Beauty product sales booming despite inflation, second-hand market growing

Despite inflation and fears of a recession, one industry is booming:  cosmetics and beauty products.  

"Personal hygiene, and cosmetics especially. That is as recession-proof as they come," said Carl Gould, President of business management firm 7 Stages Advisors.

MORE: Is inflation cooling off? It depends where you live

Not only are people back out in public since the pandemic shut down, but buying beauty products is a splurge that won't break the bank.  

"We call it a small indulgence during a rough economic time," said Gould.

Historically beauty product sales also climbed during the Great Depression and the recession of the early 2000s. It's known as the Lipstick Index. 


Makeup sales are up 20%, skincare is up 12%, fragrance is up 15%, and hair care is up 28% for the first half of 2022, according to analysts at The NDP Group.

One way more shoppers are saving money is buying beauty products through second-hand resale sites, such as eBay, Vinted, Poshmark and Glambot.

"There’s a major boom and I think we’re all sort of aware of it," said Taryn Nightingale with Tajmeeli, which provides information about cosmetic procedures.

While some resale sites allow the sale of used products, most require them to be new and unopened.  

The products typically come from small resale businesses or shoppers who bought the items, changed their minds, but didn't return them.

Reasearch by Tajmeeli found top sellers on Vinted are CoverGirl, Mac, Urban Decay, Chanel, and Benefit.  


These second-hand sites allow sellers to recoup some of what they've spent, and shoppers to save anywhere from 10% to 50%.

"If we look at Chanel perfume, for example on eBay, a new one would be $77.71, and used would be $59.43. So there’s a 23.5% savings," said Nightingale.

"The secondary market I think is here to stay. I think it's brilliant," added Gould.

Many dermatologists caution consumers that applying used beauty products that might contain bacteria.  While some sites allow used products to be sold, many sites require them to be new and in their original packaging.  

Some tips to help ensure safe purchases when buying on the secondary market:  

  • Buy from sites that require products to be new, 
  • Buy from a reputable seller,
  • Ask for the expiration date,
  • And make sure you can return it if there's a problem.