How Social Media Turned Hollywood’s Beauty Prep into Marketing Gold

How Social Media Turned Hollywood’s Beauty Prep into Marketing Gold

I’m able to take the behind-the-scenes imagery — all of that stuff is very seamless for me.” Even before his Golden Globes appointments began, Abergel shared an image of his kit for the day on social media: products from new haircare line Virtue Labs and a hair dryer from Dyson Hair. The hairstylist is just one of many Hollywood image-makers who are sponsored by brands during awards season, when up to 35 million people tune in to see the industry’s biggest names at the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and many other celebrations concentrated in Los Angeles throughout January and February. And while the red carpet is where fashion shines, social media has pulled back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes beauty prep process. Huysentruyt Grey likens artists and stylists to celebrity chefs, and she relies on them to choose the best of the best products that are part of the “Violet Code,” the site’s list of stylist-approved (and not sponsored) beauty products. “The impact was immediate and significant,” said Shaban about increased awareness for the brand after the Golden Globes. “If you are already a spokesperson for a brand, you are obligated to use their products, talk about their products, that sort of thing, whether you are actually using the product or not,” said another hairstylist who wished to remain anonymous, explaining why “how to” explanations often always feature the same product from a particular brand. Branding opportunities for artists and stylists without a contract can go one of several ways. While partnerships are usually forged between hair and makeup stylists and brands, it is not unusual for a beauty brand to reach out to an actress directly to sponsor her look for a night and, often, insist its ambassador stylist work with her. “That's why a lot of times, you could get a great opportunity to work with someone and one way or another [it doesn’t happen],” said the stylist. I'm really sorry my relationship with the client is really important to me.’” The stylist either won’t get paid or will try to work in the product in a way that seems organic.

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From top left: Instagram/@hairbyadir, Instagram/@jeaninelobell, Instagram/@rachel_goodwin, Instagram/@renatocampora, Twitter/@carolagmakeup, Instagram/@mollyrstern
From top left: Instagram/@hairbyadir, Instagram/@jeaninelobell, Instagram/@rachel_goodwin, Instagram/@renatocampora, Twitter/@carolagmakeup, Instagram/@mollyrstern

LOS ANGELES, United States — After almost 25 years on the awards season circuit, the red carpet hair master Adir Abergel has perfected his process. On the morning of the Golden Globes on January 8, he woke up early and meditated before going over the day’s schedule with his assistants. He had already pulled together extensive reference images for his clients Jessica Biel and Reese Witherspoon, and prepped some meals to-go before heading out.

“The most stressful part of it is the LA traffic,” he said. “I’m calm throughout the day. I’m able to take the behind-the-scenes imagery — all of that stuff is very seamless for me.” Even before his Golden Globes appointments began, Abergel shared an image of his kit for the day on social media: products from new haircare line Virtue Labs and a hair dryer from Dyson Hair. “If I were you, I would run out and grab these products right now,” read the caption.

The hairstylist is just one of many Hollywood image-makers who are sponsored by brands during awards season, when up to 35 million people tune in to see the industry’s biggest names at the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and many other celebrations concentrated in Los Angeles throughout January and February. And while the red carpet is where fashion shines, social media has pulled back the curtain on the behind-the-scenes beauty prep process. The marketing opportunity can be huge, especially for established brands facing new competition from the new generation of social media-savvy beauty companies that are increasingly dominating shares and sales.

The social media accounts of artists like Pati Dubroff, Patrick Ta, Molly Stern, Jeanine Lobell, Kara Yoshimoto Bua, Jillian Dempsey, Sir John, Charlotte Tilbury and Jenn Streicher have attracted professionals and end consumers alike, eager to see images of artfully arranged counters, face masks in action and final touchups posted in real time throughout the night. And just as the business of Hollywood fashion styling changed when studios cut awards season and press tour budgets for most of its stars, so too did the business of the hairstylists and makeup artists who work alongside them.

Today, beauty artists often form their own partnerships with brands, and awards season has become one of the most profitable times of their year. Indeed, by using the right item on the right woman, artists can earn anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 in product placement deals per client, according to industry sources.

It’s all about authenticity and sharing with everyone the actual process, because none of us are perfect.

Tricks of the hair and makeup trade are much more relatable to the majority of consumers who rarely don gowns but increasingly approach makeup with photos in mind. “We are all now on some version of the red carpet in our daily lives,” said Cassandra Huysentruyt Grey, founder of the editorial and e-commerce beauty site Violet Grey. “Women here are representing multi-billion dollar franchises,” she added, calling Hollywood the most influential beauty culture in the world. “And I think with today’s accessibility, it’s all about authenticity and sharing with everyone the actual process, because none of us are perfect.”

Before the Golden Globes were over, Abergel posted several detail shots of the twisty chignons he gave both Biel and Witherspoon, the former of which included a gold hair accessory from his upcoming collaboration collection with Lelet. The hairstylist counts Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard as clients and has amassed 212,000 followers in the less than two years he’s been active on Instagram. “I do think outside the box in the way I create my craft, and it really does influence a lot of people out there, more than I really had imagined,” said Abergel.

Huysentruyt Grey likens artists and stylists to celebrity chefs, and she relies on them to choose the best of the best products that are part of the “Violet Code,” the site’s list of stylist-approved (and not sponsored) beauty products. “Awards season is like our vetting season,” she said.

Huysentruyt Grey has also advised…

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