Strategy

When nail polish becomes a tool for inclusion

What is more significant than the recording artist Harry Styles to efficiently launch a non-gendered cosmetics brand? The famous English singer took a step further towards a more inclusive commitment of the beauty industry.

Isotta Giorgini

By Isotta Giorgini09 décembre 2021

The Pleasing brand offers nail polishes for men and women (Pleasing)
Harry Styles has created Pleasing in 2021, an inclusive cosmetics brand (Shutterstock)

The cosmetics brand Pleasing, recently launched by the star Harry Styles and which encompasses a combination of six products from nail polish and eye serums to lip care, is profiled to express pleasure. It is about having fun with one’s beauty, as a man or a woman. According to the media CNN style, the artist created Pleasing as an answer to his need to share the feeling with consumers of being freely beautiful, without any type of exterior judgement. Even the social media campaign behind the brand is about diversity and inclusion, considering it showcases several hands, each different, with polished nails. Different, but practically identical: that is the message Harry Styles wants to share through his new commercial approach.

Men, a growing opportunity for cosmetic brands

The Pleasing product range also includes skin care products (Pleasing)

Of course, beyond his clear commitment, Harry Style was also smart and clairvoyant by diving into this sector, considering cosmetic brands are now massively targeting men to develop their business. Indeed, men represent a great opportunity for growth to global cosmetics and skincare players, regardless of their size or positioning. Sales in the men’s personal care sector have increased by 7% lately and this market should reach 166 billion dollars by 2022, thus becoming increasingly attractive to newcomers (CNBC).

This democratization of nail polish, an immediately perceptible sign of inclusion, has been encouraged by other important icons of the international music scene, such as A$ap Rocky, Post Malone and Machine Gun Kelly. Among these artists, the rapper A$ap Rocky often stood out as a trend setter in terms of fashion, including with what is commonly called nail art, or the art of decorating nails. According to an interview published by Vogue, Rocky continues to participate in the efforts to normalize nail styling. He firmly believes that beauty, makeup and using nail polish should not be socially restrictive, by underlining that “men should be able to enjoy nail art without feeling feminine”. Indeed, historically, the idea to paint one’s nails goes back to the 13th Century, with the Incas, who would already decorate their nails in diverse motives, as a tribute to their gods. This art was non-gendered and unisex.

A battle towards normalizing nail art

This battle towards normalizing nail polish worn by men was also supported by other representatives of the fashion and movie industry. The actors Jared Leto and Johnny Depp are eloquent examples, while the fashion and luxury industries are led by the American designer Marc Jacobs and the creative director of Gucci Alessandro Michele. Both have always exhibited their colored nails without fearing judgement, representing a source of inspiration for other fashion figures.

The Boy by Chanel nail polish collection (Chanel)

Nowadays, many luxury brands, such as Chanel, have launched inclusive cosmetics collections (like the Boy collection by Chanel) aiming at perfecting complexions, eyebrows and nails and dedicated to Millenials and Z Generation. According to CNBC, over 40% of adults aged from 18 to 22 have shown interest for beauty products without gender stereotypes, as they now have a wider choice in terms of product offers on the market.

 Furthermore, the global nail polish market represents a great opportunity for newcomers to conquer market shares, as this industry is set out to know constant growth in different regions. According to the Globenewswire report, the markets which need to focused on are China and Canada, as they should grow respectively by 12.4% and 7.3% by 2027, followed by Europe, with an average annual growth rate of 5.3%. Consequentially, nail polish normalization on men would therefore guarantee promoting an inclusive environment as well as add financial value to the sector.

Indeed, by launching a company entirely dedicated to inclusive beauty products, Harry Styles has not only identified a growing market, but has also enabled consumers, uneasy with the idea to express their beauty differently, to go for it, through freeing self-expression, self-love, and self-confidence.

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