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Breaking Down the Most Influential Beauty Brands and Content

Published March 2, 2023
Published March 2, 2023

Data-driven influencer marketing platform Traackr has released the 2023 State of Influence: Beauty report, which provides insights on strategies and trends being used by top brands and influencers in 2022 and what we can expect in 2023. In order to uncover this data, Traackr analyzed content from 173K+ beauty influencers located in the US, UK, France, and Germany. BeautyMatter has broken down the key information and highlights from the report below.

Top-Performing Video Content

In 2022, Traackr found that there was a significant increase in video views on both TikTok and Instagram across the US and Europe. However, in contrast, YouTube saw declines across all beauty categories and an overall decrease of 41% from 2021. Evy Lyons, CMO of Traackr, emphasizes the rise of the short-form video since the pandemic and how “TikTok’s rocketship growth has shifted the types of content we consume and how—towards fun, light, educational, community-oriented content.”

With short-form video content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram becoming more popular, the type of content being made has had to adapt to the times. By launching Spark Ads, TikTok has allowed brands to select trending user-generated content and turn these organic posts into advertisements. In 2022 brands used this system to increase awareness and reach while still presenting themselves in an authentic way. TikTok has also become a search engine alternative to Google and a go-to for Gen Z and millennial consumers looking for product reviews and recommendations. This is possibly due to younger consumers having shown a preference towards authentic user-generated content. British consumers ranked TikTok as the second platform they are most likely to use when searching online for product reviews and information.

“Get ready with me” (GRWM) videos have been around for years in the beauty influencer space, but Traackr has reported a resurgence of this trend with a slight twist. Instead of guiding viewers through the how-to’s of their routine, people are viewing content where influencers will tell an entertaining real story or share a life experience as they apply skincare and/or makeup. The GRWM videos have become more of a form of entertainment than a step-to step guide on makeup application. This content is both authentic and relatable while maintaining an aspirational tone. In December 2022, GRWM posts were up 32% from November and also had the most GRWM beauty posts of any month in the last two years. Content mentioning GRWM keywords were up by +214% in 2022 compared to 2021.

The Defining Traits of Up-and-Coming Creator Content

When discussing the attributes of what constitutes successful or up-and-coming creator content, Lyons told BeautyMatter that “Video still reigns supreme among creators—with video views almost always on the rise, compared to engagement on images.” She also revealed how extreme statements, either raving or bashing products, tend to drive performance. Once again, it comes down to authenticity and passion. According to Lyons, this is going to result in engagement. “Even someone like @yourrichbff [a finance-related account with 2.3MM followers] shows that anyone can influence, and do it on any topic. You just have to be knowledgeable about a topic and willing to take the time to really explain it to your audience. Even micro-influencers can drive brand awareness and affinity through user-generated content—we’ll see more brands buy rights to UGC to boost instead of paying VIP influencers.”

Top Beauty Brands

Traackr has put together the top beauty brands in the UK, US, France, and Germany across three categories.

Top 10 Beauty Brands in 2022 – US

Top Performing

1. Kylie Cosmetics
2. Sephora
3. Rare Beauty
4. Ulta Beauty
5. Fenty Beauty
6. Charlotte Tilbury
7. r.e.m. beauty
8. L’Oréal Paris
9. MAC Cosmetics
10. Maybelline

Fastest Growing

1. Elizavecca
2. Nivea for Men
3. SpoiledChild
4. Bottega Veneta
5. Espressoh
6. Neocutis
7. Nioxin
8. La Prairie
9. Initio
10. Max Factor

Most Efficient (Impact per follower reached)

1. Elizavecca
2. Paul & Joe
3. Sleek Makeup
4. Mini Macaron
5. GlamGlow
6. Neocutis
7. Bio-Oil
8. SpoiledChild
9. Pantene
10. Prose

Top 10 Beauty Brands in 2022 – UK

Top Performing

1. Charlotte Tilbury
2. Huda Beauty
4. MAC Cosmetics
5. Benefit
6. NYX
7. Revolution Beauty
8. Anastasia Bev Hills
9. L’Oréal Paris
10. Beauty Bay

Fastest Growing

1. Thayers
2. JVN Hair
3. Drybar
4. Authentic Beauty Concept
5. Pacifica
6. Phyto
7. Rare Beauty
8. Bulldog
9. Item Beauty
10. Dizziak

Most Efficient

1. Herbal Essences
2. Hask
3. All Things Hair
5. Sebamed
6. Vaseline
7. Eyeko
8. Initio
9. Glaze Hair
10. Phyto

Top 10 Beauty Brands in 2022 – France

Top Performing

1. NYX
2. L’Oréal Paris
3. MAC Cosmetics
4. Maybelline
5. Benefit
6. Sephora
7. Lancôme
8. Charlotte Tilbury
9. Dior
10. Huda Beauty

Fastest Growing

1. Framar
2. Rene Furterer
3. Kilian
4. Kenzo
5. Dr. Barbara Sturm
7. Kure Bazaar
8. La Provencale Bio
9. Rare Beauty
10. Prada

Most Efficient

1. Sebastian Professional
2. Lamel
3. Annabelle
4. Moroccan Oil
5. Kenzo
6. Mavala
7. W7
8. KA
9. Qiriness
10. Nina Ricci

Top 10 Beauty Brands in 2022 – Germany

Top Performing

1. L’Oréal Paris
2. Dyson
3. Dior
4. YSL
5. Charlotte Tilbury
6. DM Sundance
7. Huda Beauty
8. Benefit
9. MAC Cosmetics
10. NYX

