April 14, 2021 at 04:00PM

When the head of the world’s largest fragrance and cosmetics company said two months ago that L’Oréal was counting on a post-pandemic euphoria rally that would resemble the “roaring 20s,” some cynics may have snickered, while other believers seem to have taken note.

“When COVID is gone, people will be happy to go out again, to celebrate, to socialize, and this will be like in the famous roaring 20s,” L’Oréal CEO and Chairman Jean-Paul Agon told analysts and investors during the company’s earnings call in early February, predicting that the world was on the cusp of a “fiesta of makeup and fragrances.”

Agon’s comments were not only a departure from the staid and plain-spoken guidance corporate executives typically dole out, but his message appears to have been heard — and acted upon — by institutional investors who share his optimistic thesis, and are eager to catch the next wave of the COVID crisis.

Carlyle and Counter Brands

For example, the private-equity powerhouse Carlyle Group has reportedly just taken a majority stake in the $1 billion clean cosmetics firm Counter Brands, whose Beautycounter business is growing a loyal following by not using close to 2,000 common chemicals found in many types of makeup.

While the Journal report said the Santa Monica-based company intends to use the proceeds to continue to raise brand awareness and to bolster its digital sales, it seems that word of the non-toxic makeup movement has already caught the attention of one slice of the market: investors.

“This is a brand that in our view is not just at the forefront of what’s important to beauty consumers, but also to consumers in general,” said Jay Sammons, Carlyle’s global head of consumer, media and retail.  

For Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew, the Carlyle cash brings Beautycounter “one step closer to a world where all beauty is clean beauty,” per a company tweet

“The goal was always to build a beauty brand that transforms the beauty industry at large,” Renfrew told Fast Company about the mission of her eight-year-old business. “There was never one specific plan to fuel our growth, but we believe that Carlyle is the perfect partner for where we are.”

Nykaa’s $4bln IPO

Not to be outdone at the coming fiesta, Mumbai-based Nykaa is reportedly moving ahead with its own plans for the ultimate fundraising: an initial public offering that would value the cosmetics and fashion retailer at an estimated $4 billion. With the backing of investment banks Kotak Mahindra and Morgan Stanley, Nykaa is looking to drop a prospectus in the next 60 days and complete its listing by the end of the year.

According to its website, over the past nine years, Nykaa has grown to be India’s largest omnichannel beauty destination, serving millions of customers via 68 stores and a website that offers over 1,200 different branded products.

“Nykaa offers a comprehensive selection of makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrances, personal care, luxury and wellness products for women and men,” as the soon-to-be listed company characterized its operations, noting that its name is derived from the Sanskrit word “Nayaka,“ meaning “actress” or “one in the spotlight.” 

Although Nykaa’s mission is “to celebrate the star in each woman,” for now, the focus appears to be on the cosmetics company itself, as it readies for its own roaring 20s moment in the spotlight.

Big Money Pours Into Makeup Business Amid ‘Roaring 20s’ Rebound …

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