Astrology and the Beauty Industry

Stars in their eyes.

“That look is so flattering on your friend—maybe you should try it, too! If it’s a shirt or a lipstick, go for it. If it’s something more permanent like a haircut, try on a wig or something less commitment-intensive.” Thus reads the Virgo daily beauty horoscope for June 1 on—that’s right, it has beauty-specific horoscopes.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s taken a second glance at a cosmetics counter, the Sephora website, or the beauty section of a women’s magazine of late. Astrology and beauty are indelibly intertwined. Not only are zodiac-themed beauty products everywhere—in the names, the packaging design, and even entire collections dedicated to the star signs themselves—but astrology also supposedly dictates the kind of scents, colours, and shimmers we are drawn to.

It makes sense, a little. Astrology reduces personality types into a series of generalizations and then makes assumptions based on those. For instance, Virgos are detail-oriented earth signs and therefore must like earthy muted tones in matte or with very subtle shimmer, while water signs like pearlescent finishes because, you know, water.

It’s one thing to recognize yourself in the personality traits of your zodiac sign and find comfort and validation in them, but for companies to use those traits to identify and sell someone an aesthetic feels at best a stretch and at worst pandering and opportunistic. There also doesn’t seem to be a consistent consensus. The Virgo shade in ColourPop’s Zodiac eyeshadow palette is a matte brown shade, while the BH Cosmetics palette shade is a champagne-finish pale pink.

For companies to use those traits to identify and sell someone an aesthetic feels at best a stretch and at worst pandering and opportunistic.

Yet, it sells. Sells out, in fact. Bite Beauty could barely keep its Astrology collection in stock with all of the pre-orders as it rolled out lipstick shades star sign by star sign. However, even though limited-edition collections are always gone quickly, when they are broken up, some sell quicker than others. Fresh Beauty’s Zodiac Sugar Lip Treatment Advanced Therapy is sold out in all signs except Libra. Perhaps that’s because the airy Libra is too intellectual and high art oriented to be pulled in by the collection—or maybe because the formula is the same for all the signs and Libras are more discerning than the rest of the Zodiac. But then, maybe not. The Milk Makeup Astrology Tattoo Stamps are almost sold out in Gemini, Libra, Pisces, and Capricorn but not in other signs.

Things get even more complicated when fragrance gets involved. Zodica Perfumery has undertaken the challenge of creating the perfect scent for each astrological sign based on its sweet, spicy, or citrusy nature, with corresponding crystals in the bottle that can be removed and used for other purposes. The Virgo scent is “feminine and soft” while remaining “practical,” and the Amazonite crystal is meant to aid stress relief. What does that say about Virgos? That they’re all tightly wound Type A earth signs? Even so, the bottle is gorgeous, and it isn’t difficult to see the allure.

For those who want more choice over their fragrances, there are plenty of lists that match the best existing luxury perfumes with the scents that best suit the star signs. Like the makeup, though, there doesn’t seem to be much agreement on what scent suits the signs best. This list says Cancers should choose sweet vanilla-scented perfumes, this list says gourmand notes like earthy mushroom and sea salt are the best fit, and this list says that Cancer moon signs most likely haven’t changed their signature scent in years and should branch out to one that reminds them of a favourite memory.

The heart of the appeal lies in the customization. The connection to our astrology signs makes the products feel more special. They become collector’s items and we the collectors. The Zodiac-themed products are usually beautifully packaged, and regardless of the shade or fragrance inside, it must be admitted that how products look on our shelf, vanity table, or bathroom counter plays a big part in our consumption of beauty. We can all be seduced, be it by a particular object or decadent meal like a Taurus, or in my case, by the chance to break open a concept and overanalyze the pieces like every other Virgo out there (apparently).

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