Makeup Brands Scare Up Halloween Beauty Sales

Makeup brands and retailers are expecting treats for their balance sheets this Halloween.

With the National Retail Federation forecasting that U.S. spending for the spooky day will climb 8.3% to a record $9.1 billion, beauty companies morphing customers into goblins, ghouls, ghosts and more are strategizing to secure their pieces (not the Reese’s variety) of the pumped-up pumpkin action. They’re busy putting out social media posts and products to harness soaring interest in Halloween-related makeup.

“Halloween is becoming an important day or even month that’s almost as important as holiday. It’s a memorable moment in time that gives people a reason to participate. Done right, a brand can do very well,” says Julie Campbell, vice president of marketing at Pür owner Astral Health & Beauty. She revealed the makeup brand has registered October sales lifts of 5% to 8% in recent years.

Halloween makeup Pur Cosmetics

“Halloween is a holiday showcasing makeup, and we certainly expect to see sales rise this month,” says Jessica Mills, brand manager at Catrice Cosmetics. “Whether you are a makeup artist or a makeup artist at heart, Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for the beauty community. It is a wonderfully transformative time of year where we can become anyone or anything we want to be, with a little bit of help from our favorite makeup products.”

The Halloween halo over beauty is in large part due to the impact of influencers presenting intricate looks on Instagram and YouTube that demonstrate their skills, motivate followers to experiment with glamourous and unnerving makeup, and expose consumers to products they may have overlooked. The social media phenomenon has pushed brands such as Pür, Sugarpill Cosmetics, NYX, Violet Voss and Coloured Raine into Halloween costume conversations that in the past were reserved for makeup artistry authorities like MAC Cosmetics and Ben Nye.

Ricky’s NYC doubles and triples its orders of products from social media-driven beauty brands for Halloween, according to Annamarie McConnell, vice president of product and brand development at the New York-based chain with 17 stores and two temporary locations. “We had amazing Halloween sales last year, and its growing year-over-year,” she says. “It’s really trending on social media in a bigger way than it was before. I’ve been seeing all the bloggers posting crazy Halloween looks already. With them getting super into it, the Ricky’s girl is getting super into it as well.”

Halloween beauty

Beauty brands stoke the Halloween fervor on social media. Catrice, for example, has partnered with four influencers to produce Halloween looks based on the characters Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman. The brand will provide step-by-step tutorials to help women achieve the looks and offer a 15% discount on the products incorporated within them. It also challenges its audience to post the looks on social media tagged with @CatriceUS and #BeBootiful.

Cherry Blooms is working with an influencer to share easy so-called Glamoween makeup looks on social media to let its target demographic of women 35-years-old and over in on the Halloween beauty craze. “Halloween makeup is usually meant to be outrageously striking, and no one does this better than Instagram beauties. They inspire women to try and replicate their Halloween look or give them ideas on how to simplify their look or even give them a totally new idea,” says Kim Nguyen, global head of product development for the brand.

Last Halloween, Pür sent influencers its Transformation Putty Eye & Cheek Palette along with cat, leopard and devil ears to propel eye-catching posts spotlighting the brand. This Halloween, it’s urging application of existing products from its My Little Pony collection and its Pür Pro X Etienne Ortega Eyeshadow Palette be showcased in influencer imagery.

Shiro Cosmetics Halloween

“Pür and NYX aren’t running one-off Halloween campaigns. They are leaning into products, activations and positioning that are already established, which is really smart from a brand perspective,” says Brit McCorquodale, director of marketing and communications for marketing technology firm Tribe Dynamics. “The My Little Pony palette lends itself to holiday, and the brand is able to leverage a product people already connect with the brand.”

Campbell remarks Halloween expands Pür’s sales by introducing customers who recognize the brand as a complexion specialist to its color cosmetics. “We know that switching skincare or foundation is a harder ask to get your customer to do. If you have something fun and colorful, it makes an easy trial for a customer to get acquainted with different products,” she says. “This year, Pür has launched lashes, bright eyeshadows, and new eyeliner colors. It’s those fun items that are low in price point that help customers see we have fantastic color offerings.”

Some makeup brands attract customers over Halloween not just with established products. They premiere special merchandise for the holiday. Shiro Cosmetics has taken to releasing Halloween collections to mark the eerie occasion, a tactic that’s paid off. “Halloween definitely plays a huge role in our business,” says founder Caitlin Johnstone. “People wear more makeup during cooler months to begin with, but Halloween is especially important because people will buy colors they wouldn’t normally to go with their costumes. I think our price point really helps us, too. It’s really reasonable to spend $5 to 10 on makeup for a one-time use like Halloween.”

NCLA Halloween nails

The makeup brand LASplash is dropping a Classic Horror collection of matte liquid lipsticks on Friday, Oct. 13, and nail polish brand NCLA unveiled its first matte color around Halloween this year to decorate the talons of trick-or-treaters. In addition, NCLA brings back its sugar skull nail wrap print Calavera and skeleton nail wrap print Macabre over Halloween shoppers. “People want to have fun with their nails around Halloween and they know that they can count on us for these products,” says NCLA co-founder and CEO Elin Dannerstedt.

Shifting consumer shopping habits have been a boon to Halloween beauty. Ricky’s NYC has detected a strong move toward do-it-yourself costumes. The DIY’ers don’t buy pre-made costumes and, instead, meticulously select every aspect of their Halloween regalia from leggings to lashes. “We have marketed ourselves as a DIY destination, encouraging customers to mix and match, and buy different pieces,” says McConnell. “We have in-house makeup artists that are really experienced and are great at helping customers achieve the look they are going for.”

Pop culture has aided the Halloween beauty upswing. A year ago, Harley Quinn from the movie Suicide Squad was a social media queen. This year, Wonder Woman and Pennywise from It are ruling Halloween posts so far. Other relevant Halloween motifs are mermaids, unicorns and fairies. Glitter, squiggle brows, spiky bold lips, crystal gems and metallic shades are escalating in makeup for the holiday.


“With so many Instagram beauties and makeup artists trying out outrageous new looks, ideas and tutorials, I think the sharing of these Halloween makeup ideas will help drive sales,” says Nguyen. McConnell agrees, “It’s all about the ways in which you can be creative and achieve different looks for Halloween. If you are a makeup brand, it’s a huge opportunity.”


  • Domestic spending this Halloween is projected to set a record. The spooky holiday provides a pre-Christmas opportunity for makeup brands to excite customers with their products, and they can cash with strategies such as social media posts and product releases that harness interest in Halloween beauty.
  • Beauty influencers have pushed the spotlight on Halloween with elaborate makeup looks that expose makeup consumers to products they may have otherwise overlooked. Social media has opened the door for brands that didn’t traditionally shine on Halloween to get noticed.
  • Pop culture and shifting shopping habits have contributed to the rise of Halloween beauty. Costumes are increasingly DIY, and people are carefully crafting every aspect of them, including the makeup. Popular movie characters such as Wonder Woman and Pennywise from It are showing up in substantial numbers in early Halloween beauty posts on social media.