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2 Body Modification-Lite Trends Gen Z & Millennials Are Fueling

More temporary, approachable ways to make their bodies a canvas are trending with young consumers (and making some brands big successes)…


  • YPulse research shows two in five Gen Z and Millennials have tattoos
  • But made-to-fade tattoo studios and more trends are popping up to appeal to risk averse young people who wanted inked designs, minus the commitment

YPulse’s personal care and beauty report shows that 41% of Gen Z and Millennials have tattoos, and dainty designs (plus fandoms) are some of the most popular ink they’re getting. But for those who want less, well, permanent ways of showing their creativity and style on their bodies, there are more options than ever before. A number of alternative body mod trends have popped up recently that are appealing to those who want more temporary styles, and taking off with young consumers. Here are two you should know:

Semi-Permanent Tattoos
Now, there’s finally an answer for those parents and grandparents who tell Gen Z and Millennials they’ll “regret that tattoo when they’re older!” Semi-permanent ink is a new tattoo option that mimics the cost (and pain) of a real tattoo, but only lasts for nine to 15 months. The “made-to-fade” tattoo trend has primarily been led by temporary tattoo startups like Toronto’s Inkbox and New York’s Ephemeral, which are garnering a following of risk averse Gen Z and Millennials who can’t get enough of the temporary—and delicate—designs these studios specialize in. Ephemeral has locations in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Los Angeles and has built a strong following of more than 50K TikTok followers and over 98K Instagram followers. Appointments are so popular that those interested in getting inked need to pay to reserve a spot. So what’s the point of a semi-permanent tattoo? Young people are using the more temporary ink to test out designs they might make permanent later, or to get more playful or silly tattoos that they know they won’t want when they’re older. The brand says they want to help visitors “Express yourself without the fear of getting it wrong—because we believe you should regret nothing.”

Permanent Jewelry / “Zapping”
Move over tattoos and piercings, permanent bracelet welding is coming for you. What is permanent bracelet welding you ask? It’s a chic trend where consumers go to a jewelry boutique—or a permanent bracelet bar—to get a thin, link chain “zapped” to their wrists. Perhaps one of the biggest brands to lean into the “zapping” trend is jewelry brand, Catbird, who markets the procedure across its site and social channels. The permanence of it is that the chain is welded around one’s wrist, offering a stylish alternative to friendship bracelets and tattoos. The name “zapping” comes from the bright flash of light that the welding creates. Influencers and TikTok users have been raving about the jewelry trend for its high-quality, chic look and the bonding aspect of it. Couples, friends, or relatives can go and get permanent bracelets welded on to their wrists together or by themself. #PermanentJewelry has racked up over 60M views on TikTok, while #PermanentBracelet counts 102M views as TiKTokers share their experiences. The trend started gaining popularity last summer and has only gotten more mainstream since. Bracelet Bar, a permanent bracelet boutique in Austin run by Nina Berenato, often posts about the popularity of permanent link bracelets at their joint, sharing TikTok videos of (surprisingly) large turnouts at their pop-up events.

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

Don’t have a YPulse paid account? Find out more here.