For the month of November, sales of prestige beauty in U.S. department stores totaled $826 million, an increase of 3 percent. Fragrance, representing 29 percent of prestige beauty dollars, saw a decrease of 1 percent. Skin care, representing 32 percent of prestige beauty sales, grew 6 percent, while makeup, representing the lion’s share of the prestige beauty business at 37 percent, grew 3 percent.

Year-to-date (January thru November) 2012 sales of total prestige beauty were $8.4 billion, an increase of 8 percent versus a year ago. Looking at the individual categories’ year-to-date dollar performances, skin care grew 10 percent, makeup increased 7 percent and fragrance grew 6 percent.

In addition to November prestige beauty sales, NPD also released results for the top-selling lipstick and nail polish brands year-to-date.

While “makeup was not always the ‘go to’ gift, with the recent multi-effect trends in the lip and nail segments, it will be one of the hot items this holiday season,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group.

The lip segment, consisting of lip color, lip liner, lip gloss, and applicators, generated over $548 million year-to-date, January through November 2012, up 9 percent over last year. The big winner in the lip segment was lip color, which posted 11 percent sales growth year-to-date 2012. The top selling lipsticks are M.A.C., Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge and Lauder Pure Color Lipstick.

In nail, the segment generated $33 million year-to-date through November 2012 and posted 49 percent growth in dollar sales, compared to the same time last year. Color enamel alone rocketed 51 percent year-to-date 2012. The top selling nail brands are Chanel Le Vernis Nail, Butter London 3 Free and Dior Rouge Vernis.