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How to build a Beauty Brand: what is a brand?

How to build a Beauty Brand

A lot of people want to start their own beauty brand, new brands launch all the time. Most of them you will probably never hear of. How do you start a beauty brand? How do you avoid becoming one of those many brands that people never hear of? This is the first part in a series of blog posts that will attempt to help you with how to build a beauty brand. We will start with the basics; in this post we cover what a brand is and how it is created.

moodboard with photos of herbivore botanicals products, clear glass bottles with white labels filled with colorful liquid.
Herbivore Botanicals has built their brand on handmade skincare made with natural botanical ingredients.

What is a brand?

A brand is not a logo or color scheme. A brand is not a business. So, what is a brand? A brand is the perception people have of something. As a business the perception people have of your business is your businesses brand. This can be very helpful when thinking about building a brand. Since branding is all about managing perception and expectations, what can we do to improve the perception people have of our brand?

Moodboard with photos of summer fridays skincare products, the products have different muted colors and minimalist typography.
Summer Fridays are a great example of a consistent Beauty Brand.


When your brand is consistent people will recognize and remember your brand which means each interaction or brand touchpoint builds the perception of your brand. Consistency builds trust and affinity, we like what’s familiar to us. Consistency can mean having a consistent brand identity which clearly makes it easier for people to recognize your brand. Using a consistent color palette, typography, layouts and style is important for this. That’s why having clear brand guidelines can make such a big difference.

Moodboard of photos of glow recipes products, they are cute with pastel colors and some of the photos feature fruits.
Glow Recipe has set up clear expectations a delivered on them!


Put simple if your brand is congruent, it will make sense to people. It means that your customers experience meets expectations based on your messaging and presentation. When something is not congruent it can often cause disappointment, frustration and distrust in our customers. When people are disappointed with your product it’s important to consider if the product is not living up to the expectations you built up or if your messaging and presentation built up the wrong expectations. If your brand has a clear vision this will help you determine which end to address.

If a brands messaging tells you they care a lot about being eco friendly but then you order a product from them and it comes rolled in bubble wrap, this will not make sense to most people. This can make people think you are dishonest and phony. You set up an expectation that you did not meet.

Glow Recipe - Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask


When you set up expectations it’s also just as important to meet them. For example, when I buy Glow Recipe’s watermelon sleeping mask, I expect it to have a fresh watermelon scent, which it does! Why do I expect this? I’ve seen lifestyle shots of their products showing it beside fresh watermelon. I’ve also seen a video feature about how their watermelon sleeping mask is made where they use real watermelon. Lastly, they also have a clear product description on their website that tells you the product has a fresh, fruity watermelon scent. All the information I have says the same thing, so I trust it to be true when they tell me.

Wishful - Honey Balm Jelly Moisturizer

Let’s look at another example, Honey Balm Jelly Moisturizer from Wishful. Already from the name it is telling you honey. There are also product photos with honey in them. That combined with the style of the packaging and what the texture looks like I would expect a light soft honey scent. Maybe not a natural honey scent like the Honey Halo moisturizer from Farmacy; even something like honey flavored candy would meet my expectations. So, what does the Honey Balm Jelly Moisturizer smell like? Lavender. A strong herbal lavender scent. I’m sure there are lots of people that like lavender; I’m not one of them. The texture of the product is lovely, but the scent just did not meet my expectations. Maybe I should have expected it with the color of the packaging, but it just honestly was not enough to clue me in.

There are also issues with having no expectations at all, it makes me very unlikely to buy something. For a lot of products that I see online I have no idea what the texture is like and even more commonly I have no idea what it smells like. If consumers don’t know what a product does or what it feels like they just won’t buy it most of the time. If people have no expectations of you then you don’t have a brand.


Building a brand is all about giving people positive expectations of your brand and then living up to them. In the next part will be all about brand story. How your brand values can build a foundation and how your brand mission can give you a roadmap.

Thank you for reading!

//Jennifer Carlsson

1 Comment

Apr 09, 2023

Thank you so much I’m loving these build a brand posts they’re super helpful!

Portrait photo of Jennifer Carlsson, short neon green hair and rainbow colored eye makeup
Jennifer Carlsson
The Beauty Brand Expert

I'm Jennifer Carlsson, a 30 year old strategy consultant, competitive market researcher, data analyst and designer from Stockholm, Sweden. I know more about more beauty brands than anyone else and I'm an expert in what it takes for beauty brands to succeed.
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