Skincare Set To Outpace Makeup Sales

Image Source: (© yvoneisenstein, Adobe Stock)

Skin is *seriously* in.

With growing dedication to health and wellness, WWD reports that glowing skin has become the status symbol among millennials across the globe. In the U.S. alone, prestige skincare surged 14 percent in sales over the past 12 months, compared with a 9 percent rise in 2017 and 3 percent in 2016 (NPD). Though color cosmetics continues to have a larger market share — $2 billion in first-quarter sales compared to $1.5 billion for skincare — skincare outpaces makeup as the beauty industry’s emerging growth engine.

Carol Hamilton, group president of the Luxe division of L’Oréal USA, attributes credit to SoulCycle for igniting the wellness trend in 2006, at least in the U.S. “It took the drudgery out of working out and made it much more about your mental health. It made it fun,” noted Hamilton. In the context of well-being, skincare is carving a “new beauty standard” and a growing shift towards healthy lifestyles is inspiring consumers to invest in their skin. No-makeup-makeup and bare-faced selfies are becoming the norm.

The WWD article highlights brands that have risen to social media fame, such as Tata Harper, Drunk Elephant, Tatcha, Sunday Riley and Dr Jart. CEOs stepping in front of the camera to answer questions during live AMAs across their platforms and documenting their BTS lives are key factors in the growth of the skincare industry. To this, I would go one step further and note that Tata Harper sells her own barely-there non-toxic makeup essentials. Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson thanks her mom for keeping her away from foundation and that she doesn’t wear it to this day — even for photoshoots. There’s no doubt that these founders have flawlessly radiant skin and while at the forefront of their brands, it’s easy for consumers to buy into the connection. These in-front-of-camera beauty CEOs have achieved aspirational celebrity status in their own right.

There’s no doubt that these founders have flawlessly radiant skin and while at the forefront of their brands, it’s easy for consumers to buy into the connection.

In fact, nearly 90 percent of women in the U.S. opt to use makeup with skincare benefits. They are actively seeking makeup that also moisturizes, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, minimizes pores and reduces redness. However, instead of decelerating the boom in skincare sales, two-thirds of these same women reported they use makeup in addition to skincare routines that offer the same benefits. (NPD)

Another major driver is transparency of ingredients and association with food. Its no coincidence that green beauty is rising up following a continuous growth in organic food consumption. People have started to care a lot more about what goes into their bodies and now what they apply topically. Full disclosures and transparency have become so important in skincare that the traditional big players are highlighting specific buzz-ingredients in their products. A quick search through any green beauty’s web content is likely to pull information of all the toxins they are free from. Language that consumers have taken a vested interest in educating themselves.

“Skincare has created a winning story around ingredients, innovation, wellness, and great skin at any age. Makeup brands and manufacturers are tearing a page from skincare’s playbook by leveraging skincare positioning in their own product offerings. This is a step in the right direction, as I expect the interaction and shared learning’s between these two emotional categories will prove mutually beneficial,” said Larissa Jensen, Executive Director, Beauty Industry Analyst at The NPD Group.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

This is a pivotal moment for the beauty industry at large and more than ever, brands need a personality that radiates if they wish to stand out from the crowd.


Transparency cannot be stressed enough. Consumers demand transparency in ingredients (read: no fragrance!). With resources at their fingertips like ThinkDirty and SkinDeep, there’s no shying away from cheap, harmful synthetics. Especially when compared with the mesmerizing alchemy displayed by the likes of Tata Harper, Leahlani Skincare and May Lindstrom, to name a few, with floral and exotic aromas almost emanating from their Instagram Stories.


Consumers want to know who’s running the show. On the one hand, it creates a truly experiential purchasing journey when you feel as though you know the person behind the product. On a deeper note, many of these brands bring in a new wave of mothers-as-CEOs, which unifies women in a movement of female empowerment. The MadMen era of men telling women which lipsticks their husbands would like to see them in could not be a more antiquated selling-style. Here we have women in charge of multinational beauty brands promoting health, wellbeing and mindfulness.


The lines between skincare and makeup are blurring (think mega cult brand Glossier and their mantra: “Skin first. Makeup second”). Makeup’s not going anywhere, but while it takes a more minimalistic approach, skincare brands should adapt by creating or partnering with products that align with their values. A co-branded social media giveaway is typically a guaranteed success, but some brands are going so far as to partner up, offering cross-branded GWPs as site-wide promotions. In the big picture of women supporting women, it becomes far more to do with collaboration and far less about competition.




Full-service creative agency built to elevate digital marketing for emerging clean beauty brands.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

CFO Q&A: The First Crucial Step is to Grow on the Present Market

10 Things That Make Ukraine Your Destination Outsourcing Country

Virgin’s Branson going to jail

Benefits of Using a GPS Vehicle Tracking System for Your Fleet

5 Financial Technology (Fintech) Trends to Watch Out for in 2021 and Beyond

Virgin Atlantic strikes called off

Automation and AI in Retail: How are stores coping with the change?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
A K B | D B C

A K B | D B C

Full-service creative agency built to elevate digital marketing for emerging clean beauty brands.

More from Medium

Rewriting your life — Introduction

[PODCAST] Easy ways to increase your energy (with Iris van Ooyen)

Three Simple Steps to Make Positive Changes

How Do We Live With Rainbows?