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: “I think we’re already seeing alcohol lose its health halo. Next, the assumption that alcohol is essential to a good, sophisticated life will fade.”—Joy Manning, Deputy Editor, Edible Communities (Medium)

“The doofus dad” TV stereotype is being remade for role-resisting Millennial parents. Inept at care-taking and almost everything else, the tired stereotype is saying its last “D’Oh!” as The Simpson’s Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig’s Daddy Pig get replaced with a new wave of capable fathers like Bluey’s Bandit. The switch could have a real impact on the way kids understand family life, with one research fellow explaining, “The media reflects reality and also constructs reality.” (SMH)

Apple's new subscription gaming service Arcade will cannibalize its own App Store downloads—and that’s a good thing. Downloads in the App Store are on the decline, despite mobile gaming maintaining popularity and raking in revenue. If Apple can turn Arcade into young gamers’ go-to for mobile play, they’ll be poised for success that could outstrip even Apple TV and Apple Music. (The Motley Fool)

Gen Z music artists are “post-genre.” Mixing several influences into one song has become a way for rising artists to set themselves apart, and thanks to self-upload services like SoundCloud, they don’t need music industry exec’s approval. Meanwhile, the Genreless Generation can curate blended playlists via Spotify to fit moods and occasions rather than “rock” or “pop” and are streaming has also globalized their content consumption, so U.S. genres are no longer a limit. (Vice)

Carl’s Jr. has a CBD-infused burger that costs exactly $4.20. The chain restaurant is giving fast food a Cannabis Infusion, but only at one Denver, Colorado location, and only for one day. The Rocky Mountain High Cheese Burger Delight packs 5 mg of the chemical that won’t get you high. CBD is the trendy ingredient du jour, with 57% of 18-36-year-olds telling us they’re interested in trying it, and the chemical has made its way into everything from lotion to La Croix-like beverages. (LAT)

Axe is challenging masculinity with “bathsculinity.” The brand has been blurring gender lines for the Genreless Generation for years now, and their latest series of YouTube spots is showing that men can take baths, too. They’ve enlisted comedian Lil Rel Howery, who takes bubble baths surrounded by candles in the humorous videos. And they couldn’t be more on-trend: bath time is seeing a surge as a salve for Millennial anxiety. (Marketing Dive)

Quote of the Day: “I think for a cohesive strategy and for really helping to build awareness as well as grow the market size for new things, there's definitely digital and social media. But also, there has to be this in-real-life element.”—Alicia Yoon, Founder, Peach & Lily (YPulse)

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