Make-up brands in the UK: Top picks
Beauty experts Cosmetify recently carried out research to find the most popular make-up brands in the UK. The results were based on brands most searched for online in mid-2021. Many of the brands on this list have been household names for decades and have developed their products to appeal to younger generations, whilst other make-up brands featured are new on the scene but are already making an impact.
The UK has long had a global platform on the fashion and cosmetic stage, and often takes inspiration from cosmetic brands around the world. It will come as no surprise that international cosmetic companies are sought after in the UK.
Make-up companies seem to be moving with the times and many are incorporating ethical and environmental policies into their branding.
What are the most popular make-up brands in the UK?
The most popular make-up brands in the UK are well-known throughout the world. French brands such as Chanel, Dior and Clarins are repeatedly searched for online. British brands such as Charlotte Tilbury are also seeing a rise in popularity.
Make-up nowadays isn’t just about fitting into the current styles and trends. Women and men are able to experiment with their look and find a brand that suits their individual skincare needs. The variety of brands on this list showcase both ethically considerate and creative ideals.
Although there are products to suit a variety of budgets, it does seem that the UK favours make-up that is luxurious and of high quality. Many of the products are also popular with celebrities and beauty bloggers.
Here is a list of ten of the most popular make-up brands in the UK right now and some insight into why they are so popular.
Not only is Chanel the most popular brand on this list, but it’s also the oldest. The fashion house was founded in 1910 by revolutionary fashion designer Coco Chanel. A cosmetic line was added to the company just over ten years later in 1921. This French brand oozes sophistication and style, and is popular on a global scale.
Perhaps most famous for the Chanel No 5 perfume that Marilyn Monroe favoured, Chanel also offers many best sellers such as Les Quatre Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra eyeshadow. The luxury products have been celebrated for multiple generations and have inspired many newer companies. The iconic brand has had a major cultural impact and has encouraged many women to indulge in their daily make-up routine.
Yet another French brand, Dior was founded in Paris in 1946 by Christian Dior. As with Chanel, Dior also started out as a fashion company before expanding into beauty products in 1955.
Dior is headed by French businessman Bernard Arnault. He also leads LVMH, which is the world’s largest luxury group with a collective revenue of €44,7 billion (just over £38 million) in 2020.
Among their best sellers are Rouge Dior lipsticks, Rosy Glow Blush and the reliable Diorshow mascara.
Charlotte Tilbury is the only British brand on the list. Founded in September 2013 by Charlotte Tilbury MBE, this is one of the fastest growing makeup brands in the world.
Charlotte Tilbury MBE has over 27 years of experience and has built many celebrity connections over the years. The company garnered its loyal fanbase by building its social media channels through celebrity live streams on YouTube and Instagram.
One of the foundation stones of Charlotte Tilbury is how ethically focused it is. The company is an ambassador for Women for Women International, a charity that helps female survivors of war. In 2019, the cosmetic leader pledged £1,000,000 to this charitable organisation, and in 2018, Charlotte Tilbury gave 15% of their sales from a single day to the charity.
Best sellers include the Pillow Talk collection and Hot Lips lipsticks, which were named after celebrity clients.
Make-Up Art Cosmetics, or M.A.C. as it is more commonly known, prides itself on being the make-up choice for make-up artists. It was founded in Toronto, Canada in 1984, although it is now headquartered in New York. It is currently owned by the Estée Lauder conglomerate.
The brand is famous across the world and is sold in over 105 countries, with an annual turnover of over $1 billion largely thanks to its famous fans. Many celebrities aspire to be part of a M.A.C. collaboration, especially after the late Selena Quintanilla Perez’s posthumous collaboration. It became the bestselling celebrity collection in cosmetics history in 2016.
The brand’s website also states that they are exclusively cruelty-free and don’t test their products on animals.
