Cosmetics Glow Up In Time For Summer

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After a year of Zoom sessions and FaceTime calls, consumers have seen enough…of themselves. Pallid skin tones, wrinkles and acne are all magnified by the screen or selfie. The good news for makeup marketers is that foundation, blush and concealer help hide those imperfections. Skin care benefits are blending into the makeup routine with improved shade-matching via more tonal offerings or the incorporation of long-wearing variations.

According to a survey conducted by Beautyque NYC, an experiential retail marketing platform for emerging beauty, health and wellness brands, 75% of respondents indicated they have changed their beauty routines since the pandemic started.


MAC Studio Fix Cream-to-Powder Foundation

“For most of us, many aspects of our lives have changed since the start of the pandemic. As a result, we’ve had to adapt our routines, habits, and lifestyles to fit the ‘new normal,’” Beautyque NYC Founder Sonia Khemiri said.

In the survey, 59% of respondents claimed to use makeup less often since the pandemic, but 30% use the same amount of makeup as they did before the pandemic. In relation to skin care, nearly 50% of survey respondents use the same amount of time as before and just over 40% use skin care more often. Fragrance and nail care items are used less often. Foundation and concealer are among the most used makeup products.

“The vast majority of consumers use makeup as a means of improving their overall self-esteem and perception,” Khemiri explained. “In terms of the brands our survey respondents support and purchase, the price has to be reasonable, and the product has to be cruelty-free, consist of high-performance formulas, made from clean and natural ingredients, and offer an inclusive shade range.”

Social media platforms, friends and family, and influencers are the top resources the respondents use to gain information on beauty trends along with researching beauty products online before making a purchase, according to Beautyque survey results.

The events of 2020 served as “undeniable catalysts” for change across industries, according to Mintel. The beauty business was no different, with diversity moving to the forefront in facial cosmetics. New research from Mintel revealed that more than three-fifths (63%) of Americans say they are inspired by beauty brands that show diversity in advertising, with the majority of those who would like to see diversity in beauty/grooming advertising saying they feel this way because it “reflects real life” (68%) and “shows that there are different ways to be beautiful” (56%). What’s more, nearly half (47%) of beauty consumers say they have looked for/bought from brands with diversity or inclusivity in the last year and a quarter (24%) have shopped with beauty brands that are minority owned.

According to Clare Hennigan, senior beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel, beauty marketing is increasingly shifting from aspirational to inspirational.

“Successful brands recognize that demonstrating a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion—whether through employment, advertising and/or product development—helps drive inspiration and empowerment. Brands have the opportunity to make a real impact by integrating different types of beauty diversity in a way, and at a place and time, that is truly authentic to them,” she said.

Understanding consumer perception of beauty inclusivity is complicated and nuanced. In the Mintel survey, half (52%) of consumers who use beauty products say affordable products indicate that a brand is inclusive, while 48% say a wide range of shades makes a brand inclusive. Two-fifths (39%) feel that when brands represent diverse groups in advertising that makes them inclusive.

“When consumers consider whether or not a beauty brand is inclusive, it is largely dictated by whether the brand satisfies the consumer’s own needs—how accessible the brand is to them personally—underscoring the importance of understanding core audience values and needs. This approach has led to some brands developing hyper-personalized, inclusive products like the new L’Oréal Perso, which uses AI to create personalized skin care formulas. At the same time, other brands are exploring inclusivity through a minimalist or universal approach,” said Hennigan.

While consumers were in flux between pandemic quarantined life and prepping to return to society, facial cosmetic sales slipped 15.6% to $1.6 billion, according to data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) for total US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended May 16, 2021.

However, according to The NPD Group, first quarter sales of 2021 US prestige beauty products rose 11% to $4.2 billion. While sales of skin care grew 12% to $1.4 billion, makeup sales dropped 9% to $1.5 billion, said NPD. However, within the makeup sector, highlighter sales were up 12% YoY and sales of bronzer rose 2%.


Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty added CBD-infused concealer pots.

One of the primary takeaways for the prestige beauty industry during the past year has been the consumer’s shift to self-care at home, noted NPD in its findings.

Kirsten Kjaer Weis, founder of indie beauty brand Kjaer Weis, New York, told Happi that minimalism is on the rise.

“We are seeing a huge focus on hybrid makeup/skincare. That is something we have always done at Kjaer Weis,”she said. “The pause the world has taken has really minimalized makeup, we all want to do something nurturing and care for ourselves. It is why this category is doing so well; a minimalist approach with huge efficacy on performance and skin care. Customers are looking for that and they will continue to look for that.”

Due to the pandemic, sheltering in place, social distancing and fashionable face masks, consumers want to simplify their beauty look, according to Victoria Vohland, director of operations/R&D for RCMA Makeup, Simi Valley, CA.

“Most people are now telecommuting via Zoom or other online platforms. So, creating a full-face makeup look for an hour-long virtual meeting can seem a bit time-consuming,” she told Happi. “Consumers are dealing with the struggle of finding the balance of effort versus time. Let’s face it, a perfectly creased and blended eye takes a lot of talent and effort. But, many consumers have moved into a not so natural, ‘natural beauty’ look.”

Vohland noted that natural beauty looks often consist of neutral skin tone products that are less dramatic, but still enhance the natural features.


Danessa Myricks branched out into facial cosmetics at Sephora.

“At RCMA, we wanted to help create an effortless, easy-to-use product that gives a truly natural beauty look, so we are developing a tinted primer for consumers who don’t really have the time to sit for hours in front of the mirror. The product’s lightweight crosspolymer technology will give an ‘insta-filter’ effect to the face without using your phone,” she said.

Consumers are definitely taking care of their skin much more than ever before, observed Sebastien Tardif, celebrity makeup artist and co-founder of Veil Cosmetics, New York.

“We’ve seen a big lift in skin care demand and this is just going to continue to get stronger as people understand the need to get their skin to look its best before getting to the makeup part,” he told Happi. “When it comes to makeup, the complexion and concealer category has been very strong. Speaking for myself, Veil Cosmetics is infused with skin care and I think that people are looking for multitasking skin care infused types of makeup. That’s definitely a trend that is gaining in strength.”

Weightless and lightweight formulas definitely are all the rage and very much in demand right now, Tardif told Happi.

“They let skin breathe, which is exactly what consumers want. People have walked away from the heavier mask-like…

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