Gen Z is rewriting the rulebook on how make-up is used and why

By Jo Allen | Published: 26-Sep-2023

This expressive consumer group is using make-up to create an attitude, reflect emotions and meet new goals

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This article was originally published in the Colour Cosmetics Trend Report. Receive your copy here

Pick a handful of the latest TikTok make-up trends – #CoquetteBeauty, #LatteMakeup and the 90s nostalgic #GrungeMakeup, for example – and they appear to have very little in common.

No single look dominates, and that’s precisely the point, because for Gen Z (who still account for 60% of TikTok users), that’s not how make-up trends work any more.

Teenagers are now spending more on make-up than on skin care, for the first time since 2020 in the US, according to Piper Sandler’s Taking Stock with Teens Survey, Spring 2023.

Make-up has seen a year-on-year increase of 32%, while skin care grew by 11%, and the survey also found that the number of teenagers wearing make-up every day has jumped to 45%, up from 37% just last year.

But if the data suggests that make-up has become a bigger category for Gen Z, the impact they are having on trends is even more significant.

This is a cohort that switches between looks at the blink of a glittery contoured eye.

They use make-up for a particular purpose, to create a specific attitude, reflect an existing mood, to experiment, or to simply have fun.

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