When Makeup Marketing Goes Too Far

For my “day job,” I’m a public relations consultant, so the PR and marketing campaigns behind our favorite beauty products fascinate me (dream job = beauty editor *cough* just saying). I like to stay up on new product launches, and one in particular has really piqued my interest…so I started asking some questions. At what point do we become so demystified by the marketing that it turns us off from the product? Just how much will we pay for the brand name of a consumable item? Is the efficacy of the product really all that matters? To get to the bottom of these questions – and to make sure you get the best products at the best prices – let’s dig a little deeper into the world of makeup marketing.

History

Arguably, Estee Lauder was the original queen of makeup marketing. When it came to spreading the word about her products (before the internet existed), her motto was “telephone, telegraph, tell-a-woman.” She also invented the concept of offering a gift-with-purchase to draw in customers. As someone who worked for a company under the Estee Lauder Companies umbrella, I can tell you that those practices are still very much used today. Her approach was anchored in making women look, and therefore feel, better about themselves, and the industry really hasn’t moved beyond that method.

Today’s Tactics

While I believe most beauty companies have good intentions, they still have to turn a profit in order to stay afloat and be competitive. The good news is that the makeup industry is, for the most part, recession-proof. However, one can’t deny several brands use campaigns that promote a distinct focus on youth, looking flawless, and the general feeling that their beauty products will make us “perfect.” That notion, coupled the new Influencer culture (which is nothing new, but Influencers themselves have taken on a new arena – think bloggers/social media personalities/celebrities who peddle this or that product that “you MUST try!” only because they are getting paid to promote said product and/or were given the product for free) can breed a skeezy atmosphere, that, frankly, turns me off completely.

Doing a Double Take

That launch I referred to earlier is the new Pat McGrath Labs eye shadow kit, Dark Star 006. You receive five eye shadows, an eyeliner, and a brush with a price tag of $130.  That comes out to $18.57 per item, and, to be sure, these are expertly crafted products. Plus, the packaging is so cool – everything comes encased in a bag that, once opened, scatters iridescent sequins.

The campaign is built around scarcity (her first few offerings flew off the shelves, never to be created again), exquisite imagery (just scroll through her Instagram feed), and targeted Influencers. It was genius, but I couldn’t bring myself to buy the kit even though I’ve purchased her incredible products before. What halted me was the price tag – I just didn’t think the products were collectively worth that much.

And I’m not alone. Here are two screen shots I grabbed from Sephora.com’s reviews of the kit:

So, getting back to my original questions: while Pat McGrath is beyond respected in the makeup artist industry, her name alone isn’t enough for some (myself included) to justify spending that amount on this kit even, as one reviewer notes, if one can afford it. Personally, when I debated getting the kit for 15% off during the recent VIB Sale (bringing the price down to $110.50, or just under $16 per product), I still couldn’t pull the trigger; after being honest with myself, the only item I really wanted was the sparkle gloss, which I can easily make on my own, and I wanted to say I owned the kit. Thus, those reasons weren’t enough for me to purchase the kit

{A previous Pat McGrath Labs purchase}

In Conclusion…

I believe that many luxury products are worth the money, but I also believe in getting the best value. For example, I use La Mer and LXMI moisturizers, but drugstore mascara. And, yes, in many cases you’re paying for packaging and the brand name, so you have to discern whether or not something is worth it for you and your lifestyle. One way to do that is subscribe to this blog (shameless, I know) so you can get honest reviews as I am neither on anyone’s PR list nor sponsored (yet??).

Thanks for taking time to stop by Electra Lane, and feel free to hang out with me until next week/leave your comments on Instagram @ElectraLane! -JY

 

References:

7 Brands That Changed the Beauty Marketing Industry

Boosting beauty in an economic decline: mating, spending, and the lipstick effect

EsteeLauder.com

Yost, J. (2013). Defending Public Opinion Towards Beauty. (If you actually want to read this, email me.)

Photographs c/o The Next Web, Google Images, EsteeLauder.com, Sephora.com, and Jessica Yost

 

Post-Sweat Hair Refresh

For the first time, I want to share a little love with one of my most favorite, and at the same most frustrating, topics: hair. After a million missteps and years of trial-and-error, I can hopefully save you some time by learning from my mistakes.

