When I become a mother, there were a few things I knew for sure: changing diapers, the need to hold the baby’s head sturdy and burping right after a feeding. Since I was a Black mom with a little girl, I also knew that I was expected to keep her hair picture-perfect at all times.
But here’s the thing about great cultural expectations — I did not possess the gift of styling my child’s hair. Too many times I sent her to pre-school and elementary with crooked parts, lopsided afro-puffs, uneven French braids, and on the days I was really struggling, we did “free hair”: a cute afro and colorful headband. One look I did with confidence were flat twists, which I styled into a faux-mohawk and a row of two-strand twists for bangs.
However, for the many years I was my daughter primary hairstylist, I noticed that while her body was growing healthy and strong, her hair wasn’t. In fact, after washing and conditioning with the products I’d use on my hair, I became hyperaware that her precious coils would “pop” off and break while detangling.
Her father, who’s first generation Haitian American, often insisted that her hair needed “lwil maskriti,” a dark oil made from seeds of the castor plant that grow in Haiti. (It’s commonly referred to as Haitian black castor oil). He swore that the Haitian women in his family regularly applied it to their scalp.
But I heard the opposite from my community of southern Black women, who had unlearned the ritual of “greasing the scalp” because the oil clogged the pores and prevented hair growth. To keep peace in the house, I’d only use “lwil maskriti” as a hot oil treatment once a month. But I couldn’t escape the reality. Our daughter’s hair wasn’t growing past her chin and at 13, she started asking questions.
I needed a professional stylist with “growing hands.”
With Brooklyn’s thriving beauty businesses and large Caribbean community, I didn’t look long before finding hair care stylists who could help me better understand why the treatments I gave my daughter were not working. The problem was me thinking we could follow the same Black hair care routines. Her braider, Bonnie Da Stylistt (née Naya Smith) explained that Jillian’s 4C hair texture required some extra TLC.
According to the hair hub section of Carol’s Daughter, whose founder Lisa Price started her hair care business in her Brooklyn home 30 years ago, 4C means that the hair has “tight, densely packed coils that are naturally the most prone to shrinkage, giving the hair a sponge-like texture. 4C curls can be extremely dry, brittle, and prone to breakage without the proper moisturizing routine.” (This is the opposite of my hair, which is a mix of 3C and 3B.)
Next Smith asked me, was I using oils on her hair daily? I sheepishly said, “No,” because I was told that oils weigh down Black hair. “Jillian’s hair doesn’t have any weight to it. Only in its natural state does it seem thick,” she educated me. “Her hair needs products that will thicken her hair.” Smith, who works with private clients in Clinton Hill, also warned me that “you’re not going to notice results if you’re using more than one hair care line — everything should be the same. Have you heard of Kreyòl Essence?”
Have I? Kreyòl Essence is the most widely available lwil maskriti in Brooklyn and I rushed out to pick up a bottle from Whole Foods on Third Street and Third Avenue in Gowanus. (It’s also sold at Ulta Beauty and JCPenney nationwide). Still unclear of its true benefits, I called up Kreyòl Essence founder Yve-Car Momperousse for a crash course. Here’s how she explained it:
“[Haitian] castor oil has up to 90 percent ricinoleic acid, which no other castor oil has. This means that instead of sitting on top of the skin, it goes deeper in,” said Momperousse, who was born and raised in Flatbush. “When it’s going down into the layers, the ricinoleic acid and fatty acids help to repair and also give sort of a pulsating effect, which is why it stimulates hair growth. That’s why Haitian castor oil, or black castor oil, is superior to general castor oils that you have.”
There’s also the cultural connection with black castor oil to Haitians who not only use it for hair treatments, but also as a catch-all for body ailments. “My grandmother, who still lives in Brooklyn, is 104 years old. Whenever she’s having any pains, she tells you to go get that castor oil,” laughed Momperousse, who now lives in Miami and regularly sources her castor oil from a farm cooperative in Haiti.
“If there was a time I had dandruff or my hair was breaking or I just added color, whatever it was, my grandmother would sit me down and pull out her castor oil,” she continued. “It’s truly a part of our culture and something that any Haitian person will have a memory about, which was the affirmation to start the business.”
After having a better understanding of how Haitian black castor oil would provide adequate moisture for my daughter’s natural, coily texture, it was time for a wash, blowout and trim so that we could see her current hair length. I went to my personal hair stylist, Karen Walker, who operates a beauty salon in Little Caribbean (formerly Flatbush). I should share now that my daughter is tender-headed. One reason I did her hair myself was because she’d squirm and fidget anytime a stylist would blow-dry or flat-iron her hair.
Karen’s serene studio and soft touch would be what my child needed. “A lot of my clients tell me, ‘You’re the only one who blow-dries my hair like this. You’re so gentle, everybody else is always tugging and pulling.’ That’s a misconception with Black hair: when it’s thick and full, it’s difficult to work with. It’s actually not, it just takes more patience.”
That’s exactly what Jillian needed — the time and care for her natural hair to thrive. Jillian’s braider recommended the following growth plan: keep her hair in a protective style for six weeks and a break for one week. Her go-to braid style is knotless individuals with purple ombre ends. This allows her versatility in styling (she is a teen) and it’s easy for her to wash and condition the braids herself. Her father and I alternate between oiling her scalp.
For her next hair break and trim, we tried the newly opened Soft salon at 472 Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bedford-Stuyvesant for a silk press blowout. Although one should never judge a salon by its exteriors, Soft’s minimalist aesthetics immediately stood out from the block’s dated business facades. Once inside, owner and lead stylist Paris Guy offered complimentary water, tea, wine and WiFi as she began prepping Jillian for her treatment. I felt I entered a chic, boutique salon in Manhattan and for Guy, that’s exactly the feeling she wants her clients to have.
