IL Cosmetics: the company behind one of the best-selling mascaras in the world
April 2, 2021
With a 15% rise, 2020 marked the 7th consecutive year of double-digit growth for the business unit make-up of IL Cosmetics. And, despite the challenging context, the company forecasts at least 25% growth for the following years.
“Today, make-up represents more than 40% of our business. A share that will only continue to expand. In five years’ time make-up will be at least 70% of our turnover,” says Jean François Harpes, president at IL Cosmetics.
Mascaras take the spotlight
Traditionally known for its nail polish solutions, the Luxembourgish manufacturer is also well-known for its mascaras and more recently lip-glosses.
Mascaras are a strong pillar for the company, accounting for almost 80% of their make-up turnover. With a know-how that has been built during the last decade, they work with market leaders, international brands and pure beauty retailers on several markets. A tangible example of their accomplishments: one of the best-selling mascaras in the world is made in Luxembourg. “One piece is sold every three seconds,” says Dr. Christophe Delas, Director of Make-up, at IL Cosmetics.
“Our mascara portfolio is in line with the latest market trends and innovations. We revamped our mascara solutions and since a couple of years now, vegan has become the new standard for all our new developments. Natural ingredients mascaras are of course part of our portfolio, with textures that are over 90% of natural origin ingredients,” comments Juanita Parra, Make-up Marketing Manager.
IL Cosmetics is a company that keeps on developing patented technologies to maintain the innovation dynamism within the category. Uncompromising on performance, they pay particular attention in proposing formulas that keep the same performances vs. traditional mascaras to respond to what consumers are used to and expect.
Navigating the Pandemic
The mandatory use of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has impacted the consumption of color cosmetics worldwide, especially for categories like Lips. IL Cosmetics estimates that the global lip market decreased by at least 30% in 2020. Nonetheless, according to them, a big boom of lip launches is foreseen for 2022, when the world will be mask free!
Despite this generalized decrease, the lips category at IL Cosmetics is expanding: they will go from a few million units to about 20 million units sold in 2021. In 3 years, the turnover for lips will be multiplied by 4. “Thanks to the continuous efforts and investments done on the category over the last years, today we can offer a wide range of liquid lip products and are fully ready to support brands in preparing the near post-pandemic future,” assures Laura Pereira, Lip category manager.
Diversifying within the same product category
N°1 for nails in Europe since 2016, IL Cosmetics understands that this category includes more than just Nail Polish.
“You need to think about the consumption patterns and see the big picture,” says Aurélie Ignaccolo, Head of marketing. “We know that the number of nail users has not decreased, but emerging technologies are having an impact on the kind of products women are applying on their nails,” she says, making reference to the Semi-permanent or Soak-off category.
The share of women using Soak-off alternatives has been increasing over the last 4 years. In 2017 the split between Nail polish/Soak-off users was 75/25. Today, this split is 50/50.  The Company has advanced in multiple directions. Working on nail polish trends like naturally sourced and clean solutions, nail care as well as on the emerging soak-off alternatives at the same time, both professional and retail. 
Good intuition and diversification, as a path for growth, seems to be paying off and giving IL Cosmetics a financial stabilization in these challenging times. A story to be followed.