Sales for prestige makeup in U.S. department stores continue on a positive trend, says The NPD Group. Face and nail categories are biggest standouts in the category.

According to the market research company, August 2010 was the fourth consecutive month of positive dollar and unit sales. Dollar sales increased two percent to USD 2 billion, year-to-date through August 2010, compared to the same time period in 2009.

While two percent may not seem like a huge sales increase, it is noteworthy because this is the first time in two years that the prestige makeup industry is showing a positive trend. We first began to see prestige makeup decline in 2008, before the recession and if you were to look at where the prestige makeup industry was just one year ago, in 2009, you would be seeing a seven percent decline, compared to 2008 figures,” said Karen Grant, vice president and global industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Women continue to tell us that they want to enhance the way they look and to feel more confident and feminine. Experimenting with colour is one of the ways they do that without spending a fortune,” adds Grant.

The face and nails segments outperformed the total makeup category in the first eight months of the year. Face, the largest segment with 49 percent dollar share of makeup, grew 3 percent in dollar volume, versus last year.

Concealer (+6%), foundation (+3%), and blush (+2%) helped lead the way for face category growth.

The nail segment, the smallest makeup segment, with only one percent dollar share, grew a double-digit 31 percent year-to-date (January through August 2010), compared to the same time last year.

Both the lip and eye segments showed positive growth as well, two and one percent, respectively. The sub-segments driving growth in the lip and eye categories were lip colour (+8%) and eye liner (+3%).