What a ride this decade’s been huh? We’ve been through rollercoaster of eyebrow designs and came out victorious in better shape. The quick rise of social media, global connectedness and supply chain has allowed beauty businesses to evolve and reach consumers in ways not feasible before; take for example beauty entrepreneur Supa Cent (Raynell Steward) whose Crayon Case brand made $1 million dollars in 90 minutes. Instagram allowed us to find our favorite makeup artists favorite makeup artist and so much more. Makeup applications went from demure to dramatic with brands competing on who could give you the most stunning highlighted cheekbones. Before we say hello to 2020 with better eyebrows, simple yet effective beauty routines, well moisturized and spf-ed faces (and neck), we take a look at the MAY-JAH memorable moments in beauty that defined this past decade (2009-2019).
Pat McGrath goes from MUA to Billion dollar founder
Pat McGrath began making her name in the fashion/beauty industry since the 80s. Pat McGrath, MBE has been called the most influential makeup artist in the world by Vogue EIC Anna Wintour and that title has been rightfully earned. She’s had collaborations, developed and launched cosmetics line with beauty and fashion brands such as Dior (brain behind the original DiorShow mascara), CoverGirl, Max Factor, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. Taking her own space in the beauty business was the next step and in 2016 she finally launched Pat McGrath Labs and it was an electrifying success from the start with the first product being Gold 001 for the eyes, lips, and skin. Utilizing the digital first D2C and growing Insta beauty movement as well as beauty influencers, top makeup artists, models, and editors aka the OG influencers, the first product that launched sold out in the first drop. In 2019, PMG labs dropped the anticipated foundation line and motha was not playing. In July 2019, after launching a successful pop-up across the pond at upmarket department store Selfridges, she became Selfridges’ biggest-selling beauty line. We can’t wait to see what the brand has up their sleeve for the next decades to come, personally I would like to be able to buy the ‘clear vinyl lipgloss‘ that came with the earlier LUST drops by itself, starting to run low on Poshmark.
Tom Ford Makeup collection launches
Tom Ford went from cult following at Gucci, to launching his own successful fashion brand and fragrance lines, to directing a film that nabbed him his first Oscar nomination. So what does one do when they conquer fashion, the film world and growing fragrance empire? Launch a beauty line, of course. In true Mr. Ford fashion, these weren’t just ordinary launches and they were not meant for the average natural woman; the ads were glamorous, sexy and bold. His muses were Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, Mariel Hemingway so you see its lavish dah-ling. Following a successful launch of his $40 lipsticks with Estée Lauder, Ford launched his own eponymous cosmetics line starting in 2011 in partnership with Estée Lauder Companies Inc. In late 2019, Ford added another arm to his beauty empire with the launch of skincare products from Tom Ford Research, that will be science-based.
Kylie Lip Kit
The year was 2015, the month of November and reality show star Kylie Jenner, whom we basically watch grow up with her family on their popular show Keeping Up With The Kardashians (KUWTK), launched what would later vault her into unicorn biz status. The Kylie Lip Kit launched after founder Kylie Jenner began sporting new plumper lips from her once paper thins which many speculated were thanks to lip fillers. She inssited it was over filling and her lip kits, plastic surgeons disagree. Nonetheless, the initial drop of three products immediately sold out (as in 60seconds) and even crashed the website. The products went from D2C on their website to now also being sold at Ulta, and just recently Coty Inc took a major share in the brand for $600M.
Goodbye & Welcome Back(?) to Fashion Fair
Johnson Publishing’s Fashion Fair Cosmetics, founded in 1973, was the first makeup line created for women of color, with a loyal following from black women for all their beauty needs. Over the years other beauty brands, some that previously overlooked catering to the beauty needs of women of color, came up and began to innovate not only their products but how they marketed to these consumers. Fashion Fair cosmetics still had a hold on the market in the early 2000s to early 2010s but trouble began to brew. There were customer complaints of not not being able to find their fave products, scant dept. store offerings. By 2016, Johnson Publishing was sold off to a private equity company and then went into bankruptcy in late 2019 which also put Fashion Fair cosmetics on the auction block. Luckily it was rescued in a more ironic turn of fate by its one time CEO Desiree Rogers, who is now also the new owner of another beauty brand loved by women of color, Black Opal.
