Bold makeup look competes head-on with popular natural beauty trend

September 10, 2018

Whether going for a light-handed and natural or vibrant and bold look, today’s American women are interested in makeup looks on two ends of the beauty spectrum. While the natural look is a go-to for the majority of women across the US, as nearly eight in 10 female color cosmetics users have tried or are interested in trying a no-makeup look (78%), or its staple glossy lip (79%), current social media trends are influencing women to try their hand at bold makeup looks. New research from Mintel reveals that a strong percentage of women who use color cosmetics have tried or are interested in trying more adventurous makeup looks, including a smokey eye (69%), bold lip (55%), winged eyeliner (48%) and strobing (45%).

53% of female color cosmetics users aged 18-24 watch online video tutorials to learn about makeup looks.

With more than two in five (44%) women aged 18-34 visiting four or more social media sites every day, according to Mintel research, it seems social media may be the driving force behind the increased popularity of both the natural and bold makeup looks as it is changing the way consumers learn about and master new makeup trends. In fact, a trendy one in five (22%) female color cosmetics users agree that social media helps them learn about beauty trends, increasing to nearly half (47%) of those aged 18-24. What’s more, nearly one quarter (24%) of female color cosmetics users say they watch online video* tutorials to learn about makeup looks, including the majority (53%) of women aged 18-24.

“Social media influencers and video tutorials are inspiring American women to go for two contradictory makeup looks. While the natural look continues to reign supreme, many women are interested in trying out bold and adventurous makeup looks, such as winged eyeliner and strobing, as a result of what they’re seeing online,” said Alison Gaither, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel. “But as each of these makeup looks come with a learning curve, brands can not only tap into the current popularity of social media and online videos to educate consumers on how to master these looks and promote product trial, but also develop accessory tools to simplify application. For example, recent eyeliner launches have included tools that claim to make eyeliner application faster and less intimidating and we predict that going forward, other color cosmetics segments will follow suit.”

Achieving that glowing, filtered look

As women prioritize their facial skincare routines, many are in pursuit of glowy, healthy skin and the look of a blurred complexion. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), new launches of face makeup in the US with the word ‘glow’ in the product name grew 115% from 2013-17. Young women in particular are driving usage of products that are essential to the ‘flawless face’ makeup look, including highlighter/illuminator (51% women aged 18-24 vs 23% women overall), which adds a healthy glow to skin, and primer (49% vs 25% overall), which creates a smooth surface for makeup.

While appearance-related benefits such as matching their skin tone (76%) and natural coverage (59%) are the top priority among female facial makeup users, protection and prevention benefits are also high on the list. Two in five consider sun protection and skincare benefits (41% respectively) important when selecting facial makeup. Meanwhile, some 30% of female facial makeup users look for products made with natural ingredients.

“With HD cameras showing every possible flaw, the obsession with poreless, lineless, glowing skin is leading some consumers to seek out products that imitate the filters they see and use on social media. As a result, we predict that highlighters, illuminators and any product that promotes radiance will continue to grow in popularity. There are opportunities to develop color cosmetics products that incorporate skincare ingredients into formulations to give the wearer a long-lasting, glowing complexion and mimic the desired effects of glowing, poreless filters beloved by consumers,” continued Gaither. “While appearance-related benefits are often considered cost-of-entry attributes, secondary influencers such as long-wear and skincare benefits can help a brand stand out and are often deciding factors in purchasing a product.”

3 in 10 Black women who use facial makeup struggle to find a shade that matches their skin tone.

Women of color still struggle to find inclusive shades

While brands are making a conscious effort to introduce more inclusive products, many women of color are still struggling to find their shade. In fact, although 79% of Black women who use facial makeup say that finding a face makeup product that matches their skin tone is an important purchase influencer, nearly three in 10 (29%) struggle to find a shade that matches their skin tone.

“As consumers continue to demand products that promote inclusivity, brands that offer expanded shade ranges and colors are finding more success among women of color. This has ultimately helped brands see their efforts equate to sales success as they encourage product trial among consumers who are typically less likely to use face makeup products due to a lack of inclusivity. Brands that promote a message of inclusivity illustrate how the industry is beginning to recognize and develop new products and shades specifically formulated for multicultural consumers,” concluded Gaither.


Press copies of Mintel’s Color Cosmetics US 2018 report and interviews with Alison Gaither, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

Mintel News

For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

Contact Press Office
Related articles
February 26, 2024
Despite stagnant growth in the haircare category, 35% of Indian consumers have increased the time spent on haircare routines in the six months leading to September 2023, with 44% expressing…
October 2, 2023
Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, has today (2 October 2023) announced three key trends set to impact the global beauty and personal care industry in 2024.
September 28, 2023
41% of those who believe affordable and premium products are comparable in efficacy also say they prefer to buy premium makeup, no matter the price. 43% of male makeup users…

Download the Latest Market Intelligence