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January 2022 Beauty Newsletter: 2020 vs 2021 beauty trends, hot hair care topics, and more.

Jan 3, 2022

Below is the January 2022 edition of our Beauty Leaderboard Newsletter where we provide monthly data-backed insights on rising beauty trends, in-depth analyses of successful brand/influencer collaborations, and benchmarked rankings of global beauty brands.

The Latest Beauty Trends from Traackr's Beauty Brand Leaderboard Ranking Insights

Top US: Ulta Beauty + TikTok investments.

After experiencing a few ups and downs over the past few months, Ulta made it into the top 3 on the US leaderboard! What did they do differently in December? Platform focus. 

While Instagram still earns Ulta the most VIT, TikTok is quickly closing in. In November, Instagram content earned roughly 68% more VIT than TikTok. But in December, this gap decreased by 13%. 

Looking at sponsored content alone, it appears Ulta is moving budget towards TikTok. In December, there was a 29% increase in sponsored TikTok posts and a consequent 485% increase in VIT from the platform. On the other hand, sponsored Instagram posts decreased by 14% from November to December, resulting in a 59% decrease in VIT from this platform. 

Tip: Want to invest more in paid influencer partnerships, but need more budget? Here are 4 questions you will need to answer.

Top UK: Beauty Bay + Instagram creativity.

Beauty Bay jumped to #3 after months hovering around #20. 

December VIT was driven primarily from VIP influencer (5M+ audience), Millie Bobby Brown, mentioning her Florence by Mills holiday gift set’s availability at Beauty Bay. A strong seasonal push.  

But there is more contributing to the brand’s success! In December mid-tier (50K+ audience) influencers, especially on Instagram, earned 86% more VIT for Beauty Bay than in November. The content is 50/50 static posts and videos. This just goes to show that there is no hard and fast rule for platforms or content formats! 

Different things work for different brands, in different markets. For Beauty Bay in the UK market, Instagram photos and videos that have ultra creative and colorful makeup looks work well. If the brand can figure out how to find and partner with those creative mid-tier Instagram influencers, it might be able to create a program that consistently improves. 

Tip: Trying to determine the most impactful platforms and influencers for your brand? Experiment with a mix, and have the right data, infrastructure, and team so you can extract key learnings. 

Top FR: NYX + micro influencer video content.

In December, NYX made it into the top 3 on the French leaderboard! During this month, micro influencers (10K+ audience) went from being the 4th highest VIT earning tier to the second highest — ultimately replacing top tier influencers (1M+ audience). 

This is not due to a significant change in the number of influencers from each tier, in fact the amount of influencers from each of these tiers stayed relatively the same from November to December. 

What did change was the type of content that micro influencers put out. NYX saw more video content (both on Instagram and TikTok) from micro influencers. Even more interesting? This theme translated over to paid sponsorships in a big way. Not only was the second best performing sponsored post a video… it was a YouTube video. Lately we’ve seen a lot about the power of short form video, but is it possible that YouTube also still has some pull? Could the loss of saturation on this platform actually make it a good place for brands to invest in a few well aligned partnerships?

If you want to see how your beauty brand ranks, check out our monthly leaderboard here.

Social Media Beauty Trends

Which makeup types did well in 2021?

Many publications like Glossy, Cosmetics Business, and Business of Fashion have already predicted  what types of makeup and beauty trends will do well in 2022. Some of them — like “skinclusivity”, bold color, and mental health — are certainly interesting. 

However, it’s a bit early to look at 2022, so let’s do a quick look back at how different types of makeup performed in 2021. The answer? All but one saw a general decline over the past year.

