The New Way to Shop- Livestreaming

I have a few days off work and whilst sorting through some magazine and newspaper cuttings that I had collected; I found an article from August 2020 about the new shopping craze- Livestreaming. Last year this newest industry was worth £46 billon, yet many of us haven’t even heard of it! So, what is it exactly? Well, companies post livestream videos of beauty tutorial’s, fashion shows, video chats usually with a well-known influencer or personality and even events with the products been used appearing by the side, these can be clicked on to buy. Virtual try-ones for make-up and hair colours are featured too. It also allows for you to ask questions of a virtual assistant at the same time so it’s more interactive than watching a YouTube video. Most of these are through the brands, social media, apps and websites. Livestreaming usage by brands skyrocketed during the pandemic, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of live shopping, but will this change now shoppers have the option to visit stores?

This selling platform saw a 739% increase in usage in 2020, and has found customers are 21 times more likely to buy when they virtually shop with a store associate than if they were left to browse online. Watching someone do a makeup tutorial live and being able to interact with them and ask questions is something that you can’t do on a static YouTube video or webpage.

The L’Oréal group, H&M’s more upmarket Monki brand, Harvey Nichols and Mamas and Papas, are all using this platform to attract and retain customers. Estée Lauder works with Swedish platform Bambuser. The L’Oréal group works with Livescale. Started in 2016, Livescale has been increasing its e-commerce partnerships and launched a partnership with Shopify. Social networks have also seen a huge surge, in addition to Instagram TV there is Tok-tok’s  Livestreaming feature. Which does allow smaller retailers to join the platform. Like Onimos, a vintage retailer with stores in London and Germany, they livestream shopping events on Instagram TV, viewers then leave the page to make purchases.

The Tok-tok generation (teenagers and those in their early 20s) are admittedly one of the biggest demographics currently using mass livestreams and the Chinese market but many experts feel that is going to change and it’s a trend that is here to stay.

Harvey Nichols have been offering Livestreaming to its customers since 2018, and with the temporary closing of shops and restrictions in selling beauty products and some shoppers fear of returning to the high-street it has seen an upturn. It offers events and one to one shopper’s experiences, you can consult a stylist anywhere in the world. It’s also a 24/7 experience so unlike retail shopping hours it can be used at all times.

Fashion and beauty are the best examples of industries that will thrive in a live shopping environment as both of these take advantage of live shopping’s ability to offer a visual image of their products. Ecommerce shopping is fast and convenient but the need for human interaction and an experience for online shopping is something brands have long wanted to include but haven’t been able to figure out. Could this now be the answer?

Consumers want access, authenticity and connection more than ever before and both livestreaming and virtual shopping fit that bill.      Adam Levene- Hero

In the late 70s and early to mid-80s, live shopping networks like QVC (Quality Value Convenience) and the Home Shopping Channel began to appear on televisions and were a huge financial success. This is very much an updated, more polished version.

Going forward, digital solutions have the ability to be made more user – friendly as the use of augmented reality and artificial intelligence can be fine-tuned to offer the perfect shopper’s journey. (Be it not with a physical person) But will beauty shops be forced to disappear from our high streets if customers are using a virtual shopping assistant instead? It’s a win-win for the retailer but what about the actual workforce, will they become redundant? Many physical retailers are great at customer service, Focusing on the needs of a shopper by answering their questions and enabling them to choose the right product. Livestream shopping puts digital retailers in front of a vast online audience while still allowing them to respond to customers on a one-on-one level. There is much convenience to the shopper. You could be in a coffee shop or on the bus and shop livestream, adding to the appeal.

Certainly, for the moment, consumers are happily using virtual make-up consultations and there is still caution of high-contact services, like beauty counters. I did try some of the different platforms personally I found some of them a bit annoying and not that easy to link up to, also if I was going to be cynical you could say it’s a way of getting us to part with more money, as you click on to buy whilst watching a demo, which you found interesting.

But who knows, Livestream shopping could become as commonplace as classic online shopping or posting on social media! The Jurys still out on this one, but I will keep following.

