Hollywood’s fascination with the #nomakeup selfie is starting to take a toll on the cosmetics industry.
After being buoyed for many years by Kim Kardashian — who introduced the American public to face contouring and other makeup-heavy looks — the industry is starting to see sales plunge as more women choose to go au naturel on a regular basis.
While celebs like Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow began posting carefully curated photos of themselves daring to go to bareface as early as 2014, the move to a more fresh-faced look has only crescendoed in recent years, sending makeup sales down 7 percent in the quarter that ended in September.
Alicia Keys declared herself makeup free in 2016, while Beyoncé appeared on the September 2018 cover of Vogue wearing little to no makeup. Lady Gaga — who rose to fame on her highly stylized clothes and makeup — posted a photo of herself on Instagram earlier this year wearing little more than Audrey Hepburn’s yellow diamond Tiffany necklace. And celebs including Jennifer Lawrence, Amanda Seyfried and Kate Winslet have all recently walked the red carpet without painting their faces.
What started as a fad appears to have become a movement — and it has Wall Street alarmed.
“I was kind of worried when I saw celebrities appearing in photo shoots not wearing makeup,” D.A. Davidson retail analyst Linda Bolton Weiser recently told The Post.
Weiser made the remark after Estée Lauder reported a 6-percent sales decline in the US on Nov. 12 because of weak demand for color cosmetics. Just a few months earlier, in August, beauty retailer Ulta slashed its 2019 growth forecast — sending the cosmetic seller’s stock down 30 percent.
Even Kylie Jenner’s 3-year-old beauty empire appears to have taken a hit as consumers’ tastes change. As The Post reported in July, Jenner, a member of the Kardashian clan famous for her pouty lips, saw sales of her eponymous brand drop 14 percent this year through May, according to data from Rakuten Intelligence.
“The Kardashians still have a cult-like following but people are not looking for a fake look anymore,” said retail consultant Gabriella Santaniello of A-Line Partners. “The whole cosmetic industry is undergoing a big shift from extreme looks to this attitude that you don’t have to be anything you don’t want to be.”
Jenner sells her Kylie Cosmetic lip kits and other products online and at Ulta, whose chief executive, Mary Dillon, in August blamed the company’s slowdown on a lack of “newness and innovation” in products.
Dillon may have been referring to the growing popularity of skin care and wellness products, an upswing that suggests women are still spending a lot of money to look good — just not on makeup.
“There is more focus on self care, on masks, skin creams and jade rollers rather than another layer of spackle,” said Susan Scafidi, founder and director of the Fashion Law Institute.
According to research and consulting company NPD Group, skin care product sales were up 7 percent in the third quarter even as makeup sales dropped an equal percentage percent to $1.7 billion. Products to “brighten” or even out skin tones jumped 20 percent in the quarter, while acne treatments grew 19 percent and anti-aging products rose 6 percent, the research company said.
In makeup, the one ray of sunshine has been in products that make women look as if they’re wearing little to no makeup, like tinted moisturizer and lip gloss and nail care, NPD said. By contrast, sales of lipstick, concealer, primers and nail color all declined.
“It boils down to self-acceptance, that you are beautiful as you are,” said NPD beauty analyst Larissa Jensen. “All the successful products now enhance and don’t cover.”