From the “skinification” of hair to “loud” beauty, these are the beauty trends young people are fueling…
2021 saw its fair share of hair, makeup, and beauty trends, from “wolf cuts” and the “Farrah Fawcett flip” to trendy press-ons and French manicures made cool again. But it’s a new year, and it’s got new trends to go with it. Some of the trending “nailscapes” of 2022 include galaxy nail art and geode nail art, and Pinterest’s 2022 “Pinterest Predicts” report found that “rebel hair” isn’t going anywhere in 2022. And these generations are still inspired by Y2K, with hair stamps experiencing a comeback moment after social media posts from Rihanna and Dua Lipa influenced a jump in searches for these temporary hair color designs that just about every Millennial used to play around with as a kid.
But of course, that’s just the start. We looked at some of the biggest beauty trend predictions from Ulta Beauty, Pinterest, and Instagram, while analyzing our own data to round up the top beauty trends young consumers are fueling in 2022:
“Expensive” Brunette Hair
ICYMI: blonde hair is cheugy now thanks to Gen Z style icons who have been embracing warm hues as they switch up their hairstyles. Hailey Bieber, Billie Eilish, Gigi Hadid, and more Gen Z celebrities kicked off the trend after trading in their blonde locks for brunette hues this past winter. According to one New York-based colorist, young people are finding comfort in transitioning to “warm, feel-good colors” because they’re tied to health, power, and strength. Hair health is more important than ever, and Franck Izquierdo, founder of IGK salons, told The New York Times he sees “the healthy brunette as the trend of the new year.” The prioritization of one’s hair health has been brewing since the beginning of the pandemic when consumers were forced to become their own hair stylist. Some looked at hair dye to spice things up in quarantine, and eventually, time in lockdown made people realize they don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on bleached hair (RIP the blonde balayage). 2022’s brunette hues are richer than what people have flaunted in the past, with soft sable, violet brunette, chocolate milk, and pumpkin spice among the hot “new” brunette shades, along with darker hues that rival milk chocolate like chestnut, “Coca-Cola,” and dark chocolate. People are asking for shades that exemplify shine and healthy hair, notes Izquierdo, with “expensive brunette” serving as the epitome of young people’s hair goals this year (or winter, at least).
The Natural Look
YPulse reported in November about the “clean look,” which is really just Gen Z’s take on the “no-makeup, makeup look” (spoiler: it’s glossy, minimalist, and most importantly, skincare-focused…but more on that later). The “clean look” signals that deliberate skincare routines are (still) a priority for young consumers, and our beauty research shows that 65% of Gen Z and 59% of Millennials say they spend more money on skincare than makeup. According to Ulta Beauty’s 2022 “Uncover” Trend Report, the natural look is expected to take off even more this year, and the beauty retailer cites textured hair products, skin tints that offer lighter foundation coverage, softly contoured blush, and the acceptance of freckles as products / looks that will help beauty consumers embrace the natural look. The natural hair movement has accelerated the past three to five years as Black women embrace their natural curl and texture, and puff hairstyles are trending in response as “people celebrate their natural texture with big hair styling techniques,” according to Pinterest’s predictions. High puff hairstyles, space buns for natural hair, and two puffs natural hair hairstyles, are some of the styling techniques that have experienced a spike in searches. Natural is also about the ingredients, and consumers will be looking for clean beauty and plant-forward solutions. Instagram’s 2022 Trend Report found that nearly one in three young people are interested in learning more about and buying “clean” makeup/skincare in 2022. YPulse’s beauty research also found that clean beauty is the No. 1 beauty trend among Gen Z and Millennial females. Research from Skincare Hero also points out that prickly pear is an ingredient known for its anti-aging properties that is rising in cosmetics because it’s known for improving skin tone and fighting premature aging. More natural ingredients including rice and flax are also popular when it comes to promoting hair / skin health.
