Jumping on viral beauty trends
As I shared in my links last week, Hailey Bieber’s latest TikTok video sparked backlash. Her demo of ‘brownie glazed lips’ – applying brown lip liner followed by clear lip gloss, a technique that women of colour have used for decades – was immediately co-opted by other White women and rebranded a new trend.
It has echoes of the ‘clean girl aesthetic’, another social media-viral movement referring to a minimal beauty look with hallmarks such as slicked-back buns, bushy brows, dewy lips and hoop earrings. These features are a mainstay in Black and Brown culture, though the look is being marketed as something very ‘of the moment’ in a mainly White way.
Before considering how problematic these kinds of things are, many press and PRs alike jump on the bandwagons. I’ve received numerous press releases hooked on the above themes (mostly illustrated by Eurocentric models/influencers), and I’ve also been pitched positive-leaning stories on them by freelance writers.
Often it’s our job to reframe things – we are all in the business of selling stories. And reactivity is a muscle we need to flex. But regardless, it’s our responsibility to research, reference, and credit traditional origins of something that ‘everyone’s talking about’ if we’re going to promote it.
Either for clicks, social currency, or kudos, it’s tempting to align with the newest trending topic. But authentic storytelling should always take precedence.
What Bridget Thinks…
“It makes sense for a “trend-led, Gen-Z focused makeup line” to angle news of their #BloodForBeauty campaign (aligned with a new product collection) on consumer engagement. It speaks Gen-Z’s language, demonstrating meaning with data.”