Last year we launched the first-ever ‘Cosmetify Index’, ranking and rating 200 of the hottest beauty brands on the planet based on factors such as social following, engagement, Google searches and more.
Last time out, Huda Kattan’s all-conquering Huda Beauty reigned supreme, but will she hold onto her crown in our first quarterly refresh of the Cosmetify Index?
For the main ranking, we’ve once again taken five factors into account for each brand: number of Instagram followers, Instagram hashtags, Instagram engagement, global search volume and increase in searches compared to last quarter.
Anastasia Beverly Hills
Florence by Mills
NYX Professional Makeup
Once again, it was Huda Beauty that came out as the world’s most popular beauty brand, with almost twice as many social followers than any other brand, as well as being the most mentioned brand on Instagram, with over 24 million hashtags. The last few months have seen Huda’s dominance of the industry continue, as well as celebrating the ten year anniversary of her blog, where it all started, with new product launches including the super Instagrammable Diamond Balms.
In second place was Anastasia Beverly Hills, which boasts over 23 million hashtag mentions on Instagram, once again falling just short of Huda Beauty. They’re mostly known for their brow shaping products and since the last edition of the Cosmetify Index launched, you might have seen company president Norvina starring as a judge on James Charles’ new YouTube series Instant Influencer.
M·A·C have been one of the big players in the industry for decades, so it's no surprise to see them placed so high in our rankings, with an impressive social media presence of over 23 million followers and 18 million hashtags. In the last few months, notable developments for the brand include a second collection in honour of Selena Quintanilla, known as the queen of Latin pop, after the first was an overwhelming success.
One of the big surprises of the first Cosmetify Index was just how popular this French brand proved to be, with millions of searches across mainland Europe. This turned out to be the case again, with more people searching for Yves Rocher worldwide than any other brand that we looked at. In the last month, they’ve had to switch up their strategy and have started producing hand sanitizer in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lush has gone from strength to strength in recent years and was actually the second most searched brand in the world in our ranking, with more than a million searches per month. Back in January, they hit the headlines for the right reasons, launching a limited edition koala soap to raise money for the wildlife affected by the Australian bushfires.
One of the big stars of our original ranking was Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, who had just launched her own Florence by Mills beauty line. The hype has settled down a little, but the brand remains the most engaged on our list, with an impressive rate of just below 8%. One of the biggest hits of the past three months was the 16 Wishes collection, launched to celebrate Millie’s 16th birthday. Yep, she’s still only 16 and is already killing it!
NYX is another industry giant and has jumped from 15th to 7th in this edition of the list, with impressive numbers across the board. Their standout moment from the last three months was a collaboration with the hit Netflix show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
You might be wondering why a modest brand with just 400,000 Instagram followers and 10,000 has made it into our top ten? Well, that would be because one of Merci Handy’s most popular products are their vegan and cruelty-free hand cleansing gel and if there’s one thing that the world has needed in the last three months, it’s hand sanitizer! This led to the brand receiving an incredible 86.35% increase in searches compared to the previous quarter.
Another brand which has jumped up our rankings into ninth spot is ColourPop Cosmetics, who have proved hugely popular with their pop culture-inspired collections. For example, February saw the launch of the Sailor Moon collection, a big hit with all the anime fans out there, with a Mulan-inspired makeup collection in March too!
Rising up the rankings into the top ten this time round is Morphe, who teamed up with Jaclyn Hill for a 35-shade eyeshadow palette and range of brushes in February, as well as launching a collabs with rapper Saweetie and K-beauty influencer Pony since we last ran the index.
It’s not just the brands themselves that are making waves in the beauty world, with many influencers just as prominent as our favourite brands.
After all, our number one ranked brand started when Huda Kattan quit her job to follow her dream of becoming an influencer and look how that turned out!
Here, we’ve studied the social following of 50 of the world’s biggest beauty influencers on both Instagram and YouTube, as well as estimating just how much money those lucrative brand partnerships could be bringing in.
At this point, it probably doesn’t surprise you to know that Huda Kattan was the most followed person in beauty, but when we estimated the earnings per post, it was actually James Charles who came out on top, with estimated earnings of £61,080 per YouTube video and £29,541 per Instagram post, for a combined total of £90,621. At just 21 years of age, Charles is one of the hottest names in beauty, with the world truly at his feet.
Interestingly, in such a female-dominated industry, both of the two top spots in our hottest influencers were both male, with another up and comer, Bretman Rock taking second spot, with estimated total earnings per post of £56,800 on YouTube and £25,500 on Instagram.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a list of the hottest names in beauty without Huda, who despite having the most followers, is slightly behind when it comes to estimated earnings (that’s because they’re calculated based on engagement and views, as well as total number of followers).
Next up, we looked at how the searches for our 200 brands looked in the last three months when compared to the previous quarter.
The first thing to note here is that the majority of brands either saw a decrease in searches or largely stayed the same. Why? Well, we’re comparing them to the period between October and December, which is the busiest time of year for all brands, in the run-up to the holidays (including Black Friday, when searches reach their year-round peak). This means that for most brands, searches will always take a dip in the new year, something which, of course, has also been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic, which was just starting to take hold at the very end of the quarter. However, there were still a few brands which saw an increase in popularity over the last three months.
