Branding for Skincare Products: The Complete Guide to Standing out in 2023

Social media has been a huge factor in the growth of many brands. Small or big. The Skincare industry is projected to generate up to $177 billion by 2025.

November 19, 2022
Imed Djabi
A cover image for a blog post titled: Branding for skincare products, The Complete guide to standing out in a competitive industry. There is an image in the middle of a skincare kit.

Social media has been a massive factor in the growth of many brands. Small or big. The Skincare industry is projected to generate up to $177 billion by 2025.

From beauty influencers to teenage TikToker, everyone can launch a skincare brand with white labelling. The constant growth and interest in self-care, skincare routines, and anti-aging methods have generated tremendous opportunities. That's why it's never too late to start your skincare brand.

It might sound easy, but it's not. It's a highly competitive industry. Although, it's not as saturated as you might often hear. I've seen this for at least ten years, and it's not true. Otherwise, no new brand would've been launched in the past ten years.

Your brand doesn't need to be unique, but it has to be different. Branding is what can help your business stand out among the competition.

I understand that it's not your primary concern to hire a professional brand designer in your beginning with a tight budget. But, think of it as an investment. Is your biggest goal to be on the shelf of Sephora or other stores?

If so, a strong visual brand identity is critical for the success of your skincare brand. If your labels and packaging look too DIY in the eyes of your target audience, they will ignore your brand and take another brand's product instead.

It's essential to develop a strategy that is relative to your brand. Guessing and praying won't help you set your brand for success.

Branding is about strategic thinking and strategic design to attain specific results. Neglecting branding is one of many mistakes you can avoid for your skincare business.

In this article, you'll understand how to create a skincare brand that will attract your ideal customer, create a spark of curiosity to try your skin care products and conquer their hearts & mind to ultimately transform them into raving fans of your brand.

If you're already convinced about the power of branding and are ready to level up your skincare packaging, learn more about ID Studio's services here.

Brand Strategy

So many brand owners make the mistake of considering branding when they start racking up sales. They learn a little bit "too late" about branding and are hesitant to initiate a rebranding for their skincare brand. If there is one thing you shouldn't neglect for your skin care business, it has to be branding.

Please don't make this mistake and learn about it now. Brand strategy is not that different from a business strategy. You'll achieve in-depth knowledge about your brand, customers, competition, and future goals.

Do you really know why you're different from your competition aside from your logo and your name?

I asked many brand owners: Why should a customer pick your brand instead of another one? Hum, our brand has organic products, better ingredients, and we're cheaper. That's it? Well, brands that only use natural ingredients are perhaps different, but why do people still purchase from those who aren't using natural ingredients?

You have to understand this ASAP. Your prices, ingredients, name and logo are only small parts of a giant puzzle of why your brand is "different."

A brand strategy is crucial before even starting to design your skincare brand. The ultimate goal is to attract your target audience and not a random passenger who won't value your brand.

Imagine all the work you've put into developing your formulas, having your wonderful skincare products with natural ingredients and so on for not conveying it correctly.

Unfortunately, your favourite colour and fonts won't cut it. There are particular colours, typography, and imagery that will convey the personality of your brand. Let me take on a quick mind branding exercise.

If I tell you to describe "Dior" with one word, what comes to your mind? Luxurious, or perhaps Elegant?

What about "The Ordinary Skincare"? What comes to your mind? Affordable, Minimalist?

Unconsciously, your mind shapes the perception of a brand without making you think so hard about it. That's the power of branding. More about brand attributes later on.

How do you want to be perceived in the mind of your customer? It's a long process to shape how your target audience will perceive your brand, and that's why it's not achievable only with your name and logo.

It's how you communicate with your target audience and the consistency with which you use your typography, imagery, and colours.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are my customers able to describe my brand with one word?
  2. Am I able to describe my brand with one word?

If you answered no to one of these two questions, you must put in some branding efforts.

Target Market

Remember that the target market and target audience are two different things. It's essential to understand the difference.

