Dyson’s innovative hair dryer blew away the competition.

Beauty Inc. celebrates the year’s hottest innovations and most directional marketers. See the winners here.

PRESTIGE HAIR CARE: The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Never before has a hair dryer been so hyped—until Dyson’s Supersonic hit the market. The U.K.-based company best known for its vacuums made a bold move into beauty, launching a $400 futuristic blow dryer in shocking fuchsia. The reaction was immediate, partly because of the hair-raising price tag, but primarily for the signature engineering. Air temperature is measured 20 times per second to minimize heat damage, while a controlled, high-velocity air flow contributes to speedy drying. The dryer’s buzzy claims have resonated with the vlogger world, generating views into the millions on YouTube reviews within the first two months of its U.S. launch.

PRESTIGE MAKEUP: La Mer Skincolor de la Mer

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La Mer is betting on hybrids—makeup containing skin-care benefits or skin care containing pigment, depending on who you ask—becoming the next big thing. To wit: the October launch of Skincolor, a range of 18 shades of foundation, concealer and loose powder, each infused with La Mer’s patented, proprietary Miracle Broth. It’s a big push for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.-owned brand, which does more than $1 billion in global sales annually and anticipates Skincolor could achieve 10 percent of that figure in the near term.

PRESTIGE SKIN CARE: SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age Essence

At a time of rebuilding for many of its brands, Procter & Gamble’s prestige powerhouse SK-II was a bright spot on its beauty landscape. A leader in the mask market, particularly paper masks, the brand is also a leader in premium-priced prestige skin care, one of the category’s most dynamic areas. SK-II targeted a key demographic—younger women noticing the first signs of aging—with its R.N.A. regimen. Updating its signature pitera ingredient technology, the Essence promised noticeable results in 10 days—just the kind of boost SK-II is experiencing in its business overall, with P&G reporting a 25 percent sales increase for the year.

PRESTIGE FRAGRANCE: Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream

Supermodel spokesperson? Check. High-profile fashion week party? Naturally. Multiplatform social media plan and strategic distribution rollout? Yes and yes. Charlotte Tilbury may be an Indie brand, but she’s not one to think small. So when it came time for the makeup artist to launch her first fragrance, Scent of a Dream, it was big-time all the way. Fragrance is an ambitious category for Tilbury, whose namesake line sources say will reach $50 million in retail sales this year. Tilbury’s business partners lauded her foray in a bold new direction. “She has a vision first, and within her vision is how she wants the woman to look and feel,” said Gemma Lionello, executive vice president at Nordstrom. “She’s a working artist; she has a true connection with her customer.”


The year’s standout launches, clockwise from top: Tresemmé, CoverGirl, La Mer, SK-II, CharlotteTilbury and L’Oréal Paris.

The year’s standout launches, clockwise from top: Tresemmé, CoverGirl, La Mer, SK-II, Charlotte Tilbury and L’Oréal Paris.  Joshua Scott


MASS MAKEUP: Cover Girl Katy Kat Collection

It was a year of transition for Cover Girl, as former parent company Procter & Gamble worked on completing its divestiture to Coty Inc. But the marketing machine chugged along churning out the hits. The brand partnered with superstar Katy Perry on a line of demi-matte lipsticks and mascaras—complete with bold shades like lavender and cobalt, giving Cover Girl a trend-driven edge up on the competition. The timing couldn’t have been better: The line hit stores when lips and lashes in wild colors were all the rage in prestige distribution and dominated social media feeds. Sales numbers proved Katy Kat, launched in July, was no summer sleeper, generating $1.2 million in revenue by October.

MASS SKIN CARE: L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Mask Collection

Masks are no new trick for prestige skin-care brands, but they’re few and far between in drug and grocery aisles. Enter L’Oréal Paris’ Pure Clay line, a range of three masks steeped in exotic clay formulas touting skin detoxing, brightening and purifying benefits, and part of a concerted effort by the brand to up its skin-care cred. Shifting focus to a trend-driven area of the market like masks didn’t mean losing share where L’Oréal typically shines in skin care—facial antiaging. In fact, it was just the opposite, as L’Oréal’s dollar sales in the category were up almost 7 percent year-over-year as of October.

MASS HAIR CARE: Tresemmé Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System

Extreme times call for extreme measures: Unilever shook the very roots of hair care with the launch of Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System shampoo and conditioner. Targeted to fine hair, the reverse-wash system calls for conditioning first and shampooing second, so as not to weigh hair down. An oversized “one” on the conditioner bottle and “two” on the shampoo signals the correct order to consumers, who seem to be tuning in to the unorthodox idea. A pair of humorous YouTube videos starring Chrissy Teigen for the Beauty-Full Volume campaign generated upward of five million views.

Catch up on the week’s top fashion news here: