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How Young Consumers Feel About Clean Beauty, In 2 Stats

Just how much has the “clean beauty” craze taken over Gen Z and Millennials’ product preferences?


  • Clean beauty has become a huge trend, both as an aesthetic and a product type as brands tout transparency
  • Clean beauty pertains to products that are safe, non-toxic, and clearly label its ingredients—and as the global industry is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2024, cosmetics and skincare brands are adopting it into their marketing to reach young shoppers
  • The majority of young consumers are more likely to buy a personal care or beauty product that has a “clean” label on it

We told you about the beauty trends we think Gen Z and Millennials will be fueling in 2022, and while “loud” beauty and stick-on makeup (inspired by the 2000s and popular TV shows like HBO’s Euphoria) are expected to be hot this year, the “natural look” is still poised to be huge as well. YPulse reported last fall about the “clean look,” which is basically just Gen Z’s take on the “no-makeup, makeup look” that’s glossy, minimalist, and more skincare-focused. The natural look also pertains to natural hair, a movement that has been accelerated in recent years as Black women have embraced their natural curls and texture.

However, a major part of the natural look is also about ingredients, and the “clean beauty” trend, which pertains to products that are safe, non-toxic, and transparently labels their contents. (It’s important to note that just because a product is “organic” or “natural,” that doesn’t necessarily make it clean.) According to data from Statista Research, the global clean beauty market is estimated to reach $22 billion by 2024, and brands sitting between drugstore and luxury prices are “performing the best.” But just how many young consumers are actually interested in trying or buying clean beauty skincare and beauty products? Our recent personal care and beauty shopping research dug into it:

One third of young consumers are interested in trying clean beauty productsand young females are driving that interest.
Our behavioral report found that clean beauty is the No. 1 beauty trend that Gen Z and Millennial females are interested in trying, so there’s no denying that young women are fueling the interest in the trend. While overall, 32% of 13-39-year-olds tell us they are interested in trying clean beauty products, that number increases to 45% among 13-39-year-old females. While some beauty companies have been using non-toxic ingredients for years, a new wave of clean beauty brands “are trying to attract mainstream consumers.” Two years ago, we told you about the emerging beauty brands targeting Gen Z, many of which incorporate “clean beauty” into their marketing, and have tapped Gen Z TikTok stars and influencers to be the face of their products and campaigns. True Botanicals, Tata Harper, and Versed are among some of the clean beauty brands that have been growing in popularity, while retailers including Credo and Follain specifically curate clean beauty brands. Even Sephora and Ulta Beauty have sections devoted solely to clean brands. Other more established brands have been seeing the growth too: Last spring, it was announced that eight-year-old clean beauty brand Beautycounter raised its valuation to $1 billion after private equity firm The Carlyle Group acquired a majority stake in the company. While Beautycounter is starting to feel the pressure to stand out in a crowded clean beauty space for years to come, CEO Gregg Renfrew and Carlyle Group executive Jay Sammons believe  it is important to build loyal customers now. What makes Beautycounter “unique” in the clean beauty brand space is its advocacy wing that has been lobbying Congress to push for companies in the U.S. to use less harmful chemicals in personal care and beauty products. In fact, as some beauty brands begin pushing more for more non-toxic ingredients and become more transparent about what’s in their products…

The majority of young consumers say they are more likely to buy personal care or beauty products with a “clean” label on them.
We told you that “clean” is the top label that attracts young consumers to buy something—and that’s especially true in the personal care and beauty space. When we looked at the other labels that would make young consumers more likely to purchase a personal care or beauty product, “sustainable” (60%) and “eco-friendly” (56%) were among some of the top labels that young consumers told us would make them more likely to buy it. But 66% of 13-39-year-olds say they’re more likely to buy a personal care or beauty product that has a “clean” label on it, cementing the fact that the majority of young consumers are indeed interested in clean beauty. Many young beauty shoppersare looking for more clean and plant-forward solutions (think products with herbs for “antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits” and oils with powerful elixirs deriving from nuts). Instagram’s 2022 Trend Report found that about one in three young people are interested in learning more about and buying “clean” makeup/skincare in 2022, including plant-based skincare, vegan makeup, using less products on their skin, and products with “clean” ingredients. In fact, one Millennial respondent told us in an open response that one of the beauty brands they are excited to try is Live Clean, which offers body and hair care products, and is completely transparent about its ingredients and its values of wanting to make the world a better and healthier place. Clearly, the word “clean” has become a major selling point for these generations, who are looking for products that feel less harmful.

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

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