* Q1 like-for-like sales up 3.5 pct; market forecast more than 4 pct
* Reported Q1 sales down 2.2 pct
* Says suffers from slower demand in North America, Russia
(Adds details, performance of divisions)
PARIS, April 14 (Reuters) - L'Oreal posted a 2.2 percent drop in first-quarter sales on Monday, held back by slowing demand for mass market products including Garnier shampoo and Maybelline make-up, particularly in North America.
The French cosmetics giant said revenue reached 5.64 billion euros ($7.79 billion), a 3.5 percent rise on a like-for-like basis that was below market expectations of over 4 percent.
As usual, the group did not give specific guidance other than to say it expected another year of sales and profit growth.
Revenue at L'Oreal's mass market consumer goods business, its biggest contributor in terms of sales, fell 5.5 percent in the first quarter. The group said it was "feeling the impact of a slowdown in Russia and the situation in Ukraine".
But overall, L'Oreal said it had seen "renewed vitality" in southern European countries, which were showing growth for the first time in six years, and that it had notably enjoyed strong market share gains in Spain.
L'Oreal's strongest growth came from its active cosmetics unit, which benefited from the relaunch of its Vichy cream brand, particularly in Western Europe, while La Roche-Posay made a "very good start to the year" with strong growth in Europe and Asia.
The active cosmetics division posted like-for-like sales growth of 8.7 percent in the first quarter, up from 8.4 percent in the preceding three months.
L'Oreal's luxury products unit, behind Yves Saint Laurent perfumes and Biotherm creams, continued to enjoy solid growth, up 7.2 percent on a comparable basis but below the 8.4 percent rise recorded in the fourth quarter. ($1 = 0.7238 Euros)
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt Editing by James Regan)