What do you think are the biggest challenges facing cosmetic companies right now?

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing cosmetic companies right now? Share!

Diversity — there’s not enough of it, and more and more are noticing it and calling attention to the lack of diversity, asking for better representation (or just… representation). Customer loyalty, which seems to be diminishing, so it can be harder to retain customers over the long haul.

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Nancy T Avatar

Two things in particular.
You certainly nailed that first one on it’s head: Diversity. While things have improved greatly from the time when I was first beginning to wear makeup, when I had a helluva time finding one foundation that even came close to matching my skin, and having a bunch of friends who couldn’t even find one at all! But there is STILL definitely room for improvement!
The other, as I see it, is that the major makeup Super-Powers: L’Oreal, Estee Lauder and their holdings now have these up and coming heavy hitting indie companies to contend with like ColourPop, Sugarpill (yes, around a bit longer, but getting more creative! ). So they need to pay attention and get more and more innovative and reach higher.

Vanessa Avatar

I like how you mention diversity because it’s very apparent in foundation shades. I feel that very few companies really make all-encompassing colours for all people.

Katherine T. Avatar

(1) Too much competition, so many brands competing against each other. The latest is the rise of the Asian brands in the USA, but competition is good for customers (2) The pressure to keep launching new products/formulas/collections to generate customer interest and sales (3) with the internet and blogs, customers are now so much savvier about what products work and which don’t (4) Colour Pop is probably worrying many brands…when you’re charging $20-$30 per shadow/lippie/blush/highlighter and CP can do it the same (or better) for $5-$8, you gotta be worried

Katherine T. Avatar

IMO, the big companies are having an arms race to see who can charge the most for their products. Much as I love makeup, I know it doesn’t take them $20 to make a shadow. C’mon. At this rate, they will soon be charging $ 50 for a shadow and $100 for a “value” kit. We need more companies like Colour Pop!

Nancy T Avatar

Very, very true!!! It’s beginning to get scary with some of these prices: $90 lipsticks? $50 nail polishes? Even my two beloved pans of Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadow at $29 a pop? Just cray cray!!!

Christina Avatar

With the price difference your just paying for the name then. In a YouTube video by Marlena from makeupgeek she states that nyx eyebrow pencil is prob made at the same factory as abh Brow wiz. So the add’l 15$ is to have that ABH name on the product

Katherine T. Avatar

Wow, that’s crazy, but I’ve always suspected that! Although the formula might be different, there may be more similiarities than we think

Ray Avatar

I think companies need to acknowledge how our shopping habits have changed. When you look at recent releases like the much-maligned Tarte blush palette, you can tell that the brand intends for that to be the one thing that gets you through the entirety of next year. Same for the Benefit box or any of the other repeats/boring releases. Brands need to realize that, to put it bluntly, we’re buying much more makeup than we’ll ever finish, and these utilitarian, “sensible” releases aren’t cutting it with the people who give them the most money.

And I agree with Christine re: diversity. Not everyone is a white woman with warm undertones.

Honi Avatar

Definitely diversity and that’s why Indie makeup is getting more and more popular. Most of my favorite products from indie companies are those that I would never be able to find from a regular makeup brand, which is sad but also understandable. They need to cater to the “masses” whereas indie brands can niche themselves a bit more.

Mica Avatar

– When I see in mascara advertising where the girls are wearing falsies…
– foundation ads where the girls has already good skin…
– hair products ads where the girls are wearing extensions…
– tooth products ads where the girls are wearing fake white tooth…
– photoshopped perfect skin and body…
I just wanna boycott the products, and tell them : stop to fool us with your marketing lies !

Why are we accepting that ? This is quite commun with the politics, they make promises to us, paint beautiful dreams to fool us, we don’t trust them, we know it’s not truth, but we still let them do so.

We should tell than that we don’t want that anymore.

Ciara Avatar

Mica I so agree that honesty is much needed. I roll my eyes every single time I see a mascara add where it states that so and so is wearing lash inserts. Like how do falsies sell mascara? I want to see what the product is going to do to the artist/model’s real lashes. Worse are the ads without disclaimers and not one thing is legit. So fake and phony and insulting to our intelligence as makeup connoisseurs. So great at selling a dream and not reality.

StrangeOne Avatar

Hell yes! I’m nc-10 and have trouble with finding foundation shades but my situation is not even comparable to people who are faced with companies that stop their foundation ranges at nc-30.