Conducting market research helps you build a foundation for your future ideal customer. It doesn't have to be so broad that you're advertising to everyone.

Who do you want to target?

It starts with a full understanding of your products.

Is it intended for both women and men or solely for women?

For instance, you won't market an anti-aging serum to a 16-year-old girl, and it makes more sense to sell it to women who are 30 years old or more.

In contrast, Lumin is an excellent example of a skincare brand that understood its target market from the beginning. They sell premium skincare products for men only-they can advertise their brand to women BUT with specific messaging. If you're a woman and came across an ad from Lumin, it was most likely for a gift you can buy for your boyfriend or husband.

Lumin Skincare

That doesn't mean you can't have a skincare brand for both genders. It's possible, but you cannot use the same creatives for advertising for both of them. The language you use to communicate with your male audience will be very different from your female audience.

Determining your target market will help you determine your target audience. Therefore market your brand more efficiently and ditch your guessing and prayers, hoping for someone to buy your products.

Target Audience

f you want to sell to everybody, you'll sell to anybody. Not every person will pay for your products, and that's fine. Some brands can attract a different range of audiences because of how well they serve their very FIRST specific audience.

Take yourself as an example. What brand have you purchased, and why did you stay loyal to this particular brand? Now, list your habits, where you hang out daily, and what social media you use online. What is your income? What are your hobbies?

Now, see if somehow other customers of this brand share some similarities with you. You'll find many people who share the same habits and hobbies and use the same social media platform as you.

This particular brand did its homework, and that's why they're appealing to you and all those other people who are similar to you. As if you're a community.

You can achieve the same outcome for your brand. Create an ideal customer persona (customer profile) that you want to attract. Let's explore what you need to nail to attract your ideal customer.

1. Demographic

Here you can include their gender, age, occupation, location, marital status, education level, and income level.

2. Psychographic

Now, we're diving deep to explain the psychology of what made your target persona buy your product. It's beneficial when you want to test your marketing campaigns.

To understand them, try to think about their beliefs, attitudes, interests, and pain points.

You've got to understand that it's very important to understand your customers as if they were your friend. Your branding should relate to them. The same applies to your pricing. If you want to price your products higher than your competition, but your brand looks like a high school project and attracts cheap buyers who don't wanna pay your prices, you have work to do and set your price point correctly if you want to stand a good chance against your competition.

If you don't know how. I can help you build a magnetic skincare brand that will appeal to your target customer.

Identifying our ideal customer from the beginning is not a coincidence. I use the customer persona to craft three stylescapes (moodboard 2.0), which are part of my design process, and help me establish the creative direction to build your brand before any logo design.

To achieve effective branding, everything needs to be for your customer, and nothing is based on your personal preferences.

Three different stylescapes for a lashes brand named Aigli Beauty. The first stylescape conveys the following attributes: inspiring, minimalist, and simple. The primary color is lilac, and the secondary colors are pastel purple, inclining to grey, followed by the last color, white. The second stylescape conveys the following attributes: modern, confident, and responsible. The color palette contains three shades of pastel orange. The last stylescape conveys the following attributes: charming, trustworthy, and lovely. The color palette contains pink, blue, and yellow.

A beautiful luxurious packaging of the fake lashes brand "Aigli." The main box has a gold-foiled logo, and the lashes packaging is in the middle, rotated 35 degrees to the right. The black magnetic eyeliner is beneath it. The packaging of the black magnetic eyeliner is located approximately 8cm to the left of the lashes packaging.

There was a final revision that led to the final outcome. You can explore the entire case study for Aigli Beauty here.

Who is Your Competition?

Sometimes, not having competition can be bad because you can't be sure if your product will have a market fit.

So, it might seem odd but be thankful for having some adversity. When starting, you might think that everyone is your competitor, but that's not true. You want to study brands that aren't making billions of dollars. It's good to have big dreams, but only when it's realistic and achievable. Think big but start small.

Coming up with a list of 10 real competitors (Etsy sellers, small businesses, etc) is a good start. It will help you understand their pricing, target audience and revenue to establish your strategy.

