Revealed: Most powerful beauty brands of the year

This year's top trend-setting beauty brands have been announced, according to WWD's, Beauty Inc

Dividing the companies into three categories: Established Players, Independent Spirits and Emerging Powerhouses, here we breakdown the brands you need to know.

The Established Players

1. CeraVe - click here for hi-res images and product info

L’Oréal’s active cosmetics business is one of its fastest growing, and within the portfolio, CeraVe stands out as a key performer. At a time when all eyes are on hand health, it leads the mass market in the hand and body lotion segment, posting a 34 per cent increase year-to-date, according to data from IRI. Sales are equally as strong in the facial categories, where CeraVe facial cleansers have jumped 57 per cent and moisturisers have grown 49 per cent.

2. Dove

This year the brand extended its community outreach and involvement in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and the Black Lives Matter moment even more. The impact of that was seen in Unilever’s first-half results: Despite challenging market conditions, Dove remained resilient, with mid-single-digit growth.

3. E.l.f. 

The company recognised the power of TikTok early on created an OMG moment, with a campaign on the platform that garnered more than 4.4 billion views. That translated into a double-digit sales increase and catapulted the brand to cult status for Gen Z.

4. Estée Lauder

Driven by hero products like Advanced Night Repair and a quick pivot to digital strategies, Lauder has posted double-digit gains.

5. Kiehl's - click here for hi-res images and product info 

As stores closed, the brand quickly pivoted to online consultations, resulting in conversion rates about 10 points higher than the normal chat. Kiehl’s continued its issue advocacy and adapted to the times — as with its virtual dance party to celebrate Pride Month.

6. Lancôme click here for hi-res images and product info

After opening a flagship on Paris’ Avenue des Champs-Élysées late last year harnessing technology to create a truly customised experience for consumers, the brand pivoted quickly during the pandemic, creating virtual experience second to none.

7. L'Oréal Paris click here for hi-res images and product info

After being called out by transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf, L’Oréal Paris’ new president, Delphine Viguier reached out to Bergdorf, admitting regret at how the situation was handled and naming her to a role on the DEI Board. That call to action is echoed in everything from L’Oréal’s product lineup, where skincare sales have soared, to its message of personal empowerment.

8. M.A.C

At a time when the makeup market overall is challenged, MAC — the top makeup brand in the U.S., according to The NPD Group — is reinventing its go-to-market methods under global creative director Drew Elliott and global chief marketing officer Ukonwa Ojo, launching everything from small-batch drops to collabs with the likes of Teyana Taylor.

9. Nest Fragrances

During quarantine, the home category was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise challenged fragrance market, and leading the way with a strong performance was Nest Fragrances, according to data from NPD

10. OGX

Despite tough competition, OGX has held on to the top spot in mass market shampoo and conditioner sales for the 12 months ending June 14, according to data from IRI.

11. Olay - click here for hi-res images and product info

From ingredients like retinol to issues such as sustainability, Olay has positioned itself at the forefront of premium mass skin care.

12. Sally Hansen click here for hi-res images and product info

Coty-owned Sally Hansen may be one of the heritage brands of the nail industry, but it has a habit of disrupting the category and bringing meaningful innovation to the mass market. Nail has been a bright spot in mass market colour cosmetics — up almost 25 per cent year-to-date for the period ending June 14, according to data from IRI.

13. SheaMoisture click here for hi-res images and product info

According to data from IRI, SheaMoisture’s hair conditioner business has increased 20 per cent year-to-date, more than double the category growth and almost triple that of category leader OGX.

14. Tom Ford Beauty

The brand has risen 40 ranks in the past five years, and is today the 25th largest beauty brand globally.

15. Vital Proteins

Supplements are one of the fastest-growing categories in the $4.2 trillion wellness category, and Vital Proteins, a pioneer in collagen-based ingestibles, has led the way in connecting inner health and outer beauty.

As well as the powerhouse brands, here are the independents and up-and-coming brands to keep on your radar.

The Independent Spirits

1. Amika
2. Beautycounter
3. Briogeo
4. Charlotte Tilbury
5. Deciem/The Ordinary
6. Diptyque
7. Drunk Elephant
8. Fenty Beauty
9. Glossier
10. Huda Beauty
11. The Mane Choice
12. Milk Makeup
13. Moon Juice
14. Olaplex
15. Tatcha

The Emerging Powerhouses

1. Augustinus Bader
2. DP Hue
3. Dr Barbara Sturm
4. Golde
5. Heretic
6. Juvia's Place
7. Kosas
8. Mented
9. My Black Is Beautiful
10. Scotch Porter
11. Shani Darden
12. Sol de Janeiro
13. Summer Fridays