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Gen Z Is Rejecting the Beauty Industry and Its Superficial Standards

Gen Z Is Rejecting the Beauty Industry and Its Superficial Standards

A year before the pandemic hit, the beauty industry saw a sharp decline in sales. There was a 21% decrease in spending on makeup products by teens and tweens in 2019. This is otherwise a major target demographic for brands to make their sales from. What is driving away these consumers?

The shift in customer attitude and the decrease in sales are attributed to several factors. The change in the consumer attitude toward the conventional beauty standards, the booming skincare industry, and the need for sustainable beauty products are a few to name. 

The pandemic made things worse for the beauty industry. This $500 billion industry lost almost 30% of its operation because of several retail stores being shut down.  

Even before the pandemic hit, the beauty industry was seeing major shifts. Mckinsey in a report revealed that Gen Z bought nearly 56% of products online and 52% of skin care products online. 

The beauty industry is certainly changing and Gen Z might just be the driving force behind it. Here is all you need to know.  

The Shift to Skincare

Young customers have swayed away from traditional full coverage makeup. With the boom of the skincare industry, consumers are looking for products that do more than just provide coverage. In 2012, Glossier came out with a range of minimal coverage, glowy products that were hugely popular. It can be considered the pioneer of the ‘no make-up look’.  

Gen Z wants to reap the skincare benefits of serums and moisturizers while having some amount of coverage. This has led to the advent of ‘hybrid’ products. Some popular skincare ingredients incorporated in these hybrid products include hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin C. 

Diversity and Self-Expression

Research by Pew Research Centre states that approximately 50% of the post-millennial population in the US is racially and ethnically diverse. The diversity in the population is reflected in its shopping decisions. Gen Z will no longer support brands that are not inclusive in their branding and product production. 

Gen Z is not settling when it comes to inclusivity. Makeup is no longer about covering up natural skin tones and texture. Instead, they consider it an art form used for self-expression. From having enough shades in the foundation range to models of all shapes, sizes, genders, and colors being involved in campaigns, Gen Z wants it all from the brands. 

Brands can no longer get away with not having enough foundation shades like they used to. Tarte, Estee lauder, and Beauty Blender are examples of brands that came out with terrible foundation ranges and received the internet’s wrath for it. Fenty on the other hand became a favorite instantly for launching = 40 shades in their foundation range, plenty of which catered to darker skin tones. 

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The Ingredients, Chico, They Never Lie

Gen Z actively takes interest in learning the nature of ingredients that go into making beauty products. With more dermatologists, aestheticians, and ‘skinfluencers’ taking over the internet space, the information about ingredients is easily accessible.

Therefore, the post-millennial population is aware of ingredients they are allergic to, that threaten long-term damaging effects and those unethically sourced. This makes it easier for them to decide the products they want to choose and the brands they want to support. 

Over-Saturation of Products

It’s hard to keep up with the sheer amount of makeup launches happening. The beauty space is too saturated with makeup products for the audience to be excited. You have to be highly selective with the products you invest in and one often feels like they are missing out.

Previously, new makeup launches were exciting, meaningful, and highly anticipated, which is far from the case now. A new product comes on your feed every time you open your Instagram account. For Gen Z who believes in hybrid products and sustainability, this is a major cause of disconnect from the cosmetic industry. 

In a Nutshell

We are witnessing a shift in the beauty industry to accommodate the expectations, needs, and desires of the current generation. A generation more confident and vocal about what they look for in products. This change is largely a positive one. It has paved a way for much-needed conversations on inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.


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