Deep breaths, Steffi. Today’s blog post kind of turned into an encyclopedia! But I’m hoping it’s going to be the kind of informative, fact-filled feature that people find interesting! While I’m currently running around London, looking for new beauty brands to feature (and the perfect bra, which can weirdly be found at Debenhams!), you get to go to beauty school here on Hey Pretty!
Even for me as a beauty journalist and blogger with nearly ten years’ experience, it’s not always easy to stay up to date on beauty brands, and which companies own which brands.
Even if it doesn’t always directly affect me and my work on a daily basis, as I almost exclusively work with the PRs of beauty brands, I think it’s important to know which cosmetics brands and perfume labels are owned by whom. Beauty is a huge, huge industry. And if there’s money to be made with an exciting new brand, you can be pretty sure that the international beauty giants like Coty, Estée Lauder or L’Oréal will want to get in on the action.
Even if the consumer doesn’t really need to know all this, I find that knowing whether your favourite make-up or skincare brand is independent or part of a global network can influence your buying behaviour. Just like informing yourself about corporate strategies like L’Oréal’s commitment to eliminating microbeads from all of their products in the near future, or the fact that some Estée Lauder companies test on animals (mostly for the Chinese market) can make for a smarter, more ethical make-up kit at home.
The inspiration for this feature, by the way, was the news of Bobbi Brown’s departure from her own company (which has been owned by Estée Lauder for nearly 22 years)… so, without further ado, I’d like to present the fruits of my pretty intense online research, which held more than a few surprises for me, too. The following overview is up-to-date as per January 2018, but I’m happy to update regularly!*
Let’s launch straight into a communal «Whaaaat?»: Who owns your favorite beauty brand?
L’Oréal is one of the biggest global players in the beauty biz and is pretty much continually shopping for new brands to snap up… most recently, the hip US-brand It Cosmetics.
Giorgio Armani Beauty
It Cosmetics (bought in 2016)
La Roche Posay
Roger & Gallet
Shu Uemura The Art of Hair
The Body Shop
L’Oréal also owns a bunch of perfume brands, such Maison Margiela, Cacharel, Diesel, Viktor & Rolf and Ralph Lauren.
Estée Lauder Companies, founded in 1946, has been one of the greats for decades. Here’s a current (for Spring 2017, anyway!) overview of their brands:
Becca (bought in October 2016)
Bumble & Bumble
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
Jo Malone London
Rodin Olio Lusso
Tom Ford Beauty
Too Faced (bought in November 2016)
2016 was a big year for Coty, both money-wise and in terms of growth: No other cosmetics giant grew their portfolio in such a short amount of time! These brands are currently owned by Coty:
Covergirl (bought in 2016)
ghd (bought in October 2016)
…and Coty owns numerous luxury perfume labels as well, which really fill out their portfolio – among them Marc Jacobs Fragrances, Calvin Klein Fragrances, Balenciaga, Chloé Parfums, Cerruti, Gucci, Chopard, Hugo Boss, Bottega Veneta, Karl Lagerfeld, Davidoff, Jil Sander and Joop!
Whoa. That’s basically half of your local Sephora right there!
Procter & Gamble (also called P&G) has spent the past few years selling off some pretty traditional beauty brands – most of them went to Coty for an unnammed GIGANTIC sum – but still has a few pretty big, mostly drugstore players:
Head & Shoulders
as well as various perfume brands such as Escada, Bruno Banani and Tom Tailor.
There were a few surprises for me when I went through Unilever‘s current brand portfolio, as I had pretty much put them in the «cleaning supplies and drugstor»-corner. Nope!
Hourglass Cosmetics (bought in October 2017)
As a global corporation, Johnson & Johnson already has a lot of leverage with Neutrogena, which is by far the biggest selling skincare brand in the USA, but the rest of their brand portfolio ain’t too shabby either – especially for the European market!
Bebe Young Care
Le Petit Marseillais
One of only two German companies in this list, Henkel is a successful international player, mostly in the haircare segment – both professional and drugstore:
We’re entering the luxury segment (again) with LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) – a conglomerate of companies and labels that definitely know what the good things in life really are… and are very successful in marketing the luxury lifestyle. Here are their beauty brands:
Acqua di Parma
Christian Dior Beauty
Make Up For Ever
Sephora (yes, the entire chain!)
I could have just included Kendo with LVMH, but the company is officially a division of LVMH and is currently on the prowl for more up-and-coming brands like these:
Kat Von D
Marc Jacobs Beauty
The Japanese luxury brand Shiseido owns dozens of asian brands – but for me (as a European), I’ve chosen to focus on Shiseido’s more «western» brand portfolio:
Clé de Peau
Elie Saab Parfums
Issey Miyake Parfums
Narciso Rodriguez Parfums
This beauty conglomerate from Japan is nearly 140 years old and has a huge portfolio of smaller brands as well… for us here in Europe, these are KAO‘s most important beauty brands:
And here it is, the beloved blue skin cream and its parents! Beiersdorf is a huge player in drugstore skincare, but also has a very luxe joker up its sleeve:
ARE YOU STILL WITH US? We’re not nearly through… but those were the truly huge companies. I’ve put together some of the smaller players in my big «Who belongs to Whom» in the cosmetics industry that tickled my fancy:
This US-based company Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is relatively small, but owns a few really big drugstore brands:
Nope, I never heard of Steiner Leisure before in my life, either! The US company as the «spa services» market pretty much cornered and is also huge in the cruise ship spa business. For me, it’s these two brands that are very successful in the US and UK:
Fun fact: Revlon was founded in 1932 and pretty much cornered the market for lipsticks until at least 1942! Today, Revlon also owns a bunch of perfume brands, as well as a (onetime) competitor:
Elizabeth Arden (bought in 2016)
Perfume brands such as Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Alberta Ferretti or Giorgio Beverly Hills (remember?)
This french company is huge in its home country, but also in the rest of Europe. And I didn’t know that Yves Rocher also owns the fashion label Petit Bateau!
Dr. Pierre Ricaud
Markwins hasn’t been active for very long here in Switzerland (only since about 2014), but its two make-up brands are huge worldwide:
Wet n Wild
Everybody’s favourite «Provence» brand L’Occitane also owns two other beauty brands:
This japanese beauty company Kosé is already 70 years old and owns a slew of brands in Asia. For us in Europe, these three Kosé-owned brands are niche, but relevant:
Paul & Joe
And finishing up this post, I decided to include some surprising beauty brands that I didn’t really know were independent. Basically, if you haven’t read up on your favourite brand up till now, you can probably assume that it’s self-operating and not owned by one of the bigger companies!
Sisley (fun fact: The company’s great-grandfather founded Lancôme!)
…as well as a whole bunch of brands that (still!) determine their own destiny in the global cosmetics market, such as Inglot, Illamasqua, Beautyblender, RMS Beauty, KIKO Milano, St. Tropez, Lavera, Filorga, Foreo, Rituals and Björn Axén.
Well, I did warn you that this was going to be a pretty exhaustive feature! And again, this is a totally personal selection of «relevant» beauty brands… there are tons more, of course!
And now to you: Are you missing a brand here? Do you want to know more about the ownership and business background of your personal fave? Then simply leave a message here and I’ll get right back into my researching pants!
I hope you enjoyed this inside view into the beauty industry and hope you have a great week!
*This post should be correct from a Swiss standpoint per January 2018. If you see any glaring mistakes, or have some input on who owns which beauty brand, feel free to leave a comment or drop me an e-mail. I’m a blogger and journalist, and by no means an industry expert!