High Definition Makeup

Michael Tchong

Hi-Def Makeup
Revlon founder Charles Revson’s once said: “In the factories we make cosmetics, in the stores we sell hope.” Revson would have enjoyed the press coverage of “high-definition makeup”, which exploded on the scene as if someone had tossed a compact filled with pressed gunpowder in the newsrooms of the Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.

You couldn’t ask for a more outstanding example of the influence of the Digital Lifestyle Ubertrend on our voracious consumer culture. High-definition makeup has captured the consumer’s fancy because it delivers faces good enough to withstand the microscopic scrutiny of high-definition television.

Understandably, this trend starts with the celebrity set, which has entrusted its countenance to the expert hands of makeup artists, who have been using airbrush guns for decades. Now the airbrushed look has spawned a host of high-definition makeup suppliers, including Cargo, Christian Dior, Kett, Makeup Forever, Obsessive Compulsive, Smashbox Studios and Temptu.

Cargo blu_rayCanadian makeup company Cargo has launched a high-definition product line, called blu_ray (now renamed Cargo_HD likely due to a Sony lawsuit threat), that borrows a page from the HDTV market. A compact of Cargo_HD Picture Perfect Translucent Powder costs $32.

Consumers are lining up at department store counters worldwide to lay their hands on a tube of high-definition primer or a bottle of HD foundation. The high-definition phenomenon has floated the boat of the cosmetics industry, helping maintain sales momentum despite a middling economy:

  • Market size – In 2010, global cosmetics and toiletries sales were estimated to reach $300 billion, according to Euromonitor International (PDF), up from $270 billion in 2006. Of that market, cosmetics and personal care sales were $140 billion in 2006 (PDF) and are currently estimated to be about $170 billion, $100 billion of which is sold in Europe ($58 billion) and North America ($42 billion). A breakdown of cosmetics categories is shown below:

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  • Color cosmetics – According to Euromonitor, global color cosmetics sales topped $37 billion in 2007, up 5% over 2006. Color cosmetics include lipstick, nail polish, blush, eyeshadow, foundation, and, now, high-definition makeup. Despite the #nomakeupselfie trend. U.S. sales of color cosmetics grew 5% in 2013.
Japanese “eye wig”Dramatic, smoky eyes combined with nude lips was the “mod” look that has long dominated the trendy visage of fashionistas worldwide. But the Generation X-tasy Ubertrend will continue to push the color cosmetics envelope, propelled by such phenomena as the Japanese “eye wig.”

  • Organic makeup – One promising area is makeup containing natural ingredients. In 2007, global sales of natural and organic cosmetics were estimated at $7 billion, driven chiefly by North America and Europe, which accounted for the majority of the $1 billion sales increase. According to Transparency Market Research, global demand for organic personal care products grew to $7.6 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $13.2 billion by 2018.

Factors that positively influence the cosmetics market, such as high-tech ingredients for professional results or faster and improved application, are a growing priority for consumers suffering from Time Compression.

This also bodes well for the airbrush appliance market. This market was brought home by Dina Ousely, whose role in Shampoo opposite Warren Beatty helped launch her career as “the original airbrush makeup artist to the stars” in 1981. While the movie industry has been using airbrush systems since the days of MGM’s movie classic Ben Hur, Ousley’s company, Dinair, helped mainstream the device.

In this video, Nicole Guerriero demonstrates the Belletto Studio Ultimate Airbrush System ($150), a next-generation portable airbrush system that points to the future of makeup techniques.

The Fountain of Youth Ubertrend and 4K resolution TV, also sometimes called “ultra high definition television,” will fuel an urgent need for high-definition makeup among the Hollywood and fashionista crowd, which is a beautiful thing to see. 😎

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Michael Tchong

Michael is a professional trend forecaster and founder of four ahead-of-the-wave startups. He’s also a top-rated innovation and trends speaker, and an adjunct professor of innovation and social media at the University of San Francisco. Follow him by clicking these buttons: