In the third quarter of 2018, sales of U.S. prestige beauty products were $4.1 billion, a 7 percent increase over the comparable period in 2018.

“The big story for the third quarter is the acceleration in skin care, which is growing more than twice the rate of fragrance and 15 times faster than the rate of makeup. We continue to see natural brands and entry price categories fuel the skin care category, but the big shift this year is the renewed interest in new products from legacy classics in the anti-aging category. With consumer confidence breaking records, the two highest priced beauty categories of skin care and fragrance may be reaping the benefits of a bigger wallet. Despite the success of its sister categories, makeup continues to struggle, being the most impacted by a highly fragmented marketplace,” said Larissa Jensen, Beauty Industry Analyst, The NPD Group.

Makeup sales inched up 1 percent to $1.9 billion in the third quarter, with Total Face, the largest segment in makeup, growing sales by 2 percent, driven by concealer, powder and tinted moisturizer. Lip color sales declined by 10 percent, while lip gloss grew by 4 percent. Eyebrow makeup grew by 7 percent and mascara by 2 percent, while eye shadow sales were down -6 percent. Though small, sales of false eyelashes grew by 30 percent to $13.5 million.

Sales of Skincare grew 15 percent to $1.3 billion. Natural brands accounted for more than one-quarter of sales, and also grew the fastest, up 24 percent, in the quarter. Age specialist products grew 14 percent in sales, an acceleration of growth over last year. Face mask sales were up 12 percent, though growth has slowed compared to last year. Toners/clarifiers grew by 25 percent, a significant growth increase from 2017 when sales were up 5 percent. Looking at skin care forms/texture, the fastest growing were water/tonic, paper/patch/wipes and serums.

Fragrance sales grew 6 percent to $783.6 million. The fragrance market was driven by a 9 percent increase in fragrance juice sales. Women’s sales increased by 8 percent and mens by 12 percent. Sales of prestige home scents were down, as growth in diffuser sales could not offset declines in candles and home ancillary gift sets.

Sales of hair care grew 27 percent to $176.7 million. All segments within hair were on the plus side during the quarter (hair care, color, sets, and styling). Within hair care, mask sales grew by 33 percent and dry shampoo by 16 percent.

“Heading into the holiday season, attention will center on value, newness, and fun. Skin care sets tend to perform well every year during holiday. I expect sales of skin care face masks and minis will be strong as the low price-point and fun packaging encourages the add-on gift purchase. In a similar fashion, travel sized makeup products have experienced double-digit gains throughout 2018, so I anticipate the strong performance will spill over into holiday. In fragrance, launches during holiday can make or break the category, but given the robust performance seen so far in 2018, I anticipate fragrance will end the year strong,” said Jensen.