Today’s mass and masstige brands are working harder than ever to keep pace with consumers’ expectations of high performance products and low cost. Here, a handful of brand leaders spoke to Beauty Insider about their new launches, product innovation, and retail and digital plans to deliver strong growth.

Pixi by Petra

President: Felix Strand

Point of difference: Pixi is known for its natural beauty-enhancing color line and fuss-free Skintreats collection. The brand’s hero product is the award-winning Glow Tonic, which is an alcohol-free invigorating facial toner (infused with ginseng, aloe vera and glycolic acid) that aims to exfoliate, brighten and smoothe skin by sweeping away excess oil and impurities. Available in five sizes, it is a cult favorite in the U.K. and U.S. and continues to win awards and convert consumers into devotees. 2017 was a fantastic year for the brand, including the launch of the first Pixi Pretties collection – which features exclusive collaborations with beauty and lifestyle influencers. Pixi also opened their first U.S. store in Venice Beach, CA.

New in 2018: Pixi’s spring 2018 collection consists of new Skintreats, such as Rose Tonic, Jasmine Oil Blend, Rose Cream Cleanser, T-Zone Peel Off Mask, Liquid Fairy Lights, Glow-y Gossamer Duos, Fast Flash Facial Kit, and color extensions for Endless Silky Eye Pen, LipLift Max, MatteLast Liquid Lip and Mesmerizing Mineral Palette.
Growth + retail expansion: For 10 years, Pixi has been available in Target stores nationwide, and the partnership and growth continue. Pixi had a successful launch in Shoppers Drug Mart in early 2017, and has been quietly entering Urban Outfitters in the U.S. It continues having a strong presence in Europe in Sephora, QVC and Marks & Spencer’s in the U.K., and has been steadily adding new SKUs and doors, and will continue to do so in 2018.

Digital engagement: As a brand, said Felix, “we have proven to lead and excel in the digital realm. Our social media team is in constant communication with beauty influencers and consumers alike. Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have become the source for makeup artistry inspiration and content sharing… it’s all at their fingertips and Pixi is always present to elaborate on beauty. Being in such a visual industry, the visual platforms play an important role in our day-to-day interactions with our wonderful and devoted fans.”

E.l.f. Beauty

Vice President, Brand: Mara McCune
Flagship products: E.l.f. Beauty has blurred the lines between prestige and mass cosmetics by delivering makeup enthusiasts with high-quality innovation at a value price every day, across multiple retail channels. “Our company is best known for being a pioneer of on-trend, fast-cycle innovation with the ability to take a product idea from concept to online launch in as few as 13 weeks. Importantly, we support our speed with real consumer validation, a secret sauce to our success. Our products are first launched on (the #1 mass ecommerce website), then we test, validate and improve products using feedback from our engaged consumers of young, diverse makeup enthusiasts (with 32M followers on social channels). E.l.f. introduced more than 95 new products last year alone.

New in 2018: As a public company, e.l.f. can’t discuss future product launches, but it’s been particularly excited about two new collections: e.l.f. Beauty Shield and e.l.f. Active. The Beauty Shield Collection is an advanced skin care line designed to help protect skin from harmful environmental aggressors powered by antioxidants and broad-spectrum UVA and UVB with SPF 50. E.l.f. Active uses sweat-resistant formulas that are hydrating, lightweight and won’t clog pores.
Growth + retail expansion: “We were pleased to recently announce that we will be expanding e.l.f. into all Ulta Beauty stores during the first half of 2018. Ulta Beauty is a key destination for beauty enthusiasts and we’re excited about the continued partnership. We continue to gain distribution with our other national retail partners, as well. For example, last year e.l.f. was rewarded with 50 percent more shelf space at Target, and 20 percent more shelf space at Walmart, as we continue to bring new users into the category. We also see significant opportunities to expand internationally. A few years ago we entered Canada and Mexico, and in 2017 we entered the U.K. with our launch into Superdrug stores. Lastly, we continue to invest behind our 21 e.l.f. stores.”

Digital engagement: “Our success has always been rooted in our ability to build direct consumer relationships, and we continue to focus on engaging makeup enthusiasts in new ways through social media, digital platforms, programs and events. For example, we continue to build our loyalty program, Beauty Squad, which now has more than 600,000 members. We’ve expanded our Beautyscape influencer program, which identifies up-and-coming influencers (rather than big name celebrities), who are authentic fans of e.l.f. and build long-lasting relationships with them. We partner with them to build community, provide access to our latest innovation and ultimately support their growth. This, in turn, translates to more and better content about e.l.f. and positive brand perception amongst their audience.

