In magnificence, as in most industries geared round promoting you stuff you in all probability don’t want, buzzwords are every thing. Take the newest to enter the wonder fold: “glow”. Abstract and ethereal, it’s loaded with which means. Put this in your face, says the cream, and you’ll look … what? Healthy? Young? Pregnant? Because glow is the final word signifier of internal well being. But we do it. We put the cream on, in an try to look … shiny?
The phrase “glow” seems within the descriptions of greater than 300 merchandise on Net-a-Porter’s beauty site, referring to every thing from physique oil to blusher. It is a promoting level, used on a swath of merchandise by the makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, and has additionally impressed a brand new Givenchy vary, which features a “radiance rosy glow highlight”. The glow development isn’t simply confined to US and European manufacturers, both; one among South Korea’s greatest magnificence export websites known as Glow Recipe. Beauty salons and millennials use the phrase, too, usually dropping the “w”. At this stage, we may view the rise of glow as indicative of an trade audacious sufficient to attempt to commodify nature. But we additionally must take a protracted laborious have a look at ourselves as a result of it appears to be working. People are shopping for the stuff as a result of they suppose it’ll make them shine, actually.
To acquire traction, a buzzword must utilise phrases we’re conversant in. Some magnificence buzzwords work, in fact, as a result of they’re enjoyable or funny-sounding (take “baking”, which is the method of caking on powder to create a good end and intensify angles, or “strobing”, which is kind of whacking on highlighter to catch pure gentle). But there was a marked shift in what we’re after. This yr, the time period “anti-ageing” was banned from numerous titles, together with Allure and Elle. According to Allure’s editor-in-chief, Michelle Lee, the time period “[reinforces] the message that ageing is a condition we need to battle”. By distinction, phrases similar to glow are ageless.
It is admittedly solely this previous yr that “glow” has entered the broader magnificence lexicon, regardless of its look in all method of actions, for instance, post-workout glow or yoga glow. It can be extra summary, even poetic, as an aesthetic. In his poem She Walks in Beauty, Lord Byron used numerous glowing metaphors to encapsulate his cousin’s magnificence. And, in fact, it refers to being pregnant, whereby oils produced by an inflow of hormones, coupled with an extra of blood movement to the face (as much as 50% extra, says the Mayo Clinic Complete Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year), create the much-coveted being pregnant glow. To seem glowy by some means evokes these elementary qualities of motherhood. It makes you’re feeling extra womanly. Glow may very well be essentially the most pro-woman adjective to enter the wonder vernacular for a very long time.
The time period in all probability got here from the world of South Korean magnificence, the fount of all aesthetic fads, the place “glassy” is one other phrase bandied round on social media. But to know why it’s occurring now, it’s price its almighty predecessor: contouring. The feature-enhancing method dominated the wonder world for a minimum of 5 years, no matter the truth that only a few individuals understood tips on how to do it accurately.
Perhaps this was the purpose – it turned a elementary signifier of wealth and well being, and time. It was a Kardashian trademark and, in fact, a product of Instagram, but it surely additionally indicated you had the inclination to sculpt your face. But with that got here societal grenades. The concept of utilizing numerous shades of basis and cream sticks to whittle down your nostril, slim your face or change your pores and skin tone was, nicely, problematic to say the least. It wasn’t contouring’s fault – as a way, it has been within the vogue trade for years, primarily as a result of it images nicely – but it surely quickly turned one of many primary tough tenets of social media, turning fans into facsimiles with a sure look. It additionally, and maybe that is key, can look appalling off-camera. Anyone who has seen in bald gentle somebody professionally contoured can be more likely to by no means use bronzer once more.
Rose Beer, well being and sweetness director of Grazia journal, is loth to make use of the phrase “contouring”, preferring “bronzing”. “For a long time, swooshing layer after layer of bronzer was the solution to being tired, ill, spotty or whatever,” she says. But then we reached vital mass. “I think it’s in part a backlash against that overdone makeup look.” Beer has, on a micro stage, embraced “glowing” by switching from Armani Maestro Fusion foundation (which is mattifying) to Armani Maestro Glow. And, it appears, social media is in settlement together with her shift. At final search, the phrase “contour” had been hashtagged greater than 4m occasions on Instagram, whereas the phrase “glow” was at greater than 5m. “Health and beauty brands know this – ‘glow’ is a word that sells,” she says.
However, until we’re treating the pores and skin from inside, we’re not implementing any structural change. Enter nutricosmetics, one other motion within the magnificence trade that has been very important to the success of glow, and which views skincare as an oral complement. In different phrases, magnificence merchandise are as a lot to be ingested as rubbed in. An early adopter of the time period was the Beauty Chef, an Australian nutritionist who beginning promoting ingestible magnificence merchandise a number of years in the past, with an actual push in 2015. Its bestselling complement known as Glow, and accommodates numerous vitamins and probiotics that “synthesise collagen in the skin and help contribute to normal skin function as well as support digestive health”. Selfridges additionally has a wide variety of ingestible magnificence dietary supplements at its Beauty Workshop. According to a retail assistant at Space NK in Covent Garden, London, collagen-building tablets are amongst their bestsellers.
Glow is, then, one of many few phrases that straddles the interior and exterior, what we eat and what we slather on our pores and skin. Theresa Yee, senior magnificence editor at development forecasters WGSN, reckons that that is “perhaps why it’s taken off”. It is about trying such as you really feel, or need to really feel, the epitome of aspirational magnificence, and going so far as you’ll be able to to make that occur. This could seem innocent, however does the truth is take us again to social media, the place reality and actuality are compromised. If the elusive glow is about acquiring a glance of well being, quite than youthfulness – of showing recent, gym-fresh and even pregnant – what are the ethics of faking it?
The magnificence trade is beneath duress to provide you with new methods to promote stuff. It guarantees numerous issues and depends on an arsenal of buzzwords to do it. Previous phrases – contouring, strobing, baking – are huge, however most have a tendency to use to a product or methodology of software. Few have the multitasking properties of “glow”, which is as a lot about how you’re feeling as the way you look. Glow could also be one other confection of a multibillion pound trade, but it surely comes from one thing deeper than that. And no serum will make you look pregnant.