Kim Kardashian-Mario Countour Craze
What did we do before Kim Kardashian West and her long time makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic made the contouring beauty application a mainstream trend. In the early days of fame for Kim on KUWTK around 2011, when they were still catching their legs as new celebrities, thats when Kim and Mario linked up, introduced by a photographer for an upcoming shoot. The contour craze went from a film/tv/a-list beauty secret to the masses wearing it for coffee runs, selfies and brunch dates. They have since launched contouring into a movement that gave rise to Mario’s ever popular masterclass business and even a beauty line, KKW, launched by Kardashian West. Ironically, in the late 2010’s Kardashian lamented she was over the contour craze but the some beauty aficionados are still holding on strong.
Rise of the Beauty Vloggers
Jackie Aina, MakeupShayla, Manny Gutierrez, Carli Bybel, Tati Westbrook, Huda Kattan, Zoella, Jaclyn Hill, Desi Perkins, Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, Flavia Pavanelli, the know racist who must not be named, Nyma Tang, are just some of the big names of makeup artists, beauty lovers turned beauty vloggers that propelled the trend in the 2010s. Some of these personalities have gone on to launch businesses out this. Michelle Phan, who no longer posts vids, started beauty subscription brand ipsy. Huda, launched her successful Huda beauty line. Jackie Aina who really came into after many years in the game, really helped open up conversations about the lack of offerings for women of colors from certain beauty brands. TooFaced went on to collaborate with Aina on a range of shades beyond their previous offerings. Her most recent collab with Anastasia Beverly Hills might be her most popular. Some of these top-tier v/bloggers represented like celebs by agencies such as CAA, reportedly rake in millions and also get treated to lavish bucket list destination trips by beauty brands eager to be in front of these influencers and their loyal followers. With the highs also comes the lows. Who could forget the one time ‘sisters’ Tati Westbrook and James Charles (The first guy to be a spokesmodel, at 17, for CoverGirl) drama that had us all consumed back in May. Jaclyn Hill’s disastrous lipstick line launch anyone?
The rapid growth of these beauty bloggers have paved the way for middle-tier to emerging beauty vloggers as well as new marketing channel for beauty brands both large and emerging.
In just under the past two years we (consumers) have been bombarded with all thing CBDs (cannabidiol). From massage oils, hair products, body lotions, gummies to even soap. It’s everywhere! Lord Jones released a High CBD Formula Stiletto Cream collab with Tamara Mellon; Ellis Brooklyn has the Marvelous Massage and Body Oil and so much more. Off the back of legalizing marijuana, the conversation has slowly began to seep into the mainstream and not some whispered about ingredient. According to a recent report, the CBD market is forecasted to hit $22 billion by 2022.
K Beauty Boom
There trend seemed to pop on the beauty scene overnight but it had been slowly building. Visit any major beauty forum sites like Reddit and you’ll see many subsections dedicated to k-beauty but somehow between 2015-2018, Korean Beauty and its 10-step skincare routine focusing on hydrating the skin with gentle, natural ingredients started to make its way out west. Sheet masks, jade rollers, snail creams, costs triple c lightening liquid, anything peach and lily are just some of the k-beauty products loved by western consumer. Retailers such as CVS, Ulta, Nordstrom and Target began to woo customers with the k-beauty offerings. To give you an idea of how fast and large it grew, a report shows Korea exported $1.3B in cosmetics in 2013 and in 2017, that number grew to $13B and its still forecasted to grow. K-beauty destination Soko Glam has etched its own corner in the $532 billion dollar beauty industry.
