Lately, conversations on skincare – whether online, in magazines, across social media or with friends – all seem to settle on one thing: mud.

Facial masks have experienced an uptick in usage, growing from 35% in 2013 to 39% in 2014, according to Mintel consumer research. Facial masks are an emerging category trend, largely stemming from activity in the prestige market (Facial Skincare – US 2013). The rise in popularity of masks is likely driven by a move toward more customized skincare solutions along with improved ease of use (i.e. sheet masks). While a minority, some facial skincare users perceive improved efficacy from skin treatments such as masks, with 13% of respondents agreeing that facial treatments give them better results than everyday skincare products.

Facial masks have experienced an uptick in usage, growing from 35% in 2013 to 39% in 2014

Estée Lauder – a global leader in the prestige skincare market thanks to its namesake brand as well as brands such as Clinique, La Mer, Origins, and Prescriptives – is hoping to capitalize on the growing popularity of facial masks with the acquisition of GLAMGLOW, a Hollywood-inspired brand that is known for its mud-based facial treatment masks each designed to address a specific skincare concern. GLAMGLOW, founded in 2010, has quickly become a skincare staple among the Hollywood set. Know celebrity fans include everyone from Jennifer Aniston and Miley Cyrus, to the likes of Jay-Z and Denzel Washington. The brand has expanded its distribution to include high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus, as well as specialty beauty retailers such as Sephora.

While growth in the total facial skincare market is slow, prestige brands, including Estée Lauder, continue to see success driven by a combination of factors including the improving economy. Our research shows that high-end skincare consumers tend to be highly engaged and are seeking a more customized approach to facial skincare (Facial Skincare — US 2014). As such, products like facial masks, including GLAMGLOW’s mud-based products, which deliver a more customized and spa-like experience, continue to gain traction. As the facial skincare market becomes increasingly competitive and saturated at all price points, products that are more specialized and create a niche in the market will likely see the most success.

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