By Amber Levy (Intern, One Minute To Midnight)
As we’ve just had pride month, for this week I wanted to look at the role of Gender Neutral Beauty Brands in the current industry.
The idea of makeup being limited to one gender is relatively new, with records of men wearing makeup dating back to 3000 BC. However, as our society becomes increasingly Gender Fluid, the market of gender-neutral makeup is growing as new beauty products (e.g. Beard Concealers) are released. Makeup Brand Sephora’s “Identify as We campaign” in 2019 is a great example of this. This campaign featured prominent members from the LGBTQIA+ Community, as well as gender inclusive pronouns: They, He, She, Ze, Xe and We.
One major reason this advert stood out to me was its promotion of makeup as a unifier for a variety of people, and it’s not limited to one gender. Which is different to many other adverts in the beauty industry I have seen before – it stepped away from clichés.
Specifically, the brand I looked at was Harry Styles Beauty Brand, Pleasing, released in November 2021. The focus of this brand is to show makeup as a joyful experience and promote products that blur the existing boundaries. Pleasing is vegan, gender inclusive and cruelty free. They sell a variety of beauty products aimed at all genders. The brand is especially well known within Gen Z.
What Values does this brand enable?
Hedonism is central to the mission of the brand to “bring joyful experiences”. Pleasing’s packaging itself seems joyful, with its cool nail polish bottles, along with its fun Instagram posts which are filled with bright colours, funky patterns and cool sunglasses compound a focus on having fun with makeup. It subverts current ideas of beauty standards as people with a mix of genders, ethnic backgrounds, and ages (including Dogs!) model the products and look joyful.
Universalism is also central to Pleasing as a brand. They supported the charity Cool Earth – a charity focussed on rainforest protection – to fundraise in their recent micro-collection demonstrating a conscious and ethical contribution to the environment crisis. Also, most of Pleasing’s products packaging is made from at least 70% recycled materials, keeping the company responsible and on top of their carbon Footprint.
Pleasing’s goal to “blur the boundaries” and their focus on being a Gender Inclusive Brand gives the brand a strong link to Benevolence. Recently they supported the charity QueerCircle, which is aimed at promoting the ambitions of the LGBTQIA+ community and caring for them, demonstrating their caring side. It aligns strongly with the objective of unifying people through makeup, no matter their gender or background.
Finally, Pleasing promotion of personal gender expression champions self-direction and difference. anyone can use Pleasing to be creative as you can try different looks with their products to help you find and accept yourself. It makes sense as it’s built from the perspective of one man – Harry Styles – who has often said he would see a cool pattern and want to try it on his nails. The brand supports the importance of being imaginative with your appearance to express all aspects of your being.
By helping to break down barriers within the beauty industry. Pleasing is paving the way for other beauty brands within the industry to start making changes to promote their products to more than just women and consider widening their marketing to be more inclusive. This innovative and accepting approach could allow for a change in dynamics within the beauty industry in the years to come.
Thanks for reading and have a great week!