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The Changing Hue of Color Cosmetics

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: April 7, 2011, from the April 2011 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Latisse from Allergan is one of the major talking points in the lash product category—the product spurred the growth of other lash growth products on retail shelves. Latisse is not inexpensive, however, and the price is enough to make consumers think twice—it is available in topical and pill format at a cost of $120 per tube. Allergan is currently the only company with the right to use bimatoprost, the active ingredient in Latisse that stimulates growth. Despite this, Latisse has spawned a wave of new lash-enhancing products that all claim to thicken lashes, if not actually stimulate growth. The most recent launches include a lash-boosting product from Rimmel called Lash Accelerator and Grow Luscious by Fabulash from Revlon.

Although the use of Latisse should mean that a person no longer needs to wear mascara, its prohibitively high cost and limited global availability mean that it is unlikely to trouble mainstream eye color cosmetic manufacturers just yet. For the time being, other brand owners still need to work hard to convince consumers that their products will actually produce noticeable results—the justification for Latisse’s high price is that its efficacy is undisputed. If Allergan were to lose the exclusive rights to bimatoprost, the market would very likely be awash with less expensive products from rivals containing the ingredient—and lash boosters could move from a niche status further into the mainstream.

Dynamic Nail Polish Sees Influx of Launches

Nail polish was the fastest-growing category in 2009, registering more than 8% current value growth globally, an improvement on the 7% achieved the previous year. The do-it-yourself trend helped drive 9% value growth in nail products in 2009. Budget-conscious women continued to give themselves manicures at home instead of going to salons. As a result, after years of sales declines, nail products turned in a positive sales performance in 2008 and 2009.

Nail polish benefited from new launches and quickly changing fads for particular shades, especially nude colors in Western Europe. As a result of the growth in sales, nail products saw a flurry of company activity, with Coty acquiring the OPI nail polish brand as a prominent example. OPI has recently had several high-profile launches, including a line of polishes launched in conjunction with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber. The polishes are all named after his hit songs and retail solely in Walmart.


The position of color cosmetics will remain relatively precarious until 2014. Consumers are expected to slowly increase their spending on color cosmetics as employment and consumer confidence rises. The still rather weak economy poses a threat, but early signs of a return to form for consumer spending in 2011 are encouraging for the category.