When it comes to comparisons between makeup brands, it is usually done on just the products and consists of reviews that decide which is better. However, there are other aspects to makeup brands besides their products and that is their identities, goals, and strategies. The comparison becomes more interesting when both brands are under the same company. That is the case for L’Oréal Paris and NYX Professional Makeup. Both are under one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies, L’Oréal. This was not always the case. This article explains how NYX became a subsidiary of L’Oréal and the similarities and differences between the two brands.
L’Oréal Paris’s History
In order to explain L’Oréal Paris, we should take a look at L’Oréal Group as the umbrella company. L’Oréal is a French-based personal care company founded by Eugene Schueller in 1909. Schueller was a chemist who created the first synthetic hair dyes in 1907 and sold them to Parisian hairdressers. Two years later, he officially founded the company we know today, L’Oréal. Schueller was ambitious and wanted to go international with his company. He extended his sales to other European countries and into other continents. He also recruited other research chemists and sales representatives from around the world as part of his team. To grow L’Oréal beyond just selling hair products, he started acquiring a bunch of other companies that specialized in a variety of fields and products. L’Oréal grew big enough to create L’Oréal Groupe. Today, L’Oréal markets over 500 brands, many of which are familiar to the general public, and has products located worldwide. The Groupe is split into four divisions: consumer products, L’Oréal Luxe, professional products, and active cosmetics. L’Oréal Paris and NYX Professional Makeup are under consumer products.
Before getting into L’Oréal’s acquisition of NYX, NYX’s own history should be discussed. NYX is not nearly as old as L’Oréal Paris and is a company that started from the ground up at the hands of Toni Ko. Ko founded NYX in 1999 in Los Angeles, California. Her motivation for founding NYX was due to her personal experience of wanting to buy high-quality department store makeup at drugstore prices. Ko made this her goal and took what she learned from working at her parents’ cosmetics and perfume business as a teenager and her own knowledge about makeup to create NYX. The company was well-received early on and garnered millions in sales in its first year through its first two products of eye and lip pencils. NYX continued to grow by expanding its catalog of products and increasing sales. Unlike L’Oréal Paris, NYX operated as its own company with no parent company or subsidiary and with Ko as its CEO for 14 years.
NYX and L’Oréal Paris Become Siblings
Things changed in June 2014 when L’Oréal acquired NYX for an estimated $500,000 and became its parent company. When asked about why Ko decided to sell NYX to L’Oréal, she said she wanted a work-life balance after spending over a decade focused on NYX and thought that the best way to achieve that was through selling the company. The acquisition worked out in L’Oréal’s favor because the brand was fast-growing and doing really well in North America, much better than L’Oréal Paris. The acquisition also provided benefits for NYX as a company. NYX has access to L’Oréal’s marketing, distribution, and research and development resources. Although NYX was doing great at utilizing social media as their marketing strategy since their founding, it helps immensely to now have an extensive amount of resources. They also still get to operate out of their own headquarters in Los Angeles.
NYX and L’Oréal Paris share similarities that explain why the two are under the L’Oréal Groupe. First of all, both brands target women of diverse backgrounds as their audience. More of this will be covered later in the article. Another similarity is that both want to provide high-quality products. Earlier, it was said that NYX was founded because they wanted their makeup to be at the same level or higher than department store makeup. As this was their mission, they stuck to it and sell products that are positively reviewed as having excellent formulas and textures. L’Oréal Paris may not have started with cosmetics, but once they expanded into the field, they dedicated themselves to creating high-quality products using science and research. Having this scientific backing helps the brand use what they know about products and ingredients, while simultaneously being able to test out various combinations. This methodology lends itself well to creating safe and good makeup. Both companies also aim to be affordable and accessible. L’Oréal Paris and NYX are worldwide brands that can mainly be found in drugstores, where prices are generally cheaper compared to department stores. However, they do not limit themselves to just drugstores. They also sell in makeup retailers and on their respective websites.
When looking at NYX, they are a trendy brand. They keep their eyes on what is popular and doing well among their target audience, and they jump on whatever it is. This mindset started when beauty influencers on Youtuber started making videos featuring NYX products. During the early days of Youtube, there was no such thing as sponsorships, so these YouTubers were giving their honest opinions about the products and weren’t trying to help sell them. The nice thing for NYX was that beauty influencers on YouTube were unintentionally helping sell NYX products by giving them good reviews in their videos. NYX caught wind of what was happening. As a smart brand does, they took advantage of the situation by sending beauty YouTubers their products for free so that the Youtubers could continue making videos using them. As other platforms were invented and started gaining users, NYX jumped on those too.
