Skin is in: In the business of beauty, skincare products now earn more than makeup

Thanks to shifting consumer preferences, premium skincare products are now earning more than makeup for big cosmetics companies.


February 12, 2019

Thanks to record-breaking skincare sales, the beauty biz has gotten a makeover: Skincare products have overtaken makeup products as the highest-earning Big Beauty category, Quartz reports.

As consumers gravitate toward premium anti-aging potions, skincare is forecast to outperform all other cosmetics categories this year — propelling skincare supergiants like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal to record revenue.

From forever young to never old

Since the skincare category grew 16% and the makeup category only grew 3% over the course of the past year, companies that shifted their focus from “dolled up” to “toned down” were the big winners.

Estée Lauder did $4B in sales last quarter, and L’Oréal’s stock hit a record high thanks to better-than-expected sales growth. 

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Estée Lauder did $1.7B in skincare sales alone, a 16% increase from the previous year. L’Oréal also reported that most of the company’s above-average growth was “driven by its skincare performance.”  

Will the skincare bubble dry out?

Part of the reason that skincare products are so valuable is that they sell at premium prices: Anti-aging products are the most popular skin product but also the most expensive, ranging in price from $50 to $2k. 

These premium prices are good and glossy for now, but shifting consumer preferences down the road could cause a serious blemish on beauty’s business model. 

Some skincare forecasters predict that consumers won’t be willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for anti-aging serums forever and that the premium skincare bubble will burst once consumers become better educated. 

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