Nail polish: tomorrow’s trends according to IL Cosmetics


With a market growth at half mast, not to say declining, the Luxembourg based company claims a twofold increase of its market share over the past five years. Based on this company’s growth, Jean-François Harpes, IL Cosmetics’ owner and CEO, claims to be the number one producer in Europe. Main reasons for this performance, according to him: being closest as possible with new trend-setting clients, designing exactly what the final consumer wants and anticipating needs.

Premium Beauty News – After years of euphoria, the global market of nail polish really seems to be experimenting a serious slowdown. We have witnessed a 50% contraction in the last three years! How do you explain this phenomenon and what is your outlook for the future?

Jean-François Harpes – Like any other market, it is also a cyclical market that undergoes increasing and decreasing phases. From our internal forecasting / market trend analysis we know how to quantify the time lapse between each cycle, and identify the different product types that consumers a looking for during each phase of the nail polish cycle.

Hence we know that a consumer will look for long-lasting formulasclassic shades and that she won’t buy as many products during a declining phase. On the contrary, the growth phase trend is marked by an explosion of coloursspecial effects, and gimmicks. The consumer is seeking variety and wants to change products often. However, during a phase of a comeback of colour, it is necessary to be able to propose more convenient, easy-to-use systems, which do not compromise market standards for essential parameters such as gloss, long hold, freshness, and overall manicure durability.

Premium Beauty News – So you believe that this current period of decline, will soon be followed by a sharp rise?

Jean-François Harpes – Absolutely, confirmed signs of interest in colours and special effects are already on the market, and this rise advances the beginning of a recovery of the nail polish market. We are entering the increasing phase of a new cycle, driven by a wave of trend-setter brands in the market.

It should be noted that, traditionally, trend-setter brands used to come from USA. Now, there is a shift in the market and trend-setter brands are coming from Europe, especially UK, which is driving new trends. Today IL Cosmetics is working with each of them.

It is clear that we strongly believe in the market’s recovery, and that is why we are investing to expand our conditioning capacities. At the end of this year our capacity will be of 350 million units per year to reach 500 million units per year at the end of June 2018.

Premium Beauty News – You are putting yourself in optimal conditions to have the best industrial and technical assets to meet market demand by helping trend-setters to make the right choices!

Jean-François Harpes – A lot of brands want to impose themselves in the market and slowly rise into the trend-setter category as well. However, becoming a trend-setter is not always that obvious and there are several variables that need to be considered and mastered to be successful at it.

For example, it is essential to be able to rely on suppliers that have a good know how of the market and strong R&D capacities that can guide the launch of the right product at the right time.

Because it is not just about having “THE” good idea. It’s about being able to materialize the idea from the concept to the final product in a very short time. This is one of the reasons why having the possibility of offering Full Service options is obviously more interesting for these trend-setters. A complete integration allows a faster go-to-market reducing time and effort between concept creation, product development, production and filling. This Full Service offer also allows a guarantee in overall quality. Not only in terms of the quality of the finished product and its performance but also in the quality of the process, controlled through the entire supply chain. If you add to this, competitive prices and modern facilities that guarantee both high production capacities and the flexibility that a trend-setter needs for a rapid reaction to a product that will be launched in the market for the first time… then you have the winning ticket!

Premium Beauty News – Your strong point remains an excellent knowledge of the market and your ability to anticipate?

Jean-François Harpes – That’s right! Today, between 20 and 25% of nail polishes worldwide are produced by ILCosmetics. We are continuing to strengthen our position in the nail polish market. In other words, we are ready for the restart of the market, the first signs of which we can feel.

Our deep understanding of the nail polish cycle gives us an anticipation advantage. This, combined with strong investments in R&D, enables the translation of future market trends into exclusive product developments, patented technologies and innovations adapted to serve what consumers are looking for.