Efforts by mass retailers to elevate beauty departments have not paid off—yet. That’s according to recent Nielsen data and a deep dive analysis by Stephanie Wissink, equity analyst at Jefferies.

Mass beauty continues to struggle, capping off a full year of lethargic results. Nielsen data for the 52-weeks ended January 26 shows sales of mass makeup and nail products were flat. Fragrances declined 2 percent. But, mass merchants managed to post a 4 percent rise in skin care along with a 2 percent gain in hair care. The most recent four-week data is more troubling, with makeup and nail actually down 1 percent.

Compared to last year at this juncture, makeup and nails were also flat, but skin care was actually even healthier, posting 6 percent gains. Fragrances, however, were down 6 percent last year at this time, suggesting perhaps there is a revival in what was once a mass mainstay.

Mass market staple brands continue to drag down results, with the exception of L’Oréal, one of the few legacy logos in the plus column.

Revlon is also an issue for the mass universe with sales off 8 percent, dragged down by Almay, which posted a 21 percent drop in the past four weeks. That comes despite muscle pumped behind Almay to boost it relevancy, especially with younger shoppers.

Coty sales decreased 3 percent, according to Nielsen. While the company trimmed its losses from 11 percent a year ago to 3 percent, Coty still isn’t achieving goals set after sizeable investments in marketing and sales. Cover Girl, Clairol and Rimmel were all down in the first four weeks. There is a glimmer: Sally Hansen produced four-week results that were up 5 percent. A healthy nail business could ignite sales across all beauty categories, experts suggested.

There were major shifts in Coty’s executive ranks over the past month including the departure of Ukonwa Ojo, the Global Chief Marketing Officer of Cover Girl and Sally Hansen. That was on the heels of the announcement that Laurent Kleitman, President of the Consumer Beauty division, was being replaced by Chief Executive Officer Pierre Laubies. In November, Camillo Pane, the former CEO, also exited the company.

E.l.f., which saw challenges in movement in the latter half of last year, registered a 2 percent growth surge. “While it may too soon to tell if this positive inflection is the result of ‘Project Unicorn’ merchandising improvements and investments in innovation, we view this data as favorable,” said Stephanie.

Project Unicorn was introduced late last year to stem deceleration and consisted of changing some of the company’s product packaging—often removing them from boxes—to not only get more items on shelves, but put a bigger focus on the actual products.

Could there be a rebirth of the mass market beauty business in the offing? The answers could come as hints that pricey brands stagnating. “It [beauty] is going to still grow, but we are seeing a slowdown, especially in makeup which has been slowing for some time,” said Larissa Jensen, Executive Director and Industry Analyst of U.S. Beauty for NPD at CEW’s annual State of the Industry Beauty Report event February 5. She added makeup is still the largest category in prestige beauty, but when it slacks off, the entire business suffers. “We anticipate growth, but it is going to be softer and the engines that drive it are going to be different.”

The mass market, on the other hand, has dealt with stalling of sales growth over the past two years and many chains and brands have put programs in place to perk up sales. For some it has been optimization of shelf space, for others it has been partnerships, such as Birchbox/Walgreens and CVS/Glamsquad. While those partnerships are highly visibly, other mass retailers have added more niche brands, higher levels of service and more upscale in-store presentations. Some experts bet value merchants could emerge from the “beauty” recession faster than prestige competitors.