Fastest Growing

1. About Face
2. Typology
3. Cosmoprof
4. Bottega Veneta
5. Paco Rabanne
6. r.e.m. beauty
7. Merit Beauty
8. Eau Thermale Avène
9. Kevyn Aucoin
10. Issey Miyake

Most Efficient

1. Remington
2. Buxom
3. Cosmoprof
4. Sante Naturkosmetik
5. Shea Moisture
6. Paul Mitchell
7. Burt's Bees
8. Bilou
9. Kevyn Aucoin
10. Dyson

Key Takeaways from Top Beauty Brands

Lyons believes that the key to Kylie Cosmetics defending its spot as the top-performing brand in the US is because it “leans into VIP and celebrity influencers—mostly the Jenner/Kardashian clan themselves—relying on the ability of a few folks to reach a wide audience. This works especially well for this brand because they do not have to pay for those mentions. For brands that do not have connections to many celebrities, this strategy is not cost-efficient. Your influencer marketing program could be at risk if select VIP influencers stop collaborating with you—the best strategy always includes diversity, even if you have a celebrity founder.”

Lyons identifies the main differences between top-performing brands across the US, UK, France, and Germany “In the US and UK, celebrity-owned brands and brands with big budgets who can work with many celebrity ambassadors dominate the leaderboard because most of the biggest celebrities are located there along with the majority of their audience.” Whereas across Europe there's a higher regard for prestige brands like Dior, YSL, and NARS. Lyons also notes that trends tend to start in the US before expanding to the EU, one example of this being curly/textured haircare brands and products. When it comes to platform usage, Lyons has similar views, with “TikTok growing at a faster rate than in the US (mimicking the trajectory from a year or two ago in the US). Therefore, many of the top performers in Europe are the brands who have been early movers in shifting their attention towards TIkTok.”

When comparing US and UK interests in trends and beauty products, Lyon perceives the UK as having “more respect and adoration for the old regime like NARS, Benefit, and MAC, which still perform really well. In the US, consumers are more fascinated by celebrities, fleeting trends, and parasocial relationships with celebrities where they follow anything celebs say.” However, in both countries the data shows old-guard brands such as Pantene, Vaseline, and Herbal Essences “are learning how to use TikTok and put investment behind the content in really strategic ways.”

2023 Emerging Trends

Traackr has looked at both beauty trends and trends among creators and brands that we will be seeing across 2023. Lyons predicts that a revolution of creators will be looking to further develop their own brands and discover new ways to monetize their content and communities. “Some may go to closed platforms like Patreon or Substack, while others may experiment with podcasts, and others might stick closer to home by taking advantage of big social platforms’ new features (e.g., Instagram subscriptions). We’ve often seen early beauty influencers like Jeffree Star launch their own beauty brands, and the influencer-founded brand will become even more popular to create new revenue outside of social media,” she adds.

Across the beauty category, Traackr has identified the following trends:

Lip Stain Products

Since Fenty Beauty’s launch of Poutsicle, a hydrating lip stain, in summer of 2022, these types of products have been trending across social media. Over the past year, engagements went up by 130%, video views by 211%, and mentions by 43%, with other leading product mentions including those by e.l.f., Wonderskin, and r.e.m. beauty.

Soft Goth

Soft-goth–inspired beauty looks have seen a dramatic increase in popularity, with “Wednesday Addams Makeup” receiving over 99 million views on TikTok so far. Posts mentioning “soft-goth” or “goth makeup” and “Wednesday Addams makeup” have increased 28%, with engagements up 305%, and video views up 1,150%.

Rosemary Oil

With a 96% rise in engagements, rosemary oil has become popular across social media due to its ability to improve hair hydration and enable hair growth. It is also known for its antiseptic properties and ability to eliminate dandruff and soothe the scalp.

Ice Rollers

Ice rollers have seen a 238% increase in engagements, 228% in video views, and 41% in mentions. The small skincare tool is used to massage the face and often shown in morning and evening skincare routines along with GRWM videos. Traackr identifies the surge in these video styles as a reason the product type is trending and will continue to do so across 2023.

Skin Cycling

With a huge increase in engagements, up by 16,075%, and mentions up by 6,285%, skin cycling is set to become the next “it” regimen. Coined by TikTok dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe, the term skin cycling refers to a routine designed to balance exfoliation and recovery to help protect the skin barrier. The protocol consists of a four-night schedule: exfoliation night, retinoid night, recovery night, recovery night—repeated in order to give skin the chance to rest after it’s been exfoliated.

Vampire Skin

This trend sees content creators applying glitter or shimmer products across the entire face or applying shimmer all over the face and then mattifying specific spots. The latter is applied in the reverse way of traditional highlighter. Vampire skin has seen a massive 10,914% rise in engagements and a 500% increase in mentions during 2022.

TikTok is undoubtedly reigning supreme in the beauty social media landscape, with authentic messaging that goes beyond the mere product to keep viewers’ attention. Influencers with a loyal following will be able to reap the benefits of increasing monetization opportunities for their content. Celebrity- and legacy-driven brands still hold immense power in the landscape due to both loyalty and never-ending fascination with celebrity. Trends are still entering (and leaving) the digital space at breakneck speed, so most brands will find more success through investing in efficiency and performance than trying to emulate any one given moment.


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