Life Pharmacy Westfield Albany cosmetics 2013 / Wikimedia Commons

Every day, I carry a CoverGirl Lipslicks Smoochies Lip Balm in my backpack. It's approximately from 2017. I rediscovered it buried in the back of my makeup drawer at home as I was packing for college. I probably banished it to a dark corner of the drawer after I upgraded to a product from a brand like Glossier. Still, I decided to bring it with me because “it's still good,” although, it doesn’t look like my newer makeup.  

With the abundant variety in makeup products and brands, customers have no problem walking into Sephora, Ulta or through any drugstore makeup aisle and picking up a concealer or blush. But over time, these products have changed in their formulas, shade range and, of course, packaging.

With packaging being the first thing consumers notice about a product, it's no surprise that it looks different from time to time. In the early 2000s and 2010s wearing makeup was similar to wearing an outfit with name brand logos all over it. Extra, noticeable and undeniable.

The picture below is the Smoochies Lip Balm and a similar product by Covergirl sold today. Today’s product is simple and minimalistic. The bottle is a muted pink with the brand name in white. It isn’t bright, or in your face, like the Lipslicks. Even the advertisements are different: The Lipslick ad has a model who is wearing bright clothes and striking a fun pose; The lip balm product advertisement is simply a heart.

Left, an old Covergirl ad for Lipslicks Lipgloss. Right, Covergirl Clean Fresh Tinted Lip Balm 

Makeup has become a nice add-on. Makeup tutorials demonstrate how to show off one’s freckles instead of covering them up. Brands like Glossier emerged banking on the “no makeup-makeup” look. Marketing strategies reflect the change from using makeup to alter  one’s image to using makeup to highlight what you already have. There is some correlation here between this change in social rhetoric and the packaging, so what is it?

People are no longer seeking flashy packaging that distracts them from the actual product, just like we aren’t using makeup to transform us into something different from what we actually look like.  Companies have responded to the call for a change.

Beyond the new packaging, there have been new products entirely, such as the increase in cream-based products, instead of powder. Look at Rare Beauty Blush or Illia Liquid Powder Eye Shadow Tint. The cream-based products sit in our skin, rather than just on our skin. Some people – me included – would say they blend more naturally. We even see the word “tint” more, rather than “full coverage.”

As we continue to change our relationship with the world of makeup, we can only hope that brands we love continue to change with us. This doesn’t mean that we have to do away with our favorite products: They can adapt. At the end of the day what's on the outside of our lipstick tube doesn’t matter that much. All I can hope for is that CoverGirl revives LipSlicks, because mine is way past its expiration date.

Thumbnail image by: Pear285 at English Wikipedia, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons