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Mascara defines beauty staple with steady sales

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Despite the buzz about BB and CC creams, eye makeup continues to be a rock star within the beauty space. More specifically, mascara remains a staple for most beauty mavens, and bold brows are making headlines as thin, over-plucked brows fall by the wayside.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

“Mascara is the most regularly worn color cosmetic product. Mascara can quickly brighten eyes, while also being portable and relatively easy to apply, making it a makeup stable for the majority of women,” stated research firm Mintel in its July 2013 U.S. color cosmetics report.

Underscoring the point, the research found that 53% of women report using mascara on a daily/frequent basis, according to Mintel. This is followed by lip gloss (48%) and lipstick (45%).

According to data provided by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, sales of mascara at U.S. multi-outlets rose about 1.2% for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8.

Helping to fuel mascara sales, suggests Mintel, is the “splurge-versus-save mentality.” In other words, younger women — who are likely on tighter budgets — may splurge for certain makeup at prestige retailers but will turn to cheaper, lower-risk items like mascara or lip products to justify higher-priced purchases.

Product innovation also drives growth as manufacturers churn out mascaras that promise greater results — thickening, lengthening, volumizing and even conditioning and promoting lash growth.

So what’s the most important mascara benefit? According to research firm the NPD Group, users say it’s all about “thickening/ volume” (63%) and “lengthening” (62%), followed closely by “anti-clumping” (56%). “Defining,” or “separates lashes,” and “waterproof/water-resistant” round out the top five mascara benefits in terms of importance among women overall, according to NPD.

Meanwhile, strong brows are on trend as evidenced by the latest looks gracing fashion runways. The bolder brow trend is no doubt a boon for sales of eyebrow makeup, which, according to IRI data, rose nearly 7% for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8.

Sales of eyeliner also are on the rise, up about 5% during the same period. Meanwhile, eyeshadow sales are on the down slope, decreasing about 6% during the same period, according to IRI data.

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