Colour cosmetics – more than a pretty face

Innovation in nail care and a boom in BB cream and primer launches, alongside the introduction of make-up with skin care benefits has kept the colour cosmetics market buoyant in 2010/11


The colour cosmetics market is moving beyond the boundaries of traditional make-up creating a new generation of smart products that promise more than just coverage. Emma Reinhold reports

Fashion and make-up have always been inexorably linked but today’s colour cosmetics products offer much more than just catwalk credentials. Scientific advances in ingredients, textures and formulas have helped brands create a new generation of colour products which marry multifunctional benefits and sophisticated shading.

The emphasis on innovative product development has been met with enthusiasm by consumers who have continued to buy into the colour category despite the squeeze on household incomes and the general economic malaise that has affected spending since the recession hit.

According to Euromonitor International, the global colour cosmetics market grew 5.5% in 2010 to reach $46.9bn. Germany, eastern Europe, Latin America and the UK all saw a significant growth in sales with every product sector showing positive gains.

“In 2010 discretionary categories like colour cosmetics picked up quickly and returned to normal growth. It wasn’t just the lipstick effect, nails in particular have been a big story with massive growth in nail polishes and nail products,” explains Irina Barbalova, head of beauty and personal care research, Euromonitor.

“Generally the market has been the same,” adds Grace Fodor, ceo and president, Jemma Kidd Make Up. “The recession is still here, it’s not turned round. As a result, consumer behaviour is the same and they are watching what and how they spend.”

The nail category has been characterised by a number of high profile acquisitions and innovative product launches. Coty and L’Oréal both moved into the professional nail market with the purchase of OPI and Essie respectively, which Barbalova believes will create a powerful retail propostion for the nail market.

“The acqusitions by Coty and L’Oréal into professional brands is very interesting,” she tells SPC. “It’s not just about product development, these brands have been developed from a professional angle and are now being introduced into a much wider retail channel. Essie for instance, is now selling in retail in France.”

Private label has been another area where nail products have performed strongly. UK retailer Superdrug expanded its existing colour portfolio to include new ranges of false eyelashes and nails, while apparel retailer Superdry followed in the footsteps of Topshop and Accessorize by launching a collection of nail colours into its stores.

The nail category has been subject to innovative new launches including Nails Inc’s magnetic polish (above) and Christian Dior’s perfumed spring 2012 shades

“Colour cosmetics was the fastest growing category in private label in 2010, outstripping growth in all other categories,” explains Barbalova. “Retailers have been quick to launch budget lines and expand existing product portfolios.”

Supermarket Tesco for instance, has been at the forefront of budget beauty, introducing its first F+F cosmetics range through its new beauty shop concept. The range, which includes eyeshadows, highlighters, lipglosses, foundations and blushers, has a starting price of £3.

Similarly Vivo, which launched into Tesco stores in September 2011, is said to offer an extensive, fashion-forward collection of products, with prices starting at just £1.50

In terms of product development, the nail sector has also lead the way in innovation. “High tech has moved from the realms of skin care and mascara into nails creating some unique innovations,” notes Barbalova.

Following on from OPI’s ShatterBlack Top Coat, other brands have launched crackle-effect polishes, while Nails Inc has taken the special effect nail polish to a new level with the launch of a magnetic polish, which contains iron powder in the polish formula and a magnet in the lid of the bottle which creates unique designs when swept over freshly applied nails.

Christian Dior’s new limited edition nail colours, meanwhile, which are part of its spring 2012 collection, have been perfumed with a subtle rose scent, which is said to last for several days upon drying. And Sally Hansen has brought strip nails from the salon sector into the mass market sphere. Its Salon Effect nail strips recreate special effects such as animal print and multicolours which were previously only available in professional outlets.

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