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Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Data from Buttermilk indicates long-standing favorites by brands like MAC Cosmetics, Milk and E.l.f. are holding strong amidst a swath of buzzy new launches and their extensive rollout campaigns.

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Five of the most-mentioned beauty products on social media so far in 2024, per Buttermilk.

BeautyTok is in its OG appreciation era.

While new launches — like Milk Makeup‘s Cooling Water Jelly Tints and Summer Fridays’ Dream Lip Oil — are generating significant post-rollout buzz, data from influencer agency Buttermilk indicates hero products, including those introduced as far back as 1999 in the case of MAC Cosmetics’ “Ruby Woo” lipstick shade, are dominating beauty discourse on social media.

This is true in the case of Sol de Janeiro, which saw a blockbuster sales year in 2023 and, amidst a slew of recent additions to its Cheirosa 59 franchise, is still seeing even greater chatter for its hallmark Bum Bum Cream, launched in 2016. Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, introduced when the brand debuted in 2017, similarly reigns as one of social media’s most-mentioned beauty products nearly seven years later. See also: Milk’s Hydro Grip Primer (2019), Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask (2018) and Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo (2013).

Meanwhile MAC, routinely a top performer on social media, is generating even more buzz thanks to its myriad 40th anniversary campaigns, which have included updating its classic bullet lipstick range with an extra-matte “Macximal” finish.

“These are brands that are very aggressive about community-building — in the best way,” said Aubrey Brooks, head of data and analytics at Buttermilk. A key driver of mentions for each of these brands has been increased investment in nano and microinfluencers, who can be more widely harnessed at a lower cost, and see an average 61.91 percent greater number of engagements per post than their macro counterparts. “You see the micros really holding the weight, or being the strongest part of those [mentions].”

Though week-to-week comparisons of social media’s most-mentioned beauty products are dynamic (“it’s similar to the stock market in that way,” said Brooks), quarterly or yearly analyses paint a more stable picture from a brand point of view.

“There are the brands that have found a real consistency and always remain in the thick of it — in hair care, Tresemmé and Kérastese might not always be number one and number two, but they’re always in that top-20 range,” Brooks said.

Additionally, new launches that prompt early sellouts — i.e. Milk’s February Water Jelly Tints, which went viral in part due to their poke- and prod-worthy gummy texture — often fuel an uptick in mentions for existing products in the same brand’s portfolio.

“You see that organically — if everyone is searching for Milk because of the Jelly Tints, even creators who weren’t able to get their hands on that launch want to find a way to be a part of that craze for the brand as well,” said Brooks, adding that a brand like Milk — which has three new launches in 2024 including the jelly tints, a lip oil range and a priming foam — is also simply “always on,” allocating promotional budget to heroes like its Hydro Grip Primer.

While long-term creator partnerships are paying off among the top brands, Brooks expects to see a trend toward increased investment in new creator recruitment across tiers, the payoff of which can be seen by Mona Kattan’s fragrance brand Kayali, which saw more engagement in 2023 from creators who hadn’t mentioned the brand before than the brand’s total engagement garnered in any previous year.

The 10 most-mentioned products on social media in 2024 year-to-date.

1. Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo

Launched: 2013

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo

2. Kérastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Smooth-in-Motion Shampoo

Launched: 2014

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Kérastase Discipline Bain Fluidealiste Smooth-in-Motion Shampoo

3. E.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer

Launched: 2018

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

E.l.f. Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer

4. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Launched: 2017

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

5.MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in “Ruby Woo”

Launched: 1999

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

MAC Cosmetics Lipstick in “Ruby Woo”

6. Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

Launched: 2019

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer

7. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

Launched: 2016

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream

8. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

Launched: 2018

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

9. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

Launched: 2014, relaunched 2021

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

10. Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation

Launched: 2020

Why Old-school Heroes Are Outpacing Even the Buzziest New Beauty Launches in Social Media Mentions

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Weightless Foundation

Tags

  • hair care
  • makeup
  • skincare
  • tiktok
  • viral

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