The Next Big Thing In Beauty Is...Your Opinion

Last month, Kylie Jenner announced on her Lip Kit Instagram account that one lucky fan would get to name a shade in her new Valentine Collection. Within the hour, thousands of comments appeared on the post with countless suggestions for the social media star to choose from. As consumers vied for a chance to make Lip-Kit history, we realized that Jenner had caught on to a greater phenomenon in the beauty industry: the power of crowdsourcing.

Typically, crowdsourcing takes place on a brand's social media channels where consumers can take surveys, vote, and comment to give feedback on shades, trends, and products. This year alone, the beauty world has welcomed at least three other products either named or formulated with the help of crowdsourcing: Charlotte Tilbury's Between the Sheets and Kiss Chase lipsticks, and Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser. Other beauty brands, like Julep, have been crowdsourcing for years.

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it — in the past, if you were unhappy with, say, your new moisturizer, you didn't have many options other than to throw away the container and forget about it forever. But now, through social media, consumers can voice their concerns online — and, believe it or not, brands are listening.

This newfound connectivity has allowed brands to take that conversation one step further by involving consumers in the entire process of product creation, from formulas to shade names. In return for participating in what is essentially a free focus group, the consumer feels some ownership of the products he or she has helped name or design. Read more about some of our favorite brand-customer collaborations, ahead.
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Thousands of fans submitted their shade-name proposals by commenting on this post on Jenner's Lip Kit Instagram page. Sugar K, Cake Pop K, and other candy-coated "K" iterations were among the entries, but ultimately, Posie K — suggested by user @shelbyy_cobra — was deemed the winner.

Unfortunately, Jenner hasn't announced when the Valentine Collection will launch, but we suspect it'll be dropping mid-month. When it does, we suggest hitting "buy" as soon as possible because if the first collection of Lip Kits was any indication, the new one won't last long.
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In an approach similar to Jenner's, makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury launched an initiative on her namesake brand's website, Instagram, and Facebook page asking fans to name one of her new lipsticks: a matte, peachy-pink hue. "I choose the name Between the Sheets, named by my wonderful Instagram follower Audrey Lim, because it has a dreamy, Brigitte Bardot feeling to it," Tilbury wrote in an email.

Thanks to the overwhelming response (more than 7,000 replies in the first hour), Tilbury decided to create a second shade: Kiss Chase (a creamy berry). "It was so exciting to open up the product-development process of my brand, [which] is usually hidden from consumers, and give them a chance to be part of the naming process," said Tilbury.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Between the Sheets, $32, available at Charlotte Tilbury.
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A year ago, when it came time to add a cleanser to Glossier's burgeoning line, founder Emily Weiss decided to ask Into the Gloss followers to dream up their ideal face washes. Readers shared their thoughts in a post on the site, brainstorming what they looked for in a cleanser, how much it should cost, and even who would play it in a movie. (Elle Fanning, if you were wondering.)

"We got over 400 comments on that platform, and then we posted on Instagram and got hundreds more," says Weiss. "From that, we were able to make a much more concise brief [of the product] than the one we had made previously."

An overwhelming number of responses asked for a creamy, non-irritating cleanser that would remove makeup, but not strip the skin. Armed with her readers' answers, Weiss went to Glossier's chemist and created Milky Jelly, a hydrating face wash that pretty much does everything except remove waterproof mascara.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, $18, available at Glossier.
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"We create better products because we invite women into our conversation," says Jane Park, founder of Julep — a brand that has been crowdsourcing since its birth in 2007. Park and her team make it a priority to speak to women on a daily basis to learn about their beauty challenges. Last year, through discussions on social media and on the brand's website, Park realized that matte lip color was one of the most difficult products for women to wear, and decided to create Julep's It's Whipped Mousse to solve that issue.

Park involved the brand's fans in every step of It's Whipped's design process. "Every time we had a decision to make, we involved our online community," says Park. Consumers could give feedback on various aspects of the product on social media, during in-person meet-ups, and by signing up to be part of the brand's Beauty Lab — an online voting portal designed specifically with crowdsourcing in mind.

Clearly Julep's approach worked, because the finished product is a lightweight yet extremely pigmented liquid lipstick that feels comfortable on the lips. "The feedback [our fans] gave us on [the] formula, opacity, hydration, and the applicator [was] used in the final product design," says Park. "My favorite thing is to give women a voice — a real seat at the table."

Julep It's Whipped Matte Lip Mousse, $20, available at Julep.
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