Skin Care Branding: Products To Buy For The #Shelfie

March 31, 2021

skin care branding - shelfie

Does skin care branding matter?

*Spoiler Alert:* Yes. Yes it does.

For me, it is the intersection of my interests as an art director/graphic designer and skin care addict. I am easily swayed by pretty packaging and shiny things, much like a magpie.

But in general, branding makes the difference between standing out among the competition and fading into the background.

Imagine wandering the aisles for a facial cleanser — how do you choose between seemingly endless options available? Even after filtering your choices based on price point, effectiveness, quality, natural skincare, etc…you’re still left with and overwhelming number of cleansers!

This is where branding becomes the deciding factor.

What Is Branding?

Most people think that branding refers to a mere logo; something they can quickly whip up on Canva or find a pre-designed template for and call it a day.

Firstly, NO 🙅🏻‍♀️! If you’re coming out of the gate with a half-assed logo, you’re already setting the tone that you don’t believe that your brand is worth investing in. How can you expect anyone else to take you seriously when you don’t?

Secondly, while a mark, name, and/or design is important, branding extends far beyond that. It’s all encompassing; it’s how your company is perceived by the world on a whole.

From your values and mission to copywriting and online presence, developing a successful brand is about creating a full and meaningful experience that resonates with consumers. It’s about building recognition and long-lasting trust with your community.

skin care branding - Glossier skincare

Skin Care Branding For The Modern Consumer

Nowadays, people are more concerned about taking care of their skin (it’s the largest organ in the body, ya know?) then covering it up.

But in order for any brand to be successful, a thorough understanding of their target demographic is crucial. Here are some key things to know about today’s skin care aficionado:

+They Are Informed: SHOW ME THE MONEY INGREDIENTS! With information readily available at the click of a mouse, consumers are more knowledgeable than ever. With greater scrutiny of product labels and a demand for clean and natural ingredients, skin care branding that prioritizes transparency will find the most success in the modern market.

Glossier skincare

(Photo via Unsplash)

+They Are Tech-Savvy: Here are some stats for you: 96% of beauty brands have a social media presence and 63% of consumers are more likely to trust a brand that has an Instagram account. The visual nature of Instagram is ideal for allowing people to share their skin care routines and holy grail products, facilitating widespread trends.

+They Are Inclusive: It doesn’t matter what your gender, ethnicity or age — a cleanser is a cleanser. The Gen Z crowd questions and rejects standardized ideals of beauty in favour of inclusivity. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach no longer cuts it as consumers desire personalized regimens and products that are attuned to their specific skin concerns.

+They Are Ethical: Consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that is aligned with ethical causes. In fact, 92% of shoppers claim that they’d be more loyal to a brand that support environmental and social causes. Being good has its benefits.


➳ Japanese Skincare Products To Buy To Get That “Mochi” Skin
➳ 8 Best Beauty Devices To Solve All of Your Skin Concerns
➳ The Korean Skincare Routine To Get That ‘Glass’ Skin

Skin Care Branding That Works

As an art director/ graphic designer and a self-confessed skin care addict, I’m often guilty of buying products more for the drool-worthy branding than the effect it will actually have on my complexion.

Here are 5 skin care brands that I’d buy from, if only for the #shelfie:


The Brand:

Starface is a skin care brand known for their award-winning, spot-healing star pimple patches. Not only do the “hydro-stars” prevent people from skin-picking and protect blemishes from bacteria, but they’re made with hydrocolloid that absorbs the liquid from the pimple (gross).

skin care branding - Starface Hydro-Stars

Why this skin care branding works:

Who hasn’t experienced the horrifying arrival of a pimple? Despite affecting 95% of people — from the Queen of England to Beyonce — skin care branding of acne products has generally been presented in a negative, clinical light.

Starface took the completely opposite approach. Co-founder and former Elle beauty editor, Jen Schott, said

“The goal was to encourage self-acceptance and to make taking care of yourself something that you can enjoy rather than feeling like a punishment for having acne.”

The brand is part of the “acne positivity” movement, normalizing and celebrating real skin (flaws and all) rather than glorifying perfection.

Instead of desperately trying to hide a blemish, it has become an opportunity to proudly adorn one’s face with bright, star-shaped stickies.

Starface Hydro-stars - star pimple patches

Starface - star pimple patches

Plus it’s super cute! Leaning into a nostalgic 90s aesthetic, the Hydro-Stars comes in a convenient plastic case that is aggressively yellow with whimsical bubble lettering.

It gets extra points for being environmentally friendly as you can buy refills when you run out of patches (instead of continually buying new containers).


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by STARFACE (@starface)

for the shelfie: 

Hydro-Stars ($20) duh! The standard stars are yellow but grab the glow-in-the-dark or shiny party packs if when they’re available!



The Brand:

The Glossier beauty brand encompasses a range of products that ranges from skin care to colour cosmetics and fragrance. This IG cult fav was founded in 2014 by former Vogue assistant and ‘Into The Gloss’ beauty blogger, Emily Weiss,

skin care branding - Glossier skincare- serums

(Photo via the Glossier)

Why this skin care branding works:

Honey skin. Glass skin. Cloudless Skin. Dewy dumpling skin? Sounds delicious! Whatever appetizing name you want to call it, Glossier is pretty much synonymous with fresh, dewy #skingoals.

The brand taps into the widespread obsession with K-beauty routines and the rise of wellness culture. Nothing screams “healthy” more than a complexion so shiny that it looks like you’re coming from an intense spin class.

Their IG feed is blinding….from light reflecting off of radiant skin.


