When Kylie Jenner launched her billion-dollar cosmetic brand, Kylie Cosmetics, five years ago, an essential item was missing: mascara.
Rihanna's Fenty Beauty line, which she launched in 2017, didn't sell mascara when it first launched, but she recently added the beauty product to the line. Lady Gaga's beauty line also doesn't include mascara. Mascara, the long-standing staple of makeup, is becoming less relevant to today's beauty rituals.
Mascara isn't dead, but yes, it's definitely taken a back seat, as people are moving towards lash extension. Lash extensions stay on much longer, but the process requires a technician to attach each extension on top of the natural lash.
The cost is upward of R1500 and the upkeep is an investment too. They can last four to six weeks. You can swim with them, do hot yoga, go to the beach and not worry -- unlike with mascara -- about anything running down your face. Their convenience can't be beat."
It's this convenience over cost that's fuelled a sharp jump in false lash sales and sprouted a string of lash extension salons.
Women have worn mascara since the 1800s when the beauty product's formula was based on ingredients like Petroleum jelly, black shoe polish and even coal dust, according to Beryl Barnard, director of the International Makeup Association. "The first nontoxic mascara was packaged in 1913 by [French chemist] Eugene Rimmel and it took off. In the United States, Hollywood was a great influence on mascara's popularity."
Looking at cosmetics sales just in department and beauty specialty stores, mascara sales are down 5% year-to-date through November to over $500 million while false eyelash sales were up 15% in that same period to $66 million, according to NPD Group.
The moral of the story is: "Millennial consumers are embracing false lashes because they want their look to be Instagram ready." On the other end, younger consumers are preferring a low-maintenance, no-hassle look. They're picking false lashes over applying and removing mascara every day. Some are forgoing mascara completely as they prioritize skincare over makeup.