Meet the complexion makeup users - Part 2

North America: “Forever young and healthy”

In this second part of our series dedicated to makeup consumers, we will reveal key insights about North American women and their relationship with beauty products for the complexion.
At the end of 1930’s, the first mass market foundation was launched in the US by the brand Max Factor. The product was named “Pan Cake” and came in the form of a solid cake applied with a damp sponge. It immediately became a hit and the fastest and largest selling single makeup item to date.
Since then, the complexion makeup market has greatly evolved and diversified, for the great pleasure of North American women.


Proactivity drives cosmetics usage


Listening at American women talking about their cosmetic habits teaches us how much being proactive is central in their daily routine.

Prevention is at the heart of their practices with the ultimate objective to maintain the skin in good health. Adopting a healthy diet, sleeping well, taking care of their physical and mental health…are some of the main factors strongly associated with what they consider a “healthy skin”.

Cosmetics are central with a large place given to preventive treatments: 45% of women interviewed use a SPF cream on a daily basis, 77% of them an anti-aging cream.

Besides skin care, usage of makeup is more important compared to what was observed in France and in South Korea.

On average, 4 different categories of makeup are used daily. In addition to foundation, the use of eye makeup products is particularly important (87% use a mascara, 67% an eyeliner).

Complexion makeup is also diversified mixing mainstream product categories (blush, concealer…) and newest products (highlighter, bronzer, primer…): as an example, 34% indicated using a primer each time they put on makeup whereas only 21% of French women do so.

Interestingly, makeup is seen as a youth and self-confidence booster: 54% declare wearing complexion makeup to look younger, 85% to feel self-confident, 87% feel ready to go out and face the world if they wear makeup.


Demanding with their makeup


US women show a clear preference for liquid foundations (72% use this type of product most of the time) compared to BB/CC creams (26%). This preference is quite stable whatever the age: 72% for 18 to 24 y.o. / 75% for 55 to 65 y.o. 

The importance of the coverage may explain such preference. Indeed, coverage is the 3rd most important criterion of choice when it comes to complexion makeup products (after the shade and the price)


Claims such as “high coverage” or “long lasting” are amongst the most appreciated (80% consider “long lasting” important as a claim / 66% for “high coverage”).

Moreover, expectations are high concerning foundations with strong relevance associated to added benefits: 44% look at additional claims when buying a foundation (i.e. anti-aging, hydrating…), and SPF protection is positioned as the 3rd most important benefit.


What about naturality?


While we pointed out in our first article a specific French appeal for naturality related features, the opinion of US women is quite different. 43% of American females declare looking at the ingredients list when buying complexion makeup products (52% of French women).
Absence of interest and / or knowledge appeared to be the main explanation.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that composition does not matter at all. Yes, it matters but in a different way. In fact, our study indicates strongest relevance of cruelty free claims rather than natural ingredients oriented claims. Thus, 20% of the US panel quote “cruelty free” as very important while only 6% give such importance to “ingredients of natural origin”.

Flourishing days coming for vegan makeup in the US?

About our study

  • 1rst step: qualitative research based on 2 focus groups with French women, all regular users of complexion makeup products such as liquid foundations, BB/CC creams, cushion compacts, tinted creams (at least 2 to 3 times per week), aged 20 to 55.

Group 1: users of mass market products or prestige brands

Group 2: users of organic products

  • 2nd step: online quantitative research in France, North America, South Korea on women from 18 to 65 years old, all regular users of complexion makeup products such as liquid foundations, BB/CC creams, cushions, tinted creams (at least 4 to 5 times per week).

Respondents number : 400 in France / 400 in the USA / 403 in South Korea