Please note that I have zero formal training in hair, and know that my hair is fine but there’s a lot of it, it’s very straight, very flat, very heavy, and very slippery (meaning no texture). When you combine all of that with not wanting to wash and heat style your hair every day and an almost daily workout routine, you’re just asking for a mess.

(Random note: today is the one-year anniversary of my hip surgery, so I’m super excited to share that I can even work out hard enough to get this sweaty! Yay!!)

After a run across the river and back the day after I spent forever washing and blowing out my hair, this is what my hair looked like (and yes, I’m aware that it looks like a mug shot!):

Frizzy, flat, and stringy.

Here’s what I did:

Dry It

With the high speed/cold air setting, dry all the sweaty hair. Brush it out to make sure it’s tangle-free and there’s no moisture left.

Dry Shampoo

Be generous with the dry shampoo, focusing on the roots, to get rid of any goo and add lift. I love this one because it’s available everywhere and is unscented.

Curlers

I take it back to the old school and place plastic rollers just around the crown. On the low speed/low heat setting, I blast each roller just for a couple of seconds. If you’re in a hurry, follow up with the cold air setting to lock in the lift. At this point, I like to let everything set while I do my makeup.

Smooth

On the lowest heat setting, I take large chunks of hair and quickly slide my straightener over them. This just helps to smooth the flyaways as well as iron out any kinks from having my hair up during the workout. I repeat this with the hair in each roller, too.

Fluff

Remember how I said my hair was flat? I like to sprinkle in some of this lightly scented powder to maintain body throughout the day.

Hydrate

I add a drop or two of dry oil to the ends of my hair to revive and condition.

Final Result:

Not as good as a fresh blowout, but it works for me. Here’s the before/after:

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Let me know if you have any other hair concerns, or other info you’d like to see on the blog. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, and always feel free to email me at JYost.ElectraLane@gmail.com. See you next week!

P.S. If you want this blog sent right to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe either below on mobile, or to the right on desktop.

Hallie’s Photo Shoot

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting my friend, Hallie, and her uber-talented photographer friend, Jessie in my makeup studio. Jessie was taking family portraits for Hallie, so I wanted to share some tips on how to create a paparazzi-worthy look for your own photo shoot.

Prep the Skin

When taking photos, the makeup is usually heavier than usual, so your skin has to be ready for it.  I’ve learned over the years that that means skin needs to be hydrated (even if it’s oily) to accept setting powder.  I start by applying under-eye masks and a skin type-appropriate primer.  My favorites (because they work on everyone!) are the Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches for eyes, the Glossier Priming Moisturizer for dry-to-normal skin, and Embryolisse Hydra-Mat for normal-to-oily skin (or if it’s hot out).

Please pardon the awful lighting, but this hottie is gorgeous before and after makeup.

Please pardon the awful lighting, but this hottie is gorgeous before and after makeup.

Structure Over Trends

I can’t tell you how many photos of Kim Kardashian I used to get when doing clients’ makeup.  As phenomenal as her makeup is, it’s created for her bone structure and coloring – in other words, what looks great on her might look awful on me because we look so different.  When it comes to photos, it’s important to focus on your individual needs, so the emphasis should be on etching out your features and bone structure.

Color, Color, Color!

blush

This is the blush I used on Hallie – it’s Exhibit A by NARS.  I almost always use this, or a bright pink, on all of my photo clients.  Especially when taken outside, the natural light can really wash you out so if you don’t have on more color than you think you need, the makeup won’t even show up. If you’re nervous about using too much, take a selfie in front of a window to see what is and is not showing up.

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Here are the un-retouched photos. I mean…wow. You can’t tell, but this day was SWELTERING – they made it look like a crisp fall day. And please ignore the fact that I cropped out Hallie’s family from these photos, weirdos on the internet don’t need to see her kids. If you’d like to discuss how to perfect your own photo makeup, check out the “services” tab and email me: Jessica@ElectraLane.com.

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For more info on these lovely ladies, you can subscribe to Hallie’s fantastic blog, Tightrope In Heels, for the best how-to-do-life advice. Reading her blog is like meeting a friend for coffee, so definitely check it out. And you must visit Jessie’s website to view her incredible talent. Thanks Hallie and Jessie for letting me share your images!

