How Instagram changed the beauty industry

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From viral makeup trends to a clamor for inclusivity


[Editor’s note: This article may contain affiliate links from our partners.]

MANILA, Philippines – From Cleopatra to Michelle Phan, women (and men) have looked up to gurus for their makeup skills or innovative ideas on beauty.

It’s no different for today’s beauty aficionados – apart from a little something we call Instagram.

Influencers run the gamut on the social media platform, providing beauty tips, makeup or skincare inspo, and product recommendations. According to a report by Meltwater, 65% of teens discover and buy beauty products through social media and influencers. Instagram has made these gurus more influential than the A-listers, thanks to their comparative relatability.

Instagram has also made brands more accessible, giving companies a chance to interact with their consumers more closely and organically. Brands are now just a DM or comment away. 

Flatlays, shelfies (photos of makeup or skincare shelves), and glowing selfies make it even more enticing to buy. From contouring to highlighting, several notable beauty trends made their rounds on Instagram before taking off into the mainstream. 

Fluffy, brushed-up brows

Get the look with Sunnies Face Lifebrow

Bright, long-lasting tints

Get the look with Happy Skin Kiss & Bloom Water Lip & Cheek Tint

 Matte nudes

Get the look with Maybelline Sensational Liquid Matte Lip Tint

 Beach-flushed cheeks

Get the look with Colourette Coloursnap

However, social media is constantly evolving, and as Gen Z-ers enter the scene, candid photos are preferred over carefully curated ones. Aesthetic seems to be making way for authentic. For instance, #freethepimple eschews unrealistic beauty standards in favor of embracing the skin you’re in. 

Instagram’s accessibility has given the once-exclusive industry a chance to diversify beyond traditional definitions of beauty. Netizens are demanding to see this from brands by clamoring for more shades suitable for a wide range of skin colors. 

And it seems like it’s working – see Fenty Beauty’s debut launch of 40 foundation shades and Too Faced’s expanded range after complaints from customers. 

It’s easy to dismiss Instagram for being a hotbed for self-centered posts. But it’s becoming a platform for a much-needed beauty revolution too. –

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