In the third quarter of 2017, sales of U.S. prestige beauty products were $3.9 billion, a 5 percent increase versus a comparative period last year.

“Skin care continues to outpace the other beauty categories in 2017. The big story for the third quarter is the age specialist segment, which has been declining for several years and is now experiencing growth again. Driving this turnaround are new launches entering the market that focus less on the anti-aging benefits that are inherent in these products, and instead on creating a story around ingredients, wellness and great skin at any age,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group.

Highlights for the quarter include:


  • Makeup grew 4% during the time period, to $1.9 billion.
  • Total face, the largest segment in makeup, was also the one to grow the fastest in Q3, with sales up 6 percent. Foundation, which captures the largest share of face makeup dollars, grew by 7 percent. Sales of face primer rose by 16 percent and tinted moisturizer by 11 percent.
  • Lip color sales declined by 1 percent, while lip gloss grew by 7 percent.
  • Eyebrow makeup growth slowed to a 2 percent increase in sales compared to last year.
  • Though a small piece of the market, sales of false eyelashes grew by over 50 percent.

Skin Care

  • Sales of skin care products grew 10%, to $1.3 billion.
  • Age specialist products bounced back after a double-digit decline last year, with sales up 7 percent in Q3 this year.
  • Face mask sales were up 28 percent in Q3.
  • Sunscreen sales accelerated, experiencing a 37 percent increase in sales, as did self-tanning products, with sales up 13 percent.


  • Fragrance juices experienced a 3 percent growth in sales compared to Q3 of last year, with women’s sales increasing by 2 percent and men’s by 5 percent.
  • The prestige home scents market grew by 40 percent—an increase of 17 percentage points over Q3 2016—driven by candles and home ancillary gift sets.

“Heading into the holiday season, attention will center on makeup and fragrance – two highly giftable beauty categories that are contending for greatest dollar share during this critical time period,” said Larissa.