Skip to main content

What to Watch: Mass-Market Makeup Keeps Trying

New launches from major mass market brands are trend-driven and designed with young consumers in mind.

Last year was a lackluster year for legacy makeup brands in the mass market. Despite turnaround efforts aimed at attracting younger generations of consumers, brands such as Cover Girl, Revlon and Almay all saw year-over-year sales declines and even E.l.f. sales dropped sharply. L’Oréal’s stable of brands, including Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris and NYX Professional Makeup, along with Markwins-owned Wet ‘n’ Wild, are the exceptions when it comes to the big brands — each saw sales increase last year. In 2019, mass-makeup brands are continuing to churn out new products inspired by prestige trends and designed with Millennials and Generation Z in mind, but in a market where consumers are faced with increasing options in online and specialty, the jury is out on whether they’ll bite.


L’Oréal Paris

Related Galleries

L’Oréal Paris Unlimited Mascara
L’Oréal Paris Unlimited Mascara Courtesy Photo

You May Also Like

L’Oréal’s January makeup launches include a slew of hero products all aimed at creating long-wear yet breathable and comfortable makeup looks, including the Unlimited Mascara featuring a two-position bendable brush, $12.99; Infallible Full Wear Concealer, $12.99; the Rouge Signature Matte Colored Ink, $11.99; and Infallible 24HR Fresh Wear Foundation, $12.99.


Maybelline Snapscara
Maybelline Snapscara Courtesy Photo

Maybelline is emphasizing two key launches in the first quarter of 2019. Snapscara, is a first-to-market wax-free mascara designed for easy application and removal. Priced at $7.77, the mascara is available in four shades — Pitch Black, Ultra Violet, Deja Blue and Black Cherry. Also hitting shelves in January is Made for All, a range of seven lipsticks, priced at $7.49, that was tested on 50 skin tones and designed to be universally flattering.

NYX Professional Makeup 

NYX Glitter Goals Pro Palette
NYX Glitter Goals Pro Palette Courtesy Photo

NYX has a slew of new products out in January, including the Glitter Goals Pro Palette and Liquid Eyeliner, Line-and-Load All-in-One Lippie and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Powder Foundation.


Cover Girl

Cover Girl Outlast Active Foundation
Cover Girl Outlast Active Foundation Courtesy Photo

One year after its revamped branding and streamlined, more on-trend product offering hit shelves, Cover Girl is kicking the new year off with two collections addressing key consumer needs: Full Spectrum and Outlast Active. Aimed at women of color, Full Spectrum consists of eight face and lip products, including liquid and powder foundations, liquid lipstick, concealer, a contour kit and cheek palette, formulated with super-rich pigments designed to pop on medium to deep skin tones. Prices range from $8.69 to $13.49. Outlast Active, priced from $6.99 to $9.49, is sweat-proof makeup designed for the gym-going, wellness-obsessed consumer. The collection includes a foundation, eye liner, mascara and setting mist. Cover Girl sales have yet to turn positive, despite new marketing that rolled out in fall of 2017, but Coty executives have indicated the brand’s turnaround will continue to take time.


Rimmel Scandaleyes
Rimmel Scandaleyes Courtesy Photo

Rimmel’s U.S. business continues to be significantly smaller than its size internationally, but the brand continues to launch new products here. A highlight from this year’s offering is Scandaleyes Wow Mascara, $6, equipped with a flexible brush with two types of bristles — winged and curved — designed to deliver both volume and definition and separation.



Revlon ColorStay Endless Glow Liquid Highlighter
Revlon ColorStay Endless Glow Liquid Highlighter Courtesy Photo

Another legacy brand in the midst of a major turnaround effort, Revlon’s first 2019 offerings are once again, trend-driven and aimed at younger consumers. Key products include the ColorStay Endless Glow Liquid Highlighter, $12.99; ColorStay Look Book Eye Shadow Palettes, $9.99 (long-wear palettes with neutral matte and metallic shades). These launches come on the heels of the brand’s new PhotoReady Candid Collection, a complexion line infused with antipollution skin-care ingredients, that rolled out in October.


Almay Velvet Foil Cream Shadow
Almay Velvet Foil Cream Shadow Courtesy Photo

Almay’s new products, rolling out early this year, are a far cry from its past as a brand known for hypoallergenic makeup essentials. New items include the Velvet Foil Cream Shadows, Gel Smooth Liner Metallics and Make Them Jelly Hi-Lites, a former Ulta Beauty exclusive set to rollout to the rest of mass. Almay’s turnaround efforts, which began with new Millennial-minded marketing in late 2017, have been slow-going thus far. Brand sales were down 19 percent according to Nielsen data tracking the 52 weeks ending Dec. 1.



Neutrogena’s makeup offerings are getting a significant overhaul for the new year. A slew of sleekly packaged new products, including the HydroBoost foundation stick and illuminator, and a new series of eyeliners — Precision Liquid, Intense Gel and Smokey Kohl — are hitting mass-market shelves in January. Most notably is an exclusive skin-care-meets-makeup line for Wal-Mart, which includes the Collagen Kiss Lip Mask, Sheer Smooch Lip Oil, Cheeky Wink Bouncy Blush and more on-trend products designed with young consumers in mind.


Wet ‘n’ Wild

Wet n Wild MegaGlo Loose Highlighting Powder
Wet n Wild MegaGlo Loose Highlighting Powder Courtesy Photo

Wet ‘n’ Wild is another outlier in the mass market, consistently pumping out new hero franchises in a market where other traditional brands struggle. For 2019, the trendy-meets-affordable brand is betting on a variety of extensions to its best-selling lines — including the ColorIcon Bronzer, MegaGlo Loose Highlighting Powder, Catsuit Eyeshadow, Liquid Catsuit High-Shine Lipsticks, MegaLength and MegaProtein mascaras, and PhotoFocus concealers, foundation sticks and primers. Prices range from $2.99 to $4.99.


E.l.f. 16-Hour Camo Concealer
E.l.f. 16-Hour Camo Concealer Courtesy Photo

On the heels of a lackluster year — sales were down 3.3 percent in the last 52 weeks ending Dec. 1, and down 14.4 percent in the last four weeks, per Nielsen data — E.l.f. Cosmetics is set to launch its most long-wearing and full-coverage concealer formula in a range of 18 shades. 16-Hour Camo Concealer is priced at $5.


Milani Courtesy Photo

Gryphon Investors-backed Milani has become a formidable player in mass-market makeup, last year posting double-digit sales gains in categories such as foundation and eyebrow makeup, per IRI data tracking the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27. The brand is entering January with three new luxury market-inspired mascaras — Most Wanted Lavish Lift & Curl, Ultra-Def 3-D and Highly Rated 10-in-1 Volume, priced at $9.99 each. After the October hire of former Wet ‘n’ Wild senior vice president of marketing Evelyn Wang, who had been credited for the brand’s turnaround under Markwins, Milani is one to watch in 2019.