The cosmetics industry is mature, so the top spots don’t change often. The big companies have firmly established themselves in consumers’ minds. Despite this maturity, there is still income and growth to be had. The sector remains competitive, and the track record of the top companies makes them solid candidates for a portfolio that needs some stability. (See also: Cosmetics Industry Disruptors Target Millennials.)

We have chosen four stocks for our top picks of 2017. They were chosen based on their longevity and the reliability of their dividends. All figures are current as of September 7, 2017.

1. The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (EL)

Estee Lauder has led the cosmetics space for so long it is hard to imagine any other company taking over the top spot. The company excels at design and production of new products, as well as marketing. Yearly revenues top $10 billion, and its name brand recognition is superior.

It owns the brands Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Lab Series, Origins, M·A·C, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Bumble and Bumble, Darphin, Smashbox, RODIN and Glamglow, among others. The company also has license agreements with Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, DKNY, Michael Kors and Tom Ford.

Estée Lauder’s extensive marketing outlets are extraordinary. It distributes its products through department stores, specialty retailers, perfumeries, pharmacies, salons and spas.

Both annual and quarterly revenues have been steady, but its operating income has shown some dramatic ups and downs over the past four quarters.

  • Avg. Volume: 2,060,906
  • Market Cap: $39.85 billion
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 32.33
  • EPS (TTM): 3.35
  • Dividend & Yield: 1.36 (1.26%)

2. Inter Parfums Inc. (IPAR)

This company focuses on fragrances. It sells through its European segment and its United States segment. Inter's brands include Balmain, Boucheron, Coach, Jimmy Choo, Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin, Montblanc, Paul Smith, S.T. Dupont, Repetto, Rochas, Van Cleef & Arpels, Abercrombie & Fitch, Agent Provocateur, Anna Sui, bebe, Dunhill, Hollister, French Connection, Gap, Oscar de la Renta, and Shanghai Tang.

Its revenue trend has been slightly up for the past three quarters. The dividend of almost 2% appears to be safe. This is probably not a growth play, but it is a steady company that can provide investors with reliable income.

  • Avg. Volume: 79,325
  • Market Cap: $1.25 billion
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 31.01
  • EPS (TTM): 1.29
  • Dividend & Yield: 0.68 (1.72%)

3. Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS)

Nu Skin’s specialty is anti-aging products. It also sells nutritional supplements. Some of its products are designed for weight management, and it also has hair care products.

The company has a robust research effort on aging, including both external influences and genetic influences. Products are distributed worldwide through direct sales and distributors — similar to the Mary Kay and Avon model — plus retail stores and its online outlet.

Revenues and operating income have been dropping slightly for the past four years.

  • Avg. Volume: 654,134
  • Market Cap: $3.31 billion
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 20.91
  • EPS (TTM): 2.99
  • Dividend & Yield: 1.44 (2.32%)

4. Coty Inc. (COTY)

This beauty products company is a worldwide marketer of fragrances, cosmetics, and skincare products. Fragrance brands include Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Davidoff, Chloé, Balenciaga, Beyoncé, Bottega Veneta, Guess?, Katy Perry, Miu Miu, and Roberto Cavalli.

Coty's marketing outlets include supermarkets, drug stores, pharmacies, perfumeries, department stores, nail salons and duty-free shops.

Revenues have been growing steadily for the past four years. Operating income has been negative, so investors will need to watch for the company to move its income to the plus column.

  • Avg. Volume: 5,886,967
  • Market Cap: $12.24 billion
  • PE Ratio (TTM): -24.77
  • EPS (TTM): -0.66
  • Dividend & Yield: 0.50 (3.05%)

The Bottom Line

The cosmetics sector has some major players that offer stability and regular dividends. The demand for beauty products worldwide is still growing, and innovators in the field tend to dominate. The four on our list regularly offer new products and brands that keep them competitive.

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