Health & Beauty

Worth the Wait

May 11, 2017

Fifty-thousand-person waitlists for foundation, whole ranges selling out in seconds and people lining up for hours at a pop-up store? Meet the new generation of ultra-desirable beauty products. —Aileen Lalor

worth the wait

We know luxe handbags have vast waiting lists and are bought with secret nods, winks and squillions of dollars. And we’ve sat refreshing the screen at midnight, hoping to get gig tickets only to find them sold out the moment they went up. Now, cosmetics are as covetable as Birkins and Beyoncé tickets. The latest to make headlines: The Ordinary Colours, a Canadian-made foundation, not yet launched, with a waitlist of 50,000.

worth the wait

cosmetic crazy. “Beauty enthusiasts going crazy over a product is not new, but the way these products launch and create this frenzy is,” said Audrey Hyams Romoff, president of Overcat, a Toronto communications agency with an extensive portfolio of beauty clients. She says products like Elizabeth Taylor’s first fragrance in 1987 and the lipstick Monica Lewinsky wore for her Barbara Walters interview in 1999 were phenomenally successful, but things are on another level now. What’s changed? Selfies have made everyone appearance and beauty obsessed, social media allows us to show off our looks and make connections and brands know how to create excitement with limited-edition launches, pretty packaging and savvy marketing. Add in the celeb factor and things get crazy.

worth the wait

star power. Victoria Beckham’s first collection for Estee Lauder sold out online in a few hours. “Everything about it was highly thought out, from the packaging design to the products, and Victoria Beckham was intimately involved in the creation of all those. The fact that it was limited edition created a sense of urgency,” said a Lauder Canada spokesperson. “Victoria Beckham was also highly engaged in generating awareness. She posted frequently on her own social media platforms and also participated in global media interviews.” Beckham has more than 41 million followers on Instagram. Another Insta superstar turned beauty phenom? Kylie Jenner, whose first Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit (a lippie/liner duo that promised to give you Jenner’s famous pout) sold out in one minute and was changing hands for $1,000 on eBay a few days after launch. “I was in New York when Kylie Jenner’s SoHo pop-up was opening [in February 2017],” said Hyams Romoff. “Barricades were set up for five blocks to accommodate the 2,000 people waiting to get in.”

worth the wait

not so ordinary. All this brings us to The Ordinary Colours foundation. It’s neither celeb-endorsed nor housed in “OMG-I-die” packaging—so why is the wait list now 50,000? The Ordinary’s co-CEO, Nicola Kilner, attributes her brand’s overall success to honesty. “People are educated and thirsty for transparency and brands at large have ignored these very important changes in the audience. The Ordinary took steps to shake up the industry and the demand for it grew entirely out of the passion, disbelief and word-of-mouth of this very humbling audience, the consumer,” she said. What’s so good about this foundation? Kilner says it’s the Holy Grail: a do-it-all base that will suit everyone, boasting “technologies for lasting adherence, technologies to avoid pigments collecting within fine lines, treated pigments for rich, saturated colours, non-chemical SPF without a grey-tone effect and no use of nano particles to achieve SPF.” As with the rest of The Ordinary’s range, it’s cheap as chips—prices start at less than $7 for a 30-milliletre bottle.

worth the wait

picture perfect. Celeb status creates buzz, whether you’re Kylie Jenner or, erm, Monica Lewinsky. But it’s not the only reason products sell out. Makeup is instantly Instagrammable and shareable—think Beckham’s luxurious black-and-gold cases, Paul & Joe’s lipsticks with cat faces running through their middles or makeup artist Pat McGrath’s Lust 004 ultra-glitter lip kit—just one of dozens of products that “broke the Internet” last year. A picture can go ‘round the world in minutes.

worth the wait

wait for it. What’s next for these “it” items? Beckham’s spring collection for Lauder launched March with new products and colours. Kylie Jenner used IG (what else?) to announce KW x Kylie Cosmetic—a collab with sis Kim. And, just as we went to press, news broke that Frank Body’s Shimmer Scrub, said to give skin a luminous head-to-toe finish, was sitting pretty at a 50K waiting list ahead of its May 1 launch. As for The Ordinary, its parent company, Deciem, will open two standalone stores in Vancouver in late spring or early summer, so you can get your foundation fix there—stocks permitting, of course.


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