The 4 Hottest Trends in Color Cosmetics


Color cosmetics are expected to reach $48.3 billion in 2018, up 6% from $45.5 billion in 2017, according to new research from Mintel. 

Charlotte Libby, Mintel’s global color cosmetics analyst, shared the macro-trends within the category that are helping to boost sales.

4 Trends Helping Color Cosmetics Grow

"Vlog Me Beautiful" 

  • 41% of Chinese color cosmetics users are influenced by celebrity beauty bloggers and vloggers to buy products.
  • 31% of German make-up users aged 16-24 wear make-up to feel trendy.
  • 66% of U.K. women aged 16-24 say it's easy to learn new beauty techniques from the internet.

Libby explained, "The success of influencers has shown that people buy the personality, and not simply the products. It has become more important for brands to have a personality, to showcase their founders, and tell their story to be relatable for consumers. Social media gives brands a way to give customers behind-the-scenes access to their culture.

“As fashions change, new 'selfie-friendly' zones of the face are receiving more attention. Eye makeup is moving away from the lids, with the brow bone and inner eye corners growing in popularity as focus points for bright and bold colors. Meanwhile, the Youtube-born 'boy beat' complexion trend is catching on, encouraging make-up users to switch to sheer bases and embrace so-called flaws such as freckles, pigmentation or dark circles.”

Sustainability Seekers

  • 66% of U.K. female beauty buyers aged 16-24 want retailers to give them more information about which beauty products are environmentally-friendly.
  • 24% of Italian women have bought natural and organic makeup in the past year.

Libby said, “The beauty industry's shift towards natural and organic products will have a unique impact on color cosmetics, leading to increased attention on product origin and quality of ingredients. Brands will be expected to demonstrate their ethical policies and consideration of resources and alternatives. For instance, many glitters found in color cosmetics contain non-biodegradable microplastics. As consumer awareness around the negatives of microplastics grows, glitter in makeup will be subject to more scrutiny.

“Consumers are drawn to brands that act responsibly. Attempting to reduce the carbon footprint by tackling waste is an area in which color cosmetics brands can innovate. Alternative materials like bamboo, coconut husk and rice bran have been a growing trend in packaging. As well as appealing to consumers looking for environmentally-friendly products, they have the added benefit of standing out on the shelves where plastic and glass is the norm.” 

Transparency is Tops

  • 34% of Brazilian Millennials aged 19-35 say they prefer to buy from brands that support social causes.
  • 39% of U.S. women aged 18-34 think brands that support charities are trying to make themselves look better.

Libby continued by saying, “As global politics becomes more divisive, consumers want to be sure the companies and brands they buy from aligning with their personal views. As a result, an increasing number of brands are making their political views known and embarking on more action-led initiatives, such as charitable donations. This trend is expected to become more prevalent in 2018. Rather than just offering products, brands need to offer a way to support the world.

“While younger audiences are most likely to seek out brands that align with their beliefs and values, they can also be the most cynical, fearing charitable brands are disingenuous. Consumers need confirmation that this is a genuine positioning. Hence, a strategy involving charitable donations needs to be long-term and treated appropriately, becoming part of the core business of the company.” 

When Makeup Met Skin Care

  • 67% of Chinese women want to minimize makeup steps.
  • 41% of U.S. female beauty buyers would be interested in multi-purpose beauty products.
  • 41% of French women think that the environment (eg pollution, cold weather) affects the appearance of the skin.

Libby added, “As consumer demand for makeup with skincare benefits increases, there is more opportunity for brands to develop hybridization between categories. As part of growing concerns about pollution, face makeup can act as another layer of protection. Hence, it is important that color cosmetics incorporate skincare benefits such as hydration and UV protection. Probiotics also have a chance to grow; a prominent trend in skincare,  connecting good bacteria to healthy skin, they are increasingly being used in color cosmetics too.” 

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