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Gen Z Females Are Way More Interested in These Beauty Trends Than Millennials

Gen Z and Millennial females may both have beauty routines, but they’re not necessarily into the same beauty trends. We asked which they’re most interested in and found some big differences…


YPulse’s recent personal care and beauty shopping report takes a closer look at young consumers’ personal care and beauty habits, and young females’ changing beauty routines. Last year, we saw clearly that those routines were altered as day-to-day life centered around staying home, and many of those shifts are continuing. We found that 60% of 13-39-year-old females say the Coronavirus crisis has made them more comfortable with not wearing makeup, while 60% also say their skincare routine has become more elaborate in the last year. But what trends are they actually into right now? When we asked Gen Z and Millennials females this exact question, we found some notable differences:

Young people have been socially conscious for sometime now, and thanks to their passion for sustainability, clean beauty / personal care products is the one of the few beauty trends that Gen Z and Millennial females are equally interested in, and it’s the top trend for both generations.  Brands are clearly getting the picture: We told you about the newly launched Gen Z-helmed beauty brands of the last year—and many of them define themselves as being a clean beauty brand. But from there, it’s clear that Gen Z and Millennial females’ beauty interests seriously diverge.

For instance, Gen Z females are far more likely to say they’re interested in Korean beauty products, sheet face masks, and lip masks. Early on, YPulse’s Borderless Culture trend research found that Korean beauty was an international trend that young females were fuelling, with 23% of 13-17-year-olds telling us they were interested in it. In 2019, we told you how K-beauty has become more than a trend, and sure enough, it’s gone from being niche to being pushed into the mainstream. Major retailers like Target, Sephora and Ulta have already been offering K-beauty brands on their shelves in recent years, but they’re always expanding their offerings. That brings us back to lip masks and sheet face masks, staple items of Korean beauty brands. After all, according to Harper’s Bazaar, South Korea is “by far the capital of face masks.” It’s no wonder the three beauty trends go hand-in-hand for Gen Z females, who are more likely to say they’re interested in them than Millennials.

Gen Z females are also more likely to be interested in “no makeup makeup” than Millennial females, and there’s a lot of proof to back that up. Seventy-six percent of Gen Z females tell us they prefer the “natural, barely there” look compared to 69% of Millennial females—and this ties in with what we told you about young consumers’ changing relationship with makeup. Our survey found that 65% of Gen Z females spend more money on skincare products than makeup, compared to 59% of Millennial females. According to a Klarna study, 18-24-year-olds spend more on skincare than previous generations, and see the trend as a shifting focus for prioritizing minimalism and healthy skin when it comes to beauty. In the last year, cosmetics brands have been meeting young customers halfway to meet that demand and to rally from the declining cosmetics sales: Becca Cosmetics launched a “no pigment virtual foundation” to appeal to those who prefer a more natural look, while Ami Colé and MAC Cosmetics have been releasing skincare ingredient-infused items that offer a natural makeup look for BIPOC consumers.

Gen Z females are also more likely to be interested in customized makeup, which includes cosmetics products personalized for specific skin types and skin tones. Young consumers certainly have a strong interest in personalized products—but that can be applied to makeup too. Our Customization Nation trend research found that 63% of 13-17-year-old females are interested in customizing their beauty / makeup products, while our recent shopping and retail behavioral report found that 91% of 13-39-year-olds are interested in product customization, so that interest has been there for some time now. Many beauty brands have already been responding to this need: Bite Beauty lets customers create custom lipsticks either digitally or in-person at their Bite Beauty Labs, Eyeko has a popular custom mascara, and Lancôme, Makiage, and Clinique all offer customized foundations.

Meanwhile, two of the trends that Millennial females are more likely to be interested in compared to Gen Z females are activated charcoal products and CBD / weed-infused beauty products. We’ve been tracking how weed has gotten a glam makeover for this generation—particularly in the beauty space. YPulse’s Cannabis Infusion trend research previously found that 59% of 18-36-year-olds think CBD should be more mainstream, and it seems as though the CBD infusion craze is poised to grow even more. A Hemp Business Journal study previously projected that cannabidiol products will reach $646 million by 2022, and analysis of Google data shows monthly cannabis beauty searches have grown 90%. We recently told you that Millennials’ marijuana and CBD usage has increased in the last three years—and it’s safe to say that it applies to their CBD beauty product usage too.

YPulse Business users can access the full personal care and beauty shopping behavioral report and data here.

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