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Beauty Brands (That Aren’t Birchbox) Bringing Innovation to the Industry

These five brands in beauty are catering to young consumers and applying innovation to their roots…

For young consumers today, innovation trumps loyalty. Though they may stay committed to a brand for some time, if another is about to out-innovate their go-to, they’ll switch it up in a heartbeat. This behavior is impacting all industries, but it might be the most shocking to the beauty industry. Gone are the women who stuck with one lipstick shade, or a signature scent for decades. Their granddaughters have taken over the beauty aisle, and they’re a finicky bunch.

Their wandering eye is one of the reasons that beauty industry trendsetter Birchbox has been such a wild success. The company was tailor-made for those who want to test out the new, and always have an eye out for the next big thing. More than ever before, beauty startups are attracting young consumers with their out-of-the-box ideas. In fact, Sephora recently created a program to foster female startup creators and their products. Today we’ve rounded up five beauty brand innovators—several of them created specifically with Millennials in mind—rethinking tradition and keeping the industry fresh faced: 

1. Treat

In the past ten years, blow-out bars like Drybar have become a huge trend nation-wide, providing women with a spot for a quick, affordable hair pick-me-up. But startup Treat thinks it knows a better way to give women what they want.  The service, currently testing in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is providing unlimited blow-outs at salons in the area for a flat fee of $125 a month. Refinery29 and TechCrunch both compare the company to ClassPass, but for getting your hair did, and treating yo’self. Users simply sign up and text Treat a time and day they’d like to have their blow out, and the startups “concierges” book the appointment. They promise to partner with only the best salons to guarantee a good experience. Treat has started a waitlist for the next phase in their beauty takeover: unlimited manicures for a monthly fee.

2. Scentbird

Remember the days of having a signature scent? Millennials don’t, and they don’t want one. Startup Scentbird says that only 3% of Millennials have a signature scent, compared to 53% of their moms. The subscription service “recognizes Millennial women’s constant need for newness and change” by sending a curated selection of perfumes to try each month so customers can “date perfumes before marrying them.” The startup calls themselves, “The picky girl’s monthly scent fix,” and stocks 450 brand-name scents for users—female or male—to pick from. The first order comes with a reusable case that the test perfumes fit into, and the refills of perfumes each last about 30 days.

3. Bite Beauty Lip Lab

Customization is a huge draw for Millennials, but getting makeup made just for you is practically unheard of. That is, until Bite Beauty launched their Lip Lab location. Toronto-based Bite Beauty is already known by many makeup-fanatics for their natural ingredients, and their ready-made lipstick colors, available at Sephora. But in 2013, inspired by demonstrating the lip color creation process for fans at a promotional event, founder Susan Langmuir opened Bite Beauty Lip Lap in New York’s SoHo to give women the chance to create their own custom lip color. After consulting with a Lip Lab Artist, visitors can choose the shade, finish, scent, and packaging of their personalized lipstick, and for $45 are handed the final product in less than an hour.

4. Glossier

More brands are co-creating their products with young consumers, and 87% of Millennials say that they think brands should get consumers like them to give opinions before creating products. When Into the Gloss, the popular beauty blog, decided to start their own beauty line, they turned to the people they knew would be the most passionate about the products: their fans. To create the perfect cleanser, they asked their “cult-like following” on their blog and Instagram, “What’s your dream face wash?” The feedback started a product development journey documented with updates, and resulting in the new crowd-sourced “Milky Jelly Cleanser.” Glossier’s site maintains their connection with fans, declaring, “We stay in constant communication with real Glossier users to give you what you want (and because we enjoy it).”

5. Trestique

The creators of Trèstique are designing makeup to cater specifically to Millennials’ preferences. Because young consumers want “products that are multifunctional, have great packaging, are easy to apply in seconds, and don’t require an arsenal of separate tools or brushes,” all Trèstique items come in pencil or stick form, close with magnets, and have built-in sharpeners or other beauty tools. Their messaging is about more than makeup. Instead Trestique tells consumers they’re working to simplify the complicated and “[contribute] to the beauty of your life by giving you back time for the things you love the most.”