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March 2022 Beauty Newsletter: Non-comedogenic makeup, gray hair, skin causes, and more

Mar 25, 2022

Below is the March 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.

Traackr Beauty Brand Leaderboard Ranking Insights

Top US: ITEM Beauty + the influencer brand arc.

Over the past two months ITEM Beauty rose nine spots on the US beauty leaderboard, and it finally made it into the top 10 in February. The brand’s recent success follows a familiar arc we’ve seen amongst other influencer-led brands:

  • Influencer owner builds buzz. Addison Rae (@addisonraee) still earns ITEM Beauty the most VIT out of any influencer — this is typical for newer influencer-led brands. These types of brands inherit the tone, power, and audience loyalty of its influencer CEO/co-founder which allows for a lot of early momentum with relatively low lift. 
  • Network effect takes hold. In January Addison Rae was the only VIP influencer mentioning ITEM Beauty, but in February Victoria Lyn (@victorialyn) came on the scene. In her videos posted on Instagram and TikTok, Victoria tests out an ITEM Beauty blush while mentioning that she talked with Addison directly about her favorite shades and application methods. This 1:1 network effect is critical! In the early stages, these brands rely on the owner’s ability to work their connections and get fellow influencers (with big audiences) to promote their products in an authentic and enthusiastic way.
  • Experimentation further boosts brand momentum. A brand can’t just ride the coattails of a single influencer forever. Once an influencer-led brand starts to gain traction, it's on the marketing team to keep building momentum. For example, ITEM Beauty is starting to see success with TikTok. In February the number of TikTok posts mentioning the brand more than doubled, and the amount of VIT the platform earned increased by approximately 218%. Other than VIP influencers like Addison and Victoria earning high VIT and engagements, micro influencers have become impactful for this brand on TikTok. 

Tip: Want to invest in paid TikTok influencer collaborations? Check out our latest blog post to learn what content types and strategies are working for brands. 

Top UK: Huda Beauty + riding the euphoric high.

Huda Beauty has held the #1 spot on the UK leaderboard for January and February. Founded approximately eight years ago, the brand is no longer as reliant on its influencer founder and gets most of its traction from more common sources like trends, product quality, and creative content. 

In January and February, Huda Beauty gained a lot of buzz from Euphoria makeup looks. Season two of Euphoria came out in January, and it inspired yet another creative boom amongst the beauty community. Huda Beauty was able to ride this wave as its high quality products helped stars like Alice King (@alicekingmakeup) and Sophie Hannah Richardson (@sophiehannah) create bold and beautiful Euphoria-esque makeup looks. 

In addition to this — or perhaps a precursor to this — Huda Beauty’s products are generally used by the beauty community for ultra creative looks. Even aside from the specific Euphoria makeup looks, influencers like Poppy Ella (@poppyellah) and Chloe (@chloeandcosmetics) love to use Huda Beauty products for bold and colorful eyes.

Top FR: Fenty Beauty + on location.

In one month Fenty Beauty moved up 15 spots on the French beauty leaderboard, landing at #1 in the month of February. 

Rihanna is iconic, but this win goes to the brand marketing team. 

In February, the brand launched its semi-matte refillable lipstick, Fenty Icon, in Sephora Middle East. To celebrate, the team took a page from Revolve’s playbook. Revolve is a fashion company that built its brand from pure influencer marketing power — eventually snagging itself a $1.2 billion valuation. It was especially well known for #revolvearoundtheworld, where it took its influencer partners on extravagant trips. The influencers were always impossibly beautiful, the locations were always idyllic, and the Revolve clothes always present.

Fenty Beauty put its unique brand spin on #revovlearoundtheworld for the Fenty Icon launch. The brand brought a bunch of top and VIP influencers like Maroua Bekkouche (@thedollbeauty) and Sanaa El Mahalli (@sananas2106) to Dubai. The theme was “iconic”, and the trip was focused on showing off Dubai as an interesting and luxurious destination. Content from this trip is what shot Fenty Beauty to the top of the leaderboard in February.

Two other interesting things?

Fenty Beauty is known for its commitment to diversity — one could argue that the event had an underlying message about just that. Fenty Beauty not only picked a diverse set of influencers for this event, they picked a location that is both luxurious and rich in BIPOC cultures and people. 

Last, although this campaign was held in Dubai for a specific product launch in Sephora Middle East, the content got Fenty Beauty to #1 on the French leaderboard. This is proof that a thoughtful and well planned campaign can have ripple effects across multiple markets. 

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

Beauty Trends

Makeup’s pore consideration.

Skincare and makeup are converging. Dubbed “skinification” by some reporters, makeup brands are now incorporating more skincare ingredients and considerations into their products, and vice versa. 

For example, Smashbox recently announced that it is going to revamp its primers to target specific skincare needs like illumination, hydration, mattification, and correction. On the other side of the isle, new brands like Rel (owned by influencer Arielle Vandenberg) are focused on bringing some color cosmetics to skincare — its hero product is a lip balm that comes in a range of color tints. 

Our data recently found rising audience interest in another category of this trend, despite fewer posts: non-comedogenic (non pore clogging) makeup. 

Content Mentioning Non-Comedogenic Makeup Across All Platforms: 

  • -12% posts
  • +17% engagements
  • +9% video views

Some of the top brands mentioned in this content include Hero Cosmetics, Neutrogena, Ogee, and When Life Gives You Lemons. 

Age inclusivity comes to hair care.

Publications like Cosmetics Business have reported on the rise of “silver sisters”, or the growing popularity of natural gray hair as its own category.

Our data shows that while the number of posts about gray hair may not have seen a drastic increase in the past year, the number of engagements and video views have definitely increased.

Content Mentioning Gray Hair Across All Platforms: 

  • -5% posts
  • +3% engagements
  • +21% video views

What’s cool about this trend is that it’s inclusive across the board. Influencers that are leading this trend are not only varying ages, they have different lifestyles, hair types, and quite a few of them are BIPOC. Some of the top gray hair influence include Maryam Remias (@maryamremias), Whitney Lichty (@silverstrandsofglitter), Luisa (@thesilverlining_1970), Donna Cerise (@thedonnacerise), Jack Martin (@jackmartincolorist), and Jin (@agingwith_style_and_grays).

These folks talk about their gray hair with pride. Some are chronicling their years of being dye free, some are talking about gray hair as a form of empowerment, some show how they style and care for their gray hair, and some simply show themselves going about their lives, being the beauties they are… with gray hair.

Skincare delves into skin causes.

Dewy, luminous, glass skin… the skincare industry is obsessed with achieving specific results.

That being said, not everyone has the same type of skin or the same skincare needs. Consumers have realized this and are starting to look for personalized skincare products that address unique needs.  

As part of that trend, our data shows that audiences gravitate towards content that dives into the details. 

Content Mentioning DNA / Genetic Testing and Beauty Across All Platforms:

  • -3% posts
  • +17% engagements
  • +45% video views 

Content Mentioning Hormones and Beauty Across All Platforms:

  • +2% posts
  • -11% engagements
  • +50% video views

Here, folks talk about hormonal acne, periorbital hyperpigmentation (dark under eye circles caused by genetics), and the effects that postpartum hormones have on hair and skin health. The conversation is open and honest about the extra challenges that some folks will face when trying to achieve “perfect” skin. Even more importantly, the conversation touches on the fact that healthy skin does not always equate “perfect” looking skin.