Clinique is the world’s first allergy-tested, dermatologist-driven line of skincare and cosmetics. The idea for the brand was born when a Vogue editor collaborated with a dermatologist to create an article titled Can Great Skin Be Created?. The concept inspired Estée Lauder and her son, Leonard, to try and answer that question, and Clinique was born.
Clinique was founded in the US in 1968, some 22 years after The Estée Lauder Companies Inc was formed. The Estée Lauder Companies Inc boasts brands such as M.A.C., Tom Ford Beauty and Too Faced.
One of the award-winning products from the company is the Clinique for Men anti-age moisturiser. The Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion is also a best-seller, as it helps to soothe and hydrate dry skin.
Impressively, Clarins incorporate over 250 natural plant extracts into their formulas. The company’s founder, Jacques Courtin-Clarins, was a medical student when he started creating cosmetic products in 1954. The range was based exclusively on plants, with the aim of creating products that were natural and “real”.
The first anti-pollution range was released in 1991, with a particular focus on the needs of women and the environment.
The company’s best sellers include the Total Eye Lift and the One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser.
No one can say that La Roche-Posay doesn’t pay attention to detail. The company conducted more than 600 clinical studies on 90,000 patients with a variety of skin types. As such, it has become one of the top dermo-cosmetic brands in the world.
The brand also hopes to use health technology to make dermatology available to everyone. They have partnered with Apple to produce the My Skin Track UV app. The app acts as a UV sensor that can monitor numerous environmental factors such as UV, pollution and pollen. The app can also give personalised skincare advice. This research is helping to develop La Roche-Posay’s products.
The brand was acquired by L’Oréal in 2018, 43 years after it was first formed. L’Oréal also own brands such as Urban Decay, NYX Cosmetics and Carol’s Daughter.
Some of the best-selling products for La Roche-Posay include the Hyalu B5 hyaluronic acid serum and Pure Vitamin C10 serum.
Caudalie has been committed to “au naturel” since it was formed in 1995. The title of the company comes from the wine term that refers to the “unit of measurement for the time the flavours of a wine linger on the palate after tasting it.” This vine and grape theme translates to the very origin of Caudalie’s products.
After speaking with a pharmacognosy professor called Joseph Vercauteren, founders Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas learnt that grapes have some of the most powerful antioxidants in the world. That same year, they released their first three products. They were all made using grape seed polyphenols (anti-oxidant shield), a recipe that they still use.
The company strives to use ingredients of natural origin, including vegetable oils, vine and grape extracts and botanical waters.
One of Caudalie’s best sellers is their Vineactiv Glow Activating Anti-wrinkle Serum, which helps to protect skin against pollutants.
Urban Decay was founded 25 years ago with the hope of breaking free from the mould of trending make-up. The American company aimed to appeal to “girls and boys who want to rattle the notion of what beauty is and put their own stamp on it”.
Like other brands in this list, Urban Decay sell vegan formulated products. They are PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) certified and have long been members of PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies program.
Urban Decay’s best sellers include their Naked Collection, which features 12 different eye shadow palettes. The All Nighter range and Perversion mascara are also incredibly popular among their cult following.
Yves Saint Laurent
The namesake for this French brand was Christian Dior’s first and only assistant, who took over as head designer at Dior at the age of 21. Yves Saint Laurent was quoted as saying “Chanel freed women and I empowered them”.
After setting up his own fashion house in 1961, Yves Saint Laurent went on to launch his cosmetic line in 1978. The brand is well known for its luxury packaging. Some products, such as the Or Rouge range, come in refillable packaging.
Along with Urban Decay and La Roche-Posay, Yves Saint Laurent is part of the L’Oreal group. The company’s best sellers include the Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils and the Touche Eclat Le Teint Foundation.
So there they are – the most popular make-up brands in the UK. Some might seem more surprising than others, however many have stood the test of time. Now’s the perfect time to enjoy a treat and enjoy some of the world’s most celebrated beauty products!
The editorial unit