ignis: The future role of gender in the beauty industry?

Does gender thinking have any bearing on the future beauty regimes of Gen Z? What opportunities does this create for the industry ask Zoe McGee, Ellie D'Eath & Issy Campa.

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What do you see, when you look in the mirror? Does it surprise you, delight you, destabilise you? Be it cruel, kind, or way off-base (coat), what you see isn’t necessarily what you have to live with.

The beauty industry has empowered consumers to defy, enhance and get creative and the canvas they’re given. But what now, when an increasingly vocal (and influential) audience is rejecting the pillars of gender-specific products? Does the beauty category need to throw off the labels of FOR MEN and FOR WOMEN to focus purely on the product benefits?


The conversation around gender and identity had entered mainstream consciousness. Whether it’s the ban on harmful stereotypes by the ASA, traditionally machismo brands tackling toxic masculinity, or fashion houses releasing gender-free lines, the idea that you are defined and limited by your gender is no longer an absolute.

More than on-third of GEN Z respondents in a recent survey strongly agreed that gender does not define a person as neatly as it used to. The idea that a beauty product can instead tackle a certain flaw or enhance a certain quality is making headway, and Mintel research supports this.

“Consumers are moving away from traditional gender stereotypes and

expectations. As such, they are going to come to expect brands to push a

gender-neutral message to the fore of their new product development and

marketing campaigns.”

Of course, it's easier for smaller, newer companies to live this idea. It's often at the very heart of their brand, their mission or purpose in life. The bigger or more established you are, the more carefully you have to tread. Like it or not you’re held to a different standard, scrutinised more closely, a target for backlash more easily. Fundamentally it

comes down to authenticity. If you’re going to do it, mean it. Find those in your organisation who can make it a passion project as much as a business decision. Don’t have one brand in your stable celebrate the breaking of gender stereotypes whilst

another promotes it. Should you get in the game? Well, maintaining relevance in an increasingly fluid world aside, it opens you up to an entirely new spectrum of audience.

Why limit your brand to one type of wallet?



Ellie D'Eath and Isabel Campa, the creative duo behind Unboxed, put their lippy where their mouth is to create a gender neutral, subscription based and sustainable beauty brand, without 􀆟ck-boxes. "We wanted to create something that everyone can take pride in purchasing, using and reusing. Unboxed is all about embracing how colourful humanity is by creating a simplified product range, a canvas that respects both people and planet. Beauty for all!"

ignis are an award winning brand experience agency who are members of the MAAG who in turn represent the independent agency community. To learn more about ignis type "ignis" in the search bar or visit http://www.ignis.co.uk/

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