Cosmetics behemoth L’Oreal has seen a boost to its sales from an unexpected place–selfies. The French makeup maker reported an 11% increase in cosmetics sales last year, compared to just 2% for perfume and 6% for skin care. The reason, says L’Oreal luxury products chief Nicolas Hieronimus, is selfies.
“We live in a society in which people increasingly put themselves on stage, so these actors need make-up,” said Hieronimus in a press release.
The company seems to have foreseen this boom. A few years ago it bought two U.S. makeup brands, Urban Decay and Nix, and Urban Decay alone saw 30% growth last year. But the real booster here might be, appropriately, an investment in technology and social media.
For instance, L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app lets you try on virtual cosmetics with your smartphone, using its camera and (somewhat unsuccessful, according to the reviews) motion tracking to overlay the makeup on your face, live, just like you were taking a selfie. And the company just announced a disposable skin patch that monitors UV exposure and recommends skincare based on its readings.
And it’s not just L’Oreal either. Makeup for selfies is a big deal everywhere. What about this listicle on the Ten Best Foundations for Taking Selfies form the U.K.? Or this Teen Vogue piece on The Best Makeup to Wear When Taking a Selfie?
One thing that hasn’t changed is the exploitation of young women’s insecurity about their looks. According to Reuters, Hieronimus said, “Training videos on the Internet also helped stimulate make-up sales as they allowed young women to find out by themselves how to improve their looks and use make-up.”