Real Men Use Skincare

In a recent survey of 1,000 men in the UK, 56% said they were guilty of stealing their partner’s products to help with their skincare concerns, while 14% owned up to using their partners products every day and 19% admitted that they use their partner’s products often.  When I researched just how many men in the UK actually used facial skincare it was difficult to find a definite answer. A study found that one in ten men secretly wear makeup, it no longer has to be a secret that a woman wears make-up, so the same should apply for men. I remember about twenty years ago; male friends been embarrassed to say they were using skincare products and while this has changed to some degree a man using facial skincare would no doubt be viewed as a little vain and not very manly! Which certainly isn’t the case, real men do use and need skincare….

Ask any woman you know and they will most likely have a morning and evening skincare regime that they stick to faithfully. For men, it’s not the same. But why? We all have skin, and we are all exposed to the same elements and a bit of a pampering is great for everyone, no matter what our gender.

The survey revealed that men are most likely to use moisturiser, cleanser, eye cream and spot treatments. And that 90% of men have at least one skincare insecurity. While most products targeted for women will work fine for men, most of them include specific ingredients, which are unnecessary for men’s skin. It’s always better where possible for men to use products that target their specific skincare needs. So guys buy your own products….

While the results made us chuckle, men’s skin and women’s skin are very different. A man’s facial skin is thicker, and its follicles release more oil. Even the hormones released by men’s skin is different from a woman’s, which is why it seems like men actually age slower.” Marie Schmid, head of training at Clarins

The universal need for skincare is creating a healthy demand for men’s skincare products. The average modern man is becoming increasingly keener on caring for his skin, thereby encouraging many skincare manufacturers to cater for the men’s market. With tougher, oilier and thicker skins than women, men face different skincare challenges. As in the women’s market skincare products sourced from sustainable natural ingredients should be a key factor in choosing a brand. Prominent beauty brands are increasingly focusing on green formulations in response to the growing demand and changing market. There are many affordable natural brands to choose from.                                                                       

So, what should a daily man’s skincare routine comprise of? To start, a good face-wash is essential. There is nothing better than washing your face after a long hard day at work or first thing in the morning to wake up your face. A face-wash removes dirt, sweat and dead skin cells to reveal a fresher layer ready to be moisturised. It can help in having a better quality shave too.

Next, the number one item on any man’s skincare regime should be a moisturiser. It will protect, energise, smooth and perfect your skin whilst keeping it moisturised all day long. A moisturising after-shave lotion or balm will help to soothe the skin and avoid redness and shaving rashes. It’s a common misconception that oily skin doesn’t need a moisturiser.  All skin types, suffer with dehydration due to modern diet and lifestyles. A moisturiser adds hydration and protection against the environment. (It’s best to opt for lightweight, oil-free moisturisers for oily skin)

Oily skin is usually the result of the male sex hormone testosterone triggering sebaceous glands to produce sebum. (The skin’s natural oil) It’s more prone to blackheads, whiteheads and unsightly breakouts. Over-use of powerful cleansing products, if you’ve got oily skin, and aggressive soaps and alkaline cleansers should be avoided says Sally Penford of The International Dermal Institute. Your skin is a well-designed organ that needs a balance of lubricants for protection. If you strip it of all of its natural oils, it will a become dehydrated and probably quite sensitive. It may gradually start to produce more oil in an effort to compensate for all the harsh treatment. Instead, she recommends using glycerine-based cleansers especially formulated for oily skin or those featuring oil-absorbing clay. Regularly exfoliating skin is an integral part of any man’s grooming routine. But it’s vital if you have oily skin, as dead skin cells can combine with sebum to clog pores leading to spots.

Due to the recent upsurge in pollution, more and more people are visiting dermatologists with different skin issues, including men. Doctor Hadley King, a dermatologist based in New York City, states that various skin related issues can be handled before-hand if you have just one tool with you a face toner. What do these do? They remove dirt and oil in a gentle way whilst restoring the skins PH level, which protects skin from bacteria. Try and buy ones with a low amount of alcohol.

