Pure Beauty

Smashbox Cosmetics exits UK market after 24 years

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 13-Jul-2022

The cosmetics brand was originally founded in Los Angeles in 1996 by photographers Dean and Davis Factor

Smashbox Cosmetics is exiting the UK market later this year, citing an accumulation of challenges that the business could no longer withstand.

Orders from the UK and Ireland will no longer be accepted beginning 29 September 2022.

“We’ve loved being a part of your creativity and expression and we’re forever grateful,” the brand said in a post on its UK Instagram account.

“Thank you for your support and kindness.”

The cosmetics brand was originally founded in Los Angeles in 1996 by brothers Dean and Davis Factor, the great grandsons of Hollywood make-up icon Max Factor.

Acquired by Estée Lauder Companies in 2010, the brand has been selling its products in the UK since 1998.

Their entry into the British market, however, was far from smooth.

A Guardian report stated that a PR for Smashbox had been allegedly drugged and raped by a friend of the brand’s founders on the UK launch day.

The result meant the brand received little attention from the UK beauty press and struggled to get a foothold in the market early on.

"The Estée Lauder Companies is committed to ensuring that it is focused on investing its resources into the most strategic long-term growth opportunities and value creation globally," an Estée Lauder spokesperson told Cosmetics Business.

"Over recent years, Smashbox’s sales have been impacted by changes in the brand’s retail space and location, combined with competitive challenges in key subcategories and we have had to make the difficult decision to cease trading the brand in the UK & Ireland.

"Smashbox will continue to trade in select markets around the world."

Changing times

The entire make-up industry has suffered due to a heady combination of Covid-19 pandemic and supply chain issues.

Last year Becca Cosmetics, another company owned by Estee Estée Lauder, ceased operations.

The colour cosmetics brand, which boasted product launches with members of the Kardashian family, said the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as ‘an accumulation of challenges’, was too much for the brand to withstand.

Drugstore make-up brands have been squeezed by disruptor indie players for years and this has been coupled with the lockdowns brought on by the pandemic.

This was exacerbated by customers swapping out make-up bags for self-care and skin care during the lockdown period.

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