How to differentiate your skincare brand from your competition?

Brand positioning helps you shape how your customers perceive your brand in their minds. In other words, a brand positioning strategy helps you find a gap in your target market and fill it so that you can stand out from your competition.

Brand Attributes

Remember the mind branding exercise we did above? The brand positioning of Dior and The Ordinary is a reason for how you perceive them in a specific way in your mind.

They defined the brand attributes of their brand, and they conveyed them successfully. All of their attributes merged together ultimately create a personality, and that’s why you relate to a certain brand instead of another.

Colors, fonts, images, and the overall feel of your visual branding are what reflect your brand attributes. That’s why it’s important to establish your brand’s attributes before starting any designs.

Let’s explore a natural skincare brand I developed and see how everything aligns together to form a unique brand personality that attracts a specific audience.

Many Beautiful minimalist packagings of a natural skincare brand are laid out on a white canvas. There are two different packaging variations: one is black with brown pastel typography, and the second one is inverted. Black typography on a brown pastel background.
Different pictures from the brand secretskyn on a 4 by 4 layout.
minimalist Monogram for the natural skincare brand Secretskyn. Under the monogram is the tagline of Secretskyn: "We know the secrets, so will you."

I didn’t want to prompt you into what the brand conveys and see what came to your mind when exploring it.

SecretSkyn’s attributes are: sincere, pure, minimalist, earthy, and natural.

The target audience is 25-40-year-old women who are introverted, reserved, and natural (don’t like makeup.)

They value their well-being, want to stay healthy, and still look young as they age. The holistic approach of SecretSkyn incentivizes a healthy lifestyle and uses its products only to maintain the health of your body and skin. To a point where people ask you what your secret is to keep your natural beauty.

The brand reveals all the secrets for magnificent, healthy, and natural skin.

As mentioned before, your brand's personality is reflected throughout your colors, fonts, images, and overall feel of your visual branding.

The visual identity of SecretSkyn is consistent across every touchpoint. ID Studio strategically chose the naming, usage of fonts combination, and imagery to convey the personality of the skincare brand.

Brand Identity

We saw how your skincare brand could be reflected visually. We call it a visual brand identity. There is also brand identity. Which reflects your brand internally and externally. It can include:

  • Brand name
  • Tagline or slogans
  • Logo with different variations
  • Wordmark with different variations
  • Color palette
  • Set of fonts
  • Brand tone & voice
  • Imagery style

Some designers who aren't strategists tend to focus only on the visual parts of the identity, which is a mistake for the overall success of your brand. It tends to work initially, but the more you scale, the more holes you see manifesting in your business.

Packaging design

How many beauty products have you bought because of their packaging? Just to put you in perspective. Some branding agencies specialize in packaging, and brands pay 200k or more for their services.

Packaging is a powerful tool to market your brand to your target audience. You should design it carefully to adequately convey your brand's personality, and you should take it seriously even if your brand operates online as an Ecommerce business.

The design of your packaging should complement your business's image. It depends on what you're trying to sell and to whom. Your customers should immediately recognize your brand. That's why it's essential to avoid changing your packaging frequently. Doing so will confuse your customers, and you won't be able to sit on their minds the way you should.

Consistency is crucial if you want to build a successful skincare brand. That's why investing in professional product packaging is vital from the get-go.

Product Packaging

The shape of your product plays a role in how your customers perceive your brand. That's why you'll find similarities in what type of shapes brands use for their skincare products. Is it a square or a circle? Again, you'll find yourself attracted to some brands unconsciously, and that's the power of design psychology.

When it comes to your skincare brand, you must understand what shape you will choose for your products based on your target audience. Remember, your brand is not for you but for your customers.

Otelier Skin has beautiful packaging with neutral pastel colors. They use round edges to convey the personality of their brand.

Otelier Skin

World of Skincare

If you're genuinely motivated to launch your skincare brand. You shouldn't be intimidated by the "so saturated" world of skincare. There are always ways to stand out, as we saw previously.

Let's explore some brands in different categories that attract different types of customers as they intend to.