“When I lived in Brooklyn, I stumbled upon TAMA Open Streets,” she said, in reference to the arts, culture, food and music festival on Tompkins Avenue in the heart of Bed-Stuy. “I told myself, ‘Look how diverse this community is… look at all of these people. Where do they go for a dry bar vibe if they want to get in and out? Where do they go if they want something simple and somebody to take care of their hair?’ They have to leave the borough to find something like this.”
Guy went back to her Brooklyn apartment, pulled out a white board and began building out a business plan based on her expertise as an Aveda-trained cosmetologist and then business manager for radio personality Angela Yee. “There was a whole business renaissance happening in Bed-Stuy. There were 5 million coffee shops but where’s the niche hair salon? My friend owned a bakery on Bergen. Angela had two businesses. I said, I could be a part of this. I want it to be around my community, as well as provide what I felt was missing.”
This was also the goal for celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen, who celebrates 10 years as the owner of Ursula Stephen The Salon at 66 Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene. “People have asked me so many times, ‘Why Brooklyn?’ and for me, the answer is so clear. Why not Brooklyn?,” said Stephen, whose clients include Natasha Lyonne, Ariana DeBose, Yara Shahidi, Storm Reid and Melissa Barrera.
“Brooklyn chose me a long time ago,” she said. “We have a long relationship. I learned how to do hair in Brooklyn. I assisted in salons in Brooklyn, everything that has been important for me when it comes to hair [has happened] here.”
For Stephen, tapping into her Grenadian heritage may be the next evolution of her hair care services. “At the salon we offer personalized, steamed hydration treatments. We mix up a few things based on what we think you need for your hair type,” she said. “In Grenada, we’re known for our spices, like nutmeg, so that actually might be a good idea for me to look into. I haven’t tapped into it yet, but soon come.”
Another celebrity stylist with Caribbean roots has found a home in Brooklyn for her first salon. Braider Xia Charles opened Braided New York at 39 Rogers Avenue in Crown Heights in 2021. Growing up in Tobago, where she graduated from the University of the West Indies with a BSC degree in law and economics with honors, Charles found extra income by braiding on the island and when she came to the U.S. after finishing her studies. “I started braiding hair in my mother’s kitchen and I guess you could say I was good at it,” said Charles with a knowing smile. Her clientele grew and she eventually rented a two-bedroom apartment in Brownsville, where she officially launched her business and has become known for her knotless braiding style, innovative patterns and “growing hands.”
“It’s very humbling because we’re from the Caribbean and we don’t like a lot of people in our hair,” said Charles of the almost intuitive ways she cares for and styles hair. “I build some level of comfort. My clients don’t see breakage in their hair. They see that their hair is flourishing. Braids is a protective style, it is not supposed to damage your hair. Even when I’m not available, the people who I’ve taught, my clients feel comfortable going to them.”
The reason Charles might not be available is because celebrity clients like Beyoncé, Cardi B., Nia Long and influencers such as Julee Wilson and Lellies Santiago have her booked and busy. Still, she makes sure that anyone who walks into her Brooklyn salon feels as if they are A-list.
“I treat your hair like if it was mine. I know how I want my hair treated,” said Charles. “I’m first a client before I am a stylist. I put myself in their position. I try not to tug on their hair. I treat their hair with love.”
Treating Black hair with love, that’s the Brooklyn way.
Heela Yang, Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, Sol de Janeiro
Passionate: For the dedication they give to the brands to be their best.
Entrepreneurial: For how they enable the teams to make many decisions with the brands.
Long-term mindset: For how they invest alongside the brands.
Amy Gordinier, Founder, Skinfix
Playful: Sephora created the “open sell” concept, encouraging clients to touch, play, try and interact with product.
Inclusive: We Belong to Something Beautiful is a powerful example of their commitment to inclusivity — leading the industry in celebrating diversity inside and outside of their doors.
Visionary: Simply put, Sephora sees the future. They created open-to-sell, the indie brand phenomenon, Color IQ technology and many other innovations that changed the industry. They continue to push, to try, to expand and to embody a growth mindset.
Holly Thaggard, Founder, and Amanda Baldwin, CEO, Supergoop
Innovative: Our Sephora family is always figuring out exciting new ways to do things differently. (And they know product innovation when they see it, too.)
Breakthrough: Forward progress and looking ahead are two of the things that have always defined the way Sephora operates.
Impactful: Whether it’s marketing, messaging or managing, Sephora always wants to make a (super!) splash.
Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, Co-CEOs and Cofounders, Glow Recipe
Visionary: Sephora has been at the forefront of the industry and pushing brands to be innovative.
Champion: Our biggest cheerleaders! We’re so grateful to have Sephora’s support in growing our brand to where it is today in just six years.
Compassionate: Sephora has been an inspiration on what it means to be socially responsible and accountable. Together, we know that we all can make a difference in not only the beauty industry, but to make the world a better place.
Randi Christiansen, CEO and Founder, Nécessaire
Pioneer: Sephora is first in beauty. They have helped us to break through in a category normally dominated by mass. They are constantly making beauty better!Partner: Sephora is more than a retailer, they are a true partner. They help us with all aspects of branding from strategy to execution; all get better with the Sephora team at the table.Belong: When you are retailing with Sephora you belong to something bigger. A set of values and a group of friendships that move our industry forward. We are a purpose-first brand and we feel deeply connected to Sephora across their environmental, social and governance initiatives.
Kyle Leahy, CEO, Glossier
Visionaries: Sephora disrupted the traditional retail approach 25 years ago to create a new, more democratic and approachable model for beauty discovery and shopping experience. They continue to evolve through incredibly engaging digital and in-store experiences in a highly connected, inclusive and global way.
Storytellers: They bring the very best brands to life through product, merchandising, visual, digital, marketing, in-store events, engagement and most importantly, people, to fuel beauty discovery and brand exploration.
Partners: They collaborate with us as stewards to innovate, grow and protect the brand. They are best-in-class partners with highly talented, thoughtful leaders who are true strategic allies in building and sharing our brand with the world.
Christina Tegbe, Founder and CEO, 54 Thrones
Iconic: You know what time it is whenever you see the black-and-white bags! They’ve masterfully worked at their brand codes, and it shows!
Audacious: They’ve led the way in many areas but what I’m most proud of is them being the first brand to take the 15 Percent Pledge.
Quintessential: Sephora has done an exceptional job in building their own brand as well as hundreds of other brands in the process. The best of the best!
For Jean Madar, the road to $1 billion is paved in perfume.
The chairman, chief executive officer and cofounder of Inter Parfums Inc. has led the company to significant growth over the past two years, capitalizing on the boom in fragrance with licenses including Montblanc, Coach and Jimmy Choo, and snapping up a handful of new brands in the process.
In 2020, the company hit $539 million in net sales; 2021 saw a jump to $879.5 million, zooming past pre-pandemic levels. Inter Parfums raised guidance for the year to $1.08 billion following a larger-than-expected swell during the holiday season, and anticipates $1.15 billion in sales for 2023.
The company is helping fuel a renaissance in the fragrance business, thanks to an approach that prizes creativity and olfactive originality in terms of product development, and a global distribution infrastructure that encompasses key channels around the world.
The strategy is working. In 2021, Montblanc, Coach, Jimmy Choo and Guess, the company’s four largest brands, grew 46 percent, 45 percent, 61 percent and 83 percent, respectively, a performance reflected in Inter Parfums’ share price, up 13 percent in the past year to $110.68 at press time.
Inter Parfum’s growth outpaces the competition in a category that is soaring. For the third quarter of 2022, U.S. prestige scent sales increased 11 percent to $1.3 billion, according to the NPD Group, largely driven by brick-and-mortar revenues. Since the pandemic, designer fragrances and higher-priced collection fragrances have also been engines of growth.
“The fragrance segment has seen extraordinary growth, bigger than skin care and makeup. The past 18 to 24 months have been the time for fragrance, and this is going to continue,” said Madar, during a wide-ranging interview in his midtown Manhattan office. “Fragrance used to be the slowest of those three, with skin care booming in China and makeup booming in Europe.”
That is no longer the case.
“It has never been at this level,” continued Madar, who founded Inter Parfums in 1982 and took it public in 1988. “It’s the first time we’ve reached such a level — not just our business, but the segment of the industry. It’s worldwide, certainly in the U.S. and in Europe, and now it’s in China.
“If we didn’t have lockdowns there, that business would be booming,” said the executive. “Every year, we have 100 million new customers in China, discovering the world of fragrance, and we have fantastic brands for them, like Ferragamo and Anna Sui.”
Geographically, Inter Parfums is well diversified thanks to a portfolio of 24 brands that enables it to appeal to wide swathes of consumers around the world. In 2021, North America accounted for $354.1 million of sales; Europe, $202 million; and Asia, $128 million.
Inter Parfums’ core business comprises four key brands, each with $150 million to $200 million in net sales annually — Montblanc, Jimmy Choo, Coach and Guess.
While those names anchor its business, a slew of emerging brands diversifies its portfolio across price points and geographies, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Boucheron, Dunhill, Emanuel Ungaro, Graff, Hollister, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Spade, Lanvin, MCM, Moncler, Oscar de la Renta, Rochas, S. T. Dupont and Van Cleef and Arpels.
In October 2021, the company acquired the Salvatore Ferragamo fragrance license, and Madar said that brand has already grown 45 percent in its first year under his purview. Most recently, Inter Parfums acquired the license for Donna Karan and DKNY fragrances after the Estée Lauder Cos. wound down its designer fragrance division, and picked up Lacoste after that brand was spun off by Coty Inc. That deal included an 80 million euro entry fee.
Madar anticipates that DKNY will develop into a fifth pillar for the company, estimating that it will reach $150 million in sales in the next 12 to 24 months. “We have big ambitions for DKNY,” he said.
Similarly, the Ferragamo acquisition hasn’t just added sales. It also led to Inter Parfums opening its first offices in Florence, Italy, with a headcount of around 50 employees. “We hired more people, and we think we can have more Italian brands because we now have that presence and production in Italy,” said Madar.
Analysts agree that Madar’s diversification strategy has been a winning one. “In addition to the market environment, the company has been successful in adding different brands to their portfolio. That’s helped them grow at a faster rate,” said Hamed Khorsand, analyst and founder of BWS Financial. “They’ve shown their ability to focus directly on the actual brand, market it well, distribute it well, and create new scents the customer likes. They’ve also shown their ability to get the sales of a brand to improve.”
Retailers laud Inter Parfums’ focus on storytelling. “Inter Parfums continues to capitalize on its position as a mid-sized beauty company. This position gives them agility in our partnership for both product innovation and new marketing tactics and this is all driven by consumer insights and data,” said Jennifer Capuano, vice president of fragrances at Macy’s Inc. “Anchored by the pillar brands, Coach and Jimmy Choo, the Inter Parfums team has focused on storytelling and animation in our stores.”
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Madar applies a hands-on approach to product development, no matter the size of the business. “Our job is to customize each creation. We can’t take one bottle and say it’ll work for everyone,” he said. “Everything is customized, we don’t recycle ideas. If we don’t like a development, we’ll throw it in the garbage and start again. If we’re not ready, we delay a launch.”
The company focuses on four key tenets for a successful launch, although, as the CEO laughs, “it also takes a little bit of luck.”
“What works across the portfolio is the perfect equation between the brand, the packaging, the juice and the advertising,” Madar said. “Sometimes the brand is of very high interest, and sometimes less. It’s our job to make it happen.”
Licensors applaud that approach. “[Madar] is deeply involved in all things that go on in our business; it feels very much like a small company, despite the fact it’s not at all a small company,” said Alex Bolen, chief executive officer of Oscar de la Renta, of his relationship with Inter Parfums. “Jean is in almost all of the meetings I attend, both as a creative matter and a business matter. He brings a very unique approach that is both artistic and commercial, and he has a very strong opinion on the development of fragrances.”
The reasoning behind that style of collaboration, Madar said, is simple. “Think of us like a kitchen: we let the fashion houses into the kitchen to work with us. This makes the difference between us and the very large international companies,” he continued. “We work together, and we welcome [the brands in], because who knows better than them who they are? Our size allows us to do that.”
Inter Parfum’s size also enables it to be agile and responsive. “They’re beating our internal plans for sales, and it’s really, really early stage,” said Morris Goldfarb, chairman and CEO of G-III. “They’ve got aggressive changes planned for this coming year with Karl Lagerfeld, with the Met Gala being in his honor, and a film planned for the following year.
“Inter Parfums is committed to as aggressive of marketing as we are,” said Goldfarb.
The marketing piece is key, given that G-III’s fragrance business also gives its brands global reach. “From an economic point of view, it’s our largest license, but it’s a broad range of venues that make a brand relevant,” he said. “We’re much more global because of the interface with fragrance in consumers’ minds and visual contact, whether it’s duty-free stores or elsewhere in the world.”
Spinning brands into its global flywheel of distribution is also key to its growth over the last two years.
“They understand what it means for distribution of fragrance across the world, and that there’s differences in Europe versus department stores in the U.S. Our China and Asia markets for fragrance are just blowing up,” said Todd Kahn, CEO and brand president of Coach. “Every single one of our fragrances has been successful. They have really grown our business for beauty and for us, it’s an extension of the lifestyle that Coach is… you don’t feel any distinction between the licensor and licensee, they’re part of the family, and they’re incredibly knowledgeable about the beauty business globally.”
Indeed, Madar’s radar is finely tuned when it comes to picking up new licenses. “What we look for first of all is name recognition, but that alone is not enough,” he said. “Coca Cola is maybe the most recognized name, but does it mean people would like a fragrance from them? There also has to be desirability.”
While Madar is optimistic that the fragrance category will maintain its momentum in the year ahead, he’s also treading carefully in terms of new licenses. “The cost of launching a new fragrance today is astronomical — tens of millions [of dollars]. We have to be careful,” he said. “You need to study and learn that the product you’re coming with is right vis-à-vis the distribution, the brand.”
And despite seeing e-commerce sales multiply tenfold during the pandemic, he’s most bullish on brick-and-mortar. “I believe in brick-and-mortar because it’s an experience, and we’ve put so much effort into creating this theater,” he said. “Even when you have great digital assets for e-commerce, the physical contact in store is very important. It’s back and it’s back strong, and we won’t increase the amount of doors.”
Price points have also increased. “For fragrances a couple of years ago, it was difficult to go above $100. Now, for a larger size, under $100 would be an exception,” Madar said. “It’s not only because of inflation, it’s because of positioning, and we have to be careful not to lose customers, so we add smaller sizes with democratic prices. For Graff, $50 wouldn’t make a difference to the consumer, but for Guess, $10 would make a big difference.”
As with other categories in beauty, customers are more knowledgeable than ever. “I was at Macy’s, checking on the new launch of Oscar de la Renta, and a customer asked me where the lavender in the juice came from,” said Madar, noting the same dynamic exists in the Middle East and Europe. “These are questions that we’ve never had before.”
Despite changing market dynamics, success still boils down to the basics that have enabled the company to thrive: olfactive originality. “Philippe [Benacin], my partner, and I agreed we won’t do worldwide testing on our fragrances. We don’t want to create by committee,” said Madar.
“People want the difference — they want to be different. We’re going to pick the fragrance that has more character, more signature, that maybe is more difficult,” he continued. “Maybe some people are like, ‘Oh my God, I hate it!’, but that’s a good sign. The stakes are higher, and it’s very dangerous to stay in the comfort zone.”
For the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2022, Inter-Parfums’ four top brands comprised 63 percent of overall business. Here, a breakdown of each one.
Montblanc Legend Eau de Toilette
Percentage of overall business: 19%
2022 Jan.-Sept. sales (est.): $147.4 million
2021 Annual Net Sales: $168.2 million
Top performing pillar: Legend Eau de Toilette
On Deck for 2023: Montblanc Explorer extension
Jimmy Choo I Want Choo Eau de Parfum
Percentage of overall business: 18%
2022 Jan.-Sept. sales (est.): $139.7 million
2021 Annual Net Sales: $154.9 million
Top performing pillar: I Want Choo Eau de Parfum, Man Aqua
On Deck for 2023: Jimmy Choo Signature extension
Coach Floral Eau de Parfum
Percentage of overall business: 15%
2022 Jan.-Sept. sales (est.): $116.4 million
2021 Annual Net Sales: $136.8 million
Top Performing Pillars: Coach Floral Eau de Parfum, Coach for Men Eau de Toilette
On Deck for 2023: Coach Man extension
Guess Uomo Eau de Toilette
Photo courtesy of Inter Parfums, Inc.
Percentage of overall business: 11%
2022 Jan.-Sept. sales (est.): $85.4 million
2021 Annual Net Sales: $101.9 million
Top Performing Pillar: Bella Vita Eau de Parfum, Uomo Eau de Toilette
On Deck for 2023: Uomo extension
Glow Recipe to Host First In-person Summit on Skin Barrier Health, Setting Personal Boundaries and More
Glow Recipe is bringing boundary-setting front and center for its next initiative.
The brand is hosting its first in-person summit on Saturday at The Revery Los Angeles. Titled “Strengthen Your Boundaries,” the daylong event will include six panels focused on skin barrier education and boundary-setting in different facets of life like relationships, finances and social media.
“We want to be our community’s trusted BFF,” said Glow Recipe cofounder Sarah Lee, who has dubbed the brand’s loyal consumer base the “Glow Gang.” “We want to keep things real; we’re all going through mental health challenges, and so showcasing real advice from people who have gone through these journeys and can provide tangible, practical advice around them is our goal.”
The day’s speakers will include “optimism doctor” and psychologist Dr. Deepika Chopra; model and activist Tess Holliday; financial influencer Vivian Tu (widely known on TikTok as @yourrichbff), dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, and Joanne Molinaro, an attorney, cookbook author and social media sensation who will be discussing the art of the pivot.
The summit will include panels on dating and financial boundaries.
“There’s this aspect of our brand DNA that we call scroll-stopping moments, which are essentially disruptive and visually beautiful moments that make people want to stop and listen,” said cofounder Christine Chang, who has oft spoken about the influence trending topics on TikTok have on Glow Recipe’s content and product development strategy.
“The way the ideas behind this summit coalesced is that it’s almost like your TikTok feed; [the panels] touch on all the topics that you want to see on your For You Page as you scroll through, and all the relevant topics that make you want to stop and listen.”
The sold-out event’s 230-plus attendees will also be able to create vision boards, visit a concept bathroom where they can try out Glow Recipe products, and have their aura photographed (aura photography has soared in popularity on TikTok recently).
Tickets from the summit ranged from $45 to $90, with higher-priced tickets including perks such as access to a VIP Happy Hour, a larger gift bag and preferred seating. In November 2020, Glow Recipe hosted its first virtual summit titled “Glow Together,” which focused on diversity and personal branding, and in April 2021, the brand collaborated with Cult Beauty for a virtual summit on mindfulness.
“The engagement we saw in those Zoom summits was off the charts — even just in terms of our community members connecting with each other,” said Lee. “We’re excited to pick up the cadence of our in-person events, not just in New York and Los Angeles, but we have plans for other cities around the nation and globe.”
A painter, a fashion designer, a trunk maker — beauty brands are looking to a wide range of talents for holiday season collaborations.
Designer Pierre Hardy designs the holiday packaging for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle; Guerlain looks to Yves Klein’s L’Heure Bleu for its perfume bottle’s next hue. Here, the beauty launches taking artistic license.
Byredo La Maison Scented Candle Gift Set, $360
In a decorative box created by artist Laila Gohar, a wick trimmer and holiday matches accompany the cult favorite brand’s home fragrances.
Oribe Signature Experience Collection, $185
Old favorites get a revamp, courtesy of Kohei Kyomori. Under the limited-edition box, signature shampoos and conditioners accompany body products.
Guerlain L’Heure Bleue x Yves Klein, $17,000
Two classics meet for the 110th anniversary of Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue. In partnership with the Yves Klein Foundation, the brand reiterated the 37 fragrance bottles in Klein’s trademark hue.
ArtJar 2022 RéVive x Amber Vittoria Moisturizing Renewal Cream, $195
Amber Vittoria reimagines this moisturizer’s brightening benefits with a fresh, color-blocked pot.
Tatcha Tabi Trunk, $1,200
Pulling from the land behind the brand, Tatcha tapped Japanese bag maker Masumi Hono for a gold-brushed trunk. Bando Textile also created the kinran lining, woven with gold thread.
Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle x Pierre Hardy Travel Spray Set Men, $320
Photo courtesy of Frédéric Malle
Frédéric Malle takes his bold sensibilities on the go. The founder looked to Pierre Hardy to design a travel spray with three interchangeable cartridges for three fragrances: Vetiver Extraordinaire, French Lover and Bigarade Concentree.
Vintner’s Daughter Limited-Edition Active Botanical Serum, $680
A face oil O.G. gets a new look. Founder April Gargiulo teams with jewelry designer Kim Dunham on a jumbo size of the brand’s hero product, complete with Dunham’s signature gold engraving.
SHANGHAI — L’Oréal is launching a luxury K-beauty brand, called Shihyo.
Created in collaboration with South Korea’s Hotel Shilla chain and Hong Kong-based Anchor Equity Partners, the skin care brand will be introduced in Korea via a third-party joint venture, called Loshian.
Shihyo, which means “the wisdom of time” in Korean, takes inspiration from the 24 seasons of the traditional lunisolar calendar. “Shihyo embodies the healthy energy of nature, powered by herbal sciences,” L’Oréal said in a statement.
Shihyo features 24 different ampoules with 24 herbal ingredients harvested at the peak of each season. The range includes facial cleanser, essence, cream, shampoo and conditioner.
All Shihyo product formulas have a patented ingredient called ShiHyo24, which infuses 24 herbal ingredients with fermented rice water and ginseng water. The nutrition-rich formulation is based on scientific research and innovation with proven efficacy, according to the brand.
The ingredients are directly sourced from local farmers in South Korea, according to In-Gyu Han, chief operating officer of Hotel Shilla, in the statement.
“Rooted in an exceptional traditional wisdom and knowledge of naturality, Shihyo represents the epitome of Asian luxury beauty. Empowered by science, Shihyo delivers the highest skin care quality thanks to its signature patented ingredient, offering the most elevated luxury beauty experience,” said Cyril Chapuy, president of L’Oréal Luxe.
“Shihyo delivers the highest skin care quality, thanks to its signature patented ingredient, offering the most elevated luxury beauty experience,” he added.
“We have full confidence that Shihyo will meet the discerning consumers’ needs with new luxury beauty routines,” said Sanggyun Ahn, managing partner of Anchor Equity Partners.
The brand was unveiled during Shanghai’s CIIE expo in early November.
Shihyo will focus on the North Asian market with a flagship store, called “Seoul Garden,” opening “in the coming months” at the Shilla Seoul Hotel in Korea. A launch in China is scheduled for 2023.
L’Oréal first dove into K-beauty in 2018, with the acquisition of Nanda Co. Ltd., the South Korean lifestyle makeup and fashion fashion company that includes the popular Stylenanda color cosmetics brand.
The L’Oréal North Asia Zone is the French beauty giant’s second-largest region sales-wise, after Europe. North Asia accounted for more than 28 percent of the group’s global sales in the nine months ending Sept. 30. Sales there grew 11.3 percent in reported terms and 0.3 percent on a like-for-like basis to 2.41 billion euros in the third quarter.
Soaring inflation across the U.S. is impossible to ignore. From the gas station to the grocery store to the home, every part of life is being impacted.
And that’s true for the beauty sector, too. In a slew of summer trading updates, global beauty companies cited inflation as a headwind that has caused price increases.
Coty Inc., whose brands include CoverGirl, Gucci Beauty, Lancaster, Kylie Cosmetics and Skkn by Kim, implemented low-single-digit price increases during the second half of fiscal ’22 and is now in the process of arranging more hikes, this time in the mid-single-digits.
“That’s the way we are tackling this inflation,” chief executive officer Sue Nabi said in an August interview.
At the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., executive vice president and chief financial officer Tracey Travis told Beauty Inc that while the firm usually increases prices across the board each year, it did more so this year due to inflation — at around an average rate of 5.5 percent. Some of that is reflected in new products that were introduced at higher prices.
And Ulta Beauty, to name one more, revealed that it received a large number of price increases from brand partners in the first half of this year. It expects to receive additional increases throughout the rest of the year.
So far, this has not appeared to impact consumption — even at the prestige level.
Coty’s prestige fragrances, for example, have been flying off the shelves, with particularly strong performances from Hugo Boss, Burberry, Chloé, Calvin Klein and Gucci Beauty, which delivered 20 percent growth in the fourth quarter and helped the overall prestige sector to grow of 16 per cent year-over-year, to $662.8 million.
At Ulta, both prestige and mass makeup delivered double-digit comp growth in its second quarter, compared to the same period a year earlier, leading the retailer to raise its full-year outlook.
Lauder, meanwhile, continues to see the prestige beauty market grow by double digits in the U.S., according to Travis.
Citing Leonard A. Lauder’s Lipstick Index, the mogul’s theory that beauty sales increase during tough economic times, she said: “We are a category that it is an affordable luxury, particularly when you’re making choices about what you would like to buy from a discretionary standpoint.”
Coty’s Nabi believes that its latest set of figures prove that it’s more a fragrance index rather than a lipstick one. “Fragrances speak to everyone — whatever the age, whatever the gender, and what we have seen, which is the reality of the data and statistics, is that this beauty market is lifted by the fragrance consumption and this is not female or male. It’s both and it’s mainly also Gen Z.”
But whatever measure you prefer, can this resilience last, even as inflation refuses to budge and recession fears mount?
According to analysts, the short answer is yes, even as the latest official figures showed that while consumer spending grew ever so slightly in July, it was at a slower pace than in June.
As has been seen in previous downturns such as the 2008 financial crisis, while there has been trade down during past downturns, generally no one leaves beauty.
Olivia Tong, an analyst at Raymond James, said that the resilience of beauty has been bolstered by a wide reopening after COVID-19, leading to more travel and going out, as well as innovation in the sector. She believes this trend can hold up — as long as there are no serious disruptions to household income such as a job loss.
“Beauty is an affordable luxury. It’s not a car, it’s not a handbag, it’s not a vacation and quite frankly a lipstick is cheaper than going out for dinner and lasts longer,” she said. “So to the extent that you get a little gift for yourself, provided that there’s not been a material disruption to your household, but assuming that you are in a relatively mild slowdown, then your patterns may not change as materially as in some other categories.”
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, added: “While the lipstick effect seems like a cliché, it is based on a truth that is still relevant, namely that consumers are very reluctant to give up little beauty treats and indulgences and, indeed, feel like these are deserved rewards for living through a more difficult time. Outside of indulgences, it is also the case that many beauty and skin care routines are very much embedded into people’s lives so there is great reluctance to cut back on any of the products associated with them.”
He sees some but not much downside risk to the beauty segment, which he thinks will be one of the winners over the lucrative holiday period. So, while there may be trade down to come and retailers such as Ulta say they are prepared to adjust accordingly if needed, it is unlikely that there will be a mass exodus from beauty anytime soon.
As Olaplex’s president and chief executive officer JuE Wong puts it, “You still have to wash your face, you still have to wash your hair, you still have to shower.”
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PARIS — The beauty industry’s lexicon — and focus — keep expanding. Health, then well-being, were buzzwords in the recent past. Now, with their convergence and scientific advances, longevity is becoming a key talking point and industry shape-shifter.Its influence is expected to be widespread, on everything from product creation to services, as people’s lifespan and mind-set keep stretching.
“Our life expectancy has been considerably extended, thanks to recent advances in the medical field,” said Virginie Couturaud, scientific communications director at Parfums Christian Dior. “Today, enabling the human body to remain in good health as long as possible is a major research challenge.
“In this quest for good health, aging, defined by the scientific community as a continuous process of alteration of the different functions of the body, seems to be a hindrance,” she continued. “Recent discoveries have shown that this process is not inevitable, and that it is possible to slow it down and even partially reverse it. This awareness has led to the development of a new research area, whose objective is to explore the different ways to reverse the aging process, offering new perspectives for human health.
“In the long term, this work will make it possible to significantly extend the human health span rather than the life span, so that people can get older in a healthier way,” Couturaud said.
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Industry experts describe the growing emphasis on longevity as more of an evolution than a revolution.
“The wellness trend is not new,” said Charles Rosier, chief executive officer of Augustinus Bader. “But that wellness trend is evolving with the fact that we have more information and research being made on the topic of longevity and how to measure longevity.
“A few years ago, the main pillar was the length of the telomere,” he continued, referring to the natural end of a eukaryotic chromosome. “Now, other criteria have come into play and other discoveries on the topic.”
A confluence of phenomena contributes to this growing focus on managing aging.
“You’ve got the consumerism of health care being powered by artificial intelligence, technology and stem cell research — so people taking more proactive approaches to their health care, and seeing that in holistic inside and outside ways,” said Lucie Greene, founder and CEO of trend forecasting consultancy Light Years.
