While the colour cosmetic category has grown slowly over the years in the U.S.A (a 13% increase from 2008-2013), the popularity of BB creams is making its mark. According to new research from Mintel [1], BB creams have seen a nearly 50% increase in product launches over 2012.

Multifunctional makeup on the up

BB cream, which combines cosmetic and skincare benefits, currently has the lowest reported use among facial makeup products in the US; 29% of women report wearing BB cream, compared to 68% who wear foundation, 69% for blusher, 64% for powder, 61% for concealer, 39% for primer and 39% for bronzer. However, use of this multifunctional cream is on the rise, if 29% of women report any use in 2013, they were only 24% in 2012.

The upturn of BB cream usage is consistent with the staggering increase of new product launches over the past year combined with strong marketing efforts designed to educate women about product benefits,” says Shannon Romanowski, beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel. “The multifunctional benefits of BB creams are broadly appealing, as the majority of makeup wearers agree that multifunctional makeup saves them time, money and allows them to reduce the number of products they use. With the recent emergence of CC and DD creams, the market is sure to continue its upward trajectory.

Splurge or save?

Despite the flurry of activity coming from BB cream, mascara remains the most frequently worn colour cosmetic product according to 53% of Mintel respondents. Its portability and ease of use make it a staple for most women. While mascara has the highest reported usage, it seems many women rely on numerous items as part of their makeup routine. Lip gloss (48%), lipstick (45%), eye liner (45%), foundation (45%), blusher (43%), eye shadow (42%), and powder (40%) all have similar regular use rates.

According to Mintel, the ‘splurge vs. save’ mentality is evident for the majority of women in this category, especially young women (18-24). Some 40% of 18-24 year olds say less expensive products work as well as expensive ones versus 34% of all respondents. In addition, 47% of young women report buying some colour cosmetic products at mass retailers compared to only 31% of all age groups.

Tighter budgets and lower levels of disposable income tend to drive more budget-conscious behaviours,” adds Shannon Romanowski. “Young women will pay for quality when warranted but will also save on lower-risk items like mascara or lip products in order to justify higher-priced purchases.