Skincare Branding Packaging Example

High-End Luxury skincare brand: ESTEE LAUDER


Estee Lauder has always been characterized as a luxury brand because of the quality products they bring to the market. There aren't many luxury skincare brands compared to other categories.

Their marketing strategy mainly targeted the wealthy class of women, and it became a luxury brand by being bought by a particular type of woman.

However, in 2016, Estee Lauder launched The Estee Edit, a beauty and skincare collection targeting millennials. But, that hasn't lasted long. One year later, the brand has decided to retire the sub-brand.

Despite tapping social media-savvy influencers (notably, Kendall Jenner and Irene Kim), a tried-and-true beauty marketing method of late, The Estée Edit struggled to deliver on its projected $60 million in first-year sales. Still, Estée Lauder representatives don't count this as a loss. Rather, they're quick to point out that this decision comes as a result of success other Lauder brands have experienced reaching millennials. Source: Fashionista

Newstep2000 - ESTEE LAUDER

As mentioned above, you must nail your first target audience before considering targeting another group. Estee Lauder has billions of dollars and can test those strategies without significant repercussions.

In-between skincare brand: Then I Met You

Then I Met You is a 16x award-winning American skincare line that is influenced by the Korean principles of Jeong — having intentionality, generosity, and authenticity towards anything, whether it’s living or not.

The brand has been seen in various publications such as Allure, Glossy, PopSugar, Refinery29, Forbes, Vox, and Vogue among many others. Plus, the baby blue and yellow Instagram feed has 130k followers — impressive! Even Kim Chi, an American drag queen best known for her appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, has spoken highly of the brand. ”

Source: honestbrandreviews

Then I Met You

The brand is a great example of a unique brand identity with beautiful colors. The strategic choice for the colour's brand isn't by luck.

Blue is the primary colour and is often related to loyalty, confidence, security, and reliable authority. Light sky blue can make people feel contemplative and serene.

The secondary colors are yellow and pink. Let’s explore their meaning.

Yellow colour meaning in design: "The colour of sunshine, yellow, brings about positive feelings. Joy, happiness, and hope are all within yellow's domain. It can boost confidence and curiosity and even improve learning. There's just something about yellow that makes us think logically and positively. Source: Adobe."

Pink color meaning in design: "It's a colour of opposites since it can make us think of innocence and burning passion. Bright and hot pinks are associated with love, romance, and even lust. Intense pinks create a sense of urgency. Source: Adobe."

Then I Met You attracted many people because of its vast success and awards. Their branding appeals to different types of audiences but obviously not everyone. It's not all about aesthetics. The brand is gorgeous, its products are insanely good, and the reviews speak for the brand.

Affordable skincare brand: Cetaphil

You might have mixed Cetaphil and Cerave. They look very similar, and they aim to attract the same audience.

Cosmeticsdesign - Cetaphil

Cetaphil promises unharmful ingredients for sensitive skin. They’re able to attract a very broad audience because of the specific pain points of their customers.

  • Their products are for anyone and everyone - from newborns to the elderly.
  • They target people prone to sensitive and/or difficult skin, chemically aware, and makeup users.
  • Their customers are generally economically in tune, looking for fast and easy skin care and use caution when applying solutions to their skin.
  • Babies, Seniors, Moms- people known to have sensitive, delicate and or problematic skin

Source: Prezi

Marketing tips for skincare branding

Content Marketing Strategies

You need strategies to attract the right audience to your brand, even if it's content. Are your products solely for dry skin? Create content for this particular pain point. Many brands neglect the power of writing blog posts, which can bring you tremendous organic traffic. If that isn't your cup of tea, I suggest you hire a professional content strategist and copywriter.

You also can use different channels as part of your marketing strategy. But, I highly suggest you focus on a maximum of two online platforms, in the beginning, speaking of engagement. For example, you can create videos about particular problems your products solve, objections your customers might have, or behind the scenes of the fulfillment on Instagram and repurpose your videos into TikTok and Pinterest.

