Retail in Asia


How Nyx Cosmetics became a social media star

How Nyx Cosmetics became a social media star

Any beauty brand today understands the power of social media. YouTube is becoming the new make-up counter. Vloggers and their video tutorials are growing their views. Instagram “likes” can translate to sales. The word “selfie” squeezed its way into the Oxford English Dictionary.

No company, however, knows this better than Nyx Professional Make-up. And, it is all for one reason: social media has been part of Nyx’s bloodline since the beginning.

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“We were one of the first to embrace it as a platform for make-up to share, create, and express,” says Nathalie Kristo, the brand’s general manager.

“Our success is all from word of mouth — people seeing us in tutorials, then trying it themselves. We have built a big beauty community because of that,” she continues.

Nyx Cosmetics has 2.4 million shout-outs on YouTube. It is one of the most-mentioned on the site.  On Instagram, that number is multiplied by 10.

Here, the milestones of Nyx Cosmetics’ success:

1999 The beginning

Founded by Korean transplant Toni Ko at age 25, Nyx helped fill the void of on-trend finishes in quality formulations at drugstore prices.

Its first products included a line of slim lip and eyeliner pencils (in six and 12 shades, respectively) — which raked in $2 million in wholesale that first year on the market.

2007 Signing with Ulta

For years, the brand sold directly to make-up artists and professional beauty partners at trade shows, but sales really kicked off the moment the ink dried on its deal with Ulta.

“When we started at Ulta, our range was a lot smaller — it was just our lip and eye pencils,” Kristo says. As demand grew, so did its product selection.

2007 – 2008 Discovering an untapped market

Before there were 32 million make-up tutorials on YouTube and the term ‘baked’ became a word people used to describe a setting powder application technique, the world of social media influencers did not exist.

But 10 years ago, Nyx noticed an uptick in sales of its white Jumbo Eye Pencil and traced the boost back to a string of how-to videos. “This was at the start of YouTube tutorials,” Kristo says.

“People were using the Jumbo pencil as a highlighter or an eyeshadow base or de-potting it. These vloggers were democratizing professional make-up and bringing it to the masses. It became a different kind of word of mouth.”

“We do not do traditional advertising, we rely on people finding us organically on social media and vloggers using Nyx make-up in their videos,” she says.

“The Jumbo Eye Pencil is still a favourite today, especially during the FACE Awards.”

2011 The birth of the FACE award

Think of Nyx’s first-of-its-kind competition like the American Idol for aspiring make-up artists. Participants are selected based in a virtual “audition”.

They submit beauty videos for consideration, which are then evaluated by a panel of judges.

The only way finalists advance is with the public’s votes — all with the endgame of winning Beauty Vlogger Of The Year.

“We saw every day people creating this amazing content online and doing incredible make-up artistry,” says Sarah El-Annan, the brand’s AVP for integrated marketing and PR.

Six years later, and the FACE Awards have grown globally — spanning a whopping 43 countries, says El-Annan.

“We went from an attendance of 200 people to 6,000 people this year, with hundreds of thousands of people who are watching it on the livestream, which is an incredible amount of growth,” she says.

2012 Leading the lipstick category

The brand has become synonymous with the lip colour category, making its mark with its Soft Matte Lip Cream.

One tube sells every four seconds, brand reports.

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2014: Going global

In 2014 Nyx was sold to L’Oréal for $ 500 million, and it made easier to expand the business globally.

2015 Setting up shop

In 2015 online met offline with the first brick-and-mortar beauty store, still with a digital twist, in Santa Anita, in California. Today, Nyx has more than 150 stores worldwide, with 35 in the U.S.

2017 The future

Diversity is more important than ever, especially in the beauty space, which is why Nyx is making it a point to ensure everyone is covered.


(Source: Refinery 29)