NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With Estee Lauder (EL) reporting earnings earlier this week, we decided to check TheStreet Quant Ratings for stocks in the "personal products" sub-industry, that would be good investments.

Although the cosmetics company missed analyst expectations on sales, it beat estimates on earnings. Shares of its stock dropped nearly 7% in trading yesterday. Estee Lauder's total sales dropped more than $2.5 billion over the past year.

So, what are the best personal products companies investors should be buying? Here are the top three, according to TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which stocks made the list. And when you're done, be sure to read about which pharmaceutical stocks you should buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on August 17, 2015 closing prices. The highest-rated stock appears last.

NHTC ChartNHTC data by YCharts
3. Natural Health Trends Corp. (NHTC)

Rating: Buy, B+
Market Cap: $379 million
Year-to-date return: 180%

Natural Health Trends Corp., a direct-selling and e-commerce company, provides wellness, beauty, and lifestyle products for consumers or business builders under the NHT Global brand name. The company manufactures and supplies its products through third parties.

"We rate NATURAL HEALTH TRENDS CORP (NHTC) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • NHTC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 103.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NHTC has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, NHTC has a quick ratio of 1.59, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Personal Products industry and the overall market, NATURAL HEALTH TRENDS CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 100.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 163.89% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, NHTC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • NATURAL HEALTH TRENDS CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, NATURAL HEALTH TRENDS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.62 versus $0.37 in the prior year.

USNA ChartUSNA data by YCharts
2. USANA Health Sciences, Inc. (USNA)

Rating: Buy, A-
Market Cap: $2.1 billion
Year-to-date return: 56.2%

USANA Health Sciences, Inc. develops, manufactures, and sells science-based nutritional and personal care products primarily to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative disease worldwide.

"We rate USANA HEALTH SCIENCES INC (USNA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • USNA has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Personal Products industry and the overall market, USANA HEALTH SCIENCES INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 41.17% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 130.94% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, USNA should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • USANA HEALTH SCIENCES INC has improved earnings per share by 41.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, USANA HEALTH SCIENCES INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.63 versus $5.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.18 versus $5.63).

EL ChartEL data by YCharts
1. Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL)

Rating: Buy, A-
Market Cap: $31.4 billion
Year-to-date return: 8.7%

The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. manufactures, markets, and sells skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products worldwide.

"We rate LAUDER (ESTEE) COS INC (EL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • EL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.38, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.32, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Personal Products industry and the overall market, LAUDER (ESTEE) COS INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Personal Products industry average. The net income increased by 27.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $213.20 million to $272.10 million.

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