Gen Z are Changing Skincare Standards for the Better

Gen Z and millennials are embracing elaborate beauty routines.

3 Minute ReadTrend Report

18.03.22 (Updated 30.05.23)

How will Gen Zs approach skincare? Sophisticated digitally-native consumers born broadly between 1997 and 2012, they’re already behind the recent boom in TikTok ‘skinfluencers’ and ‘skintellectuals’ and are embracing elaborate skincare routines. Skincare by Hyram – the TikTok account by skinfluencer Hyram Yarbo – grew from 100,000 followers at the onset of the pandemic to over 6 million by September 2020. According to research from Kyra Media’s Gen Z State of Beauty Report, Gen Z consumers now say their number-one priority is their skincare routine.

For both skincare and cosmetics, TikTok is the most popular platform for this demographic, alongside YouTube and Instagram. Increasingly, gaming platforms like Twitch are also enabling beauty influencers like Michelle Phan to connect with fans. According to a study by fintech brand Klarna, which surveyed 15,000 shoppers, more Gen Z consumers are spending on skincare than Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers, with 41.4 percent of respondents saying it was their top category for discretionary purchases. “I worry that teens are using too many products and overloading their skin,” says Dr. Nazenin Saedi, adding that younger consumers are already coming to her office with multi-stage skincare routines.

Gen Z: A Disruptive Force in Skincare

Gen Z is also becoming a disruptive force in skincare beauty norms. “Gen Z is most exciting to me,” says Anna Whiteman, principal at Coefficient Capital, a growth equity fund focused on consumer and technology companies. “They’ve already had so much impact with their ideals around gender identity and fluidity. It’s made many beauty companies redefine how they think about beauty. They look for radical inclusivity and for products to solve problems. Take Starface, for example, the positive patch for pimples or Curology for acne.”

This generation of skincare obsessives is also expanding the conversation around inclusion in beauty and cosmetics, while also embracing bigger missions to shift beauty ideals. Black-owned skincare brand Topicals recently launched with a waiting list and US$2.6 million in funding from backers, including Netflix chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John and social media influencer Hannah Bronfman. Topicals is a medicated skincare line that aims to destigmatise chronic skin conditions currently not addressed by mainstream beauty retailers. It also donates to mental health initiatives.

Price is another area of inclusivity. P&G’s new affordable skincare line Derma Geek has been devised to impress Gen Z skincare connoisseurs with both effectiveness and affordability. Prices start at US$10.99 and the line is gender-inclusive, PETA-certified cruelty free and vegan, with a strong emphasis on active ingredients.

Ancient beauty practices remixed by Millennials

Blame Gen Z and Millennial penchants for all things New Age – more ancient philosophies and approaches are being rebooted with a modern, tech-driven twist for next gen audiences.

New York-based Wthn is one of a rising number of companies remixing ancient philosophies for modern urban audiences with a cool Goop-ish platform and treatment center. It offers acupuncture, acupressure, therapeutic “ear seeds” (small adhesive beads that can be worn at acupressure points to treat anxiety), face cupping and other treatments for beauty and wider therapeutic benefits, rooted in traditional Chinese medicine.

Elsewhere, The Hao Life has launched a line of six ingestibles made with adaptogenic herbs historically used in Chinese medicine. “Modern Plant Therapies Rooted in Chinese Wisdom” is its tagline and ingredients include goji berries and black sesame. Co-founder William Li described the line to WWD as “supplements, which are based on millennia-old formulas” for body balance.

Ever the trend spotter, beauty industry publication Glossy dubs Face Yoga “Injectables’ hippie cousin,” talking about the growing audience for holistic practices like #faceyoga, which has amassed 351.1 million views on TikTo s s ince the start of 2020. On her website, practitioner Koko Hayashi likens face yoga to a “natural anti-ageing facial.”

Ayurvedic practices are also being reinvented for digital native audiences in the beauty space. At the newly unveiled lavish Samaritaine department store in Paris, a Cinq Monde spa features Ayurvedic and “taoist” cures. Influencer and activist Diipa Khosla is launching an Ayurvedic skincare brand for the TikTok generation, coining the term “Ayurvedistry” for its combination of Ayurvedic studies and chemistry.

Shaz & Kiks is another brand giving a Gen Z twist – this time to Ayurvedic haircare. Made in partnership with an Ayurvedic doctor based in India, the 100% waterless “hair cleanser” uses iron and magnesium, and claims to nourish the scalp as well as hair. Much like Ayurvedic philosophy, it describes a holistic approach to haircare: “Start your holistic haircare ritual to nourish, balance and strengthen your entire hair ecosystem.”

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