Besides simply just making an account on whatever social media platform is popular, they post content that matches the content already on the platform. To be able to do this, a brand must study the platform and its content by taking note of details like format, length, style, etc. For example, on Instagram, users want to see pretty photos that look good on their own but also are cohesive when looking at the page as a whole. NYX follows that principle when creating their Instagram posts. For example, their newest collection is the “Ultimate Queen” collection. The entire theme of the collection is animal prints, so the colors are mainly warm tones of browns, golds, and oranges. When this collection launched, NYX dedicated 21 posts to their page that matched the animal print aesthetic. If you try and translate the idea of pretty and cohesive content to Tik Tok, it doesn’t work as well because the content on Tik Tok has a different format. One of the reasons people love Tik Tok is because they get answers to questions they didn’t even know they had, and they find themselves learning so much through short videos. Therefore, NYX uses Tik Tok to post tutorials, recommendation videos, and people actually using their products.
L’Oréal Paris’s Strengths
While NYX’s strengths are their trendiness and strong approach to digital marketing, specifically through social media, L’Oréal Paris’s strengths are their famous slogan and their long list of celebrity ambassadors. One of the most effective advertising tactics is creating a slogan or tagline that everyone will associate with your brand. For L’Oréal Paris, they made their slogan, “Because I’m Worth It” in the 1970s as a saying to empower women during the second wave of feminism. It was first said by actress and model Joanne Dusseau in a TV commercial for L’Oréal Paris Preference Hair Color in 1971. Once “Because I’m Worth It” took off, L’Oréal attached it to their print ads, TV commercials, billboards, etc. They had other famous women saying the slogan too like Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and Jennifer Aniston. Over the years, it has taken different forms such as “Because You’re Worth It” and “Because We’re Worth It.” No matter the variation used, L’Oréal Paris’s slogan is considered one of the top advertising slogans of all time because when people hear it, they immediately know it’s L’Oréal’s.
What has also given power to L’Oréal Paris and their slogan is the people who represent it. L’Oréal Paris appoints ambassadors to be their spokespeople. The ambassadors are called the L’Oréal Paris “Dream Team,” and the group consists of famous artists, actresses, and activists. The lineup consists of big names such as Kate Winslet, Eva Longoria, Camila Cabello, Celine Dion, Cindy Bruna, Soo Joo Park, and many more. The latest addition to the team is musician H.E.R. She was named global ambassador in January 2022. Just by looking at the names, they are all successful and inspiring women. Due to their fame, they can rally their fans and influence them to support the brand and buy L’Oréal Paris products. This aspect of the ambassadorships is beneficial to L’Oréal Paris because it increases brand awareness and sales. Although the fame aspect of ambassadorships plays an important role, it is also worthwhile to look at who the ambassadors are as a whole because L’Oréal Paris carefully picked them not just because of their fame.
L’Oréal Paris on Diversity
By building a team of all women ambassadors, L’Oréal Paris is better targeting their audience of women and furthering the women empowerment agenda they started 50 years ago. In addition to the ambassadors all being women, they all come from diverse backgrounds based on race, ethnicity, age, occupation, etc. L’Oréal Paris chose a diverse group of women because they wanted to reflect the diversity of their customers and show that beauty is not limited to one look or image. This strategy helps the brand in its mission of having a global presence because if a brand truly wants to be universal, global, and inclusive, it should showcase and attend to all types of people. In fact, this is one of the areas where L’Oréal Paris and NYX see eye to eye.
NYX on Diversity
NYX also mainly targets women and values showcasing diversity by featuring models, makeup artists, and consumers of different races and ethnicities on their website and social media accounts. NYX is similar to L’Oréal in that they use people of different backgrounds. However, it is the status of the people that NYX features that makes them different from L’Oréal. Although they may not have the star power that L’Oréal has with their ambassadors, there is still power in showcasing small makeup artists and everyday consumers. NYX shows those groups that they can be posted on NYX’s accounts and that it is not just celebrities with big followings that are worthy of being posted. Through this mindset, NYX adds another component to diversity that goes beyond just race.
Although L’Oréal Paris and NYX are under the same company, it does not mean they are the exact same or even the complete opposite. Similarities and differences do exist between the two. They also do not necessarily have to be competing with each other all the time just because they both sell cosmetics. L’Oréal Paris, being the big sister, has a century-plus long experience and has been able to stand the test of time, while little sister NYX still has the young and fresh energy that keeps it going full-speed ahead. By both being under L’Oréal Groupe, the two brands can share resources, learn a lot from one another, and grow. In this way, the L’Oréal family can be harmonious.