Color Cosmetics: Trending Toward Multifunctionality

With global growth of 6% in 2012, color cosmetics proved resilient to recessionary pressures thanks to an array of launches. The contribution of emerging markets to the growth of color cosmetics was 75%, half of which came from Brazil and China. Moving forward, Africa and the Middle East are projected to have the strongest compound annual growth rate (CAGR)—6% from 2012 to 2017, in terms of color cosmetics. However, there does seem to be a change in what consumers are seeking from their color cosmetic products.

Innovating for Impact

Most innovations in color cosmetics target Western markets, which offer a better return due to higher per capita expenditure. One key development is in salon-inspired nail care for mainstream retail channels. Also, multifunctional products are expected to have a more long-term impact; BB creams, for example, have been a great success with consumers, recording a CAGR of 7% from 2007 to 2012.

Despite this success, however, BB creams currently account for a small share of overall sales. In Western Europe, according to Euromonitor International, BB creams and similar products registered sales of U.S. $7 million in 2012, compared with $73 million for the foundation/concealer category. In the United States, in 2012, the foundation/concealer category was nearly 10 times larger, in terms of market share, than the “other” facial makeup category.

In contrast with this weak penetration, the impact of BB creams has been far-reaching, inspiring a whole new generation of multifunctional products in Western beauty markets. Picking up on this trend for multifunctionality, lip care, for one, is expected to post strong growth in 2013, rivaling that of nail care thanks to recent crossover innovations between lipsticks and lip balms, glosses and liners.

Giving Color Cosmetics a Makeover

With the surge of interesting launches ranging from multifunctional to smart formulas, the question becomes: Which direction is the industry going?

Traditional products simply offering pigmentation appear to have had their day. Multifunctionality is now the norm; but with it comes the issue of blurring boundaries between product categories. This blurring, then, makes it more difficult to market category-specific products. Also, consumers’ pursuits for a natural look and feel are driving a new generation of products that illuminate skin and hide imperfections without the need for coverage. For example, L’Oréal’s RevitaLift Miracle Blur claims to create smooth-looking skin by disguising lines, wrinkles, pores and uneven skin texture but it is not a foundation or primer. Such products will likely continue to gain focus.

Editor’s note: To read this full market report, see
the January/February issue of GCI magazine or visit

More in Consumers/Market