Yes To

CEO: Ingrid Jackel

Flagship products: Yes To brings hot beauty trends to naturals (it is 95%+ natural), and was the first to launch a full range of natural single-use masks in the mass market. The brand immediately became the leading brand (with more than 67 percent share of the market) in what is now the leading segment in natural skin care, and contributed more than 55 percent of the dollar growth of the entire natural skin care category, which is the fastest growing HBC category, according to IRI. Yes To continues to bring innovation to the market in masks, as well as all other skin care segments, through new forms, delivery systems, benefits and more.
New in 2018: Yes To just launched the first ever mask in a stick, Yes To SnapMask Stick, a patented formula that makes applying the mask super easy, quick and mess-free. The mask dries in just five minutes and is available in both detoxifying Charcoal and glow-boosting Grapefruit & Vitamin C. The brand also is the first to launch in the U.S. mass market a Beauty Box filled with its top-selling single use Charcoal Paper Mask. Since masking is now part of a daily skin care regimen, the box allows women to save more than 30 percent.

Retail expansion/growth: Yes To growth strategies this year include continuing to meet the needs of the millennial and Gen Z consumer, and expand Yes To’s brand presence at retail, as well as expanding into new sections, e.g., acne.

Digital engagement: Yes To is expanding its digital presence in 2018 with its largest ever 360 degree campaign, including digital media, social media, YouTube videos, influencer sponsorships, PR and more, reaching millennials on their turf and building the brand authentically.

Physicians Formula

VP, Marketing: Alice Chen

Products + collections: Physicians Formula’s 80-year heritage has always been to curate healthy solutions to everyday beauty problems. As the first brand to introduce color-correction to the industry, its portfolio of color-correcting products continue to appeal to loyalists and new consumers alike. In recent history, Physicians Formula has become almost synonymous with bronzers, continuing to maintain the leading bronzer in mass, Butter Bronzer.

New in 2018: 2018 is a year of evolution for Physicians Formula. “While we see our longevity, experience and place in the industry as an undeniable strength, we also recognized the gaps in our portfolio – specifically in terms of shade range and category expansion. This is our year to fill these gaps,” said Alice. “We know our consumer is a loyalist who is looking for a full regimen. Our key launches this year are “Healthy” collections, such as The Healthy Foundation SPF 20 and The Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick. Both these lines are the brand’s first foray into a full-range foundation and lip offering.” The Healthy Foundation SPF 20 touts luxe packaging, and a lightweight, buildable formula containing a proprietary brightening complex with a blend of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E, protective SPF 20, and Chinese Wu Zhu Yu extract and hyaluronic acid for hydration and toning. The Healthy Lip Velvet Liquid Lipstick includes 13 shades and a velvet, semi-matte finish. The brand has also entered skin care with three innovations: Rosé All Day Oil-Free Serum; RefreshMint Cucumber & Bamboo Eye-Depuffer; and Charcoal Detox Exfoliating Cleansing Stick.

Retail growth: Sold in 35,000 stores worldwide – with about 25,000 doors in North America – the brand’s biggest win was re-gaining 1,500 doors at Walgreens after five years of absence. “We have strong partnerships with all the premiere national retail chains – Walmart, Target, CVS, Rite Aid and Shoppers Drug Mart/Loblaws in Canada. We also have a great partnership with specialty retailers as well, namely Ulta.” In addition to supporting brick-and-mortar, focus is also on online channels, such as Amazon, and its own e-commerce web site. International expansion is key, with new markets, such as Japan and Russia, being the latest in distribution.

Digital engagement: Physicians Formula has a vast network of influencer partners that it works with on a daily basis. Its network derives their opinions organically without sponsorship from the brand other than product seeding and the occasional paid post. They have also built out its network of clinical influencers and created “Physicians Coalition,” an advisory board of top doctors in their fields to help craft and vet every product released. “They’ve been working with us to develop, test and curate all of our new product innovations to ensure we deliver the highest-quality and safest product to our consumer. Our physicians will also be our brand ambassadors, that will give media interviews, host live social media Q+As, participate in on-site events, and speak directly to our consumer to help them with their beauty needs,” said Alice.