Masstige Madness: The Skincare Shake-Up

What kind of brands do you usually buy? What criteria do you use when choosing between brands like La Mer and Neutrogena? Recently, I've been conducting research on the skincare industry, and I would like to share some of my observations.


Firstly, let's look at some industry numbers. Skincare has become the largest segment within the beauty industry, representing 30% of the global market in 2018, according to McKinsey & Company. Euromonitor reports that the market grew 6.4% year over year in 2018, reaching 140 billion US dollars globally. This data indicates that skincare is outperforming makeup, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Product photography for masstige brand The Ordinary.


In 2020, the makeup market experienced significant fluctuations. The lockdowns and the necessity of wearing masks caused a sharp decline, and it may take years to recover. Skincare brands, on the other hand, fall into three categories based on branding and pricing: luxury, mass(masstige), and drugstore. For instance, Chanel represents luxury, House Laboratories and Morphe fall under masstige, and Neutrogena and Cetaphil are considered drugstore brands.


The rise of masstige brands during the COVID-19 pandemic presents new business opportunities. But what exactly does "masstige" mean? Masstige refers to affordable skincare products that are marketed and branded to provide a premium experience.


Who buys masstige products? The target audience spans a wide range of demographics, from younger to older generations. These consumers look for unique selling propositions (USPs) such as sustainability, science-based results, or natural ingredients. The success of masstige brands is largely due to informed consumers who conduct thorough research before purchasing. They review official websites, follow influencers, consider celebrity endorsements, and look for scientific validation.


When brands excel in these areas and offer competitive prices, consumers might think, "Why should I pay double or triple for a similar product?" Effective branding strategies make masstige brands highly appealing. This category was created to bridge the gap between luxury and drugstore brands. Large beauty conglomerates like L'Oréal have numerous brands across these categories, and Estée Lauder has recently acquired a minority stake in the beauty group The Ordinary.


Masstige brands have become increasingly popular in the skincare industry. These brands bridge the gap between mass-market and luxury products, offering consumers the best of both worlds. Even luxury brands have recognized that consumers also buy from drugstore brands and have started to allocate risks accordingly. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior, with people staying at home and wearing masks. Sales of makeup slumped during this time, prompting brands to be agile and use diverse strategies in their marketing mix.


Product photography for masstige brand The Ordinary.

For example, Morphe, famous for its colorful makeup artistry palette, launched a new product line last year called More To for the no-makeup makeup look. With decreasing makeup sales, many people wonder if every makeup brand needs a skincare line. While there is no definitive answer, a hybrid solution could work. Skincare brands could create skincare products with pigments, and makeup brands could develop makeup with skincare ingredients.


Due to COVID-19, people have become more focused on the science behind beauty and skincare products. Consumers tend to trust brands with scientific research that shows solid results. An example of this is Augustinus Bader, a brand founded by a professor in skincare scientific research. They have patented technology called TFC 8 included in some of their products. Users are told that after 27 days of using only their products, there will be a significant improvement in their skin. The brand even documented the experiences of some participants to show the difference. This scientific approach has convinced many consumers that their products are effective.


The rising trend of men's skincare marketing has also gained popularity. Male consumers are now more aware of the need to care for their skin, especially regarding hygiene. Most male consumers are price-sensitive and prefer to shop online when there are discounts. Brands need to effectively target and market to male consumers. Marketing wording plays a vital role in convincing male consumers to buy products. For example, the brand Cut In Love targets male consumers over 40 years old, who are more likely to spend money on products that they believe will help them maintain optimal skin condition as they age. They use the wording "anti-aging" instead of "change of skin when aging" to reassure male consumers that this is normal and that their products can help maintain their skin.


In conclusion, masstige brands have become popular in the skincare industry. With COVID-19 changing consumer behavior, brands need to be agile and use diverse strategies in their marketing mix. A scientific approach has become essential to convince consumers that products are effective. In the male skincare category, brands need to target and market to male consumers effectively, and marketing wording plays a vital role in convincing them to buy products.