December 8, 2023
Water-based foundations, matte-finish blush and color-changing cheek tints are just a few leading facial cosmetics creations for 2023. And, industry experts are confident that innovations in makeup as a whole are fueling color cosmetics business for the season.

“Following a stellar 2022, the beauty industry continues to bask in the glow of growing sales,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at Circana. “The first quarter results reinforce beauty’s resiliency and unfaltering position as an indispensable category. As the prestige and mass industry lines blend, a clear picture of the complete beauty market becomes particularly important for brands and retailers to determine ‘where to grow from here’ and best harness the purchasing power of a consumer base that is already loyal to its products.”    

In the first quarter (Q1) of 2023, US prestige beauty industry sales rose 16% to $6.6 billion, according to point-of-sale data from Circana (formerly IRI and The NPD Group). In comparison, the mass beauty market grew 10% to $7 billion. As the fastest-growing category in Q1 across both the prestige and mass markets, makeup is making moves, noted Jensen.

Makeup captured close to one-third of complete beauty sales revenue in Q1. And, for the first quarter of 2023, prestige makeup grew 24% to $2.4 billion while mass market makeup rose 15% to $1.7 billion. 

According to Circana, mass market facial cosmetics sales soared 16.2% to $2.1 billion for total US multi-outlet (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) for the 52 weeks ended April 23, 2023. For a deeper look into the categories, check out the chart.

Fads come and go as quickly as a viral TikTok song, but celebrity makeup artist and cosmetics creator Ashunta Sheriff insists that multitasking facial makeup products that offer a pop of glamor are timeless.

“We are a generation of multitaskers looking for beauty and skin care products that can do more than one thing,” said Sheriff. “A blush that’s also a great lip stain and eyeshadow, a highlighter that works for face and body or a facial oil that gives a glow but can work in a pinch to take the ash away,” said the creator of the Ashunta Sheriff Beauty line, which carries several multitasking powerhouses. For example, Sheriff’s long-lasting shimmer liquid Thermal Blush works for cheeks, lids and lips.

According to Sheriff, 2023 is the year of the “effortless polished” look.

“For a while now we’ve seen an uptick in the ‘refined’ look—shout out to Hailey Bieber—but this look is at its best when you don’t try so hard,” she said. “In the past, a sleek, polished look required loads of makeup and time to achieve perfection, but now you can achieve the same level of flawlessness without looking overly made up thanks to blurring technologies and products.”

“More people are looking for products that have technology rooted within formulation, like a foundation with blurring technology that has buildable coverage versus a full coverage foundation that looks heavy on the skin,” she added.

Fresh, glowing and healthy skin is a top priority for beauty shoppers right now. The “clean girl” makeup trend is all about enhancing features using natural-looking products with an emphasis on minimalism, according to market research firm Spate. This includes using tinted moisturizer.

Clean skin care brand Ilia Beauty is celebrating it bestselling, award-winning Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 through a new campaign that champions its skin-reviving “superpowers”—plus the clinical results to prove it.

In the new campaign it partners with boldfaced names Jenn Streicher, Sandy Liang, Nelly Moudime and Nick Axelrod. With more than 2,500,000 bottles sold around the world, the groundbreaking product continues to push the boundaries in the beauty space, according to Ilia.  

Released in 2020, Super Serum Skin Tint redefined the complexion category with a first-of-its-kind skin tint developed to look like skin, enhanced, according to the brand. The formula combines niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, plant-based squalane and non-nano zinc oxide while providing a light, dewy coverage with mineral SPF. Available in 30 shades, the skin tint creates a natural barrier for skin care, sealing in hydration, plumping skin and boosting any antioxidant effectiveness by 200% to enliven skin, said the company.

Water-based formulas are ideal for consumers with sensitive or oily skin. With so many options on the market, consumers are looking to understand the difference between foundation products with different formulations and their benefits evident in searches for silicone and oil, found Spate in its research. Brands offering silicone-, water- or oil-based foundations have the opportunity to educate consumers on which primers, moisturizers and more work best with each formula to avoid separation or pilling.

