Return of lipstick: China will lead the growth of Asia’s ‘lipstick comeback’ – Sensient

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

[Getty Images]
[Getty Images]

Related tags Lipstick China Colour cosmetics COVID-19

The Chinese consumers’ willingness to ditch their protective face masks will help to spur the growth of lip makeup more than other markets that relaxed mask mandates earlier.

While mask mandates have loosened considerably across Asia, Sensient has observed that many consumers from countries such as Japan, Korea and Thailand, have been reluctant to stop masking up for safety and hygiene.

In China, however, where COVID-19 restrictions persisted till late last year, consumers have been more than willing to go mask free.

“We’ve spoken to our customers, and they all say lipsticks are back. They are definitely making a comeback, more in China than in any other region in Asia like Japan, Korea or Thailand, because many people from those countries are still choosing to wear masks,” ​said Marianne Peltier, managing director, cosmetics Asia, Sensient Beauty.

The comeback of lipsticks in Asia will see a shift in the textures and colours. Most notably, glossy and balmy textures are expected to dominate the lip category for the foreseeable future.

“Because of masks, the trend was more about matte lipsticks. It had to be non-transfer and waterproof. I think consumers are fed-up with these and are looking for something more nourishing, they want to let their lips breathe,” ​Peltier said at this year’s in-Cosmetics Global trade show in Barcelona.

In February, CosmeticsDesign-Asia reported that Hourglass Cosmetics experienced a year-on-year growth of 109% in South Korea.

This was driven by their top-selling product, Phantom Volumising Glossy Balm, a high-shine lip balm that claims to plump for fuller looking lips while caring for the lips with a conditioning complex. It also provides a refreshing cooling sensation on application with menthyl lactate. 

She added that colour, glitter, and pearls were all trends the company expected to see more of in Asia as well.

Sensient has been anticipating and is prepared to meet this demand with a range of pigments, such as organic pigments, which have been treated to have a “shiny effect”.

Furthermore, it has extended production capabilities in Asia. “A lot of our pigments are locally ready, and production was transferred to make it available in Asia directly. We’re definitely ready for the comeback of the lipstick.”

Natural makeup in Asia

The comeback of lip makeup will spur on the development of natural lip products in Asia, a trend the firm has observed in Europe and the US.

While there have been many developments in natural skin care as well as hair care, naturality in makeup has not gained as much traction in Asia. However, the firm believes the trend is moving quickly to Asia.

Last year, India’s Juicy Chemistry launched Color Chemistry, a ‘skin-friendly’ makeup brand with natural ingredients.

“Natural makeup is coming in Asia. We’re seeing the demand for natural makeup in Japan, Korea, and China already,” ​said Peltier.

The company had launched a range of vegetable-based pigments a couple of years ago and will soon be launching a new iteration across this year, she told us.

“What you will see is more vegetable-based pigments. No more synthetics or minerals, it will be vegetable-based pigments but with very good, high-performing results.”

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