Understand the Gen Z beauty consumer in the US using Mintel’s market research, and tackle challenges in your industry. This report examines differences in beauty and personal care (BPC) product usage between Gen Z teens and Gen Z adults, how Gen Z understands and behaves in the beauty market, and opportunities for brands to better target Gen Z beauty consumers. Read on to discover our insights, and buy the full report to get a 360 view of the Gen Z beauty industry.

Gen Z Beauty Consumer Overview

Nearly 18% of the US population is Gen Z, and they’re determined to speak up and make their voices heard. They are the most diverse generation in the US, and are more likely to point out any instances of discrimination or underrepresentation. Despite their limited spending power — exaggerated by inflationary pressures — almost half of Gen Z adults buy all their own beauty and personal care (BPC) products.

Notable for brands is the fact that over three-quarters of Gen Z women believe that affordable brands are just as good as premium brands. This generation will continue to shape the beauty market with their need for representation and affordability.

Gen Z Beauty Market Trends and Consumer Behavior

Gen Z adults have more control over their BPC routines than their teen counterparts, and are more likely to take an independent approach to researching and buying products. Specifically, Gen Z teens take advice from family and friends when it comes to BPC recommendations, while Gen Z adults increasingly rely on TikTok to learn about beauty.

Over a third of Gen Z adults don’t use brands that act unethically, while much fewer Gen Z teens state that they follow this practice. This indicates that as this generation ages into adulthood and becomes more independent in their ability to purchase products, they are purchasing according to their ideological values. This aligns with the overall trend that Gen Z are more likely to represent their values in their behavior.

  • Gen Z beauty market trends: 31% of Gen Z teens say their parents/guardians buy all of their BPC products.
  • Gen Z beauty consumer behavior: The percentage of Gen Z adults who rely on TikTok to learn more about beauty has increased by 10 percentage points from last year.

Gen Z Beauty Market Opportunities

While beauty has historically been perceived as a women-driven category, the majority of Gen Z consumers (of all ages) agree that men and women can use beauty products. With gender fluidity a key issue for this generation, as they move away from traditional gender stereotypes, brands that target Gen Z consumers for their values and communities rather than gender identities will see success.

Despite their elevated engagement with TikTok, Gen Z are very critical of social media due to the portrayal of unrealistic beauty standards. Gen Z wants realistic, authentic, and attainable representation and will increasingly expect brands to destigmatize flaws and work to undo unrealistic beauty standards. This presents an opportunity for brands to stand out and represent beauty in a more authentic way, to appeal to this generation as they become a key demographic in the BPC market.

To discover more about the Gen Z consumer, read our US Marketing to Gen Z Report, or take a look at our extensive beauty market research.

Quickly Understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 and inflationary pressures on Gen Z beauty consumers.
  • Social media’s influence on Gen Z beauty consumers.
  • How category players are innovating to stand out from the competition.
  • What Gen Z beauty consumers want from the category and why.

Products and Brands Covered in this Report

Products: Color cosmetics (including nail color and care), fragrances, haircare, facial skincare, beauty devices (ie skincare appliances and hair appliances), body care and sun protection products, and soap, bath and shower products.

Brands: TikTok, Instagram, Google, Not Your Mother’s, BeReal, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Quiet & Roar, P&G, Dove, Smashbox Cosmetics, Kohl Kreatives, Fenty Beauty, Youth to the People, Cocokind, Charlotte Tilbury, Xbox, OPI, Florence by Mills, Blume, Pound Cake, MANSCAPED, and many more.

Expert Analysis from a BPC Specialist

This report, written by Olivia Guinaugh, a leading analyst in the BPC sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the Gen Z beauty market and add expert context to the numbers.

Generation Z consists of an array of young consumers at different stages of life, making them a key audience across most beauty categories. However, given their young age, Gen Z adults are particularly vulnerable to all of the uncertainty brought on by pandemic-related disruptions and record-level inflation rates, leading some to trade down to less-expensive options and/or forgo discretionary items. Tapping into the emotive benefits of BPC products and/or providing beauty experiences in virtual spaces will help category players earn a spot in this engaged group’s BPC routines.

Olivia Guinaugh, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst
Olivia Guinaugh
Senior Beauty & Personal Care Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Impact of COVID-19 on Gen Z beauty consumers
      • Figure 1: Category outlook, 2022-27
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Forget Google, Gen Z is using TikTok to search and learn
    • Address unrealistic beauty standards on social media and “be real”
      • Figure 2: Instagram post about e.l.f Cosmetics on BeReal, 2022
    • Today’s volatile economy will further limit Gen Z’s spending power
      • Figure 3: Instagram post from Afterpay, 2022
    • Be the beauty brand that Gen Z is proud to buy from
      • Figure 4: “I don’t use brands that act unethically,” teen vs adult Gen Z, 2022
    • Elevate engagement through virtual experiences
    • Key consumer insights
  3. Gen Z Beauty Consumers by the Numbers

    • Nearly 18% of the US population is Gen Z
      • Figure 5: Population by generation, 2016-26
    • Gen Z’s spending power is limited
    • Some Gen Z shoppers don’t see a need to trade up to premium BPC offerings
  4. Market Factors

