We’ve written at length about the rise of C-beauty on this very platform – and as the Single’s Day and Lunar New Year sales data pours in, it looks like this trend is going nowhere. So without further ado, we present the cosmetics industry equivalent to York Notes on the C-beauty brands that are trending as I type…
Repeatedly topping the bestseller lists, this heritage C-beauty brand, which was founded in Shanghai in 1931, rakes in annual sales in the region of CNY17.7 billion, boosted thanks to the brand’s masterful use of KOLs to help push sales as well as some popular collabs with other well-known Chinese brands – most recently with retailer Hey Tea – which serves to emphasize its local roots. The brand’s recent spike in popularity helped propel it onto Brand Finance’s 2019 Brand Value list for the first time, ranking 23rd, above the likes of Unilever’s Axe (21) and L’Occitane (30), for example.
Essentially China’s answer to Glossier, Hedone is one of the new kids on the block in C-beauty terms. A digital native (especially to Weibo and Little Red Book), it’s known for its playful lip glosses and attention-grabbing campaigns which appeal to Gen Z’s more daring aesthetic and frequently feature men as well as women. Both marketing and sales take place almost exclusively on social channels.
China’s second biggest skin care brand by sales, Inoherb only narrowly missed out on a top 5 spot in Kantar Worldpanel’s ranking. The Shanghai-based brand is famed for its use of traditional ingredients such as rhodiola rosea, a plant oft used in Chinese medicine, and trades on its natural positioning.
Ranked ninth overall in China’s skin care charts by Kantar Worldpanel, Jala’s Chando frequently features on Tmall’s bestseller lists and has struck a chord with Chinese consumers thanks to its use of hyper local ingredients sourced from the Himalayas and inclusive marketing. The brand entered the Brand Value list at number 40 last year for the first time.
5. Marie Dalgar Color Studio
The most popular C-beauty make-up brand by sales in 2019 (ranked seventh in the make-up category by Kantar Worldpanel, topped by multinationals such as MAC, Maybelline and Dior as well as Thailand’s Mistine), Marie Dalgar is manufactured by Zhen Liang and was founded by Cui Ziaohong. The brand’s claim to fame (and also its raison d’etre) is the invention of the world’s first ‘grafting mascara’ which boosts lash length by 300 percent and was designed expressly for an Asian audience; at its peak, one was sold every 15 seconds. It’s one of the few C-beauty brands to be stocked in Sephora and is widely tipped to be the marque that converts the rest of the world to C-beauty.