Brand Spotlight - Glossier

Today, I'd like to return to the Brand Spotlight series. In the past, I've covered Drunk Elephant and Burt's Bees. Next, I'd like cover a brand that has been generating buzz for the past couple years - Glossier! In most industries, startups are hoping to be the Uber of their field. In beauty, everyone wants to be the next Glossier. I'm particularly attracted to Glossier because it started as a blog!

Origin and Philosophy

Before Glossier was a skincare brand, its founder Emily Weiss was working as a beauty editor and running a successful beauty blog called Into the Gloss. The blog's most popular series was "The Top Shelf" where celebrities and industry insiders shared their favorite products. In 2014, Emily decided to branch out into a product line and founded Glossier. The brand uses its close connection with blog readers to inform its product offering and formulation decisions. Glossier started as a direct-to-consumer brand, but has since opened a couple brick-and-mortar stores. According to Forbes, as of March 2019, the company had raised $100 million in Series D funding for a valuation of $1.2 billion.


Glossier has been very successful building hype and growing a cult following. The language on its website and social media feeds is fun and friendly and the brand tries to position itself as a friend of the consumer, offering advice and product recommendations. Its stores often have a line out the door and many of the product reviews on its website are beyond glowing. With its skincare basics and makeup products that are meant to be subtle and easy to use, many consumers are resonating with the cool, low maintenance vibe of the brand. What I personally find interesting about the brand is that it is perceived as luxurious and aspirational. This allows the company to charge a premium for simple products. For example, you can find a petroleum-jelly based lip balm for $1 or $2 from Vaseline, but consumers are willing to pay $12 for the Glossier version.


Product Portfolio

The Glossier brand identity and philosophy is focused on simplicity and aesthetics. Their slogan is "skin first, makeup second" and Glossier is known for the "no makeup" makeup look with subtle products. They offer skincare products such as lotion, cream, serum, and cleanser, makeup products such as brow gel, concealer, mascara, highlighter, and lipstick, and even some apparel. Beyond its formulas, Glossier is known for its packaging aesthetic which is generally crisp white with simple black text, shipped in a millennial pink bubble wrap envelope. Product prices range from $12 for lip balm to $35 for face cream. The prices are a combination of affordable and overpriced. A tube of lip salve should not really cost $12, but nothing is so astronomical that it feels like a splurge.


Top Formula

There is so much hype around Glossier that it's hard to call out a single top formula. Since the brand focus is on skincare first, I decided to pick the popular Milky Jelly cleanser. This cleanser is a crowd-pleaser due to its unique texture and ability to remove makeup.

The ingredient list has 22 items so I won't go into each material, but the website specifically mentions the use of Poloxamer 184 as a cleansing agent used in contact lens solution and Rose Water which gives the product its floral fragrance. Another ingredient is Sodium Hyaluronate, which I covered in this past post on Hyaluronic Acid.


According to the company, this product was formulated based on input from blog readers on a post about the ideal cleanser. I find this crowd-sourcing of product attributes to be interesting and a great way to engage with customers. It resulted some unique attributes such as the ability to use the product on dry skin to remove makeup.


My Experience

I've personally tried several Glossier products from both the skincare range and makeup line. I wouldn't say I'm a Glossier groupie, but a few have made it into my daily routine. The Milky Jelly cleanser has become my everyday face wash. The makeup products I use the most are Balm Dotcom lip balm, Cloud Paint blush, Haloscope highlighter and Boy Brow eyebrow gel.


Overall, I've enjoyed most of the products I've tried from the brand. As someone who doesn't wear much makeup on a daily basis, I like their "skin first" mentality and the relative simplicity of their product offering. You can almost think of their products as basics, like the American Apparel of beauty. They aren't necessarily the most exciting or innovative, but they are simple and work for most people. The main factor that keeps me from purchasing more items is the price point. I find items to be a bit overpriced for what they are. However, compared to some other lines, the prices are attainable and they offer several kits that give you a bit of a discount.


Have you tried Glossier products? Do you have a favorite product that you enjoyed using? Do you prefer their skincare range or color cosmetics? Let me know in the comments!

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