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: “[It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is] my favorite satirical/dark comedy for the past 12 seasons and it hasn't dipped in quality since.”—Male, 21, NY

Nike’s new store puts mobile use at the center of the experience. Using geo-fencing, Nike knows when a customer walks into their 68,000 square foot space and changes the app accordingly. Users can see tailored content and offers, book styling appointments on-site, scan mannequins to have product delivered to their dressing room, and more. Based on the success of similar stores in L.A. and Shanghai, Nike execs hope their new flagship will build up Nike’s Brandom, and drive app downloads in the process. (Ad Age)

Jell-O is rolling out edible slime kits. Their Unicorn and Monster kits cash in on the slime trend, which has been booming in the anxiety economy for at least three years. Elmer’s, Cra-Z-Art, and Nickelodeon were all quick to tap the trend for marketing and products while Jell-O is a little late to the party. But considering that 82% of teens told Ypulse last year that they’ve participated in at least one trending activity to relax, there might still be time to capitalize. (Vox)

BuzzFeed is getting into the retail game, with plans to open family-focused stores across the country, starting in NYC. The brick-and-mortar venture, called Camp, will sell toys and apparel to Millennial parents and their kids, and the first is scheduled to open in time to capture some holiday spending. The concept is copying Story by changing up products and experiences every eight to 12 weeks, because, “we want to deliver adventure every time they come to the store.” (Ad Age)

Pharma companies are using influencers for social media marketing. Wego is a platform that connects patients with social media followings to pharmaceutical companies for marketing activations, like posts about drugs and devices. One company at least has seen success using the approach: Sunovian's earned media impressions surged from fewer than 100,000 to more than 13.2 million after working with Wego. The biggest caveats to that cashflow could be abiding by FDA regulations and contending with “a myriad of ethical issues." (STAT)

Eighty-five percent of Millennials have purchased a product after viewing a branded videoThat’s nearly 10% higher than the adult average for the U.S, U.K., and Australia, according to Brightcove. In addition, 56% ranked videos as more engaging than any other marketing materials and 46% said its their favorite form of brand communication. They're also seeking Shoppable content: 30% said they're interested in videos containing purchase links. (Marketing Charts)

Quote of the Day: “Black-ish is my favorite show on air because it's informative, funny, relatable, and political…I know that I'll be entertained and maybe even learn something new or think critically about certain issues.”—Female, 22, PA

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