Skipping 1 or 2 pale shades is not the same as skipping 5 or 6 dark shades (which is often the case). I will boycott any company that does not make darker shades because such exclusion is disgusting. It’s the same for brand advertising or packaging.

artemis Avatar

I agree about diversity…none or few options for very fair and dark skin when it comes to foundation, concealer, corrector, highlighter, contour, powders, and, because I like color, not enough shades of eyeliner and mascara, usually (when you find a green one, it’s too light and doesn’t look good, i want dark green, dark blue, dark teal, etc). I wish less lip products tasted bitter/gross (i have a sensitive tongue and i taste bitter fragrances in them).

Valentina Avatar

availability and production issues, I see a lot of them are having problems being available to europe and other countries as such, being aproved. Another one is production and lead time in their production as they are trying to keep up with their demand and satisfy the customer. That all add up to a curent struggle to be competitive i think.

Laura_Lou Avatar

Being original. There are so many companies and it seems like they all bring out the same stuff. The market is swamped with so many nude/natural eyeshadow palettes and contour products, every brand is sort of merging into one. I think it’s a lot harder for companies to bring out a product that is truly unique to them anymore.
Also animal testing is another big issue. People are far more informed on this now and don’t want to use products that are tested on animals. I think co panties that continue to test on animals will lose a lot of customers and brand loyalty is what companies survive on in this oversaturated market.

Alicia Avatar

I totally agree with you Christine. There are still a lot of brands with minimal diversity or no diversity at all. It is very discouraging when shopping, and you cannot shop in certain sections because they do not carry any products that compliment you.

Lisa Avatar

I don’t work for a cosmetics company, so I don’t really know what their challenges are per se, but I’m guessing it might have something to do with increasing revenue. Sometimes that’s about finding an unfilled niche. I also think some companies still need to learn how to harness the power of social media and its various influential personalities. Finally, with all the information and product feedback that has become so readily available, consumers now have an opportunity to educate themselves. That makes it easier for companies to be called out on poor products or bad service.

The Silver Nail Avatar

I agree on the diversity issue. Recently I wanted to buy some concealer from a company XYZ. It came in two shades. TWO. How in the world is that going to help most people? I bought the lighter of the two and it’s still too dark yet know the bigger challenge is enough shades for darker-skinned people.

Kayle Avatar

Seconding the diversity one. It’s 2015, we shouldn’t still have to deal with all- or mostly-white models and colors targeted almost exclusively towards people with pale skin. I also think that finding unique colors/ideas is coming as a challenge for a lot of companies, take Mac for example – a lot of their new releases have basically duped their own colors and generally haven’t contained anything that people don’t already have. Colourpop is still going strong on both fronts but most other companies are struggling to put it nicely

Nancy T Avatar

Oh Kayle, how I AGREE wholeheartedly with you about diversity! I too, am not a pale to med. light white woman, and so far have only found foundation matches in Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation Medium Honey and MAC Studio Fix Liquid Foundation in C4.5. Being that we are in 2015, this is pretty ridiculous if you ask me!
As for MAC, I still find interesting products there, as in them making tge Extra Dimension Eyeshadows permanent and that Vamplify formula lipgloss. Plus, at least they ARE trying to cover every skintone when it comes to foundation shades.

Audrey Avatar

GWPs are no longer as tempting as true discounts. I was able to get Saks to honor a Giorgio Armani discount I got from the web site via e mail.
Diversity and quality are two other important factors. Our skin tones vary so much and no one wants to buy a product that doesn’t do what it says.
Lastly I still believe you get what you pay for and have rarely been disappointed by a high end product I’ve bought after doing my research.

Caroline Avatar

Too many ‘samey’, unoriginal colours/formulas, eye-watering prices for very dupable items, and of course there’s the animal testing issue. Make up should be fun, fun, fun, exciting and awe-inspiring, not just churning out the same old thing each season, but masquerading it under a different shade name. We weren’t born yesterday! This is why I’m gravitating away from traditional brands and going for Colourpop, IT Cosmetics, Sleek, Charlotte Tilbury etc. For me, cruelty-free products are very important, and I hope to completely phase out any animal tested brand from my collection asap. Longevity (as in Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadows which survive gruelling gym sessions on me, lol), value for money and good quality is another thing a lot of companies cut corners with. Thank goodness for blogs like these, so we can make informed choices about how to spend our hard earned cash.

Kat Avatar

1) I think diversity is the top one. Consumers are a lot less passive nowadays, and I find we’re really making our needs heard to companies, and those who don’t expand and adapt their range to be inclusive can get left in the dust.

