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Beauty Marketers Turn to Magic and the Surreal

New Age wisdom and spirituality are experiencing a resurgence in popularity with consumers, and brands are using fantastical language and visuals to draw them in.

Consumers are tapping into their spiritual sides, and the beauty industry is one of the first to start capitalizing on their interest.

A new report, “Frontier(less) Retail” from the J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Group in partnership with WWD, found that consumer interest in the fantastical and the occult has led to retailers reconnecting with their imaginative sides, using the language and imagery of magic, astrology and spirituality in products and retail experiences.

Lucie Green, worldwide director of the J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, noted that the trend is a form of backlash against the current transparency in the market — consumers are now more informed than ever on where their products come from, how they’re made and who makes them. “There’s a renewed appreciation for the things that are intangible, that we don’t know,” Thompson said.

Crystals, witchcraft, magic, astrology, cosmology and tarot cards are all facets of New Age spirituality that consumers are showing increasing interest in.

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“Collectively as a consumer trend, people are describing themselves as spiritual, not religious. People are trying to find some kind of meaning so we’ve seen a rise in astrology and spirituality,” said Thompson. “I don’t know that people genuinely believe, but it’s a celebration of this extra layer of New Age spirituality and culture and good vibes.”

Even if consumers do not actually believe in magic, New Age wisdom or the occult, the pithy marketing of it all appeals to Millennial consumers, who grew up with surreal and fantastical entertainment options like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Twilight, employ unicorn emojis when texting and utilize Snapchat filters to distort their features into alien-like visages.

For instance, in 2015 Glossier launched its space-themed Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and Moisturizing Moon Mask. Its most recent launch is Halosphere, a highlighter that comes in two shades — Quartz and Topaz. Charlotte Tilbury continues to grow her Magic Cream line and MAC Cosmetics in September will release its Star Trek-themed collection, complete with “cosmically charged hues.” Moon Juice, a lifestyle store with two locations in Los Angeles, sells juices, tinctures and tonics revolving around a lunar theme. One product is Beauty Dust, a $65 powder that promises to increase collagen and silica production. It can be found online at Net-a-porter.