Meritocracy in Makeup?

By Ollie Newcombe



I for one am partial to the frequent splurge on branded makeup, skincare, haircare you name it, I’ve probably wasted money on it. But through this unending drain on my bank account, I have found a few brands that work and those that make me question their motives for creating a global brand and entering the beauty world.


As always with beauty centred controversies the Kardashians are valuable examples of the issue that I’m raising. Personally, I will never buy makeup from someone who slaps a name on a palette and makes it with roughly $53 to get the product and secondly to send it through my letterbox. For people who have a motive and give it their all to create a groundbreaking brand which sells something different then yes, I would happily spend $53 on getting my hands on it.


Makeup brands such as Urban Decay who built their beauty empire from the ground with only two people who were tired of the same old makeup in shops, who had everything to lose and still went ahead and did it anyway. People like Kat Von D who promotes harm-free vegan makeup and was firstly inspired by her tattoo artistry, who went on to create a brand focused upon the image she wanted to create. Now, these are brands I frequently buy from and am consistently happy with what products I get. The reason, I believe for this is because I truly believe that their brands are about creative talent and changing the way people think about makeup and how it's used. Of course, an element is financially based on making a profit but this is no way near as central as it is for some brands.


For example, being part of a globally televised family and realising the global influence she has commanded by surgery such as lip fillers and has had makeup artists surrounding her most of her life. No way did she take gambles with her company if it failed I’m sure her mum could have footed the bill. The fact that it was so easy for KylieCosmetics to become so successful wasn’t because her products were groundbreaking and new, far from it in fact, but was because she already had the connections, the eyes of young girls all over the world and a nice big net worth already to cover her back. Even if her products were truly horrific they would’ve sold out simply because the name Kylie was on the pretty packaging.


Once Kim caught on to this fantastic business opportunity it wasn’t long before we had KKW beauty, selling her signature contour which I’d like to bet was created my makeup artists or her ‘glam squad’ long before she knew anything about it. But who cares right? Kim Kardashian’s name is on the packaging so it must be the best of the best, surely?


So what makes these brands different from others such as the cult classic Fenty Beauty spearheaded by Rihanna? Well, when Rihanna announced her beauty line it was with the goal to create a range for all skin types which didn’t discriminate against shades of skin. Since then all her products have been focused upon his goal. However, you haven’t heard Kylie with a motive or a passion as to why she created her beautiful lines, have you?

This leads people like me to believe that the reason they do so is that, as Kylie has shown us, they can end up worth $900 million and on track to become the youngest billionaire in the world. And this is without a goal, a reason or motive for creating her makeup, so why is it that people with all of these things (a reason to create good makeup) aren’t worth $900 million?