For the quarter ended Dec. 31 the New York company reported earnings of $873 million, or an adjusted $2.55 a share. Revenue grew 5% from the year-earlier quarter to $4.85 billion.
Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.69 a share on revenue of $4.49 billion.
Shares of Estee Lauder at last check were rising 6.1% to $268.50.
"We are proud to have returned to growth in our second quarter, earlier than we anticipated," Chief Executive Fabrizio Freda said in a statement.
"The powerful engines of skin care, fragrance, Asia/Pacific, travel retail in Asia, and global online fueled our performance despite the increasing complexity of the pandemic."
"Our performance this quarter gives us confidence, as we delivered strong sales and earnings growth amid the pandemic while living our company values and investing in technology for new capabilities to support accelerating growth drivers," Freda said.
The company took note of consumer preferences in the quarter.
"The covid-19-related closures of offices, retail stores and other businesses and the significant decline in social gatherings have also influenced consumer preferences and practices," the company statement said.
"Demand for skin-care, fragrance and hair-care products has generally been more resilient than the demand for makeup."
For the third quarter, Estee Lauder expects earnings of $1.10 to $1.20 a share. Net sales should grow 13% to 14%, which suggests upside of 15%.
Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.46 a share on revenue of $3.86 billion.
And Estee Lauder said it would resume share buybacks in the second half.