ACTIONABLE RESEARCH ON GEN Z AND MILLENNIALS
3 Big Beauty Trends (Bigger Than Yellow Blush & Pearl Hair)

3 Big Beauty Trends (Bigger Than Yellow Blush & Pearl Hair)

Makeup fads can appear and disappear faster than you can say “yellow blush” but these larger trends are helping to reshape the beauty industry, and how young consumers view it…

If you spend time on social media, you have likely witnessed the rise and fall of many a beauty fad. In just the last month, we saw the quick ascent of Yellow Blush, which both mystified and enticed beauty fans, and a quickie fascination with Pearl Hair, the latest hair color hashtag trend. Our weekly Viral List frequently includes the latest makeup fad—from feather brows to meme eye art—many of which disappear as quickly as they arrived. At the same time, some of these beauty fads can stick (especially if there are larger reasons behind them) and create huge opportunities for brands. The unicorn trend started in the beauty world, when bloggers and other fans became obsessed with unicorn inspired brushes, products, and palettes. Today it’s still going strong, with Wet N Wild releasing a much-buzzed-about unicorn collection, and the unicorn/fantasy aesthetic stealing the show at the recent BeautyCon in NYC.

Other big Millennial beauty trends are fueling shifts in the industry as well. Take young consumers’ obsession with natural ingredients. While the U.S. beauty market overall grew 2% last year, the natural sector grew 7%, and is only gaining steam. Indie brands started the shift, but major outlets and drug stores are catching on, with everyone from Ulta to CVS stocking up on non-synthetic skincare. Consumers are willing to ante up three times the price for the products, making up in revenue what they lack in shelf life. Sure, Yellow Blush, Feather Brows, and Pearl Hair might not last forever, but some beauty/makeup trends are big enough to have a lasting impact—here are three we’ve got our eye on:

1. OTT Extra Looks

Those beauty fads we mentioned above all have something in common: they started as a social media post by a beauty blogger (or two) and spread like wildfire across the internet, eventually trending enough on Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or other platforms to make mainstream media coverage. It seems barely a week goes by without some over-the-top (OTT), extra beauty look making headlines. Terrarium eyes, pom-pom makeup, glitter makeup, and fake lip piercing looks are just a few recent examples of these fast-trending fads. The more outrageous they are, it seems, the more likely they are to trend online—but don’t expect that to mean you’ll be seeing them on the street. Those scrolling through these trending Instagram beauty hashtags without larger context could be forgiven for believing that Millennial women are walking around sporting some outrageous looks, not to mention spending an eternity on their makeup daily. But of course, for the majority of women this isn’t the case. These trends might make headlines, but they are rarely (if ever) being copied for a night out on the town in real life. No, instead you’re seeing the oversized impact of social media at work. Beauty bloggers, vloggers, and Instagrammers experiment with wild, creative looks to share with their followers, turning makeup into an art form, and creating these looks specifically for social platforms is part of their allure. Some of these trends, like glitter makeup, are put to use in specific niche circumstances—festival makeup, and fashion, is a world of its own. But that’s not to say that these wild aesthetics should be ignored. As with the unicorn trend, there can be opportunities when they snowball into something bigger, and brands can always take inspiration from an out-there fad and filter it into something much more wearable.

2. Anti-haul / Less Is More

Last year, Ypulse explored the trend Less Is More, observing that, overwhelmed by content, options, marketing, and products, more Millennials are beginning to have a minimalist moment. They’re bringing a “less is more” mentality to their homes, closets, diets, and more, while trends like mindfulness and decluttering are beginning to pick up speed. Young consumers have always chosen experiences over products, but now they’re looking to let go of material goods and simplify their lives in even more ways. We explained that the desire for simplicity is impacting how and what they’re buying, and sparking new areas of interest—and now we’re seeing that it might be impacting the beauty world as well. According to Racked, “The Latest Beauty Trend Is Not Buying More Makeup.” They explain that Reddit communities and other online groups are sharing their “makeup diet” tips, celebrating the idea of not buying new products. In these groups, using every last bit of a makeup palette is a goal, and sharing reasons that a new product is not needed is common. Instead of haul videos, sharing all of their new beauty purchases, these communities share anti-haul videos, cataloguing the things they’re not spending on and why. Think of it as the opposite of those OTT Extra looks. With no-makeup makeup also trending, it’s clear that “less is more” beauty is an area to watch.

3. Insta-famous brands

Just as there are Instagram-famous beauty looks that trend, there are Insta-famous brands that earn notoriety and demand through the platform as well. Take the highly-anticipated watermelon face mask that racked up a waiting list of 5,000 people after selling out twice at Sephora. The Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask from Glow Recipe is part of the brand’s first ever product line, and promises to hydrate, smooth, and perfect skin—it also doesn’t hurt that it’s Millennial Pink. Its perfectly Instagrammable hue (and packaging) helped to spread news of the brand new brand and create an unbelievable amount of hype around their product. Dose of Color is another prime example of an Insta-famous brand; beloved among the Instagram beauty community, the indie makeup company has over 2 million followers and a “two-products-per-customer” rule to keep up with demand. While they might not be known to all those who shop for their mascara at the drugstore, these brands are making a name for themselves among beauty influencers, and benefitting hugely from their niche, beauty-obsessed audience. 

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