The “Skinification” of Hair
Speaking of hair, “liquid hair” or shiny “glass” hair are representative of the “skinification” of hair trend as young consumers focus more on ingredients that improve their overall hair health. YPulse reported on how hyaluronic acid has been blowing up as a hair treatment thanks to its ability to improve the appearance and feel of damaged hair. Hyaluronic acid originally took off as a skincare trend for its hydrating properties, and products from The Ordinary and The Inkey List have been giving young consumers affordable options to try out the trend—both in their skincare and hair routine. Meanwhile, rice water has popped off on social media as a way of achieving glossy, bountiful hair, and has even started infiltrating beauty products. Naeemah La Fond, global artistic director of Amika, tells Glossy that shiny hair used to be associated with greasy, unclean hair, but as consumers spent less time (or none at all) in salons at the beginning of the pandemic, they started focusing more deeply on their hair health and started seeing shiny, glossy hair similar to the dewy skin look where having a hint of shine makes one glow.
“Loud” Beauty & Stick-on Makeup
While the natural look may be on the rise, that certainly doesn’t mean bold beauty is out. YPulse’s The In-Between Trend Report found that 16% of Gen Z and 11% of Millennials want to wear brighter makeup in 2022. Ulta Beauty expects soft and bright hair colors to take off, along with bright eye looks featuring a mix of red, sapphire, and pastels. When it comes to their eyelids, consumers will be playing around with “bold lines, whimsical shapes, and vibrant, fanciful colors,” while sculpted brows will be used to make a statement. This “expressive revival,” as Ulta Beauty puts it, takes inspiration from the ‘90s and Y2K cultures “where streetwear and academia looks collide to create spirited aspirations with playful hair and a healthy dose of glitter along the way.”
Stickable makeup art is also seeing a surge in interest from young consumers as they look to decorative decals for bold, self-expressive looks. The trend is driven by pop culture, celebrities, influencers, and social media, and Euphoria has certainly helped popularize stick-on beauty. Young consumers were obsessed with Euphoria’s makeup looks after the show first aired, inspiring the show to launch a collab with Face Lace that brought Euphoria-themed eye art stickers to the makeup scene last February. Since then, bold eyeliner stickers have launched via beauty brands like Simihaze and PaintLab to give Gen Z and Millennials more stick-on beauty options. And now that Euphoria season two is out, Donni Davy, the show’s makeup artist, tells Glossy that more “refined” stick-on beauty looks like using “really tiny” rhinestones and using makeup to give a subtle twinkle will be a big theme throughout the season. Stick-on face gems have also made their way to pop culture thanks to Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR” album art and Met Gala red carpet looks where guests including Amanda Gorman, Lil Nas X, Grimes, and more were seen flaunting stick-on rhinestones / gems. While the face decal trend isn’t all that new, the trend is evolving through pop culture as Gen Z and Millennials put their own spin on the trend, and YPulse’s beauty and personal care research shows 71% of young consumers say they like experimenting with different makeup looks.
Drop Earrings & Cartilage Piercings for Men
YPulse told you how makeup and jewelry have been getting a gender-inclusive upgrade, and our January trend research shows one-third of Gen Z males say their style has changed during COVID-19. As they experiment with fashion, studs and hoops are becoming more popular among young men, which is being led by young style icons like Harry Styles, BTS’ Jungkook, and Evan Mock. According to Lyst, searches for men’s earrings are up by 147% compared to January 2021, while “cuff earrings” are up 90%, “helix piercings” up 303%, and “mono earring” searches have also experienced an increase. While men wearing earrings isn’t new, Saisangeeth Daswani, a fashion analyst at global trend-forecasting agency Stylus, tells the Wall Street Journal that their experimentation with flashier styles like hoops and dangles is “unprecedented” compared to years past. Young men are also moving beyond their lobes and opting for tragus or cartilage piercings. Combined with the fact that workplace dress codes are becoming more loose and fashion is becoming less binary, trendy ear candy is more popular than ever. YPulse’s Gender Blur trend research shows over half of young people believe gender is fluid and we should work towards breaking traditional gender stereotypes.
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