December 21, 2021

Influencer marketing in the beauty industry - France

We deliver exclusive results from an exhaustive study on influencer marketing applied to the beauty industry in France. What brands make a difference in this market? Where does France stand in the European market? Who are the top influencers in the market?

An influencer marketing platform, Lefty ( gathers exclusive results from an exhaustive study on influencer marketing applied to the beauty industry. 

What are the brands that are making a difference in this market? Where does France stand in the European market? What strategies brands adopt? We will give a review of a thriving industry on Instagram.

Study methodology

The study was realized using our AI-based indexation technology that captures all European influencers (<3.5k followers) active in the beauty sector.


  • Active influencer: has mentioned a brand or product within the last 12 months. 
  • Beauty influencer: has mentioned a beauty brand or product within the last 12 months and/or published at least two beauty brand-related posts over the time of the study. 
  • EMV (Earned Media Value): estimates the media value of all beauty-related publications by influencers. Determined by retrieving beauty content through Lefty proprietary indexation technology, this figure leads to an estimate of each post’s impression. Lefty uses a CPM of 15€ to assess the media value of each post. 
  • Engagement rate: 2 months average ratio of likes over followers.

European beauty market

An expanding European market …

Moving away from direct advertising, brands have recognized that influencers can generate more authentic communication with their target audiences. New generations of consumers have become increasingly indifferent to direct brand communication on traditional media, preferring instead to consume content on social media where influencers are prominent content creators. 

Beauty brands have seized the opportunity to adopt this flexible and authentic new way of connecting with their audience. Consumers are highly responsive to beauty influencers’ content for three main reasons: it is entertaining, appealing content; it is reproducible and relatable; it is in line with today’s priority of appearing flawless. 

… dominated by the United Kingdom

With nearly 50k influencers, France holds fourth place in the European influencer market. The UK leads with some 90k influencers.

As for beauty influencers, France takes second place behind the UK.

France: a mature and competitive market 

The French beauty market stands out for its maturity and high competitivity in influencer marketing. 

France has 3k beauty influencers of which 200 tally over 100k followers each. These top influencers constitute a small group highly prized by brands.

Beauty influencers’ media value (EMV)

Brands prefer to collaborate with top and macro influencers as they address a larger potential market. They alone account for 70% of the industry media value.

Who are the leading French beauty influencers?

Top 10 beauty influencers in France 

The engagement rate for top French beauty influencers is significantly above the 2% Instagram average, indicating that despite the size of their audience, they maintain a close relationship with their followers. They alone account for 45% of the industry’s media value, which puts them in high demand among beauty brands. 
Mega-influencers use their influence to create capsule collections and launch their own brands (e.g. Leaves & Clouds for EnjoyPhoenix or Sananas Beauty for Sananas).

Types of content

Makeup as the main source of content production

Number of mention according to the genre 

In the age of selfies and social media, makeup publications have become a popular type of content privileged by influencers.

Easily shared and consumed, makeup publications (e.g. beauty tutorials) strike consumers as didactic, playful, and trendy content.

Most popular publications

10 times more stories than posts

Adding a level of relatability and authenticity to products, stories have become influencers’ favorite way of sharing. Stories are a popular way for influencers to monetize their content, engaging audiences on a more authentic and personal level.

Leading brands in France

7 of the top 10 brands are makeup pure players. Dior and Lancôme are the only traditional brands in the top 10. Sephora leads the market due to its retailer status.

January-September 2018

Strategies adopted by brands: 

Creating long term relationships: this strategy is meant to generate the maximum organic publications (eg: MAC & Huda Beauty). Through ambassador programs, for instance, brands create privileged relationships and ensure that  influencers will generate frequent mentions.
 « One shot »: a brand pays an influencer for special operations, generating a limited amount of mentions with no follow-up

The influencers’ side: content before income

Influencers make a living by and for their content. Only 22% of posts come from active collaborations with brands. The rest are organic publications published of their own initiative.

Best practice of top performing brands

Content as currency

Influencers support themselves by way of their content, which builds their legitimacy, their community and therefore their notoriety. Choosing the right brands to collaborate with is crucial to their development strategy. As a result, there is a careful selection process for establishing partnerships with brands. A successful partnership is based on the quality of a brand’s content and its ability to seduce the influencer’s audience in the long term. By collaborating with influencers, brands cultivate the creative DNA of their content and reach other target audiences.

Own the relationship

The goal of influencer marketing is to create a win-win situation, in which brands and influencers are combining to produce quality content. The two sides have to listen to each other in order to maintain an unmediated relationship. For that reason, and because managing a growing number of relationships is difficult, brands will often choose to work with a well-established group of influencers with whom they expect to maintain a privileged relationship.

Always On

For top performing industry brands, influencer marketing is a strategic communication chain that is constantly being activated. 

A successful influencer program meets two requirements. First, influencers are adopting brand highlights (product launches, evergreens). Second, influencers are offered activations during weak periods (sending products, informal meetings that are suitable for publications, etc.). If these requirements are met, brands are sure to maintain constant visibility in influencers’ content.

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