Group 4

The viral beauty formula

What does it take for a blush to bombard your FYP or for a lip oil to get a million likes in 2023?


The past few years have seen countless beauty products go viral. And though the virality of each is dependent on its alleged distinction from any other product on the market, like all things that blow up online, there actually is a bit of a formula. Here’s an (non-exhaustive) list of what it take for a blush to bombard your FYP or for a lip oil to get a million likes in 2023:

It’s a gloss! It’s a stick! No, it’s an oil!

Last month, Glossy reported that Innbeauty Project’s Glaze Lip Oil has been viral for 3.5 years. The secret to going on half a decade of virality is, at least in part, in its name. It’s not a lipstick (fusty) or a gloss (sticky) — it’s something… newer and better. It’s a glaze, it’s an oil — two words that call to mind the smooth and supple finish that always seems just out of reach with more conventionally categorised lip products like sticks and glosses. From Innbeauty’s Glaze to the similarly viral Dior Lip Glow Oil, the name sounds exotic but evocative enough that you get the picture (and want to add it to your cart). Take a product that’s familiar enough and make it sound like it’s not.

Vaguely edible vibes

Turns out we haven’t come much further than the days when dessert-scented Lipsmackers doubled as a sweet treat. Innbeauty’s Glaze Lip Oil is yummy-by-design — its first iteration was Candy Apple flavor and today’s flavors range from Glazed Donut to Fruity Cereal (and even include plant-based sweetener). Tasty beauty is ruling even in skincare — Hailey Bieber’s Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment is available in Salted Caramel (decadent!) or Watermelon Slice (fresh!) and Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Dew Drops went viral on TikTok while also sounding like a delicious mocktail. Across the board, beauty is becoming more sensorial — meaning consumers want products that look, smell and taste good, and overall emit a strong vibe.

The Alix Earle effect 

At this point, Alix Earle’s brand of influence has been analysed to death, but that doesn’t mean her impact on viral beauty is no longer relevant. Alix’s GRWMs have sold out products including Drunk Elephant bronzing drops, which are still out of stock, in part because of Alix’s self-proclaimed “hot mess” lifestyle. When you watch Alix talk about how terrible her hangover is, you feel like the products she’s using must be going the extra mile. 

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