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Brand Profile: how e.l.f. Cosmetics is using a dedicated site experience to elevate e.l.f. SKIN franchises

Kelle Salle
16 August 2022

According to a global study by Kantar, weekly makeup usage fell by 28% during the pandemic. As consumers embraced a more natural look, skincare routines became more popular than ever, which undoubtedly presented a challenge for makeup brands. Prestige beauty sales in the U.K fell by 24% in the midst of the pandemic and even as the industry moves forward, skincare continues to dominate the sector with 42% of market share.

According to Tom Sweeney, Head of Creative Strategy at Fanbytes, social media has had a part to play in this shift. “Throughout 2022, social media became increasingly important as a discovery platform for the personal care audiences. In 2023, we anticipate a shift to more fragmented marketplaces where people start to look for ultra-specific products for ultra-specific needs, which will make the market more busier and more competitive than ever,” he said.

Social media audiences are fragmenting into more specific skincare challenges, with hashtags mentioning skin PH (#skincareph) and specific skin types (#oilyskin) seeing strong growth in engagement. “With this in mind, there has never been a better time for brands to capitalise on the fragmentation of the market by niching down and attacking very specific audiences,” Sweeney said. As attitudes towards skincare and beauty continue to evolve, some makeup brands have decided to launch skincare ranges with specific needs in mind, which is something drugstore brand e.l.f. Cosmetics did back in 2015.

e.l.f. Cosmetics was founded by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in 2004. The brand was born out of a desire to create affordable, high-quality makeup. Some of their bestselling products include the 16 HR Camo Concealer, the Holy Hydration! Face Cream and the Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm. In 2015, e.l.f. launched a skincare range as an adjacency to their successful cosmetics brand. This year, the brand launched its first dedicated site experience as part of its brand recharge. “With the site experience, e.l.f. aims to elevate hero franchises by skin concerns through the delivery of ingredient-rich content. Our mission is to make efficacious skincare accessible to every eye, lip and face,” Remy Klein, Associate Vice President, International said.  

Although e.l.f. has experienced a growing presence online and across its major retailers in the US and internationally over the last seven years, the brand still felt a need to carry out market research to determine whether elevating its skincare offering was the right move. “Through our research, we found that skincare can be intimidating, complicated and unattainable for consumers. e.l.f. SKIN delivers next-level formulas with skin-loving ingredients for every skin concern. We strive to formulate products that are clean and kind (vegan and cruelty-free),” Klein said.

All products in the e.l.f. SKIN range meet all standards of clean globally, exceeding both FDA and European Union Cosmetic Regulations. They are also formulated without more than 1,600 restricted substances. “We are double cruelty-free certified with Leaping Bunny and PETA. We never test on animals or use any ingredients that are tested on animals,” Klein said.

e.l.f. prides itself on targeting every eye, lip, face and skin concern. “With holy grails like Holy Hydration! Skincare and new innovations, we are redefining what’s possible with clean, ingredient-driven skincare that’s accessible to all at an incredible value,” Klein said. The main collections in e.l.f.’s skincare offering are Pure Skin, Blemish Breakthrough, Holy Hydration! and Supers. All products are dermatologist-developed.

E.l.f Cosmetics

The Pure Skin collection

e.l.f. SKIN Pure Skin includes a gentle cleanser, toner and moisturiser that are ideal for all skin types. All products have been formulated with niacinamide and ceramides, providing consumers with a nourishing, non-irritating skincare regimen.

e.l.f. SKIN Blemish Breakthrough Collection includes a cleanser, night serum, face moisturiser and blemish treatment which all work to reduce blemishes and prevent new ones from occurring. All products have been formulated with salicylic acid, niacinamide and tranexamic acid to help clarify pores, even out the skin tone and soothe skin to recovery.

The Holy Hydration! Collection (main image) includes a face cream, moisturiser and mask. All products have been formulated with skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, peptides and essential moisture to promote a healthy, hydrated and radiant complexion – the Holy Hydration Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm is a top performer according to Klein.

The Supers Collection includes cleansers, toners, masks and a moisturiser. All products have been formulated with beneficial vitamins and antioxidants that work to awaken, soothe and rejuvenate skin.

E.l.f. Cosmetics SKIN

The Blemish Breakthrough collection

What makes e.l.f. SKIN stand out from other skincare ranges that are currently on the market is the brand’s ability to democratise clean and effective skincare by making it accessible at unbelievable prices, with products in the Blemish Breakthrough and Holy Hydration! collections retailing at just £4. To tie in with the launch of the e.l.f. SKIN site experience, the brand launched an awareness campaign. “The e.l.f. SKIN awareness campaign was our first of its kind. By using a platform-native, UGC (User Generated Content)-inspired production approach fuelled by culture, the campaign shows how skin care can be seriously effective, straightforward and affordable,” Klein said.

e.l.f.’s decision to launch a new site experience for its skincare collections was well-timed. Fanbytes has found that audiences are becoming more tribal, with brand hashtags being favoured over general tips, hacks and advice. By providing skin care with quality and affordability in mind, e.l.f. has anticipated this change in consumer demand and it is highly likely that it won’t struggle to reach audiences at a time when brand loyalty will continue to take centre stage in the years to come. “Audiences brands don’t have now will be harder and harder to reach – people are so loyal to a few specific brands that it’s only possible to shift their buying behaviours by proving the results they’re going to achieve are far beyond what their current product offers, “ Sweeney said.

e.l.f. SKIN has been well received by its community. As the brand sets out to show their consumers that skincare can be effective, straightforward and affordable, it has had to make a few minor changes with existing and potential customers in mind. “We’ve recently streamlined our assortment and improved our packaging with a greater focus on education and effective ingredients, which has made a difference. We also accelerated our focus on holy grail innovation, leading on our unique ability to take the best of beauty and make it accessible,” Klein said.

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