Milani Cosmetics has a variety of blush colors for assorted skin tones.

On average, there are 15.2K searches every month in the US for water-based foundation, which is medium volume relative to other searches for foundation products. It’s grown 43.9% in searches since last year with high competition and market leaders like Tarte, Maybelline and L’Oréal, according to Spate.

Searches for “coverage” alongside “water-based foundation” indicate that consumers are concerned about the coverage of these lightweight formulas. Brands should be clear about the coverage their foundation provides when working on the product copy and marketing materials, Spate said.

Consumers are also searching for fun ways to add color to their face, and clear blush is the accessible product doing just that.  

According to the beauty trend tracker, there are 850 searches on average every month in the US for clear blush, which is very low volume relative to other blush products. It has grown 175.7% in searches since last year with zero market leaders and zero competition. 

Clear blush is a type of blush that reacts with skin’s pH and results in natural, dewy, blushing cheeks. As social media continues to drive purchasing decisions, products like clear blush, color-changing blush and pH blush are appearing in searches as videos of people using these products are mesmerizing to watch and often go viral. Opportunities present themselves for brands entering the clear blush space to create viral content that is both interesting and educational, according to Spate.

Some shoppers do not want shine benefits, though, in their facial cosmetics. In the past month, views for matte makeup on TikTok have grown 31.7%, according to Spate research. That is one of the fastest-growing TikTok makeup trends right now, which signals a potential shift away from the glow-getting aesthetic. Although some may fear the return of the 2016 “cake face,” the growing #mattemakeup look is one to keep a close eye on, Spate said. This returning trend is a great opportunity to create content, as well as an important signal for product developers to consider ways to create a modern matte product, say industry experts. 

According to Mary van Praag, chief executive officer for cosmetics company Milani, when speaking on trends in cosmetics, it’s hard not to bring up the impact of TikTok and other social media platforms that play a large hand in creating “short-lived” flash trends.

She told Happi, “There are standouts such as the no-makeup makeup look, multifunctional products and customizable coverage or color build products—the common thread being simplicity which appeals to the consumers’ ‘beauty positivity’ movement, busy lifestyles, informed purchasing decisions and a preference for minimalism.”

As consumer demands evolve in the cosmetics industry, Milani adapts to stay current to ensure that its customers always have access to the latest trends while continuing to develop core evergreen franchises.

Aligning with current trends, the recent #NoFilterJustMilani campaign showcased its Conceal + Perfect 2-in-1 Foundation + Concealer, a hero product known for its dual-purpose functionality and extensive shade range. The campaign celebrates natural faces free from digital alteration. Additionally, the versatile Make It Last Setting Spray acts as a primer and corrector.

“By offering products with buildable pigment, Milani empowers customers to tailor their coverage or intensity and effortlessly transition from a natural to a full glam look,” said van Praag. “Furthermore, our blush range has received considerable praise, securing the number two spot in its category.”

Leading cosmetic companies from prestige to mass are expanding portfolios to give beauty shoppers what they want for Summer 2023. For example, prestige cosmetic innovator Milk Makeup is expanding its facial cosmetics offerings with the new Sculpt Sticks. Available in four cool-toned shades that work across a wide range of skin tones, the creamy contour sticks create a subtle, natural-looking shadow effects, adding instant depth and dimension to the face, said the company. Unlike warm-toned bronzers, which add warmth where the sun hits the face, cool tones mimic the look of natural shadows on the face to subtly play up angles. Key ingredients include thyme extract to provide antioxidant benefits and sunflower seed oil to hydrate, smooth and calm skin. Milk Makeup is owned by Waldencast.

MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Face Pen

MAC Cosmetics is bulking up its cult-favorite Studio Fix lineup with two “all-new must-haves for confident face-forward looks” this season. The Studio Fix Every-Wear All-Over Face Pen and Studio Fix Pro Set + Blur Weightless Loose Powders are designed for long-wearing face makeup creations.

