I distinctly remember the day Glossier seized me with their talons. I had been nonchalantly going through my popular page on Instagram, and one post caught my eye. It was a close-up of a woman smiling in front of a millennial pink background, but the photo was so much more than that. Her skin was flawless. Her hair, effortless and messy. Her eyes and lips completely free of makeup. And most importantly, the model was quite literally glowing. Her skin had a hue that was shiny but not in a sweaty way. In fact it was almost inhuman. To be frank, the photo was clearly unrealistic and no one would know it was selling a beauty product because the model was absolutely free of any trace of makeup. No, Glossier was selling an aesthetic. The brand had perfected minimalism and was roping innocent millennials into an endless cycle of unnecessary packaging, unrealistic expectations and unwarranted expenses.
Founded in 2014 by Emily Weiss, Glossier is a makeup and skincare company that prides itself in its thorough use of minimalism and overall aesthetic.
Now, before I get started on my takedown of Glossier, I do have a confession. My laptop is decked out in Glossier stickers at this moment, and I may or may not have taken my pencils out of one of their infamous pink pouches. I am one of the millions of people who has been seduced by this franchise, and I do not plan on curing my obsession any time soon. Does that make me biased in my criticism? Absolutely. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make my arguments any less valid.
Glossier can be classified as makeup for people that are already pretty. Their goal and slogan are admirable — “Skin first, makeup second” — in order to advocate for the use of “barely-there” makeup. Nevertheless, they are clever in their advertisements as their models already have flawless skin. Yes, Glossier, many people wish that they could feel absolutely stunning without the use of foundation or some eyeliner. However, it is not until they purchase Glossier’s perfecting skin tint (26 dollars) or the Wowder (setting powder priced at 22 dollars) that they realize it provides little to no coverage. Glossier, nonetheless, has already won the battle. The consumer has lost approximately 40 dollars and CEO Emily Weiss, with her abnormally radiant skin and charming smile, is laughing at them behind the scenes. Even so, this is not the consumer’s last encounter with Glossier. Their stickers are addictive, the packaging is beautiful and they heard that Boy Brow is life-changing, so they must purchase that as well.
Be that as it may, Glossier does have some products that provide some coverage and serve the purpose of makeup. Many have fallen victim to their two products, Boy Brow and Cloud Paint, which admittedly are fairly effective. Boy Brow (16 dollars) is an eyebrow filler, while Cloud Paint (18 dollars) is a liquid blush. However, they are not groundbreaking in the slightest and absolutely not worthy of their high prices. These two items arguably provide the same quality of makeup as any drugstore product and yet buying both is a hit on one’s bank account. However, Glossier will attempt to cover their resemblance to drug-store products with their Body Hero campaign that displays them as more inclusive than the average drugstore brand. In this campaign for a moisturizer that comes in small packaging and is so utterly conventional, Glossier goes berserk with their advertisements that showcase women of all different body types and races. It is absolutely brilliant. In fact, Weiss almost tricked me into buying the moisturizer because I did appreciate the message they were putting out. I am nearly convinced she is an evil genius.
Though I do love the Glossier packaging, I must admit that it is a little much. In one of my purchases of highlighter, I received a poster, a pack of stickers, a piece of cardboard with a sample attached to it, a pink pouch, a box for the highlighter and, finally, the highlighter. This is something that most people probably would not argue against. The more goodies with every expensive purchase the better. Nonetheless, it marks Glossier as completely transparent in their marketing. At this point, the fact that they are selling an aesthetic is so blatant that it is almost laughable. Glossier knows that they pull off millennial pink better than anyone else, and they are going to take advantage of that until their final days.
While I continue to love Glossier and will forever be heavily reliant on Boy Brow, I must admit that the company is, simply put, bullshit. CVS has a few very worthy substitutes such as the Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara, the Cucumber Cooling Peel-Off Facial Mask, the Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser, and the Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask. At some point, millennials need to find the will to separate themselves from the adorable stickers we all know and love and make CVS our new Glossier, because frankly, the two are practically synonymous in quality.