The good, the bad and the ugly. The mass beauty industry saw it all in 2012.

According to data compiled by SymphonyIRI Group, led by Larry Levin, Executive General Manager, Consumer Insights, mass beauty grew to more than $21 billion in 2012, up 2.6 percent, or nearly $600 million in sales growth.

Some of mass beauty’s success stories include sales of Color Cosmetics, which grew to $6 billion, an increase of $310 million in sales, more than the cumulative performance of respectable growth realized by both the Skin and Hair categories. And, Color Cosmetics accounted for more than 50 percent of gross beauty growth. Hair care reached $8 billion, up $124 million, and Skin care tallied $6.4 billion, up $164 million.

Not surprisingly, the categories with the most newness and innovation performed best. Leading the way were sales of Nail products, which saw 17.3% growth to $1.6 billion. This growth represented over 40% of mass beauty growth and nearly 80% of growth in the cosmetics segment. Mass nail saw brand extensions from Revlon Color Stay, L’Oreal Colour Riche and Cover Girl Outlast. Maybelline launched a new brand in nail, Maybelline Color Show.

More moderate growth came from categories including hair conditioners (+5 percent), suntan products (+4.1 percent) and facial cosmetics (3.4 percent).

Minimal changes were seen in eye cosmetics (+1%), hair spray/spritz (+.5%) and hair color (-1.1%).

Declining categories included sales of lip products (-2.2%), fragrance (-4.4%) and home perms/relaxers (-7.6%).

In facial skin care, natural and organic cleansers helped propel category growth. Consumers have demanded—and manufacturers responded—with products safe for the environment, while delivering items targeting consumers’ desire for younger, more vibrant looking skin. Beauty balm launches invigorated the skin care sector, acting as a true all-in-one with moisturizers, sun block, primer and foundation, all aimed to help battle the test of time! Unilever’s Simple brand was a bigger winner in 2012, followed by Burt’s Bees, and Maybelline Garnier’s Skin Renew.

In hair care, new launches and restages invigorated the category, appealing to key consumer needs for pro-styling and indulgence. Key leaders in innovation were sparked by the launch of Unilever’s Clear, a successful effort in the UK, with the positioning of nourishing the scalp as a catalyst for strong, beautiful hair. L’Oreal’s continued success with its Ever banner has seen strong returns for its EverCreme line, which brings luxuriously soft hair without leaving wax build-up. Hair care, like nails, has truly benefited from the “go-pro” positioning SymphonyIRI said it has been monitoring. Organix once again brings new innovations to hair care with its successful launch of products using argon oil.
IRI predicts 2013 will see pure organic skin creams and serums that support skin cell recognition, detoxification creamsandwinter skincare with anti-aging effects.

Multi-benefit products with new technologies and new forms of perceived value helped lead product innovations, led by Cover Girl and Olay Tone Rehab Foundation, Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation, Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream and Revlon PhotoReady Airbrush Mousse Foundation. Maybelline drove the majority of growth in facial care with more than $28 million generated by the aforementioned brands alone.