    • Gen Z feels a financial pinch from inflation and increasing prices
      • Figure 6: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2010-22
    • Offering flexible payment plan can help BPC players maintain loyalty with Gen Z
      • Figure 7: Instagram post from Afterpay, 2022
    • Accurately represent Gen Z by showing more diversity in advertisements
      • Figure 8: Distribution of generations by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
  5. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Say goodbye to the “Google it” phrase, Gen Z is uses TikTok to search
      • Figure 9: Instagram and TikTok posts from Amanda Lee, 2020
    • It’s time to undo unrealistic beauty standards and “be real”
      • Figure 10: Filter vs reality TikTok post, 2022
      • Figure 11: BeReal app
      • Figure 12: Instagram post about e.l.f Cosmetics on BeReal, 2022
    • Elevate BPC routines’ association to self-care
      • Figure 13: Instagram posts from Quiet & Roar, 2021-22
    • Gen Z shoppers “vote with their wallet”
    • Show support for communities
      • Figure 14: Instagram post from Dove, 2022
      • Figure 15: Instagram post from Smashbox Cosmetics, 2022
    • Win Gen Z’s support by promoting diversity and inclusivity
      • Figure 16: Instagram post about Kohl Kreatives’ Feast Your Eyes Collection, 2021
      • Figure 17: Instagram post from Fenty Beauty, 2022
      • Figure 18: Instagram post from Youth to the People, 2022
    • Leverage a stronger eco-ethical positioning to win over Gen Z
      • Figure 19: Eco-ethical claims in new BPC launches, 2018-22
    • Current economic climate may divert spend on eco-friendly options
    • Provide clear communication and accountability when promoting “sustainability” claims
      • Figure 20: Cocokind’s sustainability panel
    • Connect with Gen Z by offering a beauty experience in the virtual world
      • Figure 21: Charlotte Tilbury’s 3D volumetric avatar
    • Elevate engagement through gamification
      • Figure 22: Xbox and OPI collaboration
  6. The Gen Z Beauty Consumer – Fast Facts

  7. Beauty Routines

    • Gen Z BPC routines become established with age
    • Destigmatizing pubic hair removal benefits both young consumers and brands
      • Figure 23: Instagram post from Gillette Venus, 2022
      • Figure 24: Select beauty routines, teen vs adult Gen Z, 2021
    • Reach Gen Z teens early by offering BPC products made specifically for their age group
      • Figure 25: Instagram post from Florence by Mills, 2022
    • Addressing the taboo around puberty will help teens open up on PC needs
      • Figure 26: Instagram post from Blume, 2022
      • Figure 27: Beauty routines, Gen Z teens, by gender, 2022
    • Black consumers show strong engagement in bodycare at a young age
      • Figure 28: Beauty routines, Gen Z teens, by race and Hispanic origin, 2022
    • Keep up with needs and demands of a multicultural consumer base
      • Figure 29: Instagram post from Pound Cake, 2022
  8. Resources for Learning about Beauty & Personal Care

    • Gen Z teens turn to personal connections, while adults turn to TikTok
      • Figure 30: Resources for learning about beauty, teen vs adult Gen Z, 2022
    • Drive awareness among Gen Z men by “coming to them”
      • Figure 31: Select resources for learning about beauty, Gen Z adults, by gender, 2022
      • Figure 32: Tweet from MANSCAPED, 2022
  9. Shopping Behaviors

    • Get the stamp of approval from parents to win over Gen Z teens
      • Figure 33: Allkinds’ Party Cake Bath Sponge
      • Figure 34: Select shopping behaviors, teen vs adult Gen Z, 2022
    • Will virtual experiences impact Gen Z’s shopping behaviors?
    • Take a slow and cautious approach to the metaverse
      • Figure 35: Select shopping behaviors, teen vs adult Gen Z, 2022
    • Elevate online shopping experience with virtual stores
      • Figure 36: Mainson Too Faced virtual store
    • Reach men early to establish loyalty
      • Figure 37: Select shopping behaviors, Gen Z adults, by gender, 2022
  10. Behaviors toward Beauty Brands

    • Offer proof and progress of eco-ethical efforts
      • Figure 38: Cult Beauty’s Cult Conscious
      • Figure 39: Select behaviors toward beauty brands, teen vs adult Gen Z, 2022
    • Utilize influencers to showcase value beyond cost
      • Figure 40: Select behaviors toward brands, Gen Z adult, by gender, 2022
  11. Benefits Sought

    • Don’t overlook teens when it comes to fragrances
      • Figure 41: Benefits sought, Gen Z teen, 2022
    • Gen Z women seek a wide range of benefits
      • Figure 42: TikTok posts about Merit Beauty, 2022
      • Figure 43: Select benefits sought, Gen Z adults, by gender, 2022
  12. Attitudes and Behaviors toward Beauty & Personal Care

    • Move away from traditional gender stereotypes and expressions
      • Figure 44: Select attitudes and behaviors toward beauty and personal care, teen vs adult Gen Z, any agree (net), 2022
    • Include parents in brand communication efforts to better reach teens
      • Figure 45: Select attitudes and behaviors toward beauty and personal care, teen vs adult Gen Z, any agree (net), 2022
    • Enhance the play-ability of BPC to reach both teen girls and boys
      • Figure 46: I’m interested in interacting with beauty/grooming products virtually, Gen Z teens, by gender, any agree (net), 2022
      • Figure 47: Instagram post of e.l.f Cosmetics’s Game Up collection, 2022
  13. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms
  14. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 48: TURF Analysis – Product claims sought, Gen Z adult, 2022
      • Figure 49: Table – TURF Analysis – Product claims sought, Gen Z adult, 2022
    • Methodology
      • Figure 50: TURF Analysis – Product claims sought, Gen Z teen, 2022
      • Figure 51: Table – TURF Analysis – Product claims sought, Gen Z teen, 2022
    • Methodology

About the report

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