It’s no surprise to hear that growth is slowing in beauty (Ulta Beauty’s CEO Dave Kimbell pulled the curtain on this detail in April), but there are bright spots, namely in the prestige fragrance, lip oil, and hair wellness segments.

Within prestige channels, fragrance was the fastest-growing category based on sales revenue, up 13%. Gift sets grew 22%, outpacing juices and gaining share in the category, while sales of travel size fragrance sets (inclusive of discovery sets) grew at double the rate of traditional full-size sets. The fragrance category is experiencing a trading down in terms of price (seen in the growth of travel- and mini-sized product) however there is simultaneous growth in the luxury sector as units sold are growing at more than double the rate of the remaining prestige market in Q1. Playing into the Gen Alpha effect, prestige fragrance sales among higher income households with kids (over $100K) grew at twice the rate compared to households without kids, according to Circana’s receipt-based Checkout data. In fact, spending per buyer was directly influenced by the presence of children: among these households, the average spending per buyer in Q1 increased at five times the rate as those without children.

Skin care dollar sales grew 10% in the prestige channel; it was also the fastest-growing category in the mass market. Consumer spending was up double-digits in Q1 compared to the same period last year, according to Circana’s Checkout data. Additionally, there were more buyers, both spending more money and purchasing more frequently, on skin care products. Body spray was the top gainer in the category as sales have nearly tripled since Q1 2023. Face serum was the second strongest performer, driven by new launches from top clinical brands.

Makeup wrapped up Q1 as the softest-performing category in both the prestige and mass markets. Despite the slowdown, makeup remains the largest prestige beauty category. Lip makeup was the strongest performer, with dollar sales up 26% in Q1. This was led primarily by tinted lip balms and oils, which are among the hottest makeup products and new launches.

Prestige hair product sales continued to grow double digits in Q1. Hair wellness continues to rise in importance, which is evident by the performance of hair thinning/loss products, hair oils, and serums, scalp care, and heat protectants, which all grew between 13% and 25% during the quarter. From a brand type perspective, salon brands remained the top sales contributor, but celebrity brands grew the fastest, up 64%.

“The slowdown in growth that we are seeing in the beauty industry is a reflection of an industry stabilizing after strong double-digit performance for the past two years,” said Larissa Jensen, Global Beauty Industry Advisor at Circana. “But we should not underestimate it’s strength, as sales grew by over $600 million in Q1. There is a lot of excitement in beauty, from trending brands and new product launches to growing engagement from younger consumers. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the horizon and summer activities drawing near, products that make us look and feel good will continue to be top of mind.”