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Keeping it Real in Beauty

Since our motto is Real.Fresh.Fun we thought we’d kick off our first blog by getting real with the beauty industry.

There’s a lot of hype with many beauty brands these days.  We want to keep it real with you so we’re letting you in on some secrets we’ve found out when launching our SURFCHIQUE surf inspired beauty brand.  From photography, pricing, and marketing trends just to start.


In this day and age, with Instagram and TikTok filters everywhere you look, you never know if what you’re looking at online is real or if you are being catfished! That’s why, we take a hard pass on using any photo-retouching on photography that features people and our makeup products on actual models and people in the photography.

When we were getting ready to launch our Sea Shimmer Lip Glosses, we purchased some photography options from the manufacturer.  We thought at the time that they would be putting actual product on models and photographing it. However, what ended up happening is they asked us to look for some stock photography and they would use photoshop to put the Sea Shimmer lip gloss effect on the models in the pictures.  We went ahead with it initially as we wanted everything to look super professional for the launch.

Below are the photoshopped photos

Sea Shimmer lip gloss - photoshopped photos

Here are the photos I took of myself with the actual Sea Shimmer Gloss on my lips

Sea Shimmer Lip Gloss - real photos

We even had them revise the pics somewhat as it just looked too fake.  In the end, we never used those photos on the product pages and took pictures of the Sea Shimmer Lip Gloss on my own face, using selfies taken by my window with the light shining on me to showcase the amazing shimmery effect of the gloss.

The lip conditioner and lip scrub photos we were also provided with did not at all reflect the reality of the look.  Even though there are different flavors/colors of the lip conditioners/scrubs, when applied to the lips the effect is clear and not anything like the look of these photoshopped pics below. We had the pics revised to look more natural and we did still use the photoshopped pics, but just for illustrative effect, and so we’d have more people represented than me on the website!!

Lip conditioner/scrub photoshopped photos

We also forego the dramatic, serious poses. We love to feature photos that show people that are happy, having fun, and enjoying life, as the fun part of our brand doesn’t need to be taken so seriously!


There are many factors that go into how cosmetic products are priced.  Cosmetics actually have one of the higher profit margins of products out there (price minus cost of product divided by price), but given the industry is super competitive, much of that profit margin goes to advertising. 

Many larger brands are able to keep these large profit margins while offering inexpensive products because they purchase hundreds of thousands of units at a time with cheaper synthetic ingredients.  We’re not knocking synthetic ingredients, as long as they are safe, some synthetic ingredients can be more environmentally sustainable and perform just as good as the natural variety.

However, purchasing excess quantity of units to get super cheap pricing is a concern for us, as it results in lots of waste that goes into landfills and the ocean. In addition, who knows how long some of these products have been sitting around in warehouses, collecting dust. Check out these offers for hundreds of used cosmetics wholesalers offer that the manufacturers have not been able to sell.  

Unsold beauty products going to waste

Since we produce our products in small batches, focusing on natural premium ingredients as much as we can, our products are a bit higher priced, but we can assure you we’re not getting super fat profit margins like the big brands do.

We do have to use advertising as we are a new brand and nobody has heard of us, but our focus is to grow our email list and ambassador/influencer program, so we can give those profits back to our customers that allow us to have a direct line of communication with them and brand advocates who help grow our brand. We’d rather give our customers and fans the ad savings vs. the big corporate companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and TikTok, but they are necessary at a certain level.

In addition, we set lower profit margins for more of our need based vs. fun products.  For example, our sunscreens and Surf Bum body butter have lower profit margins than our Sea Shimmer Lip Glosses and Perfume Fragrance Oils.  Not that I don’t need me some Sea Shimmer Lip Gloss that I’m kind of addicted to and Sensational Tropical Perfume Oil scents, but I think everyone can agree that the need to protect our skin and keep it hydrated is a bit more important!

Marketing Trends

Clean Beauty. These are two words that are thrown around everywhere you look in the beauty space these days. However, how do you specifically define clean beauty? Is it beauty products that have washed their hands for a certain number of seconds? That was kind of a joke, but more of an illustration. Sephora has a list of banned ingredients but so does Credo and then other brands that only sell on their website throw the word around a lot as well, but offer no clear specifications. There’s also a lot of free of this, free of that marketing here and there, but there are so many ingredients that you should put on the free of list, it should be like a pharmaceutical ad with all the free of ingredients listed in fine print on each ad/website.

Instead of taking the negative, fear based, free of approach, we like to focus on all the great, premium ingredients we do use in our products that are safe. However just because an ingredient is safe doesn’t mean that it won’t cause an allergic reaction for someone, we are all different and respond differently to various ingredients.  However, all our ingredients are listed on every product page and we know our customers are smart people that do due diligence when researching products for themselves and what they need to look out for, if they are allergic to anything.

That’s it, we could go on a bit more and talk about the countless celebrity founded beauty brands these days, but we like to try and keep it positive. However, these were 3 things we wanted to take on as we launched our brand!


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