Blobs of thick gloop plopped on clean skin and the squishy sound made by massaging viscous liquids. Sometimes there is a whispered commentary, others opt to not talk at all. It all depends on the listener’s preference which kind of ASMR, short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, they’ll listen to. But more than providing relaxation, in the beauty industry, this ultimate sensory experience has also become a vehicle for driving sales.
What is ASMR?
The term ASMR was coined by Jennifer Allen back in 2010. ASMR techniques intend to help the listener relax, de-stress, and eventually fall asleep. Conventional ASMR content usually involves eating food, tapping on everyday household items, or even just some whispered audio.
Meanwhile, the beauty community has taken up this trend and made it their own. Makeup ASMR is quite entertaining. There’s a certain satisfaction brought about by listening to the smack of glossed lips or the sweep of a makeup brush across a surface.
But it’s in skincare ASMR where true relaxation can be found.
The skincare videos genre lends itself to ASMR quite naturally. There are numerous skincare items that are both visually and auditorily pleasing. Opening a bottle of serum, pumping out the product, and patting it on to the skin tick all the boxes of ASMR.
'ASMRtists' and brands
In an interview with Clozette, Anahita Guha, FOREO's Regional Manager for Content-Asia, explained her take on the appeal of ASMR.
"Skincare is often associated with de-stressing, self-care, feeling good about oneself," she says. "Therefore, skincare ASMR is a great way to share these messages in a creative and unique format." For brands like FOREO, the relaxation aspect aids in making consumers aware of their products. According to her, after watching "ASMRtists," viewers would inquire about their devices and use them in their own videos. She concluded that brands with offerings aligned with relaxation can look at ASMR as a "viable content platform."
It’s also become quite lucrative for beauty vloggers to delve into skincare ASMR. Aside from FOREO, brands like LUSH have previously partnered up with YouTubers and Instagram accounts to either exhibit the ASMR qualities of their products or just have their products featured in an ASMR video. This took the form of tapping on the tub of a LUSH item or holding the FOREO Luna Mini 2 next to the microphone to pick up the small vibrations it makes.
"I believe any product that creates a soothing sound can potentially stimulate ASMR," shares Guha. "Triggers differ from person to person, and so, even ASMRtists have to keep experimenting with various sounds to keep their content fresh. For FOREO devices, it is the soft sound of the t-sonic pulsations."
When such partnerships are made, the content produced is equivalent to a 15 to 20-minute product commercial that doesn’t shove the benefits of a product down the audience’s throats. It’s a very intimate setting that’s a stark contrast to the real-world experience of being just a speck in a crowd. With ASMR content, you can just shut your eyes and tune out your surroundings.
Content creators have become some of the best marketers of beauty products, including those who create ASMR content. Given that the 2020 consumer is tech-savvy, video content and vlogs have even more relevance today in marketing beauty products. "Their purchases are research-driven — whether it is the latest tech gizmo or a holy grail skincare product," Guha explained. "Our range of products at FOREO are best explained by beauty or skincare enthusiasts that use vlogs to share their experiences because they delve into minute details of what works and what doesn’t and present it visually."
What makes ASMR so appealing? Writer and psychologist Victor Shamas tells Dazed Digital, "Research into the physiology of ASMR shows that it slows down heart rate and produces calm relaxing feelings, as well as the release of oxytocin, known as the ‘cuddle hormone.’"
He added: "It more closely resembles the tingling of orgasm and the afterglow that follows. Imagine what would happen if you were to skip over all the steps of sexual stimulation and arousal and go straight to the tingling afterglow. That is what I think is happening in ASMR."
Will you give skincare ASMR a try? Tonight as you prepare to go to bed, listen to a nighttime skincare routine done completely in ASMR. It could prelude an oddly satisfying beauty rest.
Aside from skincare ASMR, these were the beauty trends of 2019.