NEW YORK: Olay, Avon and L'Oréal are the three most valuable beauty brands in the world, a report by Brand Finance, the specialist consultancy, has revealed.

Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble and currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, retained first place from last year, after delivering a 6% increase in its net worth to $11.8bn overall.

"On Olay, we try to be at the forefront of innovation, with new ingredients and technologies that really transform the skin," said Michael Kuremsky, P&G's general manager of skin care.

Avon claimed second but saw a 22% decline in its value to $7.9bn. The firm's operating profits per representative have fallen by 75% over the last decade, according to analysis by Sanford C Bernstein, and its stock price fell by 45% in 2011.

One bright spot, the Brand Finance report argued, was Avon's strength in emerging markets and commitment to corporate social responsibility in these areas.

L'Oréal, the eponymous brand of the French cosmetics giant, followed in the charts on $7.7bn, up 1% year on year. Neutrogena came next, off by 2% to $6.2bn.

Nivea, manufactured by Beiersdorf, was also down 15% to $5.6bn, while Lancôme, part of L'Oréal's portfolio, endured a 10% contraction to $5.1bn.

Dove, made by Unilever, enjoyed rather better results, growing by 12% to $5bn. One of the brand's major recent initiatives has been rolling out a line for men, which is likely to become a wider trend.

"There is more awareness by men and more acceptance that it's okay to use beauty products for men," said Elise Neils, managing director of Brand Finance USA.

Estée Lauder came in eighth position in the rankings and was valued at $3.7bn, a 22% expansion from the previous year. Fabrizio Freda, the company's CEO, has previously cited several reasons for such success.

"What's driving consumers to our brands, whether in Shanghai, London, Los Angeles or Milan, is a winning formula that combines incredible innovation, brilliant advertising, local relevance and improved High-Touch services," he said on a conference call earlier this year.

Making up the top ten were two Japanese ranges, Bioré on $3.3bn and Shisido on $2.9bn.

Data sourced from Talking Retail, Forbes, Brand Finance; additional content by Warc staff