The Beauty Industry is Powered by FOMO

For a while now, I’ve complained about the beauty industry generally being exhausting with its oversaturated product launches. There’s been little innovation; the brands are largely trend-chasing rather than trend-setting.

The severity of the symptom is newer, but the root cause isn’t. Fundamentally, the consumerism that advances success of the beauty industry is powered by FOMO. It isn’t an internet or social media problem, either, though they certainly exacerbate it; think of, pre-widespread internet adoption – people were buying glossy magazines. Different format, but just another example of how the modern beauty industry is powered by FOMO (or, was).


Quick pause – in case you, like me, resent cutesy acronyms and would benefit from knowing WTF I’m talking about:

FOMO, or the, “fear of missing out,” is a psychological phenomenon whereby people have an irrational desire to partake in an experience to avoid the regret of not doing so.

So, in other words, brands that fuel the FOMO engine are the most successful. FOMO is the reason behind flash sales, waiting lists, and social media “unboxing” videos. Unfortunately, FOMO is also the reason why the beauty industry is in a constant state of “newness.”

Every day, there’s a new product launch, a new social media campaign, a new trend to follow. The industry is always on, and always moving. There’s no time to stop and appreciate what you have; you’re too busy chasing the next thing.

Related To (but Different From!) Joneses-Keeping

In particular, I differentiate this from Keeping Up With the Joneses – it isn’t necessarily that a makeup consumer wants to keep pace or outdo their perceived peers, so much as they don’t want to risk not having or experiencing the hot(test) new stuff.

Did things change, or did I? Surely both; I am both older and my priorities have shifted a lot. But the escalation of FOMO-oriented marketing strategies just since I started this blog a decade-ish ago have been EXTREME.

The Bottom Line

I don’t care about missing out on a trend. I care about products that work.

Has either keeping up with what’s coming out, or even just figuring out what to purchase when you need to replace something because what you liked has been discontinued (boo hiss), felt like a chore to you? Let me know in the comments.

2 thoughts on “The Beauty Industry is Powered by FOMO”

  1. I agree, but in my case, at my age (66) it’s more like FOLO-“Fear Of Looking Old”. The continual push to look younger many times surpasses the goal of being happy with one’s self. Nothing new, I know, just saying.

    • I think this is a completely valid take – and when you consider how many products claim to reverse or mask the effects of time, its a good perspective to include. There are plenty of brands whose modus operandi isn’t the trend-chasing model who are ostensibly succeeding because they’re reaching a different demographic that wouldn’t buy in to the heavily-marketed hype we see so often now.

      I’m quick to chide the FOMO piece without considering how my own actions relate to, “FOLO.” I incorporated retinol into my routine within the last year for the same reason (and not for acne-management reasons). Under eye masks? Yeah, those too. Already desperately trying to hydrate skin that’s inching towards its crepe-y fate.

      Absolutely astute observation; I’ll do a follow up on this.

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