Anti-aging products are popular for both men and woman and though you can’t stop aging, no matter what you do, you can slow down the negative effects through a better lifestyle and the right products. Less conventional products, like oils and serums, with anti-aging benefits are rising in popularity amongst older men. To fight the effects of aging, applying sunscreen daily even in the UK, can shield skin and pores from harsh ultraviolet rays. It also assists in decreasing spots, unevenness, blotchy pores, and protects from skin cancer. So, do apply sunscreen each day without fail for fair skins. Darker skin, which is usually oiler, does have a greater degree of built-in protection in the form of melanin, but the pigment cannot be relied upon to protect the skin indefinitely. Oily skin will also wrinkle if overexposed to the sun’s UV rays as well as developing sun spots and uneven pigmentation, so it pays to protect your skin, if you want to retain your youthful looks.

Finally, we all need a bit of TLC sometimes, men included! If your skin is feeling particularly dry or run-down and your complexion needs a bit of a boost, then you can’t beat a face mask. There are lots on the market but Kaolin clay masks are quick and easy to use and are beneficial to the skin. Only use masks once or twice a week anymore and this cause more harm than good.

Increased exposure on social media has been contributing to the healthy demand for men’s skincare solutions. Manufacturers of men’s skincare products are tapping into newer categories, such as facial scrubs, moisturizers, and polishers rather than just shave care products.

We all need some self-care and in turn this does help to feel more confident and better in ourselves, which is healthy and vanity doesn’t come into it at all.

The Myth of Being a Natural Beauty

Make-up trends come and go, like fashion, I personally prefer to use what suits me best, with some adaptions to the latest trends, rather than following every new beauty and make-up direction.

However, it would be untrue of me to say that I don’t ever follow the latest trends, as the power of advertising has a powerful pull and with Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram all adding to our daily feeds it’s impossible not to be aware of what’s new.

In the fairly recent TV series on beauty by Lisa Eldridge, the Victorian era and the social pressure on women to look beautiful while pretending the effect is all natural was discussed. She describes it as the era of sneaky makeup, looking at the household tricks that women achieved to create virtuous blushes and wholesome glossy eyebrows. It was an hypocritical culture that forced women into covert trickery as a means of demonstrating their goodness. Beauty and make-up products were sold under the counter often as health treatments. No one, who valued their good reputation wanted to be seen as having to have help to look beautiful. Although we can now openly buy make-up and beauty products has the notion of been a natural beauty really changed that much? Do we still live in the Victorian shadow on this score, that some (mostly men) still regard it wrong to wear a lot of make-up or use many beauty products?

 As a feminist issue, it’s an interesting one as women surely should be able to choose to use as little or as much help in the beauty department as they wish, but some feminists express the view, that woman are been exploited by the beauty industry, by feeling they have to wear make-up.

A 2019 study suggested that the average British woman spends £2.39 per day on make-up and toiletries, which adds up to £16.73 a week and £872.35 a year. How much time we spend on our make-up varies, 21 % of us spend under five minutes on make-up each day, with 48 % spending five-to-15 minutes and 31% between 15 and 30 minutes. As many feminists point out, that’s a lot of time and money.

During her show, Lisa Eldridge reveals that the natural look is one of the most time-consuming styles for her to achieve and it usually takes her over 45 minutes of painstaking dabbing and brushing to make a young fashion model look effortlessly beautiful. I would say that make-up should be about enhancing your natural features and in turn giving you more confidence. Some women can look completely different with make-up, again that’s a personal choice. I prefer to look the same, with or without make-up just a slightly better version. (With make-up) You can watch an online beauty tuitional online to help achieve this look.