Also, as the oldest Millennials turn 40 or 41, age-related concepts and services are starting to skew toward them design- and discourse-wise.
Greene spotlighted concepts such as Millennial med-spa Ever/Body, for instance, which was launched by former Clinique executive Kate Twist as an alternative to traditional cosmetic dermatology offices. The chain, which raised $38 million in Series B funding last year, offers laser facials, Botox, HydraFacial, fillers and laser hair removal.
The VSpot medi spa, another example, is for vaginal rejuvenation and has on its menu treatments such as non-surgical breast lift, intimate lightning and hormone replacement therapy.
Courtesy of VSPOT
Modern Age, a “wellness clinic” officially opened a New York City location in April. Its tag line: “Feel good. Age well.”
The clinic takes a holistic approach to “take control of your aging journey,” combining things like IV drips for skin and hair health, energy and stress; micro-needling and hormone therapies.
Modern Age delves into client’s subjective age — how old one feels — and claims lowering that can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Female biohackers Lauren Berlingeri and Katie Kaps teamed to open Instagram-friendly infrared outposts, called HigherDose, also in New York. It has a location at the 11 Howard hotel and another in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y. The brand became famous for users’ “sweaty, sexy sauna selfies.”
Eventually, the duo decided to build out a product line for infrared enthusiasts to take home. There is the Infrared Sauna Blanket for $599, the Infrared PEMF Mat for $1,095 and the Red Light Face Mask for $299. The technologies are meant to be “stacked” and build on one another for additional wellness benefits.
HigherDose Red Light Face Mask.
Courtesy of HigherDose
The sauna blanket provides an at-home sauna experience, while the PEMF mat is said to have electromagnetic frequency that is “similar to the earth’s core,” for “calming, grounding [and] relaxing,” Berlingeri said during WWD’s Beauty CEO Summit in May.
The red light technology featured in the face mask is well-known for skin benefits, but the founders also purport that red light “feeds the mitochondria of every single cell to produce something called ATP, which is energy, which means that every single one of your cells in your body is functioning better.”
The tech is said to be a mood booster, too.
During a separate interview, Berlingeri called the face mask her and Kaps’ Trojan Horse into the beauty space.
“What we’re focused on is longevity and vitality,” Berlingeri said. “It just so happens that red light is an amazing antiaging beauty tool, as well. But here we are trying to educate people [that] it’s beyond decreasing wrinkles.
“It’s been exciting to be in this beauty space as two female biohackers,” she continued. “[In addition to] wanting to feel our best, looking our best is something that is top of mind for us, too. But we’ve always felt [that] when you focus on wellness, then beauty comes effortlessly. It’s from the inside out.
“We do feel like there’s so much untapped upside around this whole idea of longevity, vitality and optimization, [with] men still dominating that space more than women are,” Berlingeri said. “Which is kind of an interesting concept, because we feel like women are the original biohackers.”
She and Kapps believe there’s no brand in the wellness space owning longevity.
“We really plan to do that,” Berlingeri said. “Biohacking is the ultimate way to achieve vitality, longevity and just looking and feeling your best.”
The pair seeks to revolutionize topicals and ingestibles that can help people achieve beauty. HigherDose recently launched High-Dration Powder, based on the whole fruit of watermelon and coconut, mixed with electrolyte and Himalayan salt.
Clinique La Prairie, of Montreux, Switzerland, offers among its treatments a protocol using people’s own stem cells that are clinically harvested and reinjected in order to revitalize skin using the body’s natural resources for regeneration, according to Simone Gibertoni, the clinic’s CEO and cofounder of Holistic Health.
The race is on for beauty companies to tap into longevity.
Dior Science and its parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton have for decades worked with external scientific specialists, and the brand has been pioneering in skin antiaging discoveries.
In early July, Dior said it had entered into a research collaboration with Vadim N. Gladyshev, a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, with the aim of reversing cellular aging.
“With this three-year partnership, our ambition is to decipher the biomolecular mechanism of skin aging in order to remodel the skin in a more youthful state,” Couturaud explained.
She added part of the tie-in will include the development of active ingredients to help with age reverse.
“Age reverse discoveries are part of a holistic approach to beauty, which involves healthy skin above all,” Couturaud said.
For Augustinus Bader, the focus has always been on the convergence of beauty, health and longevity. The doctor’s discovery is a communication mechanism to awaken dormant stem cells that can then trigger self-healing in skin.
Rosier described Augustinus Bader’s creams as “epigenetic,” which involves changes of gene functioning but not alterations in DNA sequencing.
“Our cream is all about empowering, nourishing the skin cell environments, so [they] work at their best,” he said. “On the biotech as well as the consumer goods side, we are working on topics about epigenetics and longevity. It could be topicals, ingestibles — different things.”
The audience for such products treatments is expected to expand.
“In terms of luxury buying, some people are switching from objects to experience,” Rosier said. “Therefore, in that field of premium experience, all the topics favoring longevity or doing something that has a net-positive epigenetic impact, is a focus that we grow, because the demand for that will grow, as well. Once you have everything, what is the thing that you want? You want to age gracefully and be in as good health for as long as possible.”
However, not all beauty brands will have the capability to tap into longevity, since that requires vast scientific backing.
“We could try to see what discoveries in the field of longevity can be scaled into a consumer goods product,” Rosier said.
Silicon Valley has been funding a lot of research in the field of longevity.
Start-ups such as Altos Labs, a biotech company focused on cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, and Calico, a research and technology company delving into the biology that controls aging and life span, are helping pave the way in this nascent sector.
“The segment is growing on that tech side, and this is a bleed over into beauty,” Greene said.
Some skin care brands have already put “longevity” into their product monikers. There’s Guerlain’s Le Concentré de Longevité Orchidée serum and Mary Cohr’s Longevity and Tonicity Body Care line, both launched in 2019.
Guerlain’s Le Concentré de Longevité Orchidée.
