This post was sponsored by JUNOCO, all thoughts my own
California-based sustainable skincare and beauty brand JUNOCO decided to do something different this year. They’ve always made it their goal to open up conversations, leading the way to a more sustainable future in beauty. As a brand they’re already committed to gentle, vegan-friendly ingredients, transparency, maximised efficacy and reduced waste and emissions. They’re also microplastic-free, and utilise a range of EWG upcycled food, organic and ECO-CERT certified ingredients.
However, in 2022 came an expanded mission to move away from the traditional beauty market; one which relies on standard mass-produced and mass-consumed products and packaging, and often sells an unrealistic standard of beauty. Instead, alongside their simplified, intuitively sustainable products and formulas, they focused on championing real skin, and the real people who love themselves for their unique appearance.
Having worked in the beauty industry for many years, the JUNOCO team came across multiple experiences that changed the way they see the industry, especially in witnessing how it can affect people in incredibly personal ways. In particular, they noticed that preconceived notions and ideals of beauty in the last few decades have become distorted. Personal acceptance, growth and championing of individuality seemed lost, replaced by unachievable, limiting and exclusionary ideas of what is considered beautiful.
In response, the JUNOCO team came together with their wider community, committed to showcasing that true beauty is boundless. In May this year, they launched their #ToBeHuman skin positivity campaign, which has been taking the beauty world by storm ever since.
The campaign has simple goals: to normalise and celebrate real people, real skin, and real bodies. To show the world that, no matter what photoshop, mass marketing, and highly edited social media images may suggest, everyone has an inherent right to be happy with who they are and how they look. Real people have real skin, which includes pores, texture, acne, lines, wrinkles and discolouration. Our uniqueness represents our humanity, which is something we should always view as incredibly special and important. There’s no airbrushing in real life, and that’s a good thing.
The #ToBeHuman campaign is just the start of a more extensive journey JUNOCO is hoping to see across the world, slowly beginning to fix the contorted ideas society holds around beauty. They want to rewrite skin goals to focus on keeping it clean, healthy, protected and loving, no matter what. To remind people that their skin looks good now, exactly how it is. To normalise all skin, regardless of ‘imperfections’, because this is what makes each of us unique, and that’s what it truly means to be human.
Forgoing professional models, JUNOCO instead invited a diverse community of forward-thinking, skin-positive thought leaders to represent the #ToBeHuman campaign. All have different skin tones, backgrounds, and personalities, while no professional lighting, makeup or stylists were used. Models came as they were; all were simply asked to use the JUNOCO cleansing balm for a month before and on the day of the photoshoot.
The plan: show real people as they truly are, portraying the power of celebrating real, authentic beauty as a new standard, captured on a sunny Californian day to present real skin naturally. The wider campaign aims to change perspectives across beauty messaging, redefining what it means to have ‘flaws’. Instead of the discomfort of finding flaws in ourselves as determined by society, the conversation instead turns towards honesty and real self-acceptance.
The #ToBeHuman campaign then kicked off curbside in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley, chosen both because it’s the team’s home city and because San Francisco has a history of being at the forefront of inclusivity and sustainability. Over 300 people attended, seeing unphotoshopped, real people adorning the streets in posters featuring unconventional beauty looks and everyday skin. These visuals celebrated and proudly displayed an array of true-to-life skin tones, textures, shapes, and sizes, pushing us all to re-think what beauty really looks like.
The event also asked attendees what #ToBeHuman means to them. The campaign focuses on creating a new industry founded on acceptance, kindness and inclusivity, and attendees were asked which of their insecurities they were most proud of. The discussions this prompted showcased that it’s normal to have insecurities. There are other people out there who are insecure about the same things, no one is alone in their worries. But, more importantly, that doesn’t mean these insecurities aren’t beautiful too. We should all be proud of what makes us unique, and we should all believe that we are beautiful just as we are, without preconceived expectations of ideal beauty shaping our perceptions.
The power of perception
JUNOCO are committed to using their platform to continue spreading this message and challenging the status quo, and the wider world of beauty is taking note. This year’s FIT Capstone Presentations saw the Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management’s (aka CFMM) class of 2022 conduct a global analysis of the beauty industry. They looked at quantitative and qualitative research, international fieldwork, and interviews with beauty executives and market experts, surveying over 900 respondents to understand how people’s approach to everyday beauty has changed over the last few years. They dubbed this a time of ‘renaissance’; as new breakthroughs and innovations emerge, and 57% of respondents said they’d changed how they meet and relate to new people since the pandemic began.
With this in mind, CFMM’s findings concluded that people want to be inspired, to come together and emotionally invest in each other. JUNOCO was presented as a key example of the future of beauty, creating ‘care connections’ (or carenections) that create a space for their community to celebrate and accept the message that it’s ok to be human. Through this campaign they create new ways for people to connect over shared values of empathy, purpose, transparency and creativity, celebrating the beauty of our individuality, but also connecting into community and discovering new, meaningful relationships simultaneously.
For JUNOCO, ultimately, this is only the beginning. It’s time to challenge reductive thoughts about beauty ideas, it’s time to take charge and explore the vast expanse of what true beauty, individuality and inclusivity can mean. It’s time to champion all skin, all people, all bodies, and all the differences and variations that make people complex, beautiful and fascinating. Each in their own individual way.
So ask yourself today, what perspectives can you shift? What imperfections can you be proud of? How can you remind yourself that you are beautiful just as you are? This is where our power lies, this is what we should focus on when society tries to tell us we aren’t enough. Because we are beautiful, just as we are.