Top Trends from Shades of Beauty Live 2018
A new hair and beauty show hailed as the UK’s first ‘black Beautycon’ has celebrated the diversity of women of colour, and challenged their lack of representation in beauty.
Shades of Beauty Live, held in London on August 24-25, was a discovery platform for brands and consumers. It featured talks from influential figures in the industry, including British beauty entrepreneur Sharmadean Reid.
Here are some of the highlights from the two-day expo.
- Community Building: Building a community is a key engagement strategy for brands, as explored in our Macro Trend Active Lives: Invigorating Brand Values. Shades of Beauty itself was born from a desire to bring the black community together on hair and beauty – both of which are important parts of African culture.
London salon Smokey Barbers uses the hashtag #justgotsmoked on Instagram to showcase clients’ trims. This interaction has increased its following and created a digital community, as well as one in the barbershop. “We grew up in disadvantaged areas when we were younger, where people didn’t give us a chance,” said founder Dominic Othol. “So our aim is to help all youth be a part of a community, with us as their role models.”
The barbershop also unveiled its as-yet-unlaunched ethically sourced vegan brand 10Ten, featuring three water-based products: Wave Butter, Hair Clay and Beard Oil.
- Better Colour Matching: The ‘Fenty Effect’ (where brands inspired by pop icon Rihanna’s inclusive beauty brand Fenty expand their complexion ranges to more than 40 shades) has gone some way to equalising the offering for consumers of colour. However, brands and influencers at the show championed the idea of smaller selections on a darker colour spectrum.
Tapping into this, US brand Jacque Mgido Cosmetics offers light, water-based liquid foundations suitable for hot, humid climates in 15 darker shades and warm undertones. “Working as a celebrity make-up artist was the catalyst for making these specific shades,” said founder Jacque Mgido. “The deeper shades in the collection worked for my clients in LA and Zimbabwe.”
- Industry Authentication: The show’s founders, Christina Anyiamuka and Grace Adesina, set up Fair Hair Care in 2017 to promote transparency, quality and trust in the hair extension industry. This led to a line of ethical extensions made from human hair.
“We both found it difficult to identify good hair quality,” said Anyiamuka. “When we tried different stockists which claimed to have 100% human hair, it didn’t react in the same way that real human hair does when it is treated. We realised there is no platform to regulate the quality of human hair, or a space for consumers to voice their opinions and experiences with human hair extensions.”
The organisation is in the process of launching an advisory board and governing body to put together assessment criteria for hair brands to be awarded with its Hair Strand Mark. According to the platform, 78% of consumers surveyed believe independent verification of brands will improve industry standards.
- Natural & Organic Focus: A 2018 study by the Silent Spring Institute – a US non-profit dedicated to breast cancer prevention – found that black women are exposed to more hazardous chemicals than any other consumer group, due to the hair products they use. About 84% of the chemicals detected in the 18 products tested were not listed on the label.
Several exhibitors placed an emphasis on natural values. Luxury British naturals brand Nature Spell has developed treatments for the hair and body which are free from synthetics, parabens and fragrances. They can be used for all hair and skin types, and the hero-ingredient-led line offers a range of different benefits.
For example, its Neem & Castor Oil contains nutrients and antioxidants to protect the hair and skin from environmental damage. The oil prevents excess water from being absorbed by the hair, and optimises hair health.
For more on diversity and inclusivity in beauty, see Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons.