According to market research provider Euromonitor International, the shine has come off sales of makeup in Western Europe, which grew just 1.7% to $14.1 billion last year. Face makeup performed above par across the leading European markets, driven by the launch of new foundation shades to complement all skin tones and types, the “selfie” generation’s heavy use of face makeup and easier access to new indie and digital brands through online retail channels. Eye makeup and lip products also performed above expectation in some market, such as Germany, where mascara, eyeliners and pencils tapped into the trend for accentuating the eyes. Eye makeup growth was strongest in Sweden and Turkey due to the uptake of new launches, such as L’Oréal mascara. In Italy and Spain, lip products have moved front and center as a key fashion accessory to complement everyday outfits.
In contrast, makeup sales in Eastern Europe increased 2.8% to top $3.3 billion, driven by a strong performance in face makeup sales which rose 4.7%. Growing disposable incomes and the trend for natural and “no makeup” looks has boosted the category especially in Poland and the Czech Republic, where consumers are becoming more preoccupied with the state of their skin and are willing to invest more in premium quality face makeup.
According to Euromonitor, demand for eye and lip makeup is strong in Russia, Ukraine and Romania, where glamorous makeup is the norm for many women. In particular, there has been a growing trend for catwalk-inspired and professional eye makeup, raising demand for sophisticated tools and products, such as eyebrow sets. Meanwhile, lip makeup was supported by launches featuring bright shades, such as Guerlain’s customizable lipstick and Chanel Rouge Allure liquid powder.
Makeup for Me
Fenty Beauty was the first makeup brand to introduce an expanded range of foundation shades aimed at virtually every skin tone, and which represented a change in approach for the foundation category. GlobalData’s analyst Lia Neophytou contends that more makeup brands are meeting the needs of specific ethnicities by providing broad shade ranges to match all skin tones or skin care products targeting different skin types.
“We are seeing brands cater to different ethnicities through product formulation but also by representing diversity in advertising campaigns,” she said. Revolution Beauty London is an example of a brand that made headlines recently when launching its ethnicity and age-inclusive advertising campaign for its new foundation range, and enlisted 24 models across a broad range of age and ethnicity.
Other recent examples include French luxury brand Dior, which recently launched a 40-shade foundation line addressing six different undertones: rosy, olive, yellow, beige, neutral and peach. Another newcomer to skin-tone targeted foundations is Beauty Bakerie, that ranks its shades from darker to lighter tones in order to clearly state its inclusive credentials. Meanwhile, Uoma Beauty tackles formulation and undertone issues inherent in developing darker shades.
“Rather than developing one formula for all shades and undertones, which creates issues such as quality consistency; i.e., certain ingredients can create a white or gray cast on darker skins), the founder developed five skin clusters with adapted formula, ingredients and undertones,” explained Margaux Caron, global beauty analyst, Mintel.
Refillable makeup packaging has been around for decades and the concept is now resonating with modern consumers as a more sustainable solution to disposing of items when they are finished.
“Recently launched luxury products focus on creating a deluxe outer pack made from premium materials that customers will want to keep and use again,” stated Caron. “More makeup brands can address plastic waste by using plastic alternatives such as bamboo, corn and glass, or reusable/refill concepts. However, brands must reassure an increasingly discerning consumer that these alternatives are more sustainable.”
A notable example in Europe is the French Zao Essence of Nature organic makeup brand, which uses sustainable bamboo for its packaging and refills to fit into magnetized palettes. Another brand is La Bouche Rouge, which combines a high-end look with sustainability.
Scandanavian makeup brand Kjaer Weis offers bold metal compacts housed in red lacquer grain-textured cases similar to jewelry boxes to be refilled. Lush Naked Lipstick Refill takes sustainability a step further with a vegan, handmade formula featuring a reusable case.
Caron maintains that because makeup is perceived as a women’s category in the West, marketing products to men with a traditional masculine tone of voice and aesthetic can be seen as incompatible.
“By suppressing the notions of gender, gender neutral brands and formats can appeal to men through natural, discrete looks to cover blemishes and boost self-confidence,” she said.
One such brand is Jecca Makeup, part of the L’Oréal Open Innovation Program which was created by makeup artist Jessica Blackler, who wanted to create a brand for those overlooked by mainstream brands.
Neophytou said that genderless makeup has the potential to be embraced by younger male consumers whose frequent use of the internet and social media has made them highly informed and comfortable with established grooming routines.
“As the male demographic collectively becomes more interested and informed in beauty and grooming products, and formulations, the need for gender-specific targeting will dwindle and genderless products can be expected to become more popular,” she predicted.
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Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.