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: “Kids are so busy these days, and I think slime gives them the stress relief needed to just slow things down for a moment.”—Karina Garcia, YouTuber (YPulse)

CVS will soon sell CBD products in eight states. The drug store is getting involved in the cannabis craze by stocking up on personal care products like lotions and sprays that feature the buzzed-about ingredient which 59% of Millennials told us should be more mainstream in our Cannabis Infusion trend. Notably, the drug store won’t be bringing any digestible forms of CBD to their stores though, meaning supplements, edibles, and trendy drinks won’t be hitting their shelves (yet). (Fortune)

Blueface is becoming more than the viral meme that launched his rap career. His hit song “Thotiana” took over social media recently and broke into the Billboard Top Ten, but critics were quick to debate whether he paid his dues in the rap world. But he’s not afraid to admit that “Getting to this point probably took about 25 percent music” and that Blueface is a role he plays, complete with signature dance moves. Now, a sequel to “Thotiana” is in the works and some critics are taking him seriously, calling him “ahead of his time.” (NYTWP)

HBO is challenging fans to find six real-life iron thrones hidden across the globe—all to hype up the upcoming Game of Thrones premiere. The interactive marketing move is the second part of HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign, which kicked off at SXSW 2019 by asking viewers to shed blood for the show and donate to the Red Cross. The first throne was found by fans within a day after an image of the #Throneoftheforest went live, and the show’s Twitter suggests the second throne has already been claimed as well. (Marie Claire)

Niantic’s Harry Potter game is leveling up the augmented reality gaming introduced by Pokémon Go. In “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite,” Potterheads (the franchise’s Next Level Fandom) search the IRL world for magical objects and creatures using a similar gameplay that turned Pokémon Go into a global craze—but Niantic has made some improvements in their attempt to strike gold twice. In addition to tech upgrades, Niantic is making sure interactive elements are placed in “pedestrian-friendly locations” to avoid accidents. (WSJ)

Saucony is doubling down on Dunkin’-themed sneakers with a second pair. The athletic brand has been heating up the food industry with sneakers inspired by avocado toast, bacon and eggs, and more. And after a successful first run with Dunkin’ last year, they’re coming together again to celebrate the Boston Marathon. It may not seem so symbiotic to all, but 45% of Millennials told us in our Brandoms trend that they like to see their favorite brands take on other industries. (Fortune)

Quote of the Day: “The trend that Riley Rose is tapping into in order to appeal to young shoppers is primarily the K-beauty trend that has taken over in recent years, providing customers with brands that they usually can only find online, now in their store.”—Linda Chang, Cofounder, Riley Rose (YPulse)

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