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Brief Published: 27 Nov 2018

Barbie’s Retro Beauty Hits the Shelves

NCLA Beauty x Mattel

Following Mattel’s Barbie ‘Dream Gap’ campaign aimed at Gen Alpha, the brand is shifting its focus to its older fans (Gens Y and Z) with the launch of a retro-themed make-up range.

LA-based vegan make-up brand NCLA Beauty collaborated with the American toy giant to create a 13-piece, Barbie-inspired colour cosmetics line. 

The limited-edition collection merges old motifs with innovative formulas and includes jelly balms, matte lipsticks, and nail wraps and polishes – most of which boast mid-tone pink hues. As explored in our report Prom 2020: Beauty Inspiration, this playful shade can be worn across the eyes, lips and nails for a bold look. 

The beauty line’s branding feeds into the consumer appetite for nostalgic products. For example, the logo is a silhouette of Barbie’s classic ponytail from the 1950s, which is stamped onto each item. In addition, the product names highlight the iconic doll’s most coveted accessories, such as the Barbie Dream House (a lilac nail polish) and Barbie Convertible (a clear pink jelly-balm lipstick).

NCLA and Mattel’s vegan range also taps into the growing demand for ethical beauty products, as consumers become more aware of potentially harmful and unnecessary ingredients in cosmetics. This is demonstrated by the soaring sales of vegan products in the UK, which have increased by 38% in the past year (NPD Group, 2018).

For deeper insights into the rise of retro influences across different categories, see Youth Style Tribes: X-Treme ExpressionistsBeauty Forecast A/W 18/19 and Playful Escapists.