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The 5 Biggest Trends We Saw at Beautycon 2017

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

We went to Beautycon to see the newest products and most devoted fans in the industry, and these are the biggest trends from the go-to event for the beauty-obsessed…

Beautycon, an event built for “the new generation of self-made content creators,” their audience, and the brands that want to work with both, has become a well-known powerhouse in the beauty industry. Their engaging digital vertical and subscription box, jam-packed with brand samples, have turned the brand into what CEO Moj Mahdara has described as a “Vice Media for a 16-to-24-year-old girl.” But it’s their “Coachella meets Sephora” event in cities across the world that drums up the most excitement with young consumers. When we talked to Mahdara a few months ago, she told us why: “Beautycon is a community of different but like-minded individuals from all over the world who have come together to celebrate one thing—beauty! Our community is redefining beauty inside and out. We empower our audience by providing a space where everyone is valued and included, can talk about experiences and share.”

This weekend, the sold out Beautycon New York held its fourth-annual edition at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and we made sure to be there to take in the experience, gain insight on the biggest trends in the industry, and find out what draws young fans to a tradeshow with tickets ranging from $49.99-$449.99. Here is what you need to know about Beautycon 2017:  

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing1. Unicorns Stole the Show

Upon entering the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, attendees were greeted with what was arguably the star of the show—unicorns. Millennials and Gen Z are keeping fantasy alive, creating demand for all things that glitter, shimmer, are colorful, and name-drop a mythical creature, and the beauty industry is on board. Among the bright, pastel-colored booths giving away flower crowns and cotton candy were a wide array of makeup products that reflected the trend. Even Milk Makeup, which revolves around the low maintenance look, was giving away branded holographic bags and putting the spotlight on their new brightly colored eye-shadows, highlighters, lipsticks, and more. But it was probably Wet N Wild’s new Unicorn Glow collection that created the most magic. Lines to purchase the limited-edition collection wrapped around a station throughout the entire event, and speaking to attendees at the show gave insight as to why. Ryan, a 19-year-old attendee, told us she loves unicorn-themed makeup, because “it’s unique, magical, and colorful,” and another teen told us, “it’s magical and mystical, I want to be a magical being.” But it was probably 13-year-old Nylah who summed the trend up best when she told us, “It’s just so extra!”

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing2. Makeup Wants In On The Health(ifying) Movement

The health and fitness sector have seen an incredible increase in interest from Millennials and Gen Z across categories: athleisure fashion, nutrition-focused lifestyles, extreme outdoor challenges, personal trainer social media stars, etc.—and the beauty industry wants in. With a nature-inspired installation, CoverGirl let young consumers try on their new Vitalist Healthy Elixir Foundation infused with Vitamins E, B3, B5 plus SPF 20, which promises to give “a healthy look, from the inside out.” Also in the realm of health-focused skincare, Hi Mirror showed off their smart mirror for “smarter beauty,” assessing skin conditions like wrinkles, fine lines, complexion, pores, dark circles, and more, allowing consumers to target their problem areas for better care. Then there was High Endurance Cosmetics, a brand that wants to be the go-to makeup brand for active lifestyles. Founded by a marathon runner, the company offers sweatproof products that are made to last through even the toughest workout—and of course, stay put for that after-workout selfie!

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing3. It’s All About Empowerment

When Mahdara first became involved in the company, her mission was to “challeng[e] the status quo around beauty,” and Beautycon was a representation of that mission. Inspirational quotes about self-acceptance were found side by side with products, and a platform in a lounging area had the message, “You Don’t Need Lipstick, Lipstick Needs You.” L’Oréal’s Paris-themed exhibit highlighted phrases like “Beauty is power,” “Here’s to real friends and false lashes,” and Jordyn Wood’s art exhibit included the phrase, “There should be no separate sections in fashion. There should be just one.” The long list of creators who made an appearance spoke to this idea of inclusion and diversity, not only representing various genders, ethnicities, and body sizes, but also celebrating their differences. The empowerment theme was also found in speaking panels throughout the day that included a talk on inspiration and motivation, and a discussion on the Women’s March and how the generation can stay active in the movement.

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing4. Young Consumers Feel the Love for Beauty Influencers

Young fans at Beautycon told us about their excitement about makeup samples and free makeovers, but talking about online influencers brought the most smiles to their faces. When we asked why the influencers they came out to see were their favorites, an overall positive (and approachable) personality was key. Thirteen-year-old Ava told us, “They just seem so happy, genuinely nice, and really positive,” and 18-year-old Brianna agreed, “They just seem like nice people. Someone you can look up to.” Being confident and standing behind values were also important: 21-year-old Jay, who came out to see the transgender host of Beautycon, Gigi Gorgeous, told us “Confidence, I love confidence. That’s what inspires me, I’m a guy, and you know guys and makeup it’s like, ‘Woah!’” and 15-year-old Christina told us, “They are so beautiful; they are so fierce, and they stand for a lot of stuff. Like Gabrielle Union, she believes in everything that she’s talking about and she shows it, and she’s a really good role model. Most of the people I want to see, they do stuff I admire.”

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing5. And They Are (More Than) Cool with Sponsored Content 

Many of the beloved creators who made it out to Beautycon make their living through influencer marketing, and were there to promote various brands—so we asked fans their thoughts on that. For 13-year-old Nylah and 14-year-old Ella, they have no problem with the arrangement. Nylah told us, “Honestly, I don’t mind. I know they have to make money somehow it’s a business,” and Ella added, “They wouldn’t sponsor if they hated it, so I know it has to be good for them to accept the sponsorship, they have to be genuine.” Twenty-one-year-old Jay echoed their thoughts: “No, of course. It’s a business, you know people love makeup. They have to sell their stuff, and they’re doing good too. They are genuine, they are telling you what the product is, how to work with it. I love beauty, it’s fun.” For 15-year-olds Christina and Makalaya, purchasing promoted products makes them feel more connected to the influencer. According to Christina, “I like it! They sell stuff that I like, and I want to buy it and I want to try it, and it feels like you get to know the celebrity better,” Makalaya added, “…and if it’s like Gabrielle Union’s hair line, I would be more inclined to buying it, because I like her and I know what she’s about.” For 16-year-old Savanah, promoted content comes with pride: “I’m proud of them too. I’ve been following them for a while, so when they get out there I’m proud.”

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.