Why does it matter? My philosophy is that customers and consumers deserve to be informed and that being more informed leads to better decision making. If you have been curious about why certain brands have formulas similar to other brands or how brands change over time, this list will hopefully add some illumination to your buying decisions.
A few notes:
- This post is focused on cosmetics brands, but many corporate owners also hold skincare, haircare, and fragrance brands in their portfolios. Feel free to click through the links I posted and see what other brands a company has in its portfolio!
- Most major fashion houses who have cosmetics lines have separated corporate ownership of their cosmetics line, fashion/accessories lines, and their fragrance licenses. Confusing, I know.
- If I left out a brand you are curious about, please leave me a comment and I will do my best to add it!
Part 1: The Global Makeup GorillasMakeup brands owned by L'Oreal Paris
L'Oreal owned makeup brands include: Shu Uemura, Lancome, Maybelline, Giorgio Armani, NYX, Urban Decay, Yves Saint Laurent, and It Cosmetics. Other brands of note in their portfolio include: Kiehl's, Ralph Lauren fragrance, Clarisonic, Viktor & Rolf fragrance, Garnier, Essie, La Roche-Posay, SkinCeuticals, and The Body Shop.
Makeup brands owned by Coty
Coty owned makeup brands include: Rimmel London, New York Color (NYC), Covergirl (P&G), Max Factor (P&G), and Bourjois. Other notable brands in their portfolio include: Philosophy, Marc Jacobs fragrance, Chloe fragrance, Sally Hansen, OPI, Calvin Klein fragrance, and ghd hair.
Makeup brands owned by Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder owned makeup brands include: MAC, Aerin, Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford Beauty, Clinique, Smashbox, Tory Burch cosmetics, Prescriptives, Too Faced, and Becca. Other brands of note in their portfolio include: Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Glamglow, Jo Malone fragrance, La Mer skin, Tommy Hilfiger fragrance.
Makeup brands owned by Shiseido
Shiseido owned makeup brands include: NARS, Bare Minerals, Buxom, Cle de Peau, Majolica Majorca, and Serge Lutens. Other notable brands in their portfolio include Issey Miyake fragrance and Elie Saab fragrance.
Makeup brands owned by LVMH
LVMH owned makeup brands include: Sephora, Benefit, Givenchy, Guerlain, Fresh, Makeup Forever, Dior, Marc Jacobs beauty, Bite Beatuy, and Kat Von D. Other brands held in their portfolio include: Elizabeth and James fragrance, Ole Henriksen, Formula X, Sephora collaborations with Disney and Hello Kitty, and Kenzo fragrance.
Part 2: Major Makeup Players
Amore Pacific, headquartered in Seoul, is a global cosmetics powerhouse (#14 by revenue in 2014) becoming more familiar to western audiences. Amore Pacific makeup brands include Laneige, Innisfree, Etude House, and Sulwhasoo. Amore Pacific is working hard to break into the western market - notable examples are Laneige being sold at Target in the US and partnering with Dior to bring more cushion products to the western market.
Revlon, based in New York City, owns Almay. Revlon also holds Sinful Colors and Ultima II.
Kao, headquartered in Tokyo, is a large global beauty corporation (10th largest by revenue in 2014) and owns Kanebo. Kao holds relatively little makeup in its portfolio, but owns quite a few skincare brands like Biore, Jergens, and Curel.
Johnson & Johnson, similar to Kao, has a large global beauty portfolio (8th largest by revenue in 2014) with one standout makeup brand - Neutrogena. Johnson & Johnson also owns Aveeno, skin ID, and Lubriderm.
Markwins International, headquartered in Los Angeles, owns Wet N Wild, Black Radiance, and Physician's Formula. Their portfolio also includes Lip Smacker, Bonne Bell, and licenses play makeup sets for Barbie, Frozen, and Minnie Mouse.
Clorox owns Burt's Bees. I personally think it is a little odd because Burt's Bees is Clorox's only beauty brand, but what do I know?
Part 3: Private Equity PlayersIn this section, I have included investments and purchases of makeup brands by private equity firms and private investor groups. Some of the original owners of these brands retain a minority share of the company.
- General Atlantic very recently added Too Faced to their portfolio. Note: Too Faced was acquired by Estee Lauder in November 2016, making this a very good return on investment for General Atlantic. The transaction is expected to close by the beginning of 2017.
- North Castle Partners holds Palladio in their portfolio along with Elizabeth Arden Red Door spa.
- Lion Capital holds Perricone MD in their portfolio.
- TPR Holdings has a large beauty portfolio, including Mally Beauty, Cargo Cosmetics, Nonie Creme Colour Prevails. TPR Holdings also has Oscar Blandi and other beauty brands.
- Tengram Capital Partners holds Laura Geller in its portfolio along with Deva Curl and NEST fragrance.
- San Francisco Equity Partners holds Japoneseque in its portfolio alongside Yes To.
- Patriarch Partners holds Jane Cosmetics and Stila in their portfolio.
- Encore Consumer Capital has entered into a "partnership" with LORAC. I am not sure what percentage stake Encore holds or if this is a true acquisition.
- Catterton Partners holds Cover FX, as well as other consumer brands like StriVectin and Frederic Fekkai.
Part 4: Independent & Privately Owned Makeup Brands
Shiro Cosmetics, Fyrinnae, and Sugarpill are also outliers, in that they fall under the conventional definition of what it means to be an "indie" company. There are a bunch of indie makeup companies out there, but I included these three because they have established themselves with niche products over many years of excellent work.
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC), Anastasia Beverly Hills, Josie Maran, Illamasqua, Inglot, RMS Beauty, BeautyBlender, Natasha Denona, Besame, Milk Makeup, Makeup Geek and Hourglass are all cosmetics brands that are independent of the large beauty conglomerates. I expect to continue seeing the pattern of M&A reducing the size of this list over the coming year! Given the recent purchases of NYX, It Cosmetics, Becca, and Too Faced, I bet that ABH, Hourglass, and Makeup Geek have all been approached with an offer of some type.
Notes: Josie Maran: I have read a few articles online saying that LVMH owns Josie Maran, but I haven't seen that substantiated by business news outlets, so I'm not sure. If you have a source for this acquisition, please leave a comment or send me an email. Inglot: Inglot is a Polish company, but their national franchises have some autonomy. Several national franchises have complex ownership, like holding company Edcon with South Africa's Inglot franchise rights.
- Koh Gen Do is not independent and was acquired by a Japanese company 10+ years ago. If you can find an English language news source for this acquisition, please send me a link!
- Kiko Milano is owned / managed by Antonio Percassi. His group also owns substantial real estate, a football club, and engages in significant retail partnership globally.
- Dove, Caress, Axe, and many more brands are owned by Unilever. They are a giant in consumer products, but don't actually participate in color cosmetics much. Just a quick shout-out!
- January 2016 - LORAC has entered a "partnership" with Encore Consumer Capital, a private equity firm
- June 2016 - Shiseido purchased Gurwitch Products, owner of Laura Mercier
- June 2016 - Revlon purchased Elizabeth Arden
- July 2016 - L'Oreal purchased It Cosmetics
- September 2016 - ELF Beauty, majority stake owned by TPG, went public with an IPO
- October 2016 - Estee Lauder purchased Becca
- November 2016 - Estee Lauder purchased Too Faced