Over the past few years, Instagram has become a central part of the beauty industry. We turn to the app for just about everything, whether we're looking for makeup inspiration or the latest hair-color craze. But we've also noticed that thousands of people are looking to Instagram for beauty-product news, and one account in particular has reigned supreme: Trendmood. The account (@Trendmood1) is operated by Sophie Shab, an L.A.-based makeup artist who has made it her mission to share beauty-product news first — as in, well before the products have even hit store shelves. Shab posts multiple times a day sharing restock, launch-date, and product information from brands like Urban Decay, Tarte, MAC, ColourPop, and Benefit to her almost 400K followers. In many cases, Trendmood announces a product days — even weeks — before the brand itself has gotten a chance to share the news. If you're wondering how Shab finds out these beauty secrets, you are not alone. When I first discovered Trendmood through my friend Kirbie Johnson at PopSugar, we spent several minutes scrolling through grainy pictures of new launches on its feed, and something jumped out at me: Shab regularly cites fellow makeup artists, editors, and other members of her large beauty community as the sources of the images she regrams. And it would seem that anything posted on Instagram and Snapchat is fair game as far as Trendmood is concerned. A Snapchat story in which Johnson shared nine swatches of Tarte's new Rainforest of the Sea Drench Lip Splash Lipsticks was posted in a collage on Trendmood's account only hours later. As you may expect, not everyone is happy with Trendmood's posts. On a recent press trip to Hawaii (more on that later), I mentioned the account to the group of beauty YouTubers in attendance. The sheer utterance of Trendmood's name was met with groans. YouTubers and brands have been forced to keep tabs on the account to ensure the secrecy of their new products. Some have even been forced to announce products earlier due to Trendmood's posts.
Why is this problematic? Because it's a disservice to the consumer — in the majority of cases, this news is coming secondhand. That means there's a lot of opportunity for misinformation to circulate and for consumers to be confused not only about when something is available, but about what it even is. Beauty-industry employees understandably find it frustrating to see their original photos show up on someone else's viral account.
We have reached out to Shab but she has declined to comment.