Courtesy of Guerlain
Clinique La Prairie has just introduced a range of “longevity supplements,” called Holistic Health, “that boost the natural antiaging process from the cells up,” Gibertoni said. “They feature high-diversity plant-based compounds that even the healthiest of diets can’t offer.”
The range’s core product is Age-Defy Regeneressence and Immunity supplements, which Gibertoni said contains “the next-generation longevity formulation,” including antioxidant actives and vitamins.
Shiseido’s highest-end line, named Future Solution LX, is touted as having an exclusive youth-prolonging ingredient.
Shiseido Future Solution LX.
Courtesy of Shiseido
“We were more focused at the beginning of our research into the longevity of plants,” said Nathalie Broussard, scientific communications director at Shiseido EMEA. “This was our source of inspiration.”
In 2017, the group introduced a complex of ingredients named SkinGeneCell Enmei, which helps promote skin cell longevity, into Future Solution LX products. Those are meant to boost well-balanced, global beauty, such as general radiance.
“We have deep research into genes,” continued Broussard, who explained Shiseido researchers had honed in on the surtuin 1 gene, which revitalizes cells and extends their life span. So the idea was to figure out how to improve its functioning to increase skin cells’ longevity.
The Future Solution LX line keeps evolving. Most recently, Infinite Treatment Primer SPF 30 was added to it. At yearend, the Legendary Enmei Ultimate Luminance Serum and Ultimate Renewal Cream are being updated with the Japanese herb Enmei that’s cultivated in a more sustainable way.
“We have demonstrated another scientific action of the extract on another longevity gene, called surtuin 2,” continued Broussard.
Next, the LX Beauty Longevity Set is due to be introduced in March 2023.
As longevity becomes increasingly top of consumers’ minds, addressing changing psychographics is key.
“As you look forward, if you’d like to live longer, a lot of anxiety comes into play,” said Fernando Acosta, CEO of Roc Skincare.
Some of that angst is beauty-related. According to a Roc Skincare study, with more than 600 participants from around the world, but a focus on the U.S. and France, 90 percent of women feel anxious about aging, the primary driver being appearance-related.
“In China, people who are 20 years old are anxious about getting older,” Acosta said.
The overall study showed 60 percent are concerned about how they look as they get older, versus just 43 percent being worried about amassing enough money to retire.
“Ninety-three percent of women told us that optimism can change their life and expressed the desire to learn more about how to do this effectively,” Acosta said.
Roc executives went to a team of experts, including Daisy Robinton, who holds a Ph.D. in human biology and translational medicine.
“She helped us to put together this research between mental health and physical health,” Acosta said.
Another expert was Deepika Chopra. “She makes a link between optimism and longevity,” he said, adding Michelle Henry found the relationship between optimism and skin health.
They looked at people who have radiated optimism through their careers to amplify Roc’s message, and in July, the brand announced a partnership with Sarah Jessica Parker for the #LookForwardProject that is meant to change societal attitudes on aging.
From Roc Skincare.
Courtesy of Roc Skincare
“The headline for me about this is that it’s trying to have a conversation about not covering things up, or not being apologetic about the passing of time,” Parker told WWD in July.
“So our mantra is to change the conversation from being anxious about aging into [one] about the joy of living,” said Acosta, who explained the experts help with practical insights and other advice, found on Rocskincare.com, to anchor the project.
“This is just beginning,” he said. “A great conversation started around the world.”
Such discussions and deep-dives into longevity are just starting for the beauty industry at large.
“As time goes by, the topics of health spans, epigenetics and longevity will become more and more a concern,” Rosier said.
“We don’t know everything about longevity,” added Broussard. “There are a lot of mechanisms we are still trying to decipher, so of course it will open the door to new targets in cosmetics, too.”
The Black Hair Experience has come to Brooklyn.“We always knew we needed to open a location in New York,” said Alisha Brooks, a visual artist who cofounded The Black Hair Experience alongside photographer Elizabeth Austin-Davis in 2020.
An art exhibit that seeks to celebrate Black hair in all of its forms, The Black Hair Experience originated in Atlanta and has since made its way to the D.C. area, Dallas, Los Angeles and now Brooklyn — an endeavor that has long been in the making, and marks the exhibit’s seventh location to date.
“Because of the influence that New York has had on Black hair and Black culture in general, it was almost a no-brainer that if we were going to open something in a new area, it needed to be in Brooklyn,” Brooks said.
The Black Hair Experience pop-up exhibit.
courtesy of The Black Hair experience
Consisting of more than 15 installations, each presenting a unique photo opportunity for visitors, The Black Hair Experience’s Brooklyn pop-up opens to the public on Friday at 630 Flushing Avenue, where the exhibit will remain for the next three months.
The photo-worthy installations guests can immerse themselves in include a colorful mock hair salon, handcrafted swings held up by large braids, locs and twists and an area decked wall-to-wall in vintage Ebony, HypeHair and Essence magazine covers, graced by the likes of Beyoncé, Oprah, Naomi Campbell and Vanessa Williams.
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“I think what drives our success is the support of our community,” Brooks said. “A lot of [our execution] comes from just having conversations with other Black women about their experiences and the fondest memories of their hair journeys — those experiences are what we’re trying to take and turn into different activations.”
The Black Hair Experience pop-up exhibit.
courtesy of the black hair experience
Positive affirmations are sprinkled across the walls of the exhibit, which costs $32 for general admission and $52 for VIP admission, which includes a swag bag with products by Black hair care brand and partner of the exhibit, Dark and Lovely.
The Black Hair Experience exhibit.
courtesy of the black hair experience
“We’re proud to collaborate with TBHE in celebrating Black hair, the love we have for radical self expression and self acceptance,” said Tenaj Ferguson, marketing director for Dark and Lovely, in a statement. “We are aligned in our interest to connect with Black consumers and influential voices to honor and amplify Black beauty, Black history and self expression through hair color.”