2) Also, I feel like more people are taking an interest in ingredients, so more natural or safer products are more popular now than they used to be, and with social media and everything people are really aware of company practices and policies, so it’s even more important to conduct business in a professional and respectful way, because it’s a lot easier for customers to find out about that kind of thing. Of course, as a consumer, I’m glad companies are being held to a higher standard!

3) Increased competition from indie and drugstore brands. Drugstore companies have really been stepping it up in the last few years, and because of the internet indie companies have a much easier time advertising and distributing. Especially now that my generation, whose formative years were spent in a huge recession, is such a huge buying force, higher end companies can’t simply rely on customer loyalty to their name to guarantee sales.

Judy H. Avatar

Every company has virtually the same products, each claiming they do one thing better than their competitors. The prices are in a ridiculous range; cosmetic companies are think their customers are so ignorant, they believe their customers think price=quality. (gimme a break) They know that the mid-range and drugstore line competitors are becoming more sophisticated and are sometimes even better than their high end products so they raise their prices to keep (they believe) their status.
I would love to find a cosmetic company that puts out a well priced line of clean cosmetics and skin care without falling to the hype all of the others.

susan Avatar

I think the biggest challenge is that consumers are so much more educated about cosmetics than in the past. We have the world at our fingertips. Want to know about potentially harmful ingredients? Google it. Want to see what others have thought of the product? There are a plethora of non-biased reviews.

Along with being more educated we are also more demanding. If the product does not live up to its claims we return it. Many stores have liberal return polices and will give samples to try before you commit.

I think today’s consumers are a totally different breed than they were just 10 or 15 years ago and companies have had some difficulties responding, which leads to what were once dominant players, now being relegated to the bottom of the pack.

Doreen Avatar

I think trying to always improving your products, producing new lines
And shades, textures. Just a ton of competition. All the new makeup trends and different techniques..now
Everything is strobing. Constant change. But fortunately I think the basics will pretty much stay the same with subtle changes. I love the strobing! Done properly it’s beautiful.
I love watching Wayne Goss..so many tricks up his sleeve as far as makeup and application. I try always at least trying the many different ways makeup can be applied and look just natural and beautiful.


Esme Avatar

Lack of innovation coupled with high prices. They produce the same eye shadows, lipsticks, blush, and foundations that have minimal improvements from previous years’ versions but they charge so much more. Foundation used to be in the $20 range, now it’s $40 and up. The price of lipsticks is outrageous.

Overuse of celebrities. I’m tired of seeing celebrities.

Rachel R. Avatar

I agree with diversity. One kind is skin color/ethic background. WOC seem to have a heck of a time finding foundation matches, and it seems to get worse for the darkest skin tones. We divide undertones into warm, cool, and neutral. Where does olive fit in? Color cosmetics like blush and eyeshadow for darker skin tones seem tough to find, too. Advertising and fashion is improving, but WOC are still woefully under-represented. How do we define a “nude” or “natural” look? In shades of beige, peach, pink, and tan. To a lesser extent, but the very lightest of us are ignored, too. It’s really hard to find matches for those of us with very fair skin tones, and the “nude” or “natural” look is usually pretty vivid on us. I have a tough time, and I know there are Temptalia readers who are lighter than I am.

The other kind of diversity is ownership. Just like restaurants, clothing stores, and just about everything else, companies are being bought out by a few big players. So many of my favorite brands have been bought out by the likes of Estee Lauder and L’oreal. I don’t think that’s been a good thing in terms of diversity of products, ingredients, and customer service.

I also agree with customer loyalty. Very few people are brand loyal any more. Customers are more likely to be product loyal. Some companies seem more aware of this, but others discontinue and mess with the formulas of their popular products constantly. This boggles my mind.

Diminishing profits, the bad economy, and the way they’re dealing with it. Part is the lack of brand loyalty. There is so much more competition, too. There are more brands at all levels. Drug store brands are getting better and better and are cheaper. Indie companies are making great stuff and more easy to discover and access via the internet, and they are usually cheaper.

Instead of making truly great products, many companies are using cheaper ingredients like talc, or switching to flimsier packaging. This does nothing to woo people over from drugstore, and it doesn’t make people loyal to your brand. We see gimmicky LE collections and falsely limited quantities to try to trick people into buying NOW. I think people getting tired of it all.

