8 Trailblazing Moments That Defined The Beauty Industry in 2018

We hate to say it, but too many beauty brands serve up the same-old marketing ideas of “achieving perfection” via their face creams, mascaras, lipsticks, and what-not. It’s an industry-wide issue, but in 2018, there were several diamonds in the glitter-filled rough who worked to break down stereotypes typically associated with the beauty industry—and we’re ready to give them a well-deserved round of applause. Below, some of the most innovative, fresh-faced brands that are at the forefront of the future of beauty.


CVS Beauty Banished Photoshop


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The year started off on the right foot for drugstore beauty. In early January, CVS Pharmacy banned any use of Photoshop or retouching on their beauty products and campaigns. The company also announced their “CVS Beauty Mark,” a watermark that lets customers know that a product’s photo has not been altered in any way, shape, or form. By 2020, they plan to mark any Photoshopped beauty advertisement with a “digitally modified” label, all in hopes of getting major drugstore beauty brands to ditch Photoshop for good.


SPKTRM Beauty Launched Its First Campaign


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SPKTRM Beauty made a whirlwind impact in the beauty-sphere this year, and they haven’t even released a single product yet. How did they happen to get into the mouths of every beauty editor and magazine in the industry? By their first groundbreaking campaign: they ditched digital retouching of any kind; used male, female, and non-binary models of all ages; and are in the works to launch their first product: YOU+, a lightweight PETA-certified foundation that will include over 50+ shades. As if it couldn’t get better, the brand notes that a portion of all proceeds will be donated to charities benefitting the LGTBQ+ community and women in need.


Multiple Drugstore Brands Announced Cruelty-Free Plans


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Last summer, beauty conglomerate Unilever announced they will join the fight against animal testing and made drugstore brand Dove PETA-certified cruelty-free. In a further effort to show their support for a world-wide ban on animal testing, the company announced that they will be making an effort to make all of their cosmetics and beauty brands cruelty-free within 2019. Their lineup includes TIGI, St. Ive’s, and Dermalogica.


Unilever wasn’t the only drugstore beauty giant to announce an animal-friendly switch: COVERGIRL made headlines across the globe when they announced their end to testing on animals. They are now Leaping Bunny certified, making them the biggest cosmetics company in the world to not test on animals.


The Rise of Instagram’s Beauty Watchdog, “Estee Laundry”


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Pegged as the “Diet Prada of beauty,” the Instagram account @estee_laundry is the anonymous Batman to our beauty-filled Gotham. They’ve been exposing all of the corruption, copy-catting, and white-labeling going on behind the millennial-pink curtains, and its following of beauty connoisseurs grows stronger by the second. Brands hate them enough to hit the block button, but people love ‘em for their unapologetic takes on some of the world’s biggest brands. Some of their most vicious take-downs include Sunday Riley, KKW Fragrance, and Blac Chyna’s infamous skin bleaching partnership.


Sephora Launched The Coachella Of Beauty: SEPHORiA


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Every beauty junkie went nuts when Sephora announced their first-ever beauty convention, SEPHORiA House of Beauty, as a celebration to their 25h anniversary. The lineup of brands, speakers, and celeb MUAs featured only the best of the best: Charlotte Tillbury, Chrissy Teigen, and Kandee Johnson, just to name a few. No word yet on whether the LA-based event is getting a 2019 return or a New York rendition, but we’re staying hopeful.


La Roche-Posay Created Wearable UV Detectors


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The beloved French brand changed the way we think of UV rays by releasing not one, but two wearable UV detectors within 2018. The L’Oréal-owned brand first launched the UV Sense, a bluetooth-enabled nail-sized sticker you could place on your body and link to a special app to track your UV exposure throughout the day. Later this year, they released the My Skin Track UV, a clip-on UV tracker that embodies the phrase, “sun protection, but make it fashion” by its teeny aesthetically-pleasing blue and white hues that can act as your favorite statement jewelry, while tracking your UV exposure throughout the day.


The Influence Of Asian Culture On The Beauty Industry


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Unless you lived under a rock this year, you’ve probably seen K-Beauty (and more recently, J-Beauty), pop up in every beauty shop across the nation. From the 10-step skincare routines of Korean beauty to the more simplistic skincare regimens and dewy finishes of Japanese beauty, these Eastern takes on skincare have flooded the market. Glow Recipe, Tatcha, and Soko Glam are all household beauty names now — which makes sense, considering the fact that NBC reports that Asian-American women were at the forefront of the beauty industry’s rapid growth in sales.


KEVIN.MURPHY Announced Their Sustainable Packaging Efforts


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The cult-favorite luxury brand announced earlier this year that they would be reinventing their signature square packaging with 100-percent recycled plastics found in the ocean, according to a statement sent to COOLS. This marks the brand as the first-ever in beauty history to use solely recycled ocean plastic for their packaging, saving our dear Mother Earth from over a whopping 360 tons of new plastic each year. While the packaging isn’t rolled out just yet, they plan to make a full conversion to this recycled alternative by mid-2019.

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