After a year or more of going without make-up during Lockdown, you would think that we would all want to go back to wearing our make-up in a big way? During a recent survey by L’Oréal, it found that 80% of 16–34-year-olds were excited to start wearing more makeup again after lockdown. But, having got used to a minimal way of doing things, it seems the make-up products that are feeling right for now are subtle cheats that helps to embrace a more natural look. The Latest make-up trends are for make-up that doesn’t even look like you’re wearing makeup! It just looks like beautiful skin. I think the no make-up trend has dominated the make-up industry in the latter half of the last decade, and it’s just being talked about more now. This tend does has to go hand in hand with the beauty industry as you really do have to look after your skin to achieve this look as lighter make-up means less coverage to hide any blemishes or imperfections.

Skinimalism has become a major buzzword as brands have seen the shift of focus to increasing the focus of looking after your skin and paring back make-up to show off the results of taking better care of the skin. Letting skin glow rather that be concealed.

I work for a natural beauty company and have always said that the best beauty look is aiming to have the best skin you can. Trying to cover up problem skins with concealers and heavy make-ups just starts to look cakey and actually looks more obvious. Less is always more. Also, a heavy make-up doesn’t allow skin to breath, so it can actually make skin conditions worse.

So, for once this will me a trend that I follow, well just a bit….

Greening the Beauty Business

For many years Green Business has been on the fringes but now the business world is changing. Environmental awareness is on the rise by demonstrating a commitment to the environment it can enhance a company’s reputation among its existing customers and potential customers and by tapping into a new- eco conscious customer base this also encourages younger consumers, who are very aware of environmental issues. Many consumers believe that companies do have a corporate social responsibility or CSR. This is very much change that is consumer-led.

The Beauty industry is one of the worst offenders, with its unnecessary outer packaging, cellophane and use of plastic bottles and containers.

Greening a business requires putting energy into how to use resources more efficiently. Smaller businesses have been quicker to adapt and make greener decisions but even larger companies like Apple have made huge commitments to sustainable operations, by using 100% renewable energy and zero waste etc. Is this just hype to get more publicity and business, we will have to see long-term!

Exactly, what is a Green Business? This is one that uses sustainable materials to make its products and aims to use as little water, energy and raw materials as possible. As well as reducing its carbon emissions, by using local suppliers and not using excessive packaging. This business approach minimizes the company strain on natural resources and contribution to climate change.

The British Beauty Council in a 2020 survey found that two-thirds of consumers want brands to do more to counter climate change. One in Seven want to use a more environmentally friendly product. Also, according to The Beauty Councils survey packaging makes up 70% of the beauty industries waste. Consumers are switching to brands like Labo or opting for refillable perfumes. Larger brands like Chanel, Guerlain and L’Oréal have been investing heavily in farming communities and sourcing partnerships. Long term relationships that benefit the brand and the ingredient suppliers. Farmers are learning to grow sustainably and the beauty companies are following their raw ingredients every step of the way.

How can we all green our beauty products? Try to use a business that is part of a green Initiative such as the Green Small Business Initiative with gives companies the help to put an action plan in place. Look for products that use natural ingredients that are eco-certified compliant and are sourced from a sustainable supply chain. Look at the sustainability and environmental policies of the business, what are they actually doing to make a difference? Look at using refills where possible and fully recyclable bottles and containers. We also have to think again about wanting to see everything boxed and gift wrapped, nice packaging does look lovely, but in reality, it just adds to the landfill. We can all make a difference just my looking at things in a different way and deciding what matters the most.

There are several green business logos that are shown on shop windows and packaging, I have listed these below:

Forests for all-FSC Forest Stewardship Council when you see this logo, you know that any card, paper and cardboard has been sourced from a responsibly managed forest

Soil Association- This for organic perfumes and perfume ingredients

PETRA– This logo guarantees that the brand has never conducted or allowed testing on animals. This has to be more raw ingredients and the final product

B Corporation– To be B Corp certificated means that the highest standards of social and environmental impact have to be met

Make-up a Glamourous History

“Make-up can be seen as a frivolous subject.  But I think it’s hugely important. What we believe to be beautiful is a window on the world we’re living in.” Lisa Eldridge

As a professional make-up artist and Global Creative Director for Lancôme and the presenter of Make-up a Glamourous History on BBC2, Eldridge has a wealth of experience and passion. Over the course of this three-part series, she raises her scholarly spectacles over early make-up and beauty trends and provides an illuminating guide through the evolution of facial fashion, from the early 18th century up to the Thirties. The beauty looks of three periods in Britain are explored and what it reveals about that era: Georgian, Victorian and The Roaring Twenties. You may think make-up is a frivolous business, but Lisa Eldridge argues that what someone puts on the face and why says a lot about the time they live in.

