New research reveals Europe’s most-searched beauty brands

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Cosmetify's global research has revealed each country's 'favourite' beauty brand by online search count
Cosmetify's global research has revealed each country's 'favourite' beauty brand by online search count

Related tags Cosmetics retail Marketing Skin care Makeup influencer marketing

In-depth data from one ecommerce retailer has revealed Europe’s favourite beauty brands based on online searches, as well as the world’s most popular brands based on searches and social media popularity…

The UK-based beauty ecommerce retailer Cosmetify has conducted in-depth research into the world’s favourite brands and the biggest beauty influencers and retailers in its annual report the Cosmetify Index.  

The research to find each country’s favourite beauty brand was based on the number of Google searches for that particular brand. In Europe, this revealed the favourite brand of each country (including non-EU countries):

  • In France and Italy: KIKO Milano
  • In the UK and Ireland: Charlotte Tilbury
  • In Norway, Sweden The Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Czech Republic: Rituals
  • In Finland, Poland, Slovakia and Romania: CeraVe
  • In Lithuania, Slovenia and Croatia: L’Occitane
  • In Spain, Denmark, Belarus, Estonia and Latvia: Oh K!
  • In Ukraine: Rituals, CeraVe and Medik8 were joint first
  • In Iceland: Sol de Janeiro
  • In Malta: The Body Shop
  • In Greece, MAC Cosmetics
  • In Turkey, Cyrus, Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro: La Roche Posay
  • In Hungary La Roche Posay and CeraVe came in joint poll position

Notably the Dutch beauty and wellness brand Rituals​ was popular across several European countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

Oh K! – a Korean ‘K Beauty’ brand – was the most searched-for brand in various countries, including Spain, Denmark and Israel in Europe, as well as in many African and Middle Eastern countries.

Meanwhile, on a global scale, Cosmetify revealed that US-based Bath & Body Works was the most favoured beauty brand in 12 different countries.

The world’s most popular beauty brands

To find the world’s most popular beauty brands, Cosmetify also conducted further research based a mixture of number of Google searches for the brand, along with the number of Instagram followers and levels of engagement from these followers to give an overall ‘score.’

In order of preference, the top 10 brands based on this research were:

  1. Rare Beauty
  2. Charlotte Tilbury
  3. KIKO Milano
  4. M·A·C Cosmetics
  5. Kérastase
  6. The Ordinary
  7. Fenty Beauty
  8. Huda Beauty
  9. Olaplex
  10. Maybelline

Selena Gomez’s beauty brand phenomenon, Rare Beauty, topped the list with a score of 7.81 out of 10. The brand had over 17 million Google searches in 2023 and has a solid social media presence, with seven million Instagram followers and a 0.51% engagement rate.

Meanwhile, Charlotte Tilbury was in second place with a score of 7.71. The brand, founded by celebrity makeup artists Tilbury, has over 23 million searches and almost 6.5 million followers on Instagram.

Italian colour cosmetics brand KIKO Milano was in third place. The research discovered that this brand appeared in more Instagram posts than the top two (around 2 million) but is slightly behind in terms of number of searches and followers. The brand, which LVMH-backed buyout firm L Catterton has just bought a majority stake in​, has put an emphasis on inclusivity – catering to various skin tones, types an preferences.

Oh K!, Bubble Skincare, BYOMA & Qure: all beauty brands to watch

Other key findings included: Huda Beauty revealed as the the leading beauty brand on Instagram, with 54.1 million followers – which is more than twice as many followers as any other brand.

The most searched brand in the last year was the K-Beauty brand Oh K! – with an impressive 73.4 million searches worldwide.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, L’Occitane Group’s Sol de Janeiro​ had seen the best Instagram engagement rate, which shows the percentage of likes and comments per post. 

Bubble Skincare was a beauty brand on the rise for 2024 with a 2,87% increase in searches, jumping up from 131,700 the previous year to 3.9 million.

According to the research, two other brands to watch in terms of sky-rocketing popularity were BYOMA and Qure Skincare.   

Sephora led global list of beauty retailers

In terms of favourite beauty retailers, LVMH-owned Sephora had the highest organic search traffic at 16,100,000 and a massive Instagram following of 22.1 million.

Beauty Bay came in second place with a score of 7.21, showcasing a balanced performance with 909,100 in organic search traffic and an Instagram engagement rate of 0.10%, higher than Sephora's, on a follower base of 1.9 million. The UK-based online retailer known for offering a wide variety of products. It was founded in 1999 as a fragrance retailer before expanding into a broader range of beauty products.

Ulta Beauty and Nykaa shared third place, each scoring 7.06.

US-based Ulta Beauty has a strong organic search presence with 10.3 million hits and a significant Instagram following of 7.2 million.

Meanwhile, the Indian ecommerce business Nykaa had lower search traffic and fewer followers, yet a better engagement rate of 0.03%.

Nikkie de Jager: the world’s most powerful beauty influencer

Nikkie de Jager was 2023’s most powerful global beauty influencer, with a combined following of 42.7 million across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, and the highest estimated combined earnings per post at £49,000.

The Dutch makeup artist regularly vlogs on her acclaimed YouTube channel, NikkieTutorials.

Filipino-American social media personality Bretman Rock came in second place, with a slightly higher combined following of 43.93 million but lower estimated earnings per post at £42,800. This is because estimated earnings are influenced by engagement rates, not just follower counts.

Third place went to American makeup artist and YouTuber James Charles, with a combined following of over 83 million, the highest on the list, and estimated earnings of £42,500 across the three platforms.

Bath & Body Works and Rituals enjoy widespread popularity

According to Cosmetify’s in-house beauty expert Carly Cochrane noted that the index also “shows the global reach of beauty preferences, with brands like Bath & Body Works and Rituals enjoying widespread popularity worldwide.”

Cochrane considered Rare Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury and KIKO Milano to be “leaders in the beauty sphere based on searches, social media presence, and engagement. Bath & Body Works emerges as the most searched-for brand, while Huda Beauty dominates Instagram with the most followers and posts.”

She also highlighted the importance of the brands on the rise, such as Bubble Skincare and BYOMA “showing significant shifts in consumer interest towards skincare and brand inclusivity” and noted Sephora’s leading retailer presence: “with its vast organic search traffic and social media following, underlining the importance of digital presence in today's market.”

Cochrane also said that the research showed that the “influence of beauty content creators is still huge.”

“Their reach and impact show just how important the relationship between social media and beauty continues to be,” she concluded.

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