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Malls Aren't Dying -- They're Just Buying Each Other

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The Brands Selling Makeup for Grown-ups

We’re in a particular makeup moment where the stuff getting all the attention is loud and colorful and sparkly and — yeah, I’m going to be the mom and say it — impractical for everyday. Listen, glitter is fine. I’m wearing some on my nails right now. (Well, aesthetically speaking, it’s fine. It’s probably horrible for the environment.) But most women I know, of all ages, want to get out the door looking awake with slightly better-looking skin than they woke up with.

There are two makeup companies that are picking up where Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier, the patron saints of “you, only better” makeup left off: IT Cosmetics and Hourglass Cosmetics. They’ve both become go-tos for me, and they get bonus points for the fact that they both have fortysomething female founders instead of influencers no one heard of a year ago or, ahem, 20-year-old reality TV stars. They’ve put in the time and work to figure out what modern makeup users really want.

They both offer a range of really user-friendly products, many of which also contain multi-tasking skincare ingredients, and they’re both also known for making incredible makeup brushes. But while the two companies have similar philosophies, they’re expressed slightly differently. IT Cosmetics is more affordable with a pragmatic vibe, while Hourglass has a luxury price point and focuses a little more on design. (One issue that we’re seeing throughout the industry: Both brands still need to offer a wider range of shades!)

IT Cosmetics
Photo: IT Cosmetics

IT Cosmetics

Jamie Kern Lima launched IT Cosmetics back in 2010 because she couldn’t find products that adequately covered her rosacea. She worked with plastic surgeons to develop formulas that worked for her. (Fun factoid: Before she got an MBA, she had appeared on both Baywatch and Big Brother.) She’s been hawking IT faithfully since then on QVC, where she racked up millions of dollars in sales simply by putting on her makeup and taking it off on TV, showing how well it covers her redness.

Last year, L’Oréal bought the company for $1.2 billion. A L’Oreal exec told New York, “She’s taken the mystery out of cosmetics.” The brand, like Lima herself, is accessible, and spreads a message that you don’t need to be a makeup artist to perk up your eyes or even out your skin tone.

You can buy the products at Ulta, Beautylish, and QVC. Prices range from $24 to about $40. Here are three of its best-sellers:

CC Cream With SPF 50 ($38): It covers without feeling or looking heavy at all, plus it contains an antioxidant serum cocktail in addition to sunscreen.

Bye Bye Under Eye Anti Aging Concealer ($24): The brand’s most-beloved best-seller, it covers everything and never creases.

Superhero Mascara ($24): No gimmicks here, just a brush and formula that have amazing synergy.

Hourglass cosmetic products
Photo: Hourglass

Hourglass Cosmetics

Carissa Janes got her start developing beauty brands in the ’90s when Urban Decay hired her in its early days. Since then, she’s launched several brands for other companies and consulted with celebs and fashion brands that wanted to launch beauty. She created Hourglass in 2004 for similar reasons as Lima, though she wanted a more upscale feel. “I wanted something luxury, but I wanted oil-free foundation, SPF, and anti-aging ingredients. I couldn’t understand why foundation wasn’t helping you. It was just covering.”

The brand got some traction when Angelina Jolie’s makeup artist used it on her while filming Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Unilever bought the brand this summer for an estimated $250 to $300 million.

Hourglass opened its first store in its native Venice, California, two years ago, and just opened a store in New York City. It’s sold at department stores here and abroad, and at Sephora and Bluemercury. Prices range from $34 for a brow pencil to $62 for palettes. Here are three of its best-sellers:

Veil Mineral Primer ($54): This is something of a holy-grail product at this point and arguably what put the brand on the map. It’s oil-free, has SPF 15, and really helps makeup last.

Vanish Foundation Stick ($45): You only need a few dots from this sleek, triangular foundation stick, which buffs into skin beautifully. The brand is launching six more shades in January, which will bring it up to a respectable 32.

Ambient Lighting Palette ($62): Want a glow that is not Instagram glazed-doughnut strobing? This is it. Cheryl Wischhover, senior reporter

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In the News
The Malls Are Merging

Shopping center giants Westfield and Unibail-Rodamco are joining forces to fight the retail apocalypse.

Today in malls, Europe’s largest mall operator, Unibail-Rodamco, went on a $15.7 billion shopping spree, buying Australian shopping center owner Westfield Corp in a takeover bid. The merger will make the newly formed group the world’s biggest mall operator, with more than 100 locations in 27 markets across the US, UK, and Europe.

While it may seem odd, with all the recent doom-and-gloom around brick-and-mortar chains, that anyone would be in the market for more malls, the move a strategic one for both parties. It gives Unibail-Rodamco a ready-made foothold in shopping capitals like London, where Westfield operates a massive shopping center with tenants ranging from Topshop to Tiffany & Co., and New York City, where last year it opened the shiny new World Trade Center Mall, a retail destination and commuter hub wrapped into one. Westfield shareholders, meanwhile, get a payday and the added security that comes with linking up with an even bigger industry player.

Of course, even valued at $72.2 billion, the new corporation is still dwarfed by its biggest threat. Amazon has a market cap of $560 billion and shows no signs of slowing down in its quest for retail domination, leaving many of the stores that once populated shopping centers falling in its wake. Earlier this fall, Gap announced plans to close 200 locations; Aerosoles is offloading 74; The Limited is shuttering all of its 250 — and, well, you get the picture. Department stores, long malls’ anchor tenants, aren’t faring much better, leaving owners to search elsewhere for attractions that will bring in droves of potential shoppers, with some turning to fitness chains instead. Vacancy rates were 8.3 percent in the third quarter of 2017, according to RetailDive.

Malls, though, are more than just places to buy cell phone covers from kiosks and stock up on Bath & Body Works. These days, they have to offer experiential activities too, something Westfield, which has partnered with Uber and Shake Shack on programming, clearly understands. Hilary George-Parkin, reporter

Who the F*Ck Is Kat Von D?
Kat Von D

Before there was Kylie Jenner, there was Kat Von D. Nearly a decade ago, the tattoo artist famous for a career in reality television and a string of tabloid-fodder relationships took her notoriety and turned it into a global beauty empire. Today, Kat Von D Beauty is one of Sephora’s most successful brands, with products that sell out in a matter of weeks and rack up tens of thousands of glowing reviews and live events that attract hundreds of fans.

Like Kylie, Kat has an instantly recognizable, highly-stylized aesthetic. It’s a combination of punk, goth, and good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll, featuring lots of black (and lately, head-to-toe red) outfits in faux leather and kooky avant-garde shapes. Jet-black hair, red lipstick, and predilection for mismatched eye makeup have become her signatures. But she doesn’t want an army of Kat clones.

“My biggest nightmare would be if somebody came to Sephora, saw my brand, and said, ‘Oh, I want to look like her, so I’ll buy this makeup,’” Kat Von D proclaimed to an audience of beauty world professionals at the WWD Beauty Summit this summer, her first-ever appearance at a major industry event. “I think that model may work for Kylie or whoever else bases their career on vanity or some kind of superficial thing. It’s quite a gamble because that can be very fleeting a lot of times.” Despite the similarities, Kat doesn’t appreciate Kylie comparisons.

After Kat’s session at the summit was over, she mingled a bit with the suit-wearing masses and then walked downstairs in towering platform shoes, gently guided by a member of her team. “I’m very impressed by Kat Von D!” a gray-haired man said admiringly to a younger woman standing beside him.

“She’s not bound by any rules,” the woman replied.

“I wanted to get a tattoo afterward,” he said.

Read more from senior reporter Cheryl Wischhover>>>
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