Glossier’s dewy IG feed

Leaning away from the heavily contoured makeup trend, the minimalist Glossier brand celebrates the consumer’s natural beauty. They listen to their community’s wants and needs,  developing products that aims to accentuate features (not correct them) based on those insights.

And their visual branding and packaging? MADE for an aesthetically-pleasing flat lay with a simplistic and youthful aesthetic — sleek tubes and bottles, clean black and white palette with light shades of pink and pops of colour, minimal text — that embodies their brand values.

The whimsical names of the products (like Balm Dot Com) and bubblewrap envelope packaging that arrives complete with seasonal stickers, serve to further underscore the playfulness of the company.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Glossier (@glossier)

for the shelfie: 

I love me shiny packaging and dewy skin and Futuredew ($30) promises both!


Versed skincare

The Brand:

Versed Skincare is touted as “the cleanest drugstore skincare brand” with a guiding mission to  “make good skin and clean products for all.”

skin care branding - Versed Skincare - natural skincare

(Photo of Versed Skincare via Breaking Beauty Podcast)

Why this skin care branding works:

Ethically-minded millennials are looking for products that are not only affordable and effective, but aligns with their values. Versed hits that sweet spot. They put formula first, cutting out unnecessary extras (fillers that drive up the price point) to provide quality products that retail for under $25.

As far as skin care branding goes, theirs is squeaky clean. They are dedicated to using ingredients — both natural and lab-created — that are non-toxic, vegan AND cruelty-free. The products adhere to the EU standard of “clean” that prohibits the use of over 1,350 chemicals, far more strict than the US FDA’s list of 11.

That’s a HUGE disparity…🤦🏻‍♀️

Versed skincare - skin care branding

(Photo via Versed Skincare)

Providing the ultimate peace of mind for environmentally conscious shoppers, they are committed to sustainability practices. The packaging uses recyclable, FSC-certified materials that is reduced to 97% less material than other designs.

Not only that but Versed Skincare is committed to working with zero-waste shippers for all orders.

Versed skincare

(Photo via Versed Skincare)

Their visual branding and packaging is a dream to my graphic designer eyes — no-nonsense, readable san serif font (Neuzeit Grotesk for my fellow design nerds) juxtaposed by eye-catching dusty pastel colours that bedeck sleek tubes and bottles.

Makes me want to collect them all, like the skincare equivalent of PokĂŠmon!


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Versed (@versed)

for the shelfie: 

Just Breathe Clarifying Serum ($19.99) if your frazzled skin needs a chill pill


herbivore botanicals

The Brand:

Herbivore Botanicals can be traced back to humble beginnings in a Seattle kitchen.

They started from an Etsy shop, now they’re here…selling highly concentrated, natural skincare products that are jam-packed with raw “active” ingredients (no filler) — vitamins, minerals, and botanicals — for the ultimate efficacy.

skin care branding - Herbivore Botanicals - natural skincare

(Photo via Herbivore Botanicals)

Why this skin care branding works:

Whether we’re in the midst of a pandemic or not, life can leave us feeling more than a little worse for wear. Herbivore Botanicals has crafted their brand around rejuvenation and indulgence to help us bring our self-care rituals to the next level because, hey, we’re worth it.

They blend the mystical allure of tarot cards and crystals with the finest raw materials for skin care branding as alluring as a siren’s call.

Herbivore skincare - herbivore blue tansy - herbivore prism serum

Photos of luxe packaging via the Herbivore Botanicals website

Herbivore’s skin care branding literally makes my graphic designer mouth water with the abundance of white space and open tracking (space between letters) on its labels. In case you were wondering (because I was) their primary brand font is Museo.

Each weighty glass bottle gleams holding glittering gem-like elixirs within its depths in an array of vibrant hues — shocking orange, delicate lavender, emerald green, deep cerulean, etc…

They make me feel like a dragon protecting my pile of jewels skin care products in my lair.

for the shelfie: 

Prism Exfoliating Glow Potion ($68). The name alone appeals to my (not-so) inner Harry Potter nerd while the vial shimmers like a magical rainbow.


summer fridays

The Brand:

It doesn’t get any more  Instagrammable than skin care branding that was developed by two beauty super influencers.

Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Ireland  bring their social media savvy know-how to Summer Fridays, a clean beauty brand known for their picture-perfect face masks.

skin care branding - Summer Fridays

(Photo via Summer Fridays)

Why this skin care branding works:

What is better than Fridays in the summer? After working hard all week, you get to escape for a weekend of sunshine and good weather.

Summer Fridays capitalizes on those feel-good vibes by offering face masks — Jet Lag Mask, Over Time Mask and R+R Mask — that aim to give your skin some much needed time off.

The packaging was created with today’s consumer in mind —  a clean logo paired with a distinctive colour palette on sleek tubes (vs jars) that are both sharable and photogenic. They’re selling a lifestyle as much as a physical product.

Are the face masks effective? Is it actually like “a tall glass of water for your skin”? Is it the ultimate cure for stressed-out complexions? Based on reviews, people seem to love it (for the most part). For the sake of research (and the perfect flat lay), I’d probably try out a Summer Fridays face mask myself.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Summer Fridays (@summerfridays)

for the shelfie: 

R+R Mask ($52) the polishing rose petals makes the gel-like mask look like you’re applying confetti to your face (who doesn’t want to do that?!) for a radiant complexion.

In the process of writing this post, I have convinced myself to spend a small fortune on products from every single one of these brands. Time will tell if they are as effective as products as they are as brands. If not, at least they look pretty and as a designer that counts for something.

If you’re looking for other ways to improve your complexion, check out these beauty devices that will help you with all manners of skin care concerns.

Keep your stalking game strong and follow me @teriaki if you aren’t already!