For years, beauty brands have marketed products to specific genders with clear stereotypes in mind. You’ve seen it in the local drugstore - the soft, pastel packaging with flowery imagery versus the dark, simple packaging with bold titles. The colors, imagery, and messaging have all contributed to a larger narrative that an individual’s gender defines what is the “correct” product to buy.
Research shows that the basic elements of an effective skin-care plan remains the same for men and women’s skin which begs the question - have gender-specific products always been a marketing ploy?
With more than one third of Gen Zers saying they personally know someone who identifies with gender-neutral pronouns, it seems clear that these gender-specific marketing tactics are not only monetarily inequitable, but outdated and non-inclusive.
Similarly, our data shows a 35% increase in gender-neutral beauty posts as well as a 24% increase in the number of influencers talking about gender-neutral beauty (comparing June 2019 - June 2020 to June 2020 - June 2021).
As awareness about gender-neutral folks has grown, some brands have made an effort to remove gender-specific labels and marketing from their products. Recently, P&G launched an ungendered skincare line Good Skin MD while other brands, like CeraVe, have never specifically targeted gender.
Our data also found that engagement with gender-neutral terms fell by 9%, suggesting that the focus on this topic has wavered or become more complex. On the other hand, we found that engagements with content mentioning non-binary beauty, transgender beauty, and gender-fluid beauty have increased by over 50%. Is this evidence that the conversations have shifted away from gender-neutral and towards gender-inclusive beauty?
In the beauty industry, indie brands have been known to be the trendsetters. In the past, indie brands have answered consumer desires for things like clean/sustainable beauty, CBD beauty, and sexual wellness - eventually making the trend so popular that bigger brands take note.
Now we’re seeing numerous indie brands emerge that have inclusive values and strong roots in the LGBTQIA+ space. These brands don’t just claim inclusivity - they show their values through their products and how they give back to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Here is a list of intersectional organizations that support the LGBTQIA+ community in various ways — they could all use your donations.
A community is united by a strong sense of belonging or culture. The culture of a brand often starts at the top with its founders and executive team, and then trickles down through the company. In the best scenarios there is diverse representation at all levels of the company, with inclusivity as one of the cornerstone values.
Examples of two successful beauty brands with founders leading the way:
While audiences are gravitating towards brands with a strong sense of purpose, they are also holding businesses accountable to their mission statements. There is no room for performative purposes, so as brands delve deeper into the cultures they seek to align with, it becomes increasingly important for the brand to live its values.