Magazine article Online

Beyond Glamour: Information on the Makeup of Cosmetics and Beauty Care

Magazine article Online

Beyond Glamour: Information on the Makeup of Cosmetics and Beauty Care

Article excerpt


"[S]ocial man lives outside himself and can only live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the feeling of his own existence only from the judgement of others concerning him."

--Of the Social Contract, or Principles of Political Right, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762

Beautiful, radiant women and rugged men gaze with clear eyes, healthy skin, and shiny hair from glossy magazines, webpages, television, and now, new media. These advertisements exhort us to buy creams, soaps, makeup, fragrances, and treatments that promise to "supercharge" skin; provide "ageless beauty"; give us lustrous, sexy hair; mask odors; and make us look healthier and better than we can be without them.

Our concept of cleanliness, beauty, and glamour is influenced and mediated by messages from the cosmetics industry--that continuously tells us we can improve on what we are. Whether we buy into these messages or not, given the growing choice of products on the market and the reach of consumer advertising, it gets very confusing to objectively evaluate what we need against alternatives. Most of us make purchase decisions following the advice of family and friends, store clerks, and beauty consultants, many of whom may not know much more than we do.

Beyond personal choice and advertiser influence, this is an industry, one you might be called upon to research. This article aims to provide some perspective on the industry, along with relevant industry, advocacy, and regulatory resources and databases that can help you develop an understanding and basis from which to launch further investigation.


By concentrating on industry-specific sources, I assume readers are already familiar with the general business databases that cover news, the trade press, market research, and other aggregated bibliographic literature. Thus, I don't explicitly mention databases such as ProQuest's ABI/INFORM, EBSCOhost's Business Source Premier, Factiva, LexisNexis, and Euromonitor, although they contain important information for industry researchers.

Two websites for news and trends stand out, however, and deserve special mention: and GCI magazine. is the go-to place for breaking news on cosmetics formulation and packaging. It has three sites, each with its own geographical focus. Current hot topics in the news focus on market entry, anti-aging and skin whitening, nanotechnology, and green cosmetics.

* Asia:

* EU:

* U.S.:

GCI: Your Brand Is Our Business ( covers business/brand strategies, trends, market data, event coverage, and analysis. Articles summarize and link to market research reports from companies such as Euromonitor and Mintel Group Ltd. Digital subscriptions to the magazine are free, and the site provides searchability to its content. Free registration also provides access to the online searchable directory of suppliers.


In their book Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry (Allured Business Media, 3rd ed., 2009), Randy Schueller and Perry Romanowski identify five main components of the cosmetic and beauty industry. Raw material suppliers use various chemical and physical processes to convert feedstocks, such as petroleum distillates and natural oils, into materials useful in cosmetic products.

Fragrance vendors, a specialized category of raw material suppliers, design and manufacture the fragrances used in cosmetic products. Finished goods marketers make the finished cosmetic products such as makeup, shampoo, deodorant, skin lotion, and fragrance that are ultimately sold to consumers. Contract manufacturers specialize in batch producing and filling finished products on contract to other companies. …

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