When Snapchat first tapped into the power of augmented reality circa 2015, no one understood how impactful it would be to the social media platform and the beauty industry.
Snapchat’s “Lens” feature was introduced in 2015. This feature, powered by augmented reality technology, allows users to change how they and the world around them look. But it wasn’t until at least 2017 that the beauty industry started to catch up through independent providers like Modiface, which was later acquired by L’Oréal Group in 2018. To help further Snapchat’s relationship with the beauty and fashion industries and promote its AR strategy, Snapchat hired Rajni Jacques, head of fashion and beauty partnerships at Snapchat, to lead the charge.
Jacques joined the social media platform in April 2021 from her previous role as fashion director at Teen Vogue and Allure. Jacques has been in the editorial world for the last two decades, holding positions at InStyle, Glamour, Nylon, The Fader, Vibe and Honey.
Jacques sat down with Liz Flora, Glossy’s West Coast correspondent and host of the Glossy Beauty Podcast, to chat about all things augmented reality, Gen Z and the ways both play into beauty. The below excerpts have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Where beauty lives on Snapchat
“Beauty is living in a couple of different ways on Snapchat. Beauty works well with augmented reality because you get to try things. Augmented reality has evolved Snapchat. It was initially entertainment-driven and then went into self-expression. Now it’s more like a utility, where the consumer and businesses can still use AR to have fun, but also push their brands. Beauty also lives with content creators showing people how to create a look. It lives in a variety of places, obviously with ads as well within the app.”
How Gen Z interacts with beauty
“Gen Z loves exploring beauty. They explore beauty from their friends and their public community. It’s authentic in the way they play with beauty. The beauty of Gen Z on Snapchat is that it’s about creating content. Creators are in their bedrooms and want you to get ready with them. This is like a community that lives in the public eye. The Gen Z Snapchat community gets their style news and social media news, for the most part, on apps. At Snapchat, we say [that users] are looking at creators for the trends and how they implement them in their everyday lives.”
How social meida shapes Gen Z shopping habits
“Gen Z loves exploring beauty and exploring with their friends and the public in their community. Has [social media] changed their habits? 110%. Not only with how they’re shopping but also with how people look toward creators to shop for those items. Instead of traditional ad campaigns out on the street and people looking to those to help them make a purchasing decision, Gen Z gets that [influence] through their online community and friend groups. Social media has changed how we talk to each other about what we’re doing, how we’re shopping and our habits. Gen Z is a generation that has cultivated [the idea of] shopping on their terms. They don’t want people to tell them how they’re supposed to shop.”