She trawls through the history books and re-created products we haven’t used for decades. There are recipes with crushed beetles, seashells and bear grease (which she substituted with a vegetable oil). She tests them out first on herself and then on a lovely, young model called Queenie. Eldridge really sells her sensory delight in the products and her curiosity about what they meant to the women of the past. The pharmacist Szu Shen Wong, was drafted in to make the more tricky or toxic products in her lab.

It shows the growth of the beauty industry and the start of companies like Boots and the No7 range, which brought beauty to woman of all classes and not just the wealthy, upper and middle classes. Launched by Boots in 1935 as a selection of eleven skincare products this was then expanded in 1937 with some colour cosmetics. The name was reportedly chosen due to the fact that the number seven was often used to signify perfection. It was one of the first brands to really open up beauty for mass audiences and was made available to the ordinary woman. In 2016, Boots celebrated eighty year’s, they continue to sell and hopefully will carry on for many more years to come!

Many lower-class women had to make their own beauty products, in the Victorian age, cleanliness was hugely important and soap became more easily available and used. But beauty products and make-up were only for the rich and wealthy and still had to be purchased secretly as the use of these was seen as immoral. So many upper-class women purchased these under the counter, disguised as medicinal items. Women were expected to be beautiful but only by natural means. To use beauty products or cosmetics was not acceptable to society, only prostitutes and actresses used them. As we all know, even those blessed with natural good looks, still need some help at times, and it must have been impossible for women at the time to follow the rules of Victorian society whilst achieving the expected levels of beauty.

Selfridge & Co. opened its doors in London on the 15th of March 1909. The owner, American, Harry Gordon Selfridge, wanted to make retail exciting and available to everyone.  Selfridges, was the first store to bring beauty products to the front of a department store. Selfridge wanted women to be able try the products rather than them being hidden behind a counter. This was very forward thinking at the time and was to totally change the way retailers sold beauty products, as his competitors rushed to copy him. He supported the rights of women, even though this caused him ridicule. I think that the beauty industry was starting to encourage women to be more independent, rather than the early views of women looking pretty for their husbands, it was more modern to look good for themselves. Just been able to openly purchase beauty products was liberating for them.

This is social history at it’s best and for anyone interested in the world of beauty, unmissable. Surprising, although we wouldn’t want to go back to some of the toxic ingredients used, some of the more natural ingredients were very successful. So, as the beauty industry changes, and moves away from its reliance on chemicals, perhaps it also needs to look through historical archives as our ancestors could teach use a few things about making natural skincare and cosmetics.

We take it for granted that we can just go into a shop and buy the products we need or want and for most, historically this wasn’t available to women, in particular working-class women for quite some time. I loved this series, and hope that it returns to discuss, beauty in the forties and current times too.

It’s available to view on BBC iPlayer.

By George- History Is Trending

Last year, many of us submerged ourselves in the Regency times whilst watching Bridgeton created by Chris Van Dusen and Shonda Rhimes and based on the romance novels of Julia Quinn. Whilst not strictly historically correct, it was visually pleasing, very entertaining and totally watchable escapism. It also created an interest in the history of this period. The Georgians witnessed the birth of industrialisation; radicalism and repression and extreme luxury alongside extreme poverty. Bridgeton, shows the formalized courting season in London in 1813, as wealthy high-society family’s scheme to pair off their eligible offspring. Showing the Ton, from the French phrase le bon ton meaning in the fashionable mode, or the In Crowd in our modern terms, at its best and worst.The Regency is the period of social and cultural development seen by many as a glorious epoch in British history. As the First Gentleman of Europe the Prince Regent actively encouraged many of the new movements in painting, sculpture, decoration, literature, music, technology and science.

