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The Hottest Beauty Influencers, Brands, and Products of 2021

December 15, 2021 Kelly Kovack
December 15, 2021
Global Cosmetic Industry

Digital price comparison platform Cosmetify has released its brand-new Cosmetify Index, which reveals a 2021 rundown of the hottest beauty brands, people, and products in beauty, based primarily on social following, engagement, and Google searches. The hottest beauty brands of 2021 were Huda Beauty, MAC Cosmetics, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, with millions of followers, searches, and off-the-charts social engagement.

The most powerful beauty influencers of 2021 were James Charles, Bretman Rock, and Yuya.

2021's Hottest Beauty Brands – Five major factors were taken into account to reveal the 100 hottest beauty brands of 2021. Each brand is ranked on the number of Instagram followers and hashtags, their “engagement rate” on Instagram, the overall brand searches annually, and the year-on-year change in searches.

  • Huda Beauty retakes the top spot. Even though her YOY searches are down 30%, the brand has 49.5 million Instagram followers and 29.5 million hashtag mentions. Huda has almost double the following of number two MAC Cosmetics. Factor in the amplification of founder Huda Kattan on social and no other brand even comes close.
  • MAC Cosmetics climbed one place, becoming second in the ranking this year mainly due to its Instagram following of 24.2 million, as well as being one of the most talked-about brands on social with 20.55 million hashtags.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills, with two decades in the beauty game, is still a contender, falling one spot this year to number three. Search results decreased by 18.9%, but the brand still had over 25 million people posting about it and 19.5 million followers on Instagram.
  • Avon is one of the biggest beauty brands in the world, sold in over 100 countries by 6.4 million representatives. The brand cracked the top 10 this year, shooting up to the number four spot with 161K followers on Instagram and 6.8 million hashtags.
  • The Body Shop drops from fourth to fifth in the rankings but remains the most searched beauty brand in the world, with just under 36 million Google searches in the past 12 months.
  • Yves Rocher is a huge brand globally, especially throughout Europe. Although its search volume has dropped in comparison to previous years, it remains in the top ten, dropping two spots from 4 to 6.
  • Florence By Mills, the creation of Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, dropped out of the top five for this edition of the index, down to seventh. The brand has by far the highest level of social engagement, with an engagement rate of 2.31%, although this has steadily been on the decline since the first edition of the index, which launched around the same time as the brand.
  • Lush broke into the top ten for the first time. One of the big selling points for Lush's customers is the fact that all of its products are vegetarian-friendly, with around 85% also being suitable for vegans. The brand also has 1,000 stores in approximately 50 countries around the world.
  • Oriflame is another newbie to the index. The Swedish-Swiss beauty and personal care company is huge in Europe. Predominantly operating online, Oriflame has around 6,000 employees and over 1,000 products.
  • Kylie Cosmetics has made its way back into the top ten this year after falling out of the top ten in 2020.

Brands who were in the top 10 of the 2020 index but missed the cut this year: NYX, Merci Handi, Color Pop Cosmetics, Morphe.

The Most Powerful Beauty Influencers of 2021 are based on YouTube subscribers, estimated earnings per YouTube video, Instagram followers, estimated Instagram earnings per post, combined YouTube and Instagram followers, and combined YouTube and Instagram earnings per post.

  • James Charles
  • Bretman Rock
  • Yuya
  • Mari Maria
  • Jeffree Star
  • Nikkie de Jager
  • Zoe Sugg
  • Nikita Dragun
  • Camila Coelho
  • Bianca Heinicke

Many of the faces behind beauty brands are just as well-known as the products themselves, and many of them are throwing their hats into the ring launching their own brands.

2021's Rising Stars of Beauty that have seen the biggest increase in consumer interest compared to 2018 according to Google Trends data.

  • JLO Beauty, with a huge search increase of over 5,000%, the clear winner here was the long-awaited beauty line from Jennifer Lopez, JLo Beauty. The line was announced in 2020, so it had a modest search volume of 20,900, but after being released to the world in 2021, that exploded to 1.1 million searches in the last 12 months.
  • Mallows Beauty only launched in February 2020 and received a total of 1,670 Google searches between October 2019 and September 2020, but fast-forward 12 months and searches have grown by an incredible 2,846%.
  • Le Prunier enjoyed a great year and enjoyed a big boost in popularity when it was featured on one of Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram Live sessions, boosting search by 866%.

The Beauty Brands Losing Popularity in 2021

  • Jeffree Star Cosmetics is a brand that frequently featured in the top 100 of previous editions of the Cosmetify Index, but just missed out this year because it didn't quite make the cut of the 100 most searched brands, due to a 72% decrease over the last 12 months.
  • Kat Von D Beauty was just behind Jeffree Star Cosmetics when it comes to an annual decrease in searches, although not necessarily due to a drop in interest in the brand. In March, Kat Von D sold her shares in the brand, and the business was rebranded to KVD Vegan Beauty, so searches for its original name are starting to tail off.
  • Clinell, a brand that produces antimicrobial hand wipes, saw searches drop by 67% due to the decline in hand sanitizer after a pandemic high.

Cosmetify's Hottest Beauty Products of 2021

  • Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
  • The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
  • CeraVe Foaming Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin
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