Available in 33 shades, the new MAC Studio Fix Every-Wear All-Over Face Pen brings foundation and concealer together in a “best-of-both-worlds” formulation for those who prefer to use a concealer all over face instead of a foundation, said the company. The innovative, high-control face pen combines transfer- and waterproof coverage, control and comfort. Click halfway to spot-conceal or all the way for all-over, natural matte coverage for 36 hours, according to the Estée Lauder-owned brand. Meanwhile, the Studio Fix Pro Set + Blur Weightless Loose Powders set makeup all day, absorbing oil and providing a photo-friendly matte finish with a 3D blurring effect.

Fellow Lauder brand, Too Faced Cosmetics, is rolling out Born This Way – Skin Tint with SPF for Summer 2023, a medium coverage, weightless and hydrating serum foundation with SPF 30 that looks like “your skin, but better.” The product is packed with coconut water, radiance-boosting alpine rose and soothing hyaluronic acid to give skin a youthful appearance. With 18 flexible shades and UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection, the product is ideal for a day out in the sun, according to Too Faced.

Some beauty brands are making over bestsellers to reach even more consumers. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Foundation is reformulated for Summer 2023 complete with new packaging. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super Blendable Foundation launched nearly 20 years ago, bringing undertone shade matching to the foundation category. Now for the first time, True Match Super Blendable Foundation is formulated with up to six different pigments: white, yellow, red, black, ultramarine blue and cobalt green for the most precise skin match, according to the company.

With this library of pigments, 99% of women found their true match (in a consumer test of 312 women) among the 47 skin-like shades. The formula contains 80% moisturizing cream and hyaluronic acid but is now vegan and is formulated without alcohols or fragrances. Consumers can select the best beauty match within the new five skin tone groups of deep, medium deep, medium, light medium and light. Identify the undertone between cool, neutral and warm using the color of veins as a guide.  

Industry experts such as van Praag at Milani are always keeping a finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving beauty landscape.

“A vital trend is the growing importance of well-rounded, 360-inclusivity where brands are now held to a standard to provide a comprehensive range of products that suit all skin tones,” she told Happi. “However, diversity and inclusion has been at the core of the Milani brand promise since the very beginning. We test and formulate all of our cosmetics—not just our complexion products— but all of our color cosmetics to provide the best pigmentations for all skin types. Milani has and will always offer an extensive selection of shades that empower consumers to find their perfect match.”

Beauty brands such as Makeup by Mario and Chantecaille are on the rise, according to market research firm Fact MR. In fact, global premium cosmetics sales will top $125 this year and is predicted to grow 7.6% during the next 10 years to reach $261 billion by 2033, according to Fact.MR.

Increasing aesthetic awareness among the general population has to led a substantial rise in demand for cosmetic and personal care products around the world, which is a primary factor for surging premium cosmetics demand, said the report. Growing awareness regarding the benefits associated with premium ingredients and the rising disposable income of people are also expected to boost sales of premium cosmetics in the future.

A beauty company to watch in this space is Makeup by Mario, a color cosmetics brand founded by Mario Dedivanovic. The renowned makeup artist revealed that the company raised $40 million in minority growth investment from Provenance and Silas Capital. The plans to amplify its reach and grow its direct-to-consumer business potential.

Additionally, Beiersdorf recently acquired Chantecaille, a premium cosmetics business founded in 1997. This acquisition strengthened Beiersdorf’s luxury skin care portfolio and enhanced its position in the global competitive landscape, according to Fact MR.

According to Spate, the growth in blush product formats like liquid blush (+75.5% YoY), cream blush (+24.0% YoY), cheek stains (+53.3% YoY), blush sticks (+31.4% YoY) and others have confirmed that consumers are looking for different methods to add color to their face. Spate recommends brands use this data to be innovative when it comes to product formats in the color cosmetic space for the next year and beyond.  


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