Beauty Competition

The beauty segment has been one of the most active for inbound licensing and especially collaboration deals over the past several years, with the pace picking up during the pandemic. The category is seen as a prime opportunity for celebrities, classic characters, films and TV series, museums, corporate brands, and IP from virtually every other property type. New deals are announced almost daily for products ranging from color cosmetics such as lip color and eye shadow to skin care, hair care, and nail care.

Meanwhile, there has also been a resurgence of outbound licensing tied to health and beauty brands. Properties in this segment have long been forging licensing deals for closely related products, but a number of them have recently retained new licensing agents and/or announced new deals, signaling a refreshed interest in brand extension.

Some of the health and beauty IP that have licensing representation or have recently signed licensing or collaboration agreements include:

  • Revlon Consumer Products’ Revlon and Elizabeth Arden brands. Revlon retained MDR Brand Management as its global licensing representative in February. MDR will work with Brand Activation Consulting to expand the brands.
  • Kao’s Jergens, John Frieda, and Ban. Kao announced in February that Brandgenuity will serve as the licensing agency for its U.S. brands. Brandgenuity also represents Edgewell Personal Care’s Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat.
  • Loud Lacquer, which announced a collaboration this month with Hush Puppies. The inbound/outbound partnership extends Loud into limited-edition jelly sandals called Brite Jells, while creating four new Hush Puppies-inspired nail polish colors under the Brite Shades name.
  • Aviv Cosmetics’ Biopeptix skin care line. Aviv signed Prominent Brand + Talent as its agency for North America last September.
  • Manic Panic, a hair color and cosmetics brand represented by Pacific Swell Brands since early 2019. Pacific Swell announced a deal last year with Smiffy’s for a range of Manic Panic wigs.
  • Nail polish brand OPI, which has recently collaborated with Reef for a line of flip flops and with ImPress for press-on nails, both in OPI colors.
  • Unilever’s Dove and Suave brands, represented by Seltzer Licensing Group. Seltzer, which also represents several other Unilever brands, handles the two for both inbound and outbound licensing.
  • Benefit Cosmetics, which paired with Morphe last year for co-branded makeup brushes.
  • P&G’s Oral B and Crest, licensed by Beanstalk. Beanstalk is the agency for several other P&G properties as well. In addition, Beanstalk represents Vidal Sassoon, a beauty brand owned by Wella, which Coty sold in November to KKR.

Brands originating in the beauty space typically maintain narrow licensing programs in terms of the number of licensees, with products closely related to the core property. They also tend to be more focused on long-term brand extension than limited collaborations, with some exceptions. But their deals, while small in number, can be very lucrative, as indicated by Revlon’s December 2020 contract renewal with Helen of Troy, its licensing partner since 1992, for hair care appliances and tools. Helen of Troy paid $72.5 million in cash as an upfront royalty payment (in lieu of ongoing royalty payments over the term of the contract) for exclusive global licensing rights lasting through 2060. The contract included three additional 20-year auto renewal periods, for a total of 100 years.

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