Beauty and personal-care brands are trying to get into your pants.
As the natural beauty movement continues to grow, indie brands like Fur, Bawdy and Lady Suite are driving the conversations around acceptance and personal choice while tackling traditionally taboo subjects — this includes creating products for vaginal health and appearance, body hair and more.
In order to make these subjects more palatable to the average consumer, these brands are using sensitivity and humor to get their story across to both men and women. For example, Fur, which launched in 2016 and is a brand for body hair, increased its three-SKU product assortment to four on Thursday with the launch of a scrub and will add two more products later this year. The brand relies on its attractive packaging that plays well on Instagram to convey inclusivity and non-judgment. Meanwhile, Lady Suite, a vaginal brand with a single product, relies heavily on its peach-colored product and marketing content to send a gentle message. There’s also Anese and Bawdy, with butt-devoted products like masks and exfoliants with irreverent and sarcastic names.
Over the past few years, there’s been a cultural shift to focus more on the below-the-belt area. With the advent of Instagram came portmanteaus like “belfie” in 2012, which is a butt selfie, and the new verb “Seltering” in 2014, which is also a butt-selfie but specifically refers those inspired by fitness influencer Jen Selter. This cultural focus has also prompted more people to invest in cosmetic procedures and beauty products. According to trend forecasting agency WGSN, by 2024, the intimate-health industry, which includes wide-ranging products from daily feminine hygiene washes to vaginal skin care, is set to grow by 7.2 percent to $35.3 billion.
“The entire vaginal-care category has become wildly popular,” said Annie Jackson, Credo co-founder and COO. Credo carries brands including Fur, Province Apothecary, Lady Suite and Bawdy, all of which are devoted in some way to the nether regions.
Lady Suite, which launched in 2018, introduced an oil for the vulva, meant to soothe irritation and ingrown hairs as a result of post-shaving, waxing or hair removal. The brand presents a positive and almost Glossier-like approach. It’s Instagram feed, for example, is full of lifestyle shots like champagne coupe glasses and various fruits and flowers that inoffensively resemble the female anatomy.
But while some brands are trying to take a gentle approach with customers, others, like Bawdy and Anese, are being loud and proud. Both brands use humorous or irreverent names for their products: Bawdy makes butt masks with names like “Bite It,” “Shake It” and “Slap It,” and Anese makes scrubs and masks called “That Booty Tho” and “Down With the Thickness.”
“Beauty should be fun and make you smile. Bawdy is not only effective, but it does just that,” Jackson said. “We get a ton of social response — friends telling friends and a lot of jokes being [made].”
Fur, a brand with exfoliating and hydrating oils for hair, has also taken a feel-good approach by attempting to make all customers feel included, whether they have body hair or not, by showcasing a diverse variety of customers on its social channels. This approach has tripled the brand’s growth every year to “millions” of dollars in annual sales, said Laura Schubert, co-founder of Fur.
“People were extremely uncomfortable [when we launched], but they’re coming around,” she said. “The beauty market has shifted with the increased presence of indie beauty brands. [That] allows for more things to exist that were too taboo and risky for a large corporation to dip into.”
To make both men and women feel more comfortable with the idea of using Fur, the brand packaged its products so people would want to display them on their bathroom shelf. For example, the oils are viewable through clear bottles, and there are black eye dropper dispensers attached, resembling something out of a sleek laboratory.
The brand then feeds user-generated content throughout its Instagram feed (where it has almost 18,000 followers), showing customers with and without body hair using Fur products to emphasize that the brand is for everyone. UGC makes up a third of the brand’s feed. (Another third is in-house content, and the other third is non-brand-related imagery.)
“As a result of the halo effect of UGC content and the [general] buzz on Instagram, this results in strong brand awareness. We love our [unpaid] influencer network; the UGC is part of the brand DNA because it shows it is a product for everyone and every context,” she said.