to old brands. (Actually, they never left) Graftobian, Ben Nye, RCMA just to name a few because these brands still perform.
THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF COPYCATTING
What are we left with?
For example. Ever notice that foundation color these days is so wrong that you can't seem to find the perfect foundation to save your life? Think about it. When is the last time you found a perfect foundation? One that the color was great, texture was amazing and you repurchased more than a couple of times?
SWIMMING IN THE SEA OF BULLSHIT
The next time you find yourself frustrated with beauty products, trust me, it's not just you. It's us pros, too.
The answer is to not buy brands that knock off the ones who did it first. Hold their feet to the fire and expect more from your beauty industry.
Now, come sit close and let's comfort each other. Red WHINE standing by.
What do you think of the cosmetic copycatting? Do you think I'm off base or make a solid case? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below!
Peace & powder.