Let's get existential for a minute. What is makeup about to you? Is it about provocation and subversion, or evocation of an earlier time? Transformative and arresting, or soft and natural? What is the effect that you try to create on yourself and others?
Makeup brands need to have a clear answer to these questions. This universe of emotions and images informs the decision-making around new collections, new shades, and new products.
Chanel is about affirmed style and independence. Yves Saint Laurent is about Left Bank provocation. Dior is about extravagant, ostentatious femininity. These universes trickle down from the richly visual fashion side of the business into the more profitable makeup and perfume side.
The Dior brand has created an evocative universe of femininity suffused with the house colors of gray and pink. With roses, bows, sparkles, and over-the-top princess packaging, there really is nothing else so unabashedly girly in the selective market. It is also wildly successful, with a strong strategy of incessant franchise animations and frequent star product renovations.
As Dior puts out several hundreds of new shades each year, other brands tremble from the sheer quantity of it all. And its shows in the rankings: Dior creeps up faster and faster each year. It’s taking over the beauty world.
A rather exceptional Dior franchise is the New Nude, launched in September 2012, which elaborated a new “ultra-natural” makeup look. The franchise was organized around a renovation of an existing lightweight foundation, the Diorskin Nude, as well as other complementary face makeup products, a new lipstick line called Rouge Dior Nude, and four accompanying shades of nail varnish.
The franchise has been supported in following campaigns, particularly with the launch of the Glow products for lips, nails and cheeks. And the franchise is truly performing long after the launch and continues to be a force in the selective market.
The “ultra-natural look” proposed by the Dior Nude franchise is not ultra-natural as in particularly natural-looking, but rather ultra-natural as in beyond natural. The look is fresh, luminous, radiant, rosy, healthy, glowing. The goal is an enhanced beauty that doesn’t look like structured makeup, doesn’t look like no makeup, but rather some sort of ethereal otherworldly angel makeup. The shades are just a little too pink, a little too luminous, which is what puts the "ultra" in ultra-natural.
I love these products for the romance of it all. It’s nice with eye makeup, like I’m wearing today, but it is especially celestial without mascara.
Diorskin Nude BB Crème is my favorite foundation. It is a European-style rather than an Asian-style BB cream, so more fluidity with less coverage and a low SPF of 10.
It blends amazingly well, even on hot summer mornings, doesn’t settle into creases or show facial hair, and is just an excellent quality foundation. It is smooth, well-blended, and hydrating in a watery rather than greasy way.
All of the colors are deliberately pink-toned to give a youthful rosy look, even to skin with neutral or yellow undertones. I wear 001.
Diorskin Nude Concealer, also in 001, is much more neutral-toned. It is described as an under-eye concealer, but I find that the level of light reflection is excellent for blemishes as well. The hydration is really calming on the skin.
Dior Rosy Glow is an ultra-bright, glowing, cool-toned pink. It looks totally inappropriate in the case, but it goes on powdery and luminous and almost iridescent. It’s smooth, not clumpy, and blends well.
Apparently, it features technology that “intuitively adjusts to each skin” to develop “a rosy radiance to match each skin tone.” It’s got enough oomph to it that it really does work on a wide range of skin tones. It comes in one shade: again, 001.
Dior Lip Glow is a companion to the famous Lip Maximizer. Instead of boosting volume, it proposes to boost natural lip color.
It has a funny gummy-looking texture and bright pink color, yet it applies with stiffness even in hot weather and has excellent, lasting hydration. It has neither waxiness nor greasiness--they really nailed the consistency of this one. On the lips, it has the same ultra-rosy look of the Rosy Glow and Nail Glow.
What do you think of the ultra-natural makeup look? Do you like Dior makeup, or is it too princess-y for you?