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People are buying “above the mask” makeup during the pandemic, Ulta CEO says

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Spending more time indoors hasn’t stopped people from wanting to wear makeup, Ulta CEO Mary Dillon told CNBC on Thursday.

“We see more of what we call “above the mask,” like eyes and brows and lashes, and we see that makeup in general is starting to come back,” Dillion said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “It’s just a matter of how long will it take for people to be in a situation when they’re not needing to wear a mask in a more social situation.”

In Ulta’s makeup category, consumers are purchasing more products like eyeliner, mascara and brow products. At the same time, they’re not worrying too much about products like lipstick and blush, since they go unseen under the mask.

Skin care is also seeing a great surge in interest during the pandemic.

“It started with things like self care. People had more time to learn about skin care to put a bunch of new skin care routines into their procedure because they have more time at home,” said Dillion, who is stepping aside in June to become executive chair.

In addition, Dillon said the hair care, fragrance and clean beauty categories also fared well during the pandemic.

Despite uncertainty about the pandemic, she is cautiously optimistic about the industry’s growth.

“I think the spending is going to continue to accelerate, but we’re not sure when that’s going to happen, so we will be cautious for the first half of the year,” said Dillon, who will be succeeded by Ulta President Dave Kimbell.

Ulta stock was down 1.4% in morning trading.

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