American Beauty “Redefined” Part II: Life isn’t a music video

In beauty on June 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of moderating a very interesting beauty panel chock full of information. Given that ‘beauty’ seems to be the topic of the month, I wanted to share with you some of the findings discussed with the panelists.

The experts on the subject were:

Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher of People en Espanol
Jackie Gomez, Celebrity Makeup Artist for Beyonce and Zoe Saldana
Catherine Callahan, Multicultural Actress and Model
Cesar Ramirez, Celebrity Hairdresser

Going Natural is the new norm: Life isn’t a music video
The talk was all about the trend celebrities and multicultural women are moving towards in “looking natural”. From the red carpet, to a company party, to a night out on the town…women don’t want to look like they’ve tried too hard – although one of our experts Jacquie Gomez, Celebrity Makeup artist, guaranteed us that “making a woman look natural is much harder and takes much longer than giving her the perfect smokey eye look”. In fact, the same is happening with cosmetic surgery, while the majority of women who get plastic surgery mainly use it for their bodies vs. their face – many of them are looking for the natural look that enhances their appearance while keeping people guessing whether it’s natural or not. “Curves are definitely coming back, nowadays clients aren’t looking for the bulimic-looking model anymore…curves keep the ads more realistic.” – Catherine Callahan, model and actress

But how is the recession impacting beauty?
Actually, it isn’t. For multicultural women looking good and smelling good is extremely important even during a recession. “Latinas in particular prefer to sacrifice their caramel frappachino to get that beauty product or fragrance they want…the recession is not going to take that away from them- one Latina even told us, If I’m not doing well, at least I’ll look good.” – Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher of People en Espanol on H.O.T. study

Is there loyalty within the cosmetic category?
Even our panel experts were honest about their own experience with beauty products…no way! they are not loyal to all the products as they like to play around and try out new ones but when it comes to their clients or their customers word of mouth and recommendations from their family and friends play a huge role. “As much as I like to try new products, I will always go back to those products that work for me and I can count on.” – Catherine Callahan, model and actress. So, in essence there is some type of loyalty but in very particular products. “This is where experiencing the products first-hand vs. buying it online becomes so important, places like Sephora are like a woman’s toy store…as you can see what works and what doesn’t and at the end you always take home much more than what you went to buy in the first place.” – Cesar Ramirez, Celebrity Hairdresser

And, when it comes to multicultural beauty how does sexiness play a role?
Multicultural women want to blend in “naturally” within the American culture while still keeping their sexiness intact. Lucia, mentioned: It’s a big difference, especially for Latinas since they are used to intense usage of makeup and hair color- it’s definitely a tug of war that adds to the cultural tension, because all Latinas want to do is flaunt it. (When speaking specifically about the more unacculturated Latina segment)

“I know I am inappropriately dressed at work” Latinas trying to fit into corporate America.

For this reason, there are programs that are teaching Latinas on dressing for success, toning it down a bit when it comes to hair and makeup and when it’s appropriate to be sexy.

But what are the products making the headlines and what tips can you provide?

  • Mineral and Natural Makeup – not only is it good for the skin, it provides benefits, and won’t clog your pores – it’s become an extension of skin care…and when the makeup provides multi-uses it’s trending even more, for example a powder that has SPF
  • Avon and Mary Kay – seem to do really well with the unacculturated Latina who enjoys the connection she gets from the live rep
  • And, make up that is too cheap is considered to be not exclusive enough – it needs to be the right price for the right brand
  • When it comes to hair – women are going for the Brazilian treatment which is an evolution from the straight hair phenomenon. They want to have shiny hair but still curly…with the flexibility of making it straight when they want to.

But the most important finding of all is that regardless of how fabulous a brand is, it needs to speak to you as transparent as possible. Nowadays, consumers are reading right between the lines. So, while it’s important for a brand to feel aspirational, they also need to be realistic. “Ads that promise, you will look like Angelina Jolie if you use their product, are just keeping consumers out of the conversation, as they don’t go for that anymore”.  –Catherine Callahan, model and actress

  1. the only brazilian treatment ive heard of involves hair removal… can you elaborate on the hair trend a bit more please? thanks lili!!

    • I believe he was talking about the Keratin Brazilian Hair treatment which is all the rage nowadays! It conditions the hair so that it straightens it or soften curls for up to 3 mths. My mom does this all the time and she says it has a pleasant odor, emits low fumes, makes hair sleek, shiny and silky and most importantly gets rid of frizz.

      I’ve also gone ahead and asked the hairdresser to elaborate. Hoping to get an answer very soon!

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