Tangie W Avatar

So true, diversity which I why I don’t shop at certain brands. Customer loyalty , it plays a role. We flip flop and hop on the next big thing. I’m normally a if it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it person. But I do love beauty , so I will try different things/brands. By I have my go to for certain products. I think for the first time high end brands are worried about lower end brands… Colour pop, LA Girls, makeup geek… So much competition out there now. I suppose that’s when the customer loyalty come into play?…

Pearl Avatar

What you said Christine (diversity, representation, keeping customer loyalty) and also oversaturation with trending products flooding the market. I think too it’s a consumer’s market now and companies are able to be held much more accountable for quality and business practices via social media.

Lindsay Avatar

Being able to make and sell cruelty free products especially because in China they need to be tested on animals because that is a law that they have there

Anne Avatar

Diversity is definitely the biggest issue. Hands down, full stop.

There’s also the issue of ethics when expanding to places like China due to animal testing laws. For companies that don’t test on animals, or have stopped testing on animals, there’s the dilemma of “do we throw away our ethics– really the ethics of consumers who are more and more likely to be against animal testing– or do we risk being shut out of what will likely be the biggest market for cosmetics in the future?”. Ethical issues like animal testing, environmental issues like microbeads, etc are something I think consumers (and legislatures in the case of microbeads) are going to be increasingly aware of and it will start to affect companies bottom lines. I don’t know how big an impact it will have, but as more companies do adopt more ethical practices to entice consumers, it will be easier to be choosy about brands.

Customer service, as well as consistent product quality, are becoming an issue that is making people change their views of brands as well, and companies are at one point going to have to address this.

Zelda Avatar

I’m a very fair-skinned Caucasian woman and I’m very aware of the lack of products, particularly foundation/concealer/powder for dark-skinned women. How can the companies not be aware? I remember from twenty-five years ago hearing a co-worker, a very light-skinned black woman, complain about not being able to find foundation in the right shade. I’m amazed that it’s still such a problem.

The lower-priced, high quality brands are definitely a threat to the older, established high-end brands. Companies like Color Pop and NYX don’t just deliver high quality at a low price, they’re more fun. They have a wider variety of colors. Workplaces and society in general are getting less conservative and less formal, I know lawyers that don’t wear suits anymore. It’s become acceptable to wear fun colors at a professional job. When I graduated college in the 80s, we had it drilled into our heads to be neutral; we were told that you can’t get and keep a good job or get promoted if your nail polish is too dark. It means you don’t take your job seriously. I never understood the connection, but it was there.

There are almost no eyebrow products for women with gray hair. A couple of years ago, my MIL asked me to help her with some make-up and specifically mentioned her eyebrows. She’s about 90% gray. I remember standing in Sephora with three employees, all of them scratching their heads trying to find gray eyebrow products. We did eventually come up with one, and only one, pencil. Nothing else.

Genevieve Avatar

Quality of products – making sure that the products that are released in the brand’s name are quality products that do not include ingredients that are harmful to your skin (like perfume/fragrance or other nasties.
Diversity of colours – foundations that work across the full spectrum of skin tones, not just the “average”
Accessibility – allowing brands to be accessed across different countries. Some brands are not found in certain countries, yet they are available in others. For example UD, MAC, Bobbie Brown, NARS, Stila, Smashbox and BareMinerals are only sold in one outlet each in Australia. No competition there for prices. We need retail outlets so that you can test/trial the products yourself.
Price: some of the prices charged for products are ridiculous – way too expensive for the average consumer. Yet price is no guarantee of quality.

Sarah Avatar

Diversity for sure, you nailed it Christine! I’m tanned and it’s really hard to find products or companies that can compliment my skintone. Also I think about ingredients and paraben free companies that are now being promoted and lastly the market for Asian skincare and cosmetics.

Monica Avatar

Companies that are in the business of selling beauty products—makeup, skin care, perfume–will face increasing pressure to end animal testing and become more transparent about their practices. But how will they respond?

chris Avatar

Brand loyalty. There was a time when you used skincare from just one line and the same for cosmetics. The companies touted “the products worked together”. I appreciate the quality of drugstore brands now. They have stepped up their game. I still think there is a lack of diversity in advertising.

Ciara Avatar

Have to agree about diversity being a huge challenge for cosmetics companies. They seem to want not to cater, or maybe just don’t care about “other” folks, or about not being broad enough. I know there are some companies that I just cannot use just because they look ashy or wrong on my middle of the road complexion. Mind you I am not at either of the ends of the spectrum, and both of the ladies in those groups face worse challenges.

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