There are a lot of strategies you can incorporate when you launch your brand.

  • Interact with your customers and answer their questions
  • Share every result you can to build trust with new customers.
  • Share BTS of your products photography
  • Share BTS of your model's photography

Beautiful imagery is VERY important. Consider investing in professional photography or learning how to do it. It is one of the most critical factors in someone remembering your brand or forgetting it the next second.

If you did your homework well, it should be easy to develop some content ideas. How? Well, your competition has done the work for you already. You only have to give it a little spin with your branding and call it a day.

Wait a minute. I'm not telling you to copy your competitors, no-no! The whole purpose of branding is to differentiate your brand, and copying will certainly not help your cause.

Social media marketing

Paid marketing is as important as organic marketing. As previously mentioned, you can use social media to drive organic traffic. But you can also use them to drive paid traffic.

The goal is to advertise on the platform your target audience hangs out with the most. As you grow, you can expand your channels and ultimately dominate every platform.

I found the top 5 Social Media channels to consider for your marketing brand strategy in this particular order:

  1. Instagram
  2. TikTok
  3. YouTube
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter

Source: Launchmetrics

I'd add Pinterest to the mix because of its long-shelf lifetime. Especially with their new features where they became more Ecommerce oriented.

My personal top 3 for newly established skincare brands are:

  1. TikTok
  2. Instagram
  3. Pinterest

My reasoning is straightforward. You can repurpose all of your TikTok videos on Instagram and Pinterest. In addition, you can repurpose your Instagram posts to your Pinterest.

You have to work smarter and not harder in the beginning. Repurposing is one where you don't have to work "harder."

Hiring a social media manager would be one of the best decisions you can make for your brand to breathe again and expand.

Please don't waste your time doing it all by yourself. Reinvest your brand as soon as you can. It's the first step to joining the club of successful skincare brands.

Influencer marketing

Influencers can give a nice boost to your skincare brand. Nowadays, it is easy to find skincare enthusiasts and influencers. A personal favourite of mine is Ainfluencer.

Another simple way is to search for them on your chosen platform manually.

I suggest you select at least five influencers and test different strategies with them, such as

  • Giveaways (build awareness)
  • Free sponsorship (give your product for free in exchange for a video)
  • Paid sponsorship

SEO marketing

Search engine optimization can be very intimidating, especially in the Ecommerce Industry.

These are my top SEO tips that many brand owners aren't even aware of.

Bonus Tip: Consider implementing these tips for all of your content. Because TikTok is heavily capitalizing on SEO, it is a shame if you aren't using it at its full potential.

1. Keywords research

Even if you aren't an SEO expert, you can develop a keyword list that your target audience uses to find your products.

Put yourself in your customers' shoes and ask: What am I looking for? How am I going to find X product?

For example, a customer looking for an anti-aging cream will type "Best anti-aging cream, top 5 anti-aging cream."

So, what are you selling, and what will your customers type to find your product?

2. Optimize your title & meta description

Optimizing your title and meta description with your keywords will improve your organic ranking over time. Many factors are playing in it, especially in the beauty industry. You are competing with other brands who have a higher DA (domain authority) and who have been active way before you.

3. Optimize your product description

Your product page is a huge opportunity to write a fun and captivating description. Use it strategically to sprinkle in it some of your keywords.

4. Optimize your images

When was the last time you renamed an image you took from your iPhone? You're not alone. To improve your organic ranking, naming your images with your keywords plays a huge role. Let's take as an example an anti-aging serum.

Instead of uploading your product image as "IMG29382_02," name it "anti-aging-serum_brandname."

Also, your images are hefty. You can compress them for free with tools like TinyPNG; not only will it speed up your website, but Google loves that!

When you start to implement all of these small tweaks, great things start to happen, and you will witness some positive changes while your brand grows.

Don't put much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the ride while building your business. As skincare entrepreneurs, you don't have to do it all on your own. If you would like some help, my studio can assist you in developing a brand strategy and designing your brand, packaging, and website.

Don't hesitate to contact me to have a chat about your project!

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