10 of The Hottest Beauty Brands, According to Gen Z & Millennial Females

Our youth brand tracker digs into the beauty brands that Gen Z and Millennial women think are hot right now…

With #selfcare and #selfies boosting profits in the beauty sector, brands in other categories want a piece of the action, creating a real beauty gold rush. Unlikely brands are finding creative ways to cash in on young consumers’ self-care obsession: According to Vox, “The beauty business is so lucrative that Spotify and SodaStream want a piece of it too.” Bumble is launching a skincare line, 7-Eleven sells their own makeup, SodaStream is touting the benefits of washing your face with seltzer, and many more brands are getting in on the craze with their own products. Others are coming together for surprising collabs, like Expedia and Estée Lauder. Leveraging young consumers’ Treat Yo’Self mentalities could pay off for brands that get into the beauty game.

Meanwhile, existing beauty brands are capitalizing on their Brandoms and turning products into full blown experiences. The Cut reports that Sephora’s first festival, Sephoria: House of Beauty, brought together 5,000 makeup addicts for a branded experience extravaganza. Attendees could play Urban Decay slot machines for coveted cosmetic prizes, make their own Make Up For Ever palettes, have a mini salon day at Dry Bar, or just sample all their favorite brands and take advantage of the numerus photo ops.  

Gen Z and Millennial women are driving this beauty mania. Not only is beauty one of the top things they like to treat themselves to, their interest in new products and digital native brands is upending the industry. And our youth brand tracker Ybrands keeps tabs on the beauty brands they think are hot right now. This year, we’ve collected over 56,000 interviews that tell us how young consumers feel about more than 300 brands. Here are the 10 beauty brands that Gen Z and Millennial females tell us are hot:

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*Ybrands measures young consumers’ relationships with a brand based on a weighted 6-point scale, ranging from “Never heard of this brand” to “This brand is one of my favorites.” As part of Ybrands’ “Brand Momentum” metric, we also ask respondents “Which of the following are hot right now?” These are the top brands that were rated “hot,” among those who are aware of the brand. The brands on this list are among the almost 300 brands included in the brand tracker as of 11/6. Rankings are subject to change as more brands are added and removed. 

Out of the almost 40 health and beauty brands that young females are asked about in our Ybrands survey—ranging from big brands to buzzy startups—these are the 10 that each age group says are hot right now. And Kylie Cosmetics is at the top of all their lists. According to the Financial Post, Kylie Cosmetics raked in $420 million in 18 months, mostly via organic marketing courtesy of founder Kylie Jenner. This year, Forbes famously called her a self-made billionaire—and reported that she has made $900 million in less than three years with her brand. Her status as both an online influencer and the member of an uber-famous TV family has propelled Kylie Cosmetics to success with young consumers, many of whom watch her every move online and are proud to be a part of the Kylie Brandom.

The lists of hottest beauty brands are full of new names—as mentioned above, young consumers' love of indie brands is upending the beauty market. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, which went viral and has sparked a wave of inclusiveness across the industry, is winning more market share, and ranked number two on the hot beauty brand list among both 18-24-year-olds and 25-36-year-olds. Fenty appeals to The Diversity Tipping Point generation with inclusive shades of makeup and also opts for lower price points, which according to Billboard, has actually upped the brand’s average consumer spend above lines like Kylie Cosmetics.

But while upstarts Fenty, Kylie, and Glossier all made the lists, more longstanding brands were also deemed hot by young female consumers. Ulta and Sephora, which have both seen sales surge in recent years and are actively cultivating their communities of young fans, ranked in the top 10 among all three groups.

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day:  Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.”—Kate McManus, VP of Marketing, Delicato Family Wines (Wine Spectator)

Young consumers are “killing the shopping spree.” Whether they’re signing up for the growing number of clothing subscription services (Rent the Runway, Le Tote, Urban Outfitters, etc.), shopping second-hand, or just culling their closets—young shoppers are quitting fast fashion in droves. Some are inspired by Marie Kondo’s joy-sparking brand of minimalism, while others want to help the environment—and still others are just seeking a wide range of things to wear at a lower price. (Vice)

Airbnb is launching “adventures” for experience-seeking young travelers. The site that started with accommodations and moved into one-off “experiences” (like dinner parties) now offers multi-day excursions, complete with guides, gear, meals, and accommodations. The platform already features over 200 trips in 40 countries, including a tiger-tracking expedition in Kenya and a trek through the canyons of Oman. (Fast Company)

Tyson Foods is taking on the fake meat market with plant-based nuggets. The pea protein nuggets are the first in a line of “Raised & Rooted” products from Tyson Foods. The brand's CEO explains they’re catering to the “growing number of people open to flexible diets that include both meat and plant-based protein”—aka young flexitarians, not full-time vegans. But can a company known for its meat sell the idea that “this [trend] is about ‘and’—not ‘or’”? (The Verge)

Snapchatters can shop Levi’s new Pride Month jacket via selfie filter. The Shoppable feature is first enabled by scanning a QR code found at select stores or by getting a special Snapcode from a friend. Then, users can try on the special-edition trucker jacket via augmented reality, customizing it with one of two washes and a selection of six pins and patches. Once they complete the look, users can purchase the Pride Month Jacket—without ever leaving the app. (SJ)

Amazon’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition revamps the original. The new smart speakertakes many cues from the adult version’s second generation (it’s louder and rounder) but adds special features just for kids that go beyond a rainbow-striped color scheme. The device will come with a year of FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that includes popular Alexa skills like Pinkfong’s Baby Shark Adventures, as well as an enhanced parental control suite to address growing privacy concerns. (VarietyCNET)

Quote of the Day: “Young people still have an incredible interest in the Olympic Games…But the way they are consuming the Olympic Games—the type of content they are watching and the ways and the platforms on which they are watching—are fundamentally changing.”—Kit McConnell, Sports Director, International Olympic Committee (Bloomberg)

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