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Eye and lip products help to bunk-up beleaguered makeup category

Gaelle Walker
15 September 2021

Sales of prestige mascara, brow products and tinted moisturiser are helping to boost the UK’s “challenged” make-up sector which is continuing to claw back sales following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions earlier this summer, new data from The NPD Group reveals.

The aforementioned hero product categories, plus lip gloss and setting spray, all reported double digit growth in the first half of 2021, helping the total UK prestige make-up market to report a value of £200m in the first half of 2021.

However, despite the lift, the category’s total value is still down 4% on the same period in 2020 and 48% down on the same period in 2019.

Makeup had been “the slowest category to recover in prestige beauty due to changes in work patterns and social behaviour, plus the continued practice of wearing face masks,” the NPD group said.

“To add to the challenges, bricks and mortar stores were closed until April 2021, testers on counters in stores have only recently been reintroduced and there has also been a shift to online retail,” it added.

Sales of prestige mascara in particular increased 20% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020 as consumers put “more emphasis on products that focused on the eye area.

In line with the trend towards more natural looks, tinted moisturisers also saw a resurgence, with sales increasing 19% in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.

NPD UK Beauty account manager Emma Fishwick said: “The make-up market has changed dramatically since the pandemic.

“How and how often people wear makeup has also changed. Many people continue to work from home (or in a hybrid model) people are socialising less and as a result the natural look has become more popular.

“Combine this with continued mask wearing, the absence of defined trends like strobing and contouring and consumer reluctance to spend (compared to pre-pandemic) make-up sales have naturally been affected.”

Recent weeks have witnessed a host of new mascara and brow product launches including Huda Beauty’s lightweight BombBrow Full N Fluffy gel earlier this month and new Legit Lashes Waterproof Mascara Topcoat, which hit sale in July.

Kjaer Weis also launched the Im-Possible Mascara - a Certified Organic mascara "breaththrough" with a high-impact, long-lasting and volumising formula. The new product is also available in an Iconic Edition or refillable format.

Californian-based beauty brand Benefit also released a new Lash Dream Team Mini Mascara Trio over the summer, while clean beauty brand Kosas unveiled The Big Clean mascara.

Powered by hair serum, the new clean mascara has been designed to create fluffy lashes that last for 12 hours.

The brand also launched a Fluffy Brow and Lash Set featuring the mascara and its tinted Air Brow gel.

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