For several years I have persistently drawn my clients' attention to how women have forsaken the "gestures of beauty". I show them how the imparting of the gestures relating to face care and makeup, which are traditionally passed down from mother to daughter, have been lost, even in our Western countries. I explain that present-day consumers are at a loss: How does one use eye shadow? How is makeup foundation applied? What products should be used to cleanse the skin? In what order should they be used?
These questions are asked by women the world over. Japanese women find answers in the "self esthe salons" where, for a very modest hourly fee, they can go to skin care and makeup cabins where a beautician leads them through the practices for every day beauty. But my customers do not seem ready to take the leap and take charge of these essential basics: When I tell them that one day a brand will use the rapport with clients a veritable platform and offer spaces where the gestures of beauty are re-learned, I see them nod their assent but I know they will merely review the designs of the leaflets in their beauty product boxes ... or hire a new make-up-artist.
The consumers themselves then take over. Using the Internet, they share these gestures and reclaim them. The New York Times (August 11, 2009), speaks of Lauren Luke, an English girl of 27 years who, in order to sell more of the beauty products she marketed on e-bay, chose to post videos on YouTube showing her applying these products. "For years I've been doing what the magazines tell you and wondering why I came away feeling inadequate ... we've all had enough of lies". Twenty months after the first videos, they have been viewed by over 20 million people and her YouTube site has 250 000 members in 70 countries.
So when will a beauty brand really focus on the question? Unless Sephora does so (which is launching the Lauren Luke range of beauty products and organizes makeup competitions with her)?