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A recent NPD report revealed that prestige color cosmetics, namely nail and lip products, may be the hot gifting items this holiday season.

“The [beauty products] doing the best and the fastest growing [are] categories of high color, with the lowest price point,” said NPD Group vice president and senior global industry analyst Karen Grant. “These items work well, they allow you to be on trend at a low price. You can’t get the whole outfit but you can add fun.”

According to NPD, the prestige nail and lip categories have shown “healthy growth” between January and November of this year. The lip segment, which includes color, liner, gloss and applicators, generated more than $548 million during the first 11 months of 2012, a nine percent increase from the same time last year. Lip color was the category standout, posting increases of 11 percent in dollar sales, with the top three sellers being MAC Lipstick, Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge, and Lauder Pure Color Lipstick.

“We are seeing a lot of evolution — new [lip] formulas, glitter, technology, textures — and innovation,” noted Grant. “We are seeing hybrid lips, color, care, sparkle and shine.”

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Although a smaller category, the nail sector, which generated $33 million this year, showed a whopping 49 percent growth in dollar sales. Consisting of color enamel, nail care and base-top coats, the category “allows for a lot more play,” according to Grant. Touting a 51 percent jump from last year, traditional lacquer saw the largest bump in dollar sales with Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Enamel, Butter London’s 3 Free Nail Lacquer, and Dior’s Rouge Vernis Nail Lacquer leading the charge.

According to Grant, a personal fan of gel manicures, nail brands have also unveiled many new formulas and textures this year, helping to further generate buzz. “One of the appealing things [about gel], is it’s just a manicure that stays on without the fumes and chemicals of acrylic,” said Grant, adding that “[Color lacquer] allows you to play.”

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