Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and SPF are making their way into everything from eyeshadow to blush, as color cosmetics are increasingly touting skin-care benefits.
Makeup sales in the U.S. declined 52% in the second quarter of 2020, according to The NPD Group. This plummet was an exacerbation of a market shift toward skin care and away from makeup that happened even before the pandemic. It has now pushed brands to expand into skin-care in a variety of ways. For many brands, this includes not only expanding into new skin-care categories, but also adding popular ingredients directly to color cosmetics.
Cult skin-care ingredient hyaluronic acid, for example, can be found in eyeshadows and blushes sold by Thrive Causemetics, eye balms by Kopari, blushes by It Cosmetics, and highlighters by Saie and Glamglow.
Clean color brand Aether Beauty, meanwhile, offers an ingredient library touting the skin-care benefits for each of its products. The brand makes a point to highlight that its moringa oil, which it adds to its eyeshadows, has vitamin A, C and E, and the rosehip oil it uses has vitamin A and C. It is launching a mini eyeshadow palette on October 20 featuring both rosehip and moringa oil, as well as crystals that the brand says helps with collagen production.
“I do add extra benefits and extra ingredients in the formulation, because I do want the formulas to be useful for your skin, to act like an extension of your skin care,” said Tiila Abbitt, Aether Beauty’s founder and CEO.
The trend of skin-care infused makeup has long been a staple of foundation, especially with the rise of BB and CC creams. But it has since made its way into all categories of color, including lip, eye and cheek products.
Physicians’ Formula touts skin-care ingredients in most of its color cosmetics products, including its eyeshadows which are infused with collagen, vitamin C and vitamin E.
“With information so readily available, every year the consumer is getting smarter and more educated, especially with what they want to put on their skin — and this year, more so than ever,” said Alice Chen, vp of marketing at Physicians’ Formula. “With lockdowns, the makeup industry was hit hardest. Most consumers right now are migrating to skin care, home care, self care.” She noted that for Physicians’ Formula, the top growth categories are its skin-care products, but eye products are starting to rebound. “Our eyeliners, for example, have been slowly growing in the last four weeks, while we didn’t see that four weeks prior.”
According to Alisha Kapur, the lead beauty industry consultant at SimilarWeb, ingredient research is on the rise in the skin-care market, thanks to the massive popularity of ingredient-driven brands such as The Ordinary and The Inkey List. Color cosmetics brands have also seen the potential of these keywords.
“Beauty brands can use The Ordinary and Inkey as a blueprint to find the most popular consumer skin-care ingredients, and then try to capitalize on keywords or keyword phrases that those brands are not as aggressive on, to broaden their reach,” said Kapur.
While most examples of skin-care infused cosmetics come from makeup brands, some skin-care brands have also dabbled in color cosmetics. SPF skin-care brand Supergoop, for example, launched SPF eyeshadows last year.
“There are many places on the body that are susceptible to sun damage and frequently missed by SPF application, like the eyelids, lips and the back of your hands,” said Supergoop founder Holly Thaggard.
A contributing factor is the rise of clean beauty in recent years, which has made customers concerned about what color cosmetics are doing to their skin.
“A clean base formula is really about using ingredients that are considered safe for your skin,” said Abbitt, who previously worked in product development at Sephora before founding Aether two years ago. According to her, beauty shoppers are seeking out products without ingredients thought to contribute to faster aging. “If you take a typical eyeshadow, sometimes it’s filled with talc, plus Teflon is usually in there and a lot of other ingredients that make your skin not breathe. By replacing those with a skin-care base, you’re actually adding nutrients back into your skin versus these conventional bases that actually block your skin from breathing and can cause you to age faster.”
“The newer, healthy, natural clean beauty consumer is looking at keywords like vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants,” said Chen. “It takes a while to get these ingredients out there and educate the consumers on it.”