The beauty industry is taking up a new marketing routine: the digital glow up. As millennials skew more and more towards transparent, green, and customizable brands, digital natives are primed for success. Here’s how the new entrants are sending waves through the industry that are more than just skin-deep.

Digital advances across social media, e-commerce, and production have lowered the barriers to entry for small, independent brands. These brands have captured the attention of consumers across product categories, while heritage brands that have been slower to adapt to digital channels have struggled to maintain their reign with younger consumers. Seeking growth, major beauty enterprises including the L’Oréal Group and The Estée Lauder Companies have been busy buying up independent brands to shore up their businesses. This frenzy of activity has led to a record-setting number of mergers and acquisitions over the past several years, with valuations of brands exceeding $1 billion. At the same time, “global brands are losing share as small brands and disruptors are gaining.”.

If you haven’t heard of Glossier yet, you’re likely living under a rock and might actually benefit from a good skincare routine more than anyone. Launched by a beauty blogger, the brand didn’t come from a traditional background but has seen success in spades, surpassing $100 million in annual revenue last year. Venture capitalist firms, which typically shy away from investing in consumer brands, have even taken notice of Glossier’s gains according to Gartner L2’s Beauty US: Indie Index.

So how did these little-known labels get their spot in the sun? A clever cocktail of organic ingredients, personalized service, and 24/7 transparency topped off with a best-in-class digital presence from start to finish. But now, as indie labels line up for corporate success, the question is no longer will they be successful, but will they eventually sell out?

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