The beauty buzz has been all about South Korea in recent years, where K Pop has given way to K Beauty, providing a level of innovation that has been a source of inspiration for the industry in recent years.
However, perhaps more quietly, the emergence of a vibrant indie beauty category has proved to be the harbinger of all that's new and fast-paced in the US colour cosmetics market, giving way to subtle and understated natural and organic brands as well as high fashion brands that provide far more cutting edge make-up looks.
Market research company Kline Group has been closely monitoring the changes in this category worldwide, underlining how the market has been characterised by above average industry growth that has continued to spell opportunities for all types of brands.
All eyes on the US market
In the United States the category has been on fire, with new trends seemingly popping up by the minute and often going in very different directions.
“We have seen dueling, opposing trends in cosmetics – Natural vs. the Bold look. Less is more with celebrities such as Alicia Keys that promote the bare “Take Me As I am” look, while Peter Lindbergh lays bare the souls of a celebrity Hollywood cast such as Nicole Kidman in the Pirelli Calendar,” said Kline Group analyst, Naira Aslanian.
“On the other hand, we have the Bold statement makeup look with glittery eyes and bold, dark, matte statement lips. One of the key pioneers of the trend with Urban Decay launching its Vice Lipvault and the Alice thru the looking glass palette.”
Indie brands lead the way
The root of a lot of the new trends, particularly the bolder make-up looks, is coming from fast-moving, young and emerging indie players, many of which are located in the Los Angeles area of California, a well-recognised hub of industry innovation.
These indie beauty brands can react faster to fashion trends because they are smaller and better equipped to get products to market on time, as opposed to the larger multinationals that have layers of bureaucracy that often weigh down a product launch time.
“Indie brands continue to make a mark in the category, and they’re usually the disruptors, with innovative product offerings, interesting and fun packaging, a different marketing approach with social media-based cult-following, and an appeal to the experimental consumers looking for something interesting, new, and fun to play with,” said Aslanian.
“The Indies are the rule breakers – as no rules apply to them, so, we can expect products with new textures and color being introduced by the Indies.”
Brows and stains are hottest trends
Kline believes that right now the colour cosmetics market is moving along rapidly in almost every type of sub-category, as make-up users get increasingly adventurous with their looks and curious to experiment.
However, in particular Aslanian points out that fashion for bigger brows has continued, giving way to a boost for a host of associated colour cosmetics products, from eyebrow combs to bleaches and conditioners all specifically targeting bigger brows.
To complement the bolder brows, US color cosmetic brands are also coming up with equally bold make-up looks, including vibrant and adventurous lip palettes, as well as eye make-up to match.
One trend that Aslanian says is emerging right now and could gain significant impetus as 2017 moves on is lip and cheek “stains”, which is a brand new look that also falls in line with the multi-functional trend.