In the last decade many historians have become fascinated by the similarities between the eighteenth century and our own times. The free-wheeling commercial development of the Georgian era, its unabashed enjoyment of consumption of all kinds and the importance of newspapers and magazines in everyday life. This also was the beginning of the culture of celebrity, as Georgian’s held an obsessive interest in all kinds of fame.  

The Georgian era is from 1714 to 1837 and named after the Hanoverian Kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The Regency period was from 1811 to 1820 when George, Prince of Wales, governed the country as Regent during the madness of his father, George III.

This was a period of great change, as cities grew, trade expanded and consumerism and popular culture blossomed. Known for its lavish fashions, sumptuous food and decadence. In high society, the more over the top the better, best shown in Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette in 2006 which was the retelling of France’s iconic but ill-fated French queen. The excess of the period ended with Marie Antoinette’s head been lifted off by its pomaded pomp for a Republican crowd. The Georgian era was a period of ostentation and inequality when it was fashionable for both men and women to flaunt their wealth with excessive displays of hair and beauty products. The more elaborate it was, the longer it took to do, and the more expensive the ingredients, the better. Men’s fashion was equally flamboyant to match the liberal period they lived in with powdered wigs, collared frock coats, and the early to mid-1800s Beau Brummel provided a fashionable figure to follow in terms of what to and what not to wear. It was the last time in history that male attire was as elaborate as women’s making Harry Styles appear quite conservative by comparison.

 On BBC’s twos Make-up a Glamourous History, with Lisa Eldridge, a professional make-up and Global Creative Director for Lancôme, explores what the beauty of the time reveals about the era. Discovering how in this period of extreme wealth in Britain, the rich entered an arms race of beauty. Eldridge tries out all sorts of Georgian recipes with crushed beetles, seashells and bear grease. (Which she substituted with a vegetable oil) Later, she recreates an authentic Georgian look on a 21st century model, with towering hair and whitened complexion. (Without, using toxic lead powder like the Georgians). It had been known for a time that some ingredients such as lead and mercury were very harmful to health, but were still used by many. Pale skin was considered a sign of wealth as it meant you didn’t have to work outside.  Eventually, zinc oxide and talc were used to whiten the face, which was less opaque and relatively less harmful.

Sometimes, additional facial adornments were used to emphasize a fashionable pallor included a small black mole, little clippings of dark velvet, silk or glossy silk applied to the face as a flirtatious embellishment, sending a possible suitor a message about yourself. However, it was said that a promiscuous manner of patching may be productive of ill consequences and ruin many a fair character. These also had the advantage of concealing unsightly pox scars or blemishes. For women, cosmetics were an essential fashion accessory, enabling them to express their status and cultural refinement by emulating the latest modes in female beauty. Members of the aristocracy were often criticized for their heavy-handed use of face-paint. The Georgian look might be ravishingly beautiful but was insanely time -consuming. That was the point. Only the very richest could afford the time and products and this was a period of staggering inequality.

The French Revolution (1789-1799) had the biggest impact on women’s Regency makeup. For a start, it swept away the widespread and extravagant use of makeup that was associated with the decadent aristocracy. The Regency period had a more delicate appearance which extended to the hair, with wigs and enormous headpieces falling out of fashion, curls, feathers, and natural hair were prized. The upper classes wanted their daughters to look respectable and be pleasingly natural, think of Jane Austin.

Beauty and fashion can be seen as a frivolous subject, but what we believe to be beautiful is a window on the world we’re living in and a reflection of society and social history. Personally, I find it fascinating. I worked in a Georgian House Museum, and therefore learnt a lot about this period. If you are interested in finding out more: Amanda Vickery, Lucy Worsley and Annie Gray all write interesting accounts of the time.