What is user-generated content in the beauty industry and how to make it work for your brand

Domenic Smith
Domenic Smith
DTC brands independent consultant

In 2020, many beauty brands are experiencing a promising phase in their social media marketing turning away from well-photoshopped visuals towards more realistic and authentic user-generated content (UGC).

Consumers actively seek out brands that are open to provide a more transparent and people-centered experience. 73% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennials say it's important for brands to provide them with a personalized experience, according to a study by Stackla (2019).  

Let us show you why it is more efficient to get your beauty products reviewed by user-generated content rather than polish your aesthetically pleasing renders and pick the best words for your advertisement promise.

How user-generated content impact beauty brands

First of all, UGC can push potential consumers to buy with little social proof. As UGC helps beauty brands to present a product as it is, it allows them to demonstrate the actual performance of a product. For example, an influencer review of an eyeshadow palette can show how its pigmented color looks on a real person.

UGC also reveals a large group of real and diverse people behind the screen. This helps the brand to build the authenticity that shoppers demand, and increases the level of trust between the consumer and the brand. Hence, UGC reduces the time for a consumer to make a purchase decision.

Next, UGC can be a smart technique for content makers who want to optimize the ratio between the effort and the result. Imagine no need to rent a studio, to hire a stylist, a photographer, and a makeup artist; no need to control the person who is supposed to control the shooting. Drop your brief and get your content in the most authentic way possible.

For skincare products, there is also an opportunity to demonstrate the progress through days/weeks/months which also saves you budgets.

Finally, UGC can help to constantly grow the brand's community base. All you need is to time your UGC publication with different kinds of contests that invite consumers and browsers to share their own experiences across Instagram. Pick an influencer and convert their audience first into your fans and then into your consumers.

Top 3 popular formats of user-generated content in the beauty industry

There are a lot of ways for UGC to be created. Let's discover the top 3 that work best for the beauty industry.

  1. Unboxing

This format of UGC can be the most exciting for your consumers as it comes with the full range of emotions of the influencer and easily engages the audience.

The perfect candidates for unboxing videos are sets of beauty products that compliment each other or different beauty systems for specific requirements, for example, a full hair care system for oily scalp with a step-by-step instruction that the influencer could read out loud.

This type of UGC allows you to show off the appealing packaging of your products, inform your consumers about the brand new product line coming, and finally create an urge for your consumers to own, unwrap, and touch the product themselves.

  1. Testimonials

This way of collecting UGC allows both the brand and the influencer to spend less effort and still receive satisfying results.

All you have to do is confirm the testing, send the products, and receive the feedback in the chosen format. It is much less work for an influencer as they would only share the final thoughts, no need for them to film the process, or to invent a creative scenario of the audience engagement.

Testimonials often spread good vibes only and therefore this format can demonstrate less native nature and sound not as authentic as other types of UGC.

  1. Product review

Native reviews help beauty brands to create an extensive presentation of their product and encourage shoppers to try it out themselves. This type of UGC often boosts the level of trust between the brand and the consumer as the audience sees the product in real life, with all its flaws and realistic effects.

This helps to ground shoppers' expectations and work with the objections or prejudice that they would have before the engagement with the presentation. Also, the more realistic expectations your future consumers set, the more enjoyment after the purchase for them guaranteed, the higher the retention you get.

Top-Notch: the beauty brands that use user-generated content in their social media strategy

Le Labo

The New York-based perfumery brand Le Labo goes beyond traditional UGC and creates a separate Instagram account named @overheardlelabo. Dig in and you'll find all kinds of stories their consumers told each other while browsing perfumes at the stores all over the world.

This is how they keep their content always fresh and fun — which is a great move for a brand that cannot demonstrate their product effect online.


For a brand that is present almost on every shelf putting real people upfront is the right marketing strategy. From face mask selfies to bubble baths, Lush pushes the wave of peer-to-peer recommendations for new followers and future consumers.

By setting a smart endless campaign rule «follow us to get featured», they constantly increase their online audience and, we bet, rarely experience the lack of content.

M.A.C cosmetics

Being an industry heavyweight doesn’t require being boring. M.A.C cosmetics is constantly pushing the creative norm and highlighting diversity. Their recent campaign #MoodFlip is based on TikTok video format that encourages shoppers to discover their creative spirit and share with the world not only their looks but also their video-making skills.

This is the perfect way of making a few product presentations in one without even hiring a creative team.

WOW Skin Science

Here is the example of UGC usage from a brand that cooperates with Insense to widen their content strategy options and engage their audience. The brand invites subscribers to use the #wowfactor tag when posting a review on Instagram. There are both influencers with thousands of followers and regular consumers share their unique experience to get featured.

Look at these UGC posts that are well-blended into the native content to create a smooth profile feed.

The easy way to get your beauty products reviewed by user-generated content

UGC is a great marketing strategy for brands that practice a human-centered approach and are ready to meet real people behind every purchase. It is up to you which format of UGC to choose. Insense is always here to help you start something new and grow your online presence.

We have solid expertise in producing creatives for beauty industry brands. Insense partners with WOW Skin Science, DRMTLGY, and Kera Health to create UGC and amplify its performance through dark posting.

With Insense you can find influencers who create original and compelling content: there are more than 35000+ vetted influencers only on Instagram here. Get in partnership with the influencer to create an efficient UGC posting, increase your brand's online presence, and drive sales.

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