Oct 22 2020
During COVID, young females’ relationship with beauty and skincare has changed—but Gen Z females already had a different approach to makeup than Millennials. Our beauty and personal care report found that 50% of Gen Z females tell us that they never wear makeup, compared to 63% of Millennial females. And over half of Gen Z females say 52% they have been wearing less makeup since the Coronavirus crisis began. During this time, skin care and beauty rituals have also become a major part of self-care for young consumers, who are looking for antidotes to the chaos they see in the world. Makeup brands have quickly adapted and pivoted their products to focus on the “skin-care benefits” during the “mask-wearing era” to tout products like “no pigment virtual foundation.”
But young shoppers are also looking for more than just beauty and skincare items that make them look good. According to the NYTimes, a company can no longer “just sell skin care, cosmetics, hair care, or perfume” because “standing for something” whether it’s being cruelty-free or “being the best version of yourself” is what matters more. Clean beauty, for instance, has been picking up in recent months, and many clean beauty brands have been using famous TikTok influencers and groups to promote their products—or tapping TikTokers to launch them with.
There are a slew of new brands tapping these trends to try to reach the next generation of beauty shoppers. Whether Gen Z-founded, or partnering with famous Gen Z faces, they’re speaking the language of Gen Z consumers and taking a different approach to beauty to appeal to the generation. Here are five to know:
Last year, we told you celebrity makeup was poised to be Gen Z’s celebrity perfume. And we weren’t wrong. Rihanna and Kylie Jenner kicked off the trend, followed by Lady Gaga and Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things. This year, Selena Gomez, Lauren Conrad, and Alicia Keys launched their own beauty brands. And YouTube creators like Jeffrey Star, Huda Kattan, and Jaclyn Hill have of course been in the game for a while. But with the emergence of TikTok comes a slate of new, young creators to launch brands and reach followers their age. Morphe has been around since 2008, but they’ve been working extra hard to stay relevant with today’s generation of makeup enthusiasts. At the end of July, the beauty brand launched Morphe 2, a sub-brand that was created in collaboration with TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio to target “a younger, Gen Z demographic” that prefers more minimal makeup. The products include face tints, lip oils, face and eye glosses, and jelly eye shimmers at affordable price points. Morphe had the right idea teaming up with the D’Amelio sisters: Since the pandemic began, the two have secured brand partnerships with Orosa Beauty and Hollister. Charli has been making waves over at Dunkin’ after the chain teamed up with her for a drink collaboration. Recently, Morphe also teamed up with mega-beauty-influencer James Charles to promote their products on his YouTube Originals reality series Instant Influencer and worked with the show’s winner Ashley Scott to promote their upcoming holiday collection.
Even before the pandemic began, some TikTok influencers were already planning beauty brand launches—and because of TikTok’s high engagement, many are building on the pre-pandemic growth from last year. “Twinfluencers” Shanae and Renar Nel, who have 1.2 million followers on their joint account and are known for posting dance routines, beauty videos, and lip-synced audio from TV shows and movies, teamed up with MDMflow founder Florence Adepoju to launch Gloss Twins at the end of March. Their Nel Gel collection consists of three affordable “high-shine iridescent” lip glosses just under $12 and claim to have “no stickiness.” Represented by Fanbytes, a Gen Z-focused talent agency that’s working with two other influencers with beauty launches on the way, their vegan and cruelty-free beauty line is reportedly the first one started by TikTok influencers and is described as a “Bible-themed line of lip glosses.”
The D’Amelio sisters and the Nel twins aren’t the only TikTok creators launching their own makeup lines. We told you Addison Rae Eastering was a TikTok influencer to watch out for, and in August, she finally joined “the Gen-Z influencer brand wave.” With the help of brand innovation incubator Madeby Collection, Eastering (also a former Hype House member) launched Item Beauty where she serves as the co-founder and CEO. Targeting Gen Z, the new clean beauty brand features products like mascara, eyeshadow, brightening powders, bronzer duos, lip oils, and brow definers. According to Easterling, she wanted to create a brand that “supports individuality in a very real and authentic way.” Madeby Collection choose the right time to collaborate with Easterling her star is quickly rising, and prior to launching her makeup line, she signed an exclusive deal with Spotify to launch “Mama Knows Best,” a podcast that she hosts with her mother.
Founded by Alison Haljun and Christin Powell in November of last year, the barely one-year-old Kinship was developed with Gen Z in mind. Described as “science-backed” and “plant-based,” the clean skincare and beauty brand debuted with facial cleansers, exfoliating pads, “pimple pads,” and moisturizing sunscreen with colorful packaging—and they’ve since grown their offerings. To really reach Gen Z, their behind-the-scenes team consists of a Gen Z team themselves. The brand also has what they refer to as a “Kinship Circle”: 125 young people who give feedback and suggestions on everything from logos, color, typography, packaging design, and beta product testing. For example, the original version of their Self Reflect sunscreen (which was formerly known as Golden Milk Latte), a heavier SPF with traces of turmeric and cardamom, was scrapped because it was rejected by the Kinship Circle for being “too spicy” and not having enough texture.
With young founders Claudia Teng and Olamide Olowe at the helm, Topicals is taking a completely different approach to beauty. The brand focuses on chronic skincare conditions like acne, eczema, and other flare-ups with “science-backed, dermatologist-approved” products. When Topicals launched in August, they sold out within a few days. But beyond their (super eye catching) product line, the brand is all about being honest about imperfections, not “fixing” but “transforming the way you feel about skin.” When YPulse spoke to Teng and Olowe, they told us: “We’ve entered into an era of wellness where people no longer want to cover up their skin. They’d rather get to the root of why their skin is flaring up and I believe that has led to the boom in skincare. Also, the idea of skincare as self-care has now been ingrained into our minds. Skincare offers a mini-escape from reality.” The brand is building a positive community around skincare—calling their followers suffering from skin irritations and acne “itchy girls and spottie hotties” and sharing pictures of their fans on Instagram. They also told YPulse that as Gen Z founders, it’s important for them to “create a brand that doesn’t focus on perfection or unattainable beauty standards.”
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