 

Images c/o Jessie Preza Photography and Google Images

Surgery Survival Tips

Despite spending hours scouring the internet for practical tips to help with preparing for as well as the aftermath of my hip surgery, I didn’t find much.  Maybe I’m vain, but I wanted to know what I needed to look and feel my best throughout this not-so-pretty process, so I hope my tips can help anyone about to embark on a surgery or hospital stay.

{The sweet @TheSuperBeagles didn't leave my side}

{The sweet @TheSuperBeagles didn’t leave my side}

The MOST important thing to have before surgery, after surgery, and during your time at this hospital is…

…your manners.

While this time is all about you, there will be lots of people doing lots of things for you – some of them gross – and saying “please” and “thank you” go a very, very long way. From the folks who check you in, to the nurses who get you to-and-from the bathroom, to whomever takes care of you during recovery, showing gratitude is a must. Even when you’re thinking “But it’s their job!” or “Someone has to do chore X because I physically can’t!”  It really makes the ride so much more smooth.

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{The nasty, drying body wash I had to use}

 

Invest in a manicure, pedicure, waxing, hair color, massage, and any other beauty treatments you usually get.  Even if you’re physically able to shave or do your own nails, you might not have the energy to.  Plus, it was nice to feel very pampered before an uncomfortable experience.

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Even though I didn’t leave the house for a week, I still wanted to look cute (look good, feel good!).  So my husband wouldn’t have to figure out what clothes to give me, I made outfits-in-a-bag by putting undergarments, a comfy pair of pants, and a top in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.

{Comfy crutch grips and bagged outfits in the background}

{Comfy crutch grips and bagged outfits in the background}

Download a white noise app like Noisli to fend off the inevitable insomnia that strikes when post-op medications mess with your beauty sleep, and a 6-foot phone charging cord for when you’re bored out of your mind and you want to Instagram-stalk your friends in bed.  Another great mind-release is writing in a journal!

I knew to deep-clean my house before surgery, but I followed a friend’s advice and set up a cleaning service for the next few months afterwards.  By far, this was the best investment because it also took so much pressure off of my husband who was doing all of the chores for the first month.

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{Post-op and feeling groovy}

I also knew to make some meals ahead of time, but I took it a step further and made a “snack bar.”  Especially the first week, I wanted to eat only so I could take the necessary medications; I had pouches of nuts, bananas, granola bars, and yogurt ready to grab without any preparation.  And though ice water was my beverage of choice, La Croix fizzy waters were a lifesaver when my stomach wasn’t feeling too great and I didn’t want the sugar overload that accompanies the traditional ginger ale.

Since I had to keep ice on my hip, a warm, fuzzy blanket was an amazing companion.

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Finally, I packed a small bag to take to the hospital even though it was outpatient surgery.  I added a water bottle and a banana, which I devoured as soon as I was in recovery since I hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours; cough drops, because intubation makes the throat sore; and some primping items like lip balm, face moisturizer, body creme, a brush and hair ties, and mints.  These items are definitely not necessary, but they made me feel more human again.

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This is the LAST surgery post (if for some reason you actually want to check out the first, click HERE).  I’m off crutches and my cane, killing it in physical therapy, and am beyond grateful that I’m beginning to feel like my old self again, but without the pain.  If you or someone is you know is facing surgery (or any kind of medical thing), here’s a quote that’s keeping me motivated (c/o @jaimiegoodwin on Insta):

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{Check out Jaimie’s road to recovery at www.JaimieLMGoodwin.com!}

Enjoy your week, and I can’t wait to meet you back here to review a new product.  Don’t forget to hang out with me on Intagram, Snapchat and Facebook @ElectraLane!

Out of Office…

I’m taking this week off since I had my hip all fixed up yesterday and am in no condition to apply eyeliner – you can read about my journey here.  There will be a Friday Flash this week with a a very pretty (and very simple) Valentine’s makeup tutorial, and I’m back next week to show you how to get the most out of those eye shadow palettes you never use.  Don’t forget to keep in touch @ElectraLane on your favorite social media site!  Cheers – JY

In the meantime, please enjoy this stunning video by Melissa Alatorre:

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