Up until March, searches for this everyday cosmetics brand were ticking along nicely, but the outbreak of coronavirus saw the world scrambling to get their hands on hand sanitizer. And for those who wanted to stay safe but didn’t really fancy smelling like a hospital, Merci Handy were the go-to guys. They saw searches increase by almost double in the last three months, as people turned to Google in search of ethically produced sanitizer that leaves your hands feeling nice and soft while stopping the spread of germs too.
BUXOM was one of the few brands to record an upswing in searches in the New Year, with an increase of 60% compared to last quarter. Looking into the data, the majority of those searches came following the Grammy awards, where singer Bebe Rexha was spotted wearing their Full-On Plumping Lip Polish, with thousands turning to Google the next day to find out just where they could get their hands on it.
Often, when we see a sharp increase in searches for a brand, it’s not always for the right reasons and that seems to be the case with Goop. January saw the release of a Netflix docuseries about Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, but it also saw a wave of backlash from the scientific community, which is likely a large reason why searches jumped by 29%.
Not only is it perfect for sharing tips and tutorials with millions of people, but there’s also a huge network of influencers out there who can be a vital marketing tool for brands. So, which are the current beauty brands who are killing the social media game?
For millions, Instagram is the place to share their latest beauty purchases and routines, tagging their favourite brands as they do so, making hashtags a great way for us to track a brand’s popularity. In fact, the top three most tagged brands lines up perfectly with our top three ranking brands overall, Huda Beauty, Anastasia Beverly Hills and M·A·C Cosmetics.
She may have slipped to twelfth in our overall ranking, but Kylie Jenner’s huge social following has clearly followed to her cosmetics brand, with over 24 million followers, second only to Huda Beauty.
Kylie Cosmetics has turned the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner clan into the world’s youngest billionaire, with a huge army of loyal fans.
Social engagement shows how many likes and comments a brand gets for every post they make, and it’s an interesting metric, as it becomes tough to maintain a good level as you gain more followers.
As with last year, it’s incredible to see the level of engagement that Millie Bobby Brown’s Florence by Mills has with its fans, with 7.97% either liking or commenting on each post.
Another brand which stands out is Glossier, with an engagement of 1.98%. That’s obviously a lot less than Florence by Mills, but considering they have almost 3 million followers, that means that’s still over 55,000 people liking or commenting on every post.
We also took another look at how our beauty preferences change around the world, measuring each country’s favourite brand based on search volume.
Looking at the map, you start to realise just why Yves Rocher placed so highly in our ranking, being the favoured brand in 37 countries around the world, particularly in mainland Europe.
Dove, ColourPop and Huda Beauty also proved popular, with many countries preferring a brand that hails from their own nation, including Rituals in Germany, Ole Henriksen in Denmark and Fenty Beauty in the Caribbean.
France, Italy, Turkey, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Mexico, Romania, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, Austria, Morocco, Vietnam, Ukraine, Finland, Algeria, Tunisia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Moldova, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mongolia, Madagascar, Gabon, Angola, Andorra, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Republic of the Congo
It’s no secret that the beauty industry has a notable carbon footprint, but lots of brands are doing their bit to lessen the environmental impact of their products, whether that’s by using vegan and organic ingredients in their products, or reducing the amount of plastic waste created by their products.
More and more eco-friendly beauty brands are popping up each year, but here are the ones that Cosmetify users have been searching for more than any others.
The Ordinary is one of the big success stories when it comes to vegan beauty brands, proving to be a huge hit with our users as one of the most affordable sustainable brands out there. Their products are designed to provide raw, concentrated versions of common ingredients, so that you’re not paying for ‘filler’ materials that are often used to bulk out cosmetics. (By the way, if you’re wondering where they are on our main index, they’re listed as part of their parent company DECIEM, also known as ‘The Abnormal Beauty Company’).
ELEMIS is a British luxury skincare brand, which has always tried to innovate over the last 25 years. They were one of the first brands to remove parabens from their products and only use preservatives when absolutely necessary for the safety of the product. In addition, they actively seek out sustainable ingredients and always endeavour to support local growers and their communities.
Milk Makeup are still a fairly new brand, launching just over a year ago, but they’ve already proved popular with Cosmetify users, with an emphasis on ‘clean’ beauty. They’ve cut out the likes of parabens, sulfates, SLS, SLES, formaldehyde, mineral oil and talc, replacing them with nourishing alternatives such as watermelon extract and mango butter.
Morphe are one of the bigger makeup brands, but they’re also proud to be one of the leading cruelty-free names in the industry too, refusing to test any of their products or ingredients on animals.
We also took a look at which were the most popular beauty products that Cosmetify users have been searching for in 2020.
The most searched product was L’Oreal Paris’s Magic Retouch Instant Root Concealer Spray, followed by Cuticura’s Antibacterial Hand Gel, which has obviously seen a huge increase in searches due to the current situation.