Beauty is back.

The NPD Group has released sales of U.S. prestige beauty products for the second quarter, revealing that sales exploded to nearly $4.9 billion, a 66 percent increase over the second quarter in 2020. While this growth is easy to believe, given most of the U.S. was in lockdown during the second quarter of 2020, when comparing sales to 2019 – a year that was more normalized pre-pandemic – sales increases were still 6 percent.

Makeup, the hardest-hit segment in the beauty category during the pandemic, is showing steady increases as consumers continue to venture out into the world. Much of the gains in facial makeup were driven by foundation and concealer, with the strongest growth coming from tinted moisturizer. Overall, the category increased 71 percent in sales to $1.7 billion. As many regions dropped mask mandates, and more consumers felt comfortable leaving their face coverings at home, the lip category benefited, growing almost 100 percent year-over-year.

Skin care saw sales increases of 32 percent for the quarter to $1.5 billion. Within that were top growth drivers such as sun care products, which saw an increase in sales of more than 80 percent, specifically those formulated for the face, compared to both 2020 and 2019, underscoring pent-up demand to get outdoors. Facial skin care sales were driven primarily by face serums and exfoliators, both of which were up compared to 2020 and 2019.

Sales of hair care products saw a 70 percent jump to $346 million as consumers have realized their own coloring and hair care talents during the pandemic, as both categories remain strong. Sales of hair styling products, which took a dive in 2020, experienced a resurgence after enduring the biggest declines in 2020, growing nearly 100 percent year over year.

Fragrance continues to outperform other segments, rising triple digits year-over-year, and up over 40 percent in sales, when compared to 2019. Stronger concentrations of fragrance juices were the primary drivers of growth, with fragrance eau de parfums (EDP) and perfumes outpacing industry performance, propelled by Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in the second quarter.

Sales in brick-and-mortar are normalizing online sales as the market begins to right-size after the physical store closures and spike in online sales during the second quarter of last year. As a result of this normalization, in-store purchases rose 284 percent over the same time a year ago, while online sales declined by 19 percent.

“There are many positive markers emerging in the second quarter of this year that point to an industry in full recovery mode. Among the most important is that makeup, the largest category in beauty, is showing signs of life, with a growth rate and dollar gains more than double skincare. Fragrance continues to blaze a new path forward, with unprecedented performance, not only compared to 2020, but also 2019. Each trend is an acceleration of what we observed at the beginning of the year and indicative of a changing consumer mindset, as restrictions ease and life as we knew it returns. Maintaining this momentum is the industry’s call-to-action, as we head into the back half of the year,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor, The NPD Group.