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3 Up-And-Coming Beauty Brands WE Consumers Are Excited to Try

Young Europeans are more invested in their personal care routines than ever. Here are three beauty brands they’re excited to try now…


When quarantines first began, beauty brands took a hit as the need for makeup all but disappeared, and many young women seemed to be on the road to never wearing makeup again. But over the course of the pandemic, keeping up personal appearances not only remained important for young consumers in Western Europe, but became a lifeline. YPulse’s recent personal care and beauty shopping survey found that more than three in five young European consumers say the way they feel about their personal appearance affects their mental health, and more than four in five young females who wear makeup say that doing so is a form of self-care. Now, grooming has become a key way Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe maintain their state of mind, which grew understandably precarious during the long months of isolation and uncertainty.

Accordingly, personal care practices that align more closely with self-care are trending up. Consider the fact that 42% of young Europeans say they’re taking baths to relax and unwind, and 38% say they have a structured, deliberate skincare routine. In fact, skincare has blown up during the pandemic. While it’s been trending for a while now, many young consumers put down the makeup brushes and picked up the serums during lockdown, using skincare as a form of self-care. Seventy-three percent of 13-39-year-olds who report wearing makeup now say they use skincare products, while 60% say their skincare routine has grown more elaborate. 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 skincare, 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. 

While there’s always a slew of new brands tapping these trends to reach this growing group of skincare devotees, we went straight to the source to find out which ones young Europeans are actually interested in trying. In our recent survey on beauty and personal care, we asked the open-end question, “What new or up-and-coming beauty brand are you excited to try?” Here are three from their list that you should know about now:

The Inkey List 

Launched in London in 2018, skincare brand The Inkey List was founded with one goal in mind: accessibility. With consumers now expecting an “overwhelming transparency” from brands, as co-founder Colette Newberry put it, and skincare having a high learning curve (and price tag), Inkey came into being as a customer-first brand that prides itself on premium-grade ingredients and no-frills formulas at an accessible price. These elements—combined with simple packaging and brand identity—made Inkey List an instant hit. As soon as products hit shelves in Fall 2018, the brand saw one product purchased every 30 seconds. Since then, the brand has continued to add new formulas and products regularly, including a line of hair products that launched in 2020. Last also saw the launch of the brand’s first major campaign in the U.S. and U.K. Tapping real customers instead of models, the “Knowledge is Your Power” ad “takes a retrospective look at the difference ‘asking INKEY’ made to 11 of their community who they had developed a personal relationship with during the course of their skincare journeys,” according to The Drum


We’ve told you before that K-beauty has boomed into more than just a trend, with a huge portion of young females now turning to sheet masks and snail mucin as a form of selfcare as well as skincare. In fact, our beauty survey found that 18% of WE females are interested in trying Korean beauty products, and 21% say they’re more likely to purchase a personal care product labeled “Made in Korea.” This was proven when new K-beauty brand Axis-Y hit the scene at the start of the pandemic and immediately skyrocketed in popularity, instantly becoming a viral sensation. While it may seem like early 2020 was the worst time to launch a new brand, Axis-Y’s mission and message of skincare as self-care and a source of community came at exactly the right time. On top of that, the brand focuses on natural ingredients, advanced skincare technology, and social good, paired with spot-on branding and social media presence. In the brand’s recent “5.5 Skincare Community Day” campaign, for example, which took place on May 5, inspired by the ideal pH level (5.5) of the skin, Axis-Y asked it’s Instagram followers what organization meant the most to them. Based on the responses, which leaned toward environmental concerns, the brand donated money to the World Wildlife Fund. All of this has propelled the brand to the forefront of skincare and social media, with Axis-Y taking over the TikTok For You Page and it’s hashtag, #axisy, gaining 96M views. 


While talk of personal care and beauty usually focuses on females, men have been breaking taboos in this space for a while now, opting to wear makeup, build skincare routines, and take up selfcare practices. In fact, a recent survey from U.K. spa group Champneys found that 22% of young men in the U.K. want to take better care of their wellbeing, and 40% of Gen Z males would love to be gifted a spa day. Our recent personal care and beauty survey also found that 45% of young males in Western Europe use skincare products, 26% have a structured, deliberate skincare routine, and 38% take baths to relax. To meet this growing demand, male-focused personal care brands have been steadily emerging, including Horace, a French male grooming brand making a splash across Western Europe. Horace was founded in 2018 with the idea of “offer[ing] simple, efficient, natural grooming products…that listened to what men wanted and needed, instead of showing us a masculine ideal we couldn’t or didn’t want to live up to,” according to one of the co-founders. The brand’s line is built of personal care essentials made from all-natural ingredients, from shampoo to toothpaste to deodorant, and some more exploratory products, such as moisturizers and serums. More than that, the brand focuses on its community, incorporating feedback from real customers into its products, and keeping up a slate of original content on its website, including “interviews and portraits of inspiring guys like you.”

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

Don’t have a YPulse Western Europe Business account? Find out more here.