Author: Megan DeMatteo, COINDESK; Translated by: 松雪，Blocking
It may seem counterintuitive, but beauty brands are exploring how to interact with consumers in the blockchain space and metaverse.
In the beauty and fashion world, creative collaborations are everything. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has partnered with multiple iconic beauty brands over the years—including Estée Lauder, which released a custom-designed eyeshadow palette for the art institution’s 150th birthday.
Good collaborations in any industry break down boundaries and inspire customers to try new ideas and forms of self-expression. So it’s no wonder skincare and makeup brands are entering Web3.
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Through new forms of digital art and cutting-edge technological innovation, today’s leading beauty companies hope to reach Web3-native consumers, create meaningful experiences, and even potentially clean up their supply chains.
Blockchain technology can help brands expand to new audiences
Yann Joffredo, global brand president of NYX Professional Makeup, which is owned by L’Oreal, said that the cosmetics brand has long championed inclusivity through collaborations with independent content creators, bloggers, and makeup artists. Joffredo sees additional benefits in connecting with new audiences through Web3.
“As brands evolve, it’s important to advocate for the same representation in Web3,” Joffredo said. “Additionally, we’re aware of the untapped areas around beauty in the metaverse.”
In early 2023, NYX launched GORJS, the world’s first beauty-focused decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) designed to bring creators together to build beauty experiences in the Web3 ecosystem.
“GORJS brings together artists and beauty enthusiasts in the Web3 space to lead a cultural conversation around digital makeup artistry, as well as in the virtual world and beyond,” Joffredo said.
Blockchain technology provides meaningful opportunities for self-expression
Joffredo also said that transparency and self-expression in the metaverse are a natural extension of NYX Professional Makeup’s brand values, and added that digital spaces provide unique ways for beauty enthusiasts to express themselves and interact with products.
Numeric spaces can also provide personal security protection in the reality of political polarization. Last year, NYX collaborated with inclusive avatar company People Of Crypto (POC) and user-generated virtual environment The Sandbox to launch a week-long Pride celebration event. The event featured non-conforming gender NFT avatars with pixelated or “voxelated” fashion styles using the colors of the Progress Pride flag.
In a recent panel discussion at an extended reality (XR) industry conference, Maya Kosovalic, VP of AWE Live, NYX Digital Innovation and E-Commerce, talked about a more immersive digital future: “Self-expression is really at the core of the future gaming platform experience, no longer a single, isolated game loop, but a very immersive and engaging social experience where the younger generation can interact with friends in real life.”
She added, “The ability to express one’s personality and identity through skin and digital goods is what makes Web3 so interesting for beauty and fashion brands.”
Agustina Sartori, Senior Director of Innovation at US beauty chain Ulta Beauty, was also on the panel. “Beauty is a way to be yourself and become the person you want to be,” she said. “Why don’t we care about beauty-related things in the digital world?”
According to Sartori, Ulta Beauty has been trying to do digital activations on Roblox since 2022. Roblox is a popular user-generated gaming platform that does not use blockchain technology or cryptocurrency, but still attracts major brands interested in building virtual worlds for customers. Ulta’s virtual Roblox world is called “Ultaverse”. In May, Ulta Beauty collaborated with eyeshadow brand Urban Decay for a virtual party in Ultaverse. Sartori said the event was hosted by makeup influencers Emmy Combs, Leilani Green and Manny MUA and attracted around 500,000 visitors to the platform.
Blockchain technology can solve the trust issue
Finally, blockchain technology provides a potential solution to one of the beauty industry’s most common challenges: green cleaning. In recent years, clean beauty brands have come under increasing scrutiny as demand for zero-stimulant, environmentally friendly, and natural products grows.
Consumers are almost impossible to track the source of their favorite brand’s ingredients. But now, blockchain has many use cases related to the supply chain – most of which are still new. A blockchain-based platform created by French luxury skincare company L’OCCITANE allows customers to track the manufacturing process of its products on the chain. By scanning the QR code on each package, people can trace the origin of the ingredients, learn about the product’s manufacturing and even packaging.
Another way blockchain technology helps solve trust issues is to clear counterfeit products, which is an increasingly serious problem in the world of “super fakes.” Luxury fashion giant LMVH has used blockchain technology to help prove the authenticity of Louis Vuitton handbags and Dior perfumes.
Other beauty brand blockchain experiments include experimental Bitcoin “cashback” programs that reward consumers every time they purchase a product as an incentive.
The prospect of blockchain-based beauty industry is exciting, but still in the experimental stage
As we see in all aspects of Web3, the beauty industry is still experimenting with how to use blockchain technology to have a lasting impact on its existing and emerging customer base.
“It’s a process that takes time,” said Leya Kaufman, Senior Vice President of Brand, Publishing, and Sales at media company Coveteur. “We need to cultivate and attract audiences in this new field while maintaining our core consumers as the foundation,” she said.
Coveteur, in partnership with leading Web3 infrastructure provider MoonBlockingy, has launched The Wella Generator, a gamified digital lottery hosted on the Ethereum blockchain in collaboration with hair care company Wella Professionals.
“It’s important for us to create a perfect program for existing and new Web3 users,” Kaufman said, adding that working with MoonBlockingy made this vision possible.