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Beauty Predictions for the New Decade, From the NPD Group

The makeup market may return — but probably not until 2021.

The NPD Group’s beauty predictions for the decade are in, and they include the return of makeup.

NPD vice president and industry adviser for beauty Larissa Jensen released her predictions for the decade ahead Tuesday morning, and she’s not only betting on makeup, but also on a slowdown in natural skin care and an increased, 360-degree focus on sustainability.

Makeup is expected to come back in 2021, based on historical cycles between the skin-care and makeup categories, which typically last between four and five years, Jensen said. “If history repeats itself, we are looking at a rebound in the category sometime around 2021, give or take a year,” Jensen wrote on NPD’s blog.

It’s unclear what specifically about the category will take off in the next round, but Jensen noted that there’s room for growth in the natural makeup space, which is still very small.

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“Part of the challenge with these more natural formulas is they may not have the color payoff,” Jensen said in an interview with WWD. “The demand is there, the interest is there from a consumer perspective.”

Recently, several growing clean makeup brands have raised capital, including Annie Lawless’ Lawless Beauty and Ilia Beauty.

While natural and clean makeup is a segment to watch, it isn’t necessarily the next big makeup wave, according to Jensen.

“We see it playing out it skin care, it just hasn’t filtered down to the other categories yet. We see it emerging in fragrances, too, but it’s still too soon to make that grand statement like [makeup] is going to come back as natural or clean,” Jensen said. 

It is possible, Jensen acknowledged in the blog, that makeup’s comeback could be “less about the crazy growth in color” and “more about the ‘canvas’ products that help consumers achieve a more natural look.”

That shift could potentially line up with consumers’ changing use of social media, which has taken a sharp turn away from perfection in favor of authenticity.

“As we start to realize these things [like the impact of technology on youth], there’s going to be this movement or shift to what makes us human in the first place,” Jensen said. “As that happens, there is…a tremendous opportunity in the beauty industry. There could be categories out there we don’t even think about or know about.”

Jensen expects consumers to approach beauty in a broader way going forward, incorporating things like personal care and sexual wellness.

The rise of interest in sustainability could also affect interest in naturals, as consumers perceive that those products are depleting natural resources, Jensen pointed out.

“Sustainability is going to be a big conversation. That may…slow down the growth of true naturals, because natural in and of itself could be depleting some of the resources of the planet,” Jensen said.

Sustainability concerns are likely to run the gamut, from packaging to ingredients, she noted. “There are many ways to get tied up in it — you could have sustainable packaging, but an ingredient might not be sustainable,” Jensen said.

Natural skin care has become so big that Jensen said she expects its growth to slow as the market matures.

“At the very end of the day, regardless of how things change around us, our industry is always and always will be about how we make her feel,” Jensen said. Should macroeconomic dynamics shift, that concept it what could help the industry whether a downturn, she noted.

For more from, see: 

The Beauty M&A to Watch for in 2020

Clean Makeup Brand Ilia Raises Series B

Beauty’s $1 Billion-Plus M&A Boom

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