Contouring, the technique of using shadow to give the face a slimmer and more carved look, was an $8.5 million industry in 2014, and has already more than tripled in size within the first eight months of 2015, exceeding $29 million. Whereas contouring focuses on shading and shadows, the strobing technique is all about highlighting and using illuminators and luminizers to achieve a glowing, “lit from within” look.
“Thanks in large part to celebrity influences, endorsements, and the Internet, contouring and strobing are redefining the makeup industry. One doesn’t need to be a professional makeup artist to use ‘high-definition’ or ‘camera ready’ products, and after some searches on YouTube or social media anyone can potentially learn the techniques for themselves,” said Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group. “It is essential for beauty brands, retailers, and manufacturers to further understand the impact of the societal evolutions happening today, because they are transforming not only consumers’ way of shopping and acquiring information, but also how they think, define beauty and perfection, and how they perceive themselves.”
Playing into these trends, face makeup products have become the fastest growing area of prestige makeup, growing 15 percent in retail dollar sales from January through August, while total prestige makeup grew 13 percent. Other Face—a category which includes primers and contour, highlighting, and sculpting kits—currently ranks as the second largest face category, preceded only by foundation. Dollar sales grew 46 percent, versus being up 14 percent in the same time period last year. In addition, concealer now outranks blush as the third largest face category, surpassing sales of blush products this year. Sales grew 19 percent, whereas blush sales declined 1 percent after 6 percent growth during this time in 2014. The concealers driving the current trend are “buildable” concealers, designed to be layered on as in contouring, without looking cakey.
“The immediate results of slimming, lifting, and radiance achieved by makeup face products is not only affecting how consumers use and choose other makeup products; the growth of contouring and strobing has coincided with softer sales of facial skincare products as well,” added Grant. “While consumers understand the need for both skin care and makeup, the role of the two categories is becoming even more closely linked. The outstanding sales increase and shifts in the face makeup category indicate that many consumers are currently prioritizing makeup as the means to instant results.”