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Makeup is still driving growth in the U.S. prestige beauty category.

For the third quarter, makeup sales totaled $1.7 billion, compared to $1.1 billion for skin care and $712 million for fragrance, according to figures from The NPD Group. That’s a 13 percent year-over-year increase for makeup, 5 percent increase for skin care and 3 percent increase for fragrance. Online sales are also up for each category, with makeup sales rising 33 percent, skin care up 15 percent and fragrance up 26 percent, according to NPD. “It’s that consumer readiness, I think the convenience factor, also the fact that it’s resonating across age groups,” Karen Grant, NPD beauty analyst, said of the rise in Internet sales, adding that the space is still under 15 percent penetrated in prestige beauty. “Replenishment is as much as 70 percent of the sales,” she said.

In terms of the fast-growing makeup category, brows and lips were standouts. Sales of brow products saw a 37 percent increase in sales for the quarter, driven in part by innovation, according to Grant. “It’s not a category we see growth coming from because it’s a young statement,” she said. “For the older consumers, it’s an antiaging statement, as anyone over 40 knows.”

“When you see a category that resonates not just with one group or another, but really has appeal across all, it really begins to jump out,” Grant said. “You have really continued increases in launch activity, so when you see a lot more innovation…that helps to stimulate growth and excitement.”

Lips had fewer launches Grant said, but lip-color sales were still up 21 percent for the quarter, according to NPD. “We are seeing more high-pigmented launch colors coming to the fore,” Grant said. “You have the big guns like MAC and so on, and new players like Urban Decay, who are really coming to the fore and expanding their portfolio.”

Nails were down 17 percent for the quarter. Nail care, while also down 2 percent for the quarter, is still a “tiny, tiny beacon of hope” in prestige nail, Grant said. “The thing about nail care is it’s not doing well, but it’s doing the least bad in prestige,” she said.

‘The innovation is not there in terms of launch activity,” Grant said, overall of the nail category. “You have the mass channel really stepping up their game…people are still opting for that alternative.”

The skin-care market is being driven by sales of sun products, which were up 16 percent, and masks, up 28 percent, according to NPD. More traditional categories — like moisturizers — are “not really that exciting right now,” Grant said, adding that innovation is really coming from those smaller categories. “What we saw through the first half is that the doctor brands are not as strong as the natural ones,” Grant said. “The two are still outperforming the overall market in skin care.”

Over in fragrance, sales are still being driven by gains in the home fragrance category, which was up 17 percent, though Grant said that market makes up about $32 million of a $2.3 billion U.S. prestige fragrance market. Also doing well are artisanal fragrances, which she said are growing between three and five times faster than the overall market. “Designer fragrances have not really started to accelerate, we’re not seeing some huge movements coming from the classics from now,” Grant said.

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