Content Mentioning Eyeliner Across All Platforms: 

  • -22% posts
  • +10% engagements
  • +40% video views

While the number of posts mentioning eyeliner declined over the past year, audience interest continued to rise! The most engaging content took place on TikTok, and featured creative, colorful, and bold eyeliner looks. For example, in October there were a ton of creative eyeliner looks - from spiderwebs, to clowns, to bats — from influencers like Alice King (@alicekingmakeup), Lena Bagrowska (@lenakalul), and Hollie Brooks (@hollierose.mua). February, March, May, June, and December also saw spikes in engagements due to creative eyeliner looks and tutorials about how to get specific shapes like cat, fox, puppy, and traditional winged eyeliner. 

Content Mentioning Blush On TikTok:

  • +62% posts
  • +16% engagements
  • +67% video views

Blush was not one of the beauty trend categories we would have guessed would flourish during 2021, given that mask mandates were in place most of the year.  However, TikTok saw a huge boom in blush content, with engagement spikes in February, May, September, and December. The most popular content included tutorials for using blush to give your face a lifted vs shortened look; a “viral blush hack” where folks put a lot of blush on their cheeks, nose, and temples before balancing it out with foundation and concealer; and tutorials for getting new popular looks like sunkissed (blush across the nose), and, for some reason, tiredness (blush under the eyes to enhance under eye circles).

The hair care conversation gets specific.

In 2021 the hair care conversation has become more tailored. Folks are looking for information about their specific hair types.

For example, while curly and textured hair saw a surge of interest in 2020, data shows that these general conversations decreased in 2021. Instead, audiences started caring a lot about specific hair types, features, and issues. Two big examples of these: hair porosity and hair types (2a, 4b, 4c, etc).

Content Mentioning Hair Porosity Across All Platforms:

  • -2% posts
  • +474% engagements
  • +671% video views

Content Mentioning Individual Hair Types Across All Platforms: 

  • -38% posts
  • +127% engagements
  • -29% video views

Out of curiosity we ran a report on other general hair care issues too. Out of six hair care issues that we researched, we found only one that saw an increase across all key metrics.

Content Mentioning Hair Loss/Thinning Across All Platforms:

  • + 5% posts
  • +97% engagements
  • +98% video views

While other hair care issues like growth, breakage, hydration, volume, and nutrition didn’t necessarily see an increase in posts or engagements, they all saw increases in video views. Could this mean that video is a great format for hair care brands to reach audiences with?

Tip: Want to hear more about Gen Z, hair porosity, and the future of hair care? Read this post where we share some insights from execs at Walmart and P&G. 

New year, new wellness trends. 

From CBD, to mushrooms, to gua sha, to sea moss, to liquid chlorophyll — the beauty industry has no shortage of wellness trends. 

This year is shaping up to be no different. Retailers are betting big on wellness: Saks Fifth Avenue has even launched specific wellness shops to get a foot further into the beauty industry. Similarly, publications like Business of Fashion and Glossy have written about the continued interest in wellness, and have even ear marked gut health as the next big thing. 

We found that while interest in general wellness and beauty topics have declined over the past year, interest in gut health has indeed increased.

Content Mentioning General Gut Health Across All Platforms: 

  • +3% posts
  • +65% engagements
  • +149% video views

We also ran a report on various types of gut health supplements, and found that prebiotics garnered the most interest over the past year.

Content Mentioning Prebiotics Across All Platforms:

  • +35% posts
  • +77% engagements
  • +90% video views

Last, we ran a report that cross referenced “gut health” and beauty terms to see if the two topics are being mentioned alongside each other.

Content Mentioning Gut Health + Beauty Across All Platforms: 

  • +9% posts
  • +106% engagements
  • +140% video views

There are a lot of similarities between the influencers/content that helped skincare rise to popularity, and the ones that are pushing gut health to the fore now. 

For example, Rosemary Ferguson (@rosemaryferguson_) is a functional med practitioner and nutritionist who posts educational content about gut health and its effect on skin — her expertise and content somewhat echo the derm doctors and estheticians that led the “skinfluencer” movement. Could this indicate the start of a new influencer type? Gutfluencers? Cringeworthy title, but the demand might be there!