How the Beauty Industry Is Taking on Threads, Meta’s Twitter Rival App – WWD

The beauty industry is entering its Threads era.

From companies like Tarte Cosmetics, Milk Makeup, Sephora and the Estée Lauder Cos. to beauty tastemakers including Desi Perkins and Monet McMichael (no sign of Alix Earle — yet), the industry’s denizens are among the 70 million-plus users who have taken to the text-based platform since it was launched by Meta late Wednesday.

Like Twitter, Threads allows users to browse and share thoughts, photos and videos, and repost others’ content. Threads have a 500-character limit, and videos uploaded to the platform must be under 5 minutes long.

Unlike Twitter, Threads possesses the advantage of a clean slate: The platform is yet-unsullied by the kind of controversy the former has been grappling with since Elon Musk took the reins as chief executive officer in October. Shortly after entering the role, the tech billionaire laid off a majority of Twitter’s workforce without notice; his most recent offense occurred last week when he rolled out temporary limits to how many tweets users can view per day in a bid to combat “data scrapping.”

With many Twitter users now considering jumping ship, Threads appears uniquely positioned to snap up at least some of the app’s market share.

“It’s almost like a reset, right?,” said Amy Liu, founder and CEO of viral skin care brand Tower 28. “I think people just feel maybe slightly safer in this [Threads] environment; it’s like all the things that people want to get back to that they felt like Twitter once was.”

Tower 28 poked fun at the Threads vs. Twitter discourse with a comparison of the SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray’s old and new packaging.

Because Threads is connected to Instagram, people can easily sync their following list on Threads with that of their Instagram account. Not only does this make it easier to quickly build a following — Tower 28, for example, already counts more than 12,000 followers on the platform, versus just over 1,000 on its long-standing Twitter account — it could also reduce trolling, a growing issue on platforms like TikTok and Twitter.

“Because your Threads is tied to your Instagram, there’s a little bit more accountability over what you say, whereas you can kind of join other social media apps and have no one know who you are,” said Afreka Ebanks, creative and brand strategist and account director at Gen Z digital marketing agency Juv Consulting.

While it’s too early to tell whether the amicable energy on Threads is a result of widespread Twitter fatigue, or due to simple time and circumstance, the vibes on the platform are indeed high.

“When you enter Threads, it’s like entering into a party full of people you already know — it’s instant ease,” said Christine White, Ulta Beauty’s senior director of social media and content. “I joke with my team that it’s about ROV, not ROI right now — Return on Vibes.”

The masstige retailer racked up more than 190,000 followers in just two days on Threads, where it prompted users to share their favorite beauty products and playfully rallied behind actress Keke Palmer in light of her recent baby daddy drama (which, ironically, kicked off on Twitter).

Ulta Beauty took to Threads to playfully rally behind actress Keke Palmer.

Ulta Beauty took to Threads to playfully rally behind actress Keke Palmer.


“Twitter allows brands to really have a personality: It’s still very much an important part of our ecosystem, but the emergence of Threads allows us to explore what community-building could look like over here, especially as it’s attached to Meta,” White said.

Added Summer Fridays cofounder Marianna Hewitt: “The fact that you can share your posts seamlessly between apps makes it very easy for the social media teams.”

Elsewhere on Threads, makeup artist and founder Bobbi Brown has opened up the floor to beauty questions; Ipsy is asking users to share go-to Dunkin’ Donuts drink orders; Refy Beauty has announced a London pop-up next week, and Benefit Cosmetics — best known for its brow products and services — is making “threading” puns.

Beauty veteran Bobbi Brown on Threads.

Beauty veteran Bobbi Brown on Threads.


Said Caroline Guss, group vice president of Sally Beauty Holdings: “We’ve seen Twitter serve a need for us in customer service and support; we see Threads so far as being a place for further engagement, and a new way to more closely connect to our community we’ve built on Instagram.”

The embrace of Threads has far transcended the public’s tepid reactions to other recent feature rollouts by Instagram.

The IGTV app, which launched in 2018 and sought to compete with YouTube, was shut down in 2022; the Shop tab, introduced in 2020, became defunct this past February following the company’s decision to prioritize Reels. (Instagram launched Reels in 2021 in response to TikTok; while the feature is indeed still standing, Instagram’s user base has been vocal in their disdain for the platform’s shift toward short-form video over photos.)

“I remember the day that Instagram created Stories back when we all had Snapchat — it felt momentous in how we would consume content, and it turned out to have been. [Threads] cannot be ignored,” said Jana Bobosikova, CEO of Epic Future Labs and cofounder of Web3 beauty brand, Kiki.

California-based Bobosikova was on a European excursion when Threads launched. “It was 2 a.m. or something like that — I just felt it was important to be there and learn from the beginning.”

While many are wondering whether Threads is the world’s second chance at a pre-Musk Twitter, Bobosikova posits the app could be the text-first platform for beauty discourse that Twitter never quite became.

Estée Laundry, the anonymous account which independently recounts the ongoings (and scandals) of the beauty industry, has arrived on Threads.

Estée Laundry, the anonymous account which reports on the ongoings of the beauty industry, has arrived on Threads.


“When we started Kiki, we were strategically focused a little more on Twitter, and we found the Twitter beauty space was — I wouldn’t say lonely, because there is a lot of noise — but it’s definitely significantly quieter than TikTok or Instagram,” Bobosikova said.

Yarden Horwitz, cofounder of beauty trend forecasting company Spate, also sees opportunity for an app like Threads to take off within the beauty community.

“The transition for beauty players may be less intimidating since [Threads] has a foundation in Instagram, a platform beloved by creators and brands for over a decade,” Horwitz said. “Another advantage of a text-based platform is that creative budgets and lead times are significantly lower.”

“Beauty is inherently visual, but text-based conversation is still needed and desired,” she continued, alluding to Reddit’s popular SkincareAddiction subreddit and other digital forums as examples of this demand.

Newly launched textured hair platform and brand OurX is already harnessing Threads’ momentum and accessibility to highlight its education-first approach.

“Threads is actually a way for us to take some of the education we’re doing on Instagram and make it into bite-sized Threads or nuggets,” said Meghan Maupin, CEO of OurX, adding the brand has embarked on a “Hair Tip of the Day” series featuring wisdom from celebrity hairstylist and brand partner Johnny Wright.

Textured hair care brand OurX rolled out a

Textured hair care brand OurX rolled out a “Hair Tip of the Day” series on Threads.


“A lot of people who fall into our target demographic are moving off Twitter,” Maupin said. “Especially for this consumer with highly-textured hair, we’re making sure we create a safe space for them to discuss hair and other cultural topics as well on new platforms like Threads.”

Beauty creator Joshua Specks echoed Maupin’s sentiments about Threads feeling potentially more conducive to amiable discourse than Twitter, which he added “is iconic — Twitter will always be there.”

“When I think about the people that follow me on Twitter versus the people that follow me on Instagram, I think Twitter comes with a lot more of a critique,” said Specks, who counts more than 300,000 TikTok followers and is best known for his experimental makeup looks. “When I have videos go viral and they end up on Twitter, they tend to garner a little more hate.”

Beauty influencer Joshua Specks.

Beauty influencer Joshua Specks.


He added that Threads’ marriage of TikTok’s impulse toward laid-back content and Instagram’s aesthetically-pleasing M.O. could help translate the platform to a mass audience.

“I would love to see brands be more personal — I feel like [Threads] is a great opportunity for us to kind of merge all the apps together into one; it can be a Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok — all things of that nature,” Specks said.

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