How teen heartthrob Harry Styles is breaking down gender norms in beauty
Former One Direction Singer turned Solo Artist, Harry Styles, filed a trademark for a company titled “Pleased As Holdings,” for perfume and cosmetics. The brand Pleasing, Perfect Pearl, was available in limited quantities for pre-order, but is officially launching November 29, 2021. The Perfect Pearl launch had seven products — four nail polishes, a selection of nail stickers, one skin-care serum, and one dual-ended eye gel/lip oil stick — which make up the entirety of the brand’s beauty directory, for now. The products are vegan and cruelty-free, with prices ranging from $20 to $75. Pleasing’s polishes come in four different shades and have names inspired by pearls: a white shade called Perfect Pearl, a pale pink called Granny’s Pearls, a black nail polish with a navy sheen named Inky Pearl and a clear topcoat named Pearly Tops.
”Perfect Pearl is was designed to wear on its own, or experiment with others. Pearly Tops is designed to go solo as a barely-there effect, it also happily tops any polish to transform it to a matte finish and enhance its luminescence. Inky Pearl is designed to be worn independently, or apply over or under other shades to create special looks. Granny’s Pink Pearls is a pearlescent pink with
a glossy finish.” — Pleasing Website
Styles, who is known for his androgynous wardrobe and his love of mismatched manicures, is truly showing the world he has a desire to break down the barriers between masculinity and feminity. In an interview in 2019 with The Face Styles said, “What’s feminine and what’s masculine … it’s like there are no lines any more.” The idea of sexual orientation is being challenged by millennials. While beauty is for everyone, breaking these norms in beauty means shifting the visual cues of attractiveness. The current gap between realistic expectations and the main beauty standard are dangerously unattainable. By allowing people to fully submit to their own standards and outward expression, we can drastically raise self esteem, lower serious mental health issues, and medical conditions that stem from individuals trying new trends to be socially accepted.
Pleasing was announced in Dazed magazine’s winter issue on November 15 alongside an official instagram post from the company. In this article, Styles talks about pleasing being a brand built on small joys.
According to the Guardian, with the tagline “Find your pleasing”, the goal of this business is to “bring joyful experiences and products that excite the senses and blur the boundaries”. Styles stated that he hopes to “dispel the myth of a binary existence”. Along with other male celebrities who have launched nail products in recent years, Styles is aiming to create a brand that inspires a generation to celebrate what is already there and to be true to their most authentic selves. Not being conformed to gender norms, escapes the idea of heteronormativity, and introduces the idea that products arent made for women or men, but made for people.
Earlier in 2021, former baseball player Alex Rodriguez partnered with Hims & Hers to expand the brands first make up for men, which was the Blur Stick. A male concelor, with eight shades and formulas, which is used to help camouflage everything from under-eye circles and blemishes to razor bumps. “My entire career, ever since I was a little kid, I’ve used a certain type of [product similar to] Blur Stick, which we call ‘eye black’ in baseball [grease applied under the eyes to reduce glare]. So for me, it was very natural to put a stick on my face,” A-Rod told Ezreen Benissan, an editorial associate for Vogue Business.
With more celebrities like Styles and A-Rod, we are slowly removing the stigma around mens skincare. The largest organ we have is our skin, and whether you identify a man or a women, there needs to be more inclusion, which starts with more neutral branding.
The male beauty industry is in its early stages of a true pivotal shift, by moving past basic grooming needs and bringing accessibility to the every day man.
Recently, Tom Allison, Co-Founder of CeraVe, was on our podcast, Skincare Anarchy. He talked about working with dermatologists to build a brand from scratch. Over the years we have watched CeraVe stay relevant and increase their brands love. In his interview with our host, Ekta, Tom explains that since 2004, the most important product within CeraVe, ceramides, weren’t seen in mass markets when it came to skincare.
“Now its basically everyones varsity version of their moisturizer, their ultra form of name X, Y, Z brand, will now include ceramides to pay attention to the skin barrier,” Allison stated.
Just as CeraVe was the first to use cermaides, we need men like Styles to continue to serve as a benchmark for transformation within the skincare space. It all starts with an idea and dedication to marketing, branding and just the making of overall great products. With this in mind, we can expect to see great fundamental changes within the mens beauty industry.
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Written by Ebony Crawford. Follow her on Instagram here.