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In lockdown, nail care sales rise as makeup sales drop

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place measures are taking a toll on cosmetics sales.

When most of your professional and social interactions over the past eight weeks have taken place via Zoom, your full makeup routine probably hasn’t been at the top of your priority list. 

And when you do go out, no one can see your lip color under that mask.

These changes prompted by the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll on cosmetics sales.

CNN Business reports makeup sales fell 22 % in the first quarter, compared to a year ago. Fragrance sales were down 13%.

Revlon announced this week it saw an 18.1% drop in revenue in the first quarter, which ended March 31, reports Fashion Network. Net sales from the first quarter amounted to $453.0 million, compared to $553.2 million during that same period last year.

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Fragrance sales, too, have suffered. Revlon saw a 14.6% drop in quarterly sales compared to the same period in 2019, per Fashion Network.

Interest in skincare products already was on the rise, especially as younger generations opt for a no-makeup look.

Stay-at-home orders mean many women are less interested in spending time in front of the mirror. One survey found only a quarter of us are keeping up makeup routines.

Larissa Jensen, vice president and beauty industry analyst with NPD Group, told The New York Times skincare sales recently eclipsed makeup sales for the first time.

Although online sales of cosmetics and perfume grew, those weren’t strong enough to make up for the drop in in-store sales, reports CNN Business, particularly as retailers like Sephora and Ulta Beauty have been closed.

E.L.F. Beauty and Estee Lauder Companies also have seen sales decline.

Debbie Perelman, Revlon president and CEO, called beauty a resilient industry and said the company is seeing improved sales activity in China and other markets, per Fashion Network.

L’Oreal is pushing “work from home makeup” with consumers, per CNN Business, noting some women are condensing the full routine down to a swipe of lipstick, a coat of mascara and a quick dusting of powder.

Revlon introduced a hashtag to keep makeup on consumers' minds.

Ulta Beauty told CNN Business everyday makeup like mascara and concealer remains popular, and demand for skincare-focused makeup is high as consumers stick with a more natural look.

Nail care, on the other hand, has benefited amid the pandemic, as shuttered salons have inspired consumers to tackle their own manicures and pedicures.

Glossy reports nail care sales are growing after a five-year drop, and sales of gel remover kits and at-home manicure kits have spiked.

Revlon has seen nail polish sales grow 13.1% year-over-year; sales of nail tools grew 15% and foot tools 274%, per Glossy.

Grocery chains like Hy-Vee have seen nail care and polish sales jump, as consumers buy as much as they can at one store, per Supermarket News.

As salons in some states begin reopening, “I absolutely believe that people will return to their favorite hairstylist and manicurist, in time. But I do think that there’s going to be some caution in the market,” Sarah Gibson Tuttle, the founder of nail care brand Olive + June, told Glossy. “Many people, who develop new skills [in doing their own nails] will continue on beyond the stay at home orders.”

Going forward, analysts say sales of high-end cosmetics could suffer as consumers looking to cut back switch to drugstore brands, like many did during the Great Recession, per The New York Times.

Another possible makeup trend: As masks become a staple of everyday life, Nathalie Gerschtein, president of L’Oreal USA’s consumer products division, said they expect consumers will show greater interest in eye makeup to play up the eyes, per CNN Business.

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