It seems like we can’t go two minutes without a high profile beauty launch. This summer, Linda Wells, founding editor of Allure Magazine and current chief creative officer of Revlon, brings us Flesh Beauty, an “uncensored, unfiltered, and unapologetic” line that encourages creative expression and self-love. Take a peek at Flesh Beauty homepage and you see slogans such as “Real, Skin Flattering Makeup,” “Our Favorite Color Is You,” and “Express Yourself,” next to images of fresh faced women, all in a very pleasing retro-inspired font.
I first came across the brand while browsing online on Ulta. It seemed almost like a mistake, because Ulta’s brands never really struck me as “avant garde,” no matter how good their products are (not to discredit them). What first gave me this reaction was the packaging itself. The billion dollar beauty industry is an extremely hot market. In order to compete for the large amount of money women will readily spend on cosmetics, brands rely heavily on product packaging to win over customers. So at first, I had my reservations about the brand and thought perhaps they were just riding on Glossier’s millennial pink coattails. With further research though, into the origins of the brand and the reviews I read and watched, I became intrigued. Since the brand comes from former beauty editor Wells, who has been entrenched in the beauty world for so long, you can be sure she knows what a good beauty brand looks like. With Flesh, she rises to the expectation that the brand’s formulas will deliver. In interviews, she emphasizes how many times the foundation especially was reformulated to fit every skin tone instead of just calling it a day. Slowly but surely, I’ve also noticed Flesh sneaking it’s way into top-shelf posts on Instagram, perhaps the most telling tale of what women ACTUALLY use.
I feel like I need to address the name before continuing, as I find it amusing to throw around such a carnal word. Wells herself has stated that the name is meant to be a bit provocative and strange, so as to stick out among other brands and prove it’s edginess among the fluff. The name is also a play on the dated concept of a “flesh” tone in makeup, which was often just somewhere between ivory and vanilla. They are a brand for the “post-Fenty” world, where foundation launches with just a handful of shades just don’t cut it anymore. Flesh boasts 40 shades of their stick foundation in the widest range imaginable. Not only do their products look cute and sound perfect on paper, according to tons of reviews, this stuff really works. And after all, isn’t that what we really want?
Trends come and go with the seasons, even weeks. In recent years, there was a certain “overdone” makeup look that we were sold on, and perhaps struggled to attain. Think Kardashian/Jenner level face beat with contour, baking, and precise brows. We were sold on the idea that a long routine was not only essential for beauty, but also a way to pamper and treat yourself. This poreless doll-like perfection was extremely popular, but what follows is the pendulum swinging back, an equal and opposite reaction. Think of Glossier’s minimalism, where singular items replace complicated steps in your routine and keep you from looking anywhere “too” made-up. This is fun and all, but then aren’t there those times when you want to just smear color across your face like a Glam Rock star, when you just want to dip your brush in something sparkly and watch it turn your face into a party? Flesh Beauty stands somewhere in between the two, straddling the world of less-is-more and more-is-more. They offer basic and essential items, like their foundation stick that looks like a mini glue stick and is simply marked with the brand name in a delightful “millennial pink” shade, and items that do embrace that side of many of us that wants to actually have fun with our makeup, like their glittery honeypot eye gloss and fuschia blush. They show us that the two can exist together in your vanity and on your face, and that “natural” doesn’t have to be the only way to achieve a sleek makeup look. Check out the full line on fleshbeauty.com or in stores only at Ulta.