BB, CC & DD creams
It all started with the BB (Blemish Balms) creams back in 2012. What was once a K-Beauty staple spread stateside and the trend for products that help streamline beauty routines gained steam. Following the BB Cream craze, came Complexion Correcting aka CC creams and Daily Defense DD creams.
Bareface Beauty/No makeup makeup trend
The trend of barefaced to minimal makeup kind of began during fashion week in early 2015 and a few seasons shows after that. Then Grammy award winning singer Alicia Keys, who had appeared as a judge on The Voice and written in Lenny Letter she would no longer be wearing makeup in her personal or public life, arrived at the MTV Movie VMAs in 2016 sans makeup. The #NoMakeup movement suddenly began taking over social media not long after that. Then Beyonce appeared on the historic cover of Vogue magazine’s September 2018 issue with very minimal makeup. In between that time celebs such as Gisele Bündchen, Drew Barrymore, Ciara, Cindy Crawford have also embraced the #Nomakeup barefaced beauty trend.
Allure ‘Anti-aging’ Ban
Allure magazine, in its September 2017 issue, under the direction of its new-ish (she started Nov. 2015) EIC Michelle Lee announced they were banning the use of the word ‘Anti-Aging.’ Lee, wrote that “changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging. We’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle — think antianxiety meds, antivirus software, or antifungal spray.” Some beauty brands have followed suit, but its still a newer concept for the beauty industry and banning the use of the word hasn’t caught on in all facets, yet.
Facial Cleansing Brushes
There was a time when your skincare routine was this: remove makeup with makeup remover, wash face, if the first time didn’t feel squeaky clean enough repeat step 2, toner, serum, moisturizer and whatever else your process entailed. Who knew that even through that dbl process, your face wasn’t entirely clean nor did all the makeup actually come off? In 2014, Swedish beauty technology brand Foreo launched stateside. The facial cleansing device, Luna™ already a hit in the UK and Asia, was the first product offered. Their launch came on the heels of another facial cleansing brush brand, Clarisonic, which though launched in 2004 didn’t really catch on to consumers til about 2011/2012.
Explosion of Nail Art
First we had minx nails, the nail decals applied on with heat, that took off in the late 2000’s and by 2011-2012 nail art was a full blown trend that’s still riding strong today. Check on the Instagram #nailart #ManiMonday hashtag and you can see what we mean. The nail art trend has exploded from just being spotted on celebs, models, and appearing in magazine editorial spreads to mere mortals pinning and saving images for their next manicurist visit and nail artists with specific nail art specialty. This has also resulted in the evolution of shellac/no chip gel polishes; even press on nails have evolved beyond the french nails to have some exciting decals.
Social media platform Snapchat, re-launched in September 2011 was initially called Picaboo in its July 2011 launch. The app was meant to be a way for sending and receiving communication that disappeared within a day. The app initially became popular amongst college and high school students, basically young millennials who swapped pics and messages that disappeared upon reading or within 24 hrs, before it became another channel where brands were all over. Snapchat differentiated itself in the growing social media market when it launched it ever popular ‘lenses’ filters in 2015. Then you had the filters that made your face looked slimmed down with a glow achieved with contour and highlighting on the cheekbones like you’ve just had a nip/tuck even when you didn’t have makeup on. Some of the popular filters included dog, flower crown, bee, deer, face swap and rosy-cheeks. The filters began a movement that saw facial reconstruction and non-surgical procedures on the rise in the beauty industry. I am partial to Flower crown, butterflies and pink hearts crown. Selfies went from basic to snatched!
