Charlotte Libby, senior beauty analyst for Mintel, reported in a Mintel blog that contouring became a beauty buzzword in 2014, with many online tutorials appearing that demonstrate how to use base makeup to enhance their bone structure and facial features.
Libby further highlights some of the brand response to this trend, noting that Rodial announced the launch of what is claimed as the world’s first contouring makeup range in November 2014, supported by the concurrent launch of the Contouring Bar at Harvey Nichols.
Tom Ford Beauty’s Autumn 2014 collection similarly included a Contouring Cheek Colour Duo, combining a lighter, pearlescent shade to highlight and a deeper, matte shade to contour and add definition and structure to cheekbones, reported Libby. In December 2014, black’Up Dual Ended Contouring Stick (described as a revolutionizing and easy-to-use product to highlight, contour and create a professional play of light and shadow) launched, and Smashbox launched a Step-by-Step Contour Stick Trio, with universal shades to match every skin tone, in January 2015.
Impact on the Market
This new focus on sculpting is expected to inspire women to make additional purchases in the color cosmetics market, focusing on blending different shades of base products and investing more time on the application of foundation. This increased investment in the category can provide a surge in retail value sales, similar to that seen after the BB boom in 2012 and the fashion for artistic nails in 2014.
Mintel’s data shows that consumers who buy products that cover the skin for the majority of the day are most likely to buy luxury brands, with 42% of primer users and 32% of foundation users opting for luxury brands. The importance of color matching in base cosmetics also inspires women to spend in this area.
In addition to color cosmetics benefiting, the trend for facial contouring can benefit subsidiary areas, such as blending brushes, sponges and mirror lights to help make facial contouring easy to achieve at home. The contouring trend focuses on enhancing the natural shape and features of the face. This could develop further into other areas of makeup, for example eye and lip products that enhance natural shapes rather than create a transformative look.
Similarly to the way the BB claim became popular in other beauty markets beside skin care, the contouring claim is beginning to expand beyond color cosmetics. In January 2015, the hair contouring service was launched in Charles Worthington London salons. The technique involves a face shape analysis and the hair is then colored with lighter and deeper tones to flatter face shape. Although currently only available in-salon, there is the future possibility of brands offering similar wash-out hair contouring kits for use at home.
Finally, there is further potential here for digital guides to aid women in remembering and perfecting the contouring technique, once they have had a personal demonstration in-store. YSL, for example, launched a Google Glass makeup tutorial, which allows participants to take home a digital copy of their make-over to replicate.