Recently, billion-dollar ‘skin first, makeup second’ beauty brand Glossier has had a new CEO, opened new locations, and announced a partnership with a seasoned beauty retailer in the US. In and amongst all this change, one question looms large: will it hold up? Since the notoriously pink brand’s inception in 2014, Glossier has garnered a cult fan base, partially due to its then-unique offerings of natural-looking ‘no-makeup makeup’ products and aesthetically-pleasing packaging.


As US and European consumers have become more aware of the importance of skincare in maintaining a clean, put-together look, more and more beauty brands have begun to mimic what used to be Glossier’s USP, its minimal aesthetic and focus on skin. Growing brands such as Kosas and Milk Makeup have created a slew of products offering similar effects to, and often lower prices than, Glossier. The increase in competition in this formerly niche market should have driven prices down all around, including Glossier's. But Glossier has maintained its mid-to-high range pricing despite competitors producing increasingly cost-effective products.


Emily Weiss, founder and former CEO of Glossier, stepped down as CEO in May 2022, opting to remain a fundamental part of the company as executive chairwoman. This gave way for the corporation’s former chief commercial officer, Kyle Leahy, to step in and fill Weiss’ shiny pink boots. Leahy has already brought in a wave of change, with a total of nine permanent locations planned to be open by 2023 compared to the meagre four offered previously (a few of which were even temporary pop-up stores). This, in conjunction with the fact that Glossier will be carried by Sephora from early 2023 onwards, signifies a shift in how the brand is marketing itself. Glossier has moved from a brand that maintains a certain air of mystique and exclusivity to one which aims to be as accessible as possible.


It seems that not all is well with Glossier. Upon visiting the r/glossier page on Reddit, it can be seen that many Glossier customers based in the US are finding Glossier’s products being sold at outlets such as Ross, Marshalls and TJMaxx at heavily discounted prices. While Glossier could simply be trying to break even selling soon-to-expire stock, coupled with the many changes the company is undergoing, it seems a little worrying for the brand. It's an understatement to say that discount stores don’t quite capture the allure Glossier used to have. Furthermore, with prices being hiked up to $4 on some products, people on sites such as Twitter, Reddit and Youtube have expressed their changing sentiments towards the brand. They simply cannot justify spending such exorbitant amounts on products which have minimal effect and are widely duplicated by other brands.


Overall, there is hope for Glossier as it is already an established brand, and will likely be the first thing people think of when discussing the trend of minimal, skincare-focused makeup. Glossier’s aim to "bring more Glossier to more people" could be viewed as a desperate ploy from the company to reach out to a broader consumer base. This could be exacerbated by the fact that they no longer have such a hold on the market as they did previously. However, this transition may well be a way for the brand to become more inclusive, as is the goal for many companies these days. This will only benefit them in the long run, as more people will have the opportunity to try, and possibly fall in love with, Glossier.