Rise of Natural Hair Movement and Products
Natural hair is not some trend by a long shot but we have to acknowledge that from the 2010s it’s seen a level of acceptance but women of colors who are embracing their roots and brands that finally realize the financial power of the woman of color. Women who would typically opt for relaxers or some type of chemical hair manipulation technique were now embracing their hair, all in its natural state. Gone were the days where black women ran to the beauty store to pick up Mizani or Phyto relaxers, we now pick up Mielle babasu conditioner or braiding/marley hair. According to a report, sales of relaxers dropped more than 36% between 2012- 2017. Stars like Viola Davis, Solange Knowles, Lupita Nyong’o, Kerry Washington at the 2013 Emmys, Janelle Monae, have been vocal with showing their embrace of their natural hair. Pioneer digital content creators in the natural hair movement included Afrobella and Curly Nikki. Now that women who prefer to wear their natural hair are spending more on hair care than ever before, once again, brands that largely ignored that market are coming out of the woodworks with products and buzzwords and positioning themselves as allies targeting this demographic🙄. Expect this number to drop even more as a recent study linked higher risk of breast cancer to hair dyes and straighteners that contain chemicals.
Kate Middleton’s post birth blowout-3x
You might be asking how /why does she do it?! Kate Middleton, aka Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, having just given birth appears on the steps of Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, baby in hand, husband in tow and the freshest bounciest blowout you ever did see and she did this for all three births. First for Prince George in 2013, Princess Charlotte in 2015 and Prince Louis in 2018. This raised a polarizing question among women if its too soon for new mothers to glam or not. But Kate’s not the only one employing a glam squad post labor. Around 2015, the trend for new mom of means to have hair stylists and makeup artists arrive at hospitals was profiled in the NYTimes.
100+layers of nail polish challenge
The trend turned challenge of 100 layers of nail polish is attributed to being started by nail artist Christine Rotenberg who in June 2016 uploaded a video where she painted 116 coats of nail polish on her nails thus kicking off #polishmountain or the 100 Layer Challenge. The disturbing trend then saw several iterations even some people starting the foundation, clothes and mascara challenge(wth?!). Thank goodness that phase is over.
Lacefront wigs have been a staple in the beauty biz for years but somehow in the late 2010s, it exploded mainstream whereas anyone with some money and access to the internets could order depending on your budget. It was like when sew-in weaves went mainstream but celebs and their stylists knew the secret because they were shopping at Extensions Plus before we all found out. You’ve probably heard the phrase “What lace?!” and I can tell you some of the people that say that need to go back and ask their stylist to stop. The lacefront wig trend has birthed the helmet head, where many of those wearing these wigs have an undetermined circle hairline with some suffering the bald edges side effect due to incorrect use of the wig glues. Beyonce’s long time hairstylist Neal Farinah is a lacefront whisperer. Some of the named players in the game now include Alonzo Arnold, Sew natural. Lacefronts are not just for weaves, a segment of the market serves clients that want box braids and cornrows.
Not to be confused with the barefaced beauty moment referenced above, clean beauty is all about knowing what’s in the beauty products we use for our hair, face, nails. Some can attribute it to Gwyneth Paltrow’s luxury lifestyle website Goop, one of the earlier champions of conscious consumerism. With consumers seeking ‘clean’ ingredients, armed with knowledge on synthetic ingredients in personal care products and making wellness a priority in the category grew in value from $3.7 trillion in 2015 to $4.2 trillion in 2017. Sephora has a whole subsection for clean beauty products from brands such as Ellis Brooklyn, Briogeo, Biossance, Omorovicza and Drunk Elephant to name a few.
Fenty Beauty & Rise of (Better) Beauty Offerings for Women of Color
I am not sure there been a more impactful beauty brand that launched between 2010-2019 than Fenty. Rihanna’s Fenty beauty brand officially launched in September 2017 “jolted the industry and shifted the beauty landscape.” The lead up to why Fenty’s launch was so ground breaking began slowly, as women of color realized their spending power and choosing to spend on brands that not only honored them but also celebrated their beauty. Founder Robyn Rihanna Fenty created Fenty Beauty “so that women everywhere would be included,” focusing on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, developing formulas that work for all skin types, and pinpointing universal shades.
“Makeup is there for you to have fun with. It should never feel like pressure. It should never feel like a uniform. Feel free to take chances, and take risks, and dare to do something new or different.”
What do you think of the list, did we miss any other major moments?
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pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Founder and Editor, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.