Weekly Stories

We Can't Talk About Beauty and Not Mention Millennials

Reported by Grace Howard on Aug 1, 2017 3:00:00 PM


While the old adage dictates that beauty is only skin deep, the business of beauty continues to boom. And, with new, young brands blossoming on social media, we can’t talk about the beauty biz and not mention millennials. Here, we take a look at some brands that are working to captivate the millennial market through imagery, messaging, social media and more.

Keeping it real (and millennial pink)

In a recent interview with The Times Magazine, Emily Weiss, founder and CEO of Into the Gloss and its beauty brand offshoot, Glossier, mentioned that her brand isn’t specifically tailored to millennials. However, the fast-growing beauty brand uses millennial pink heavily in its imagery, has a huge social media presence, and critics have argued that some of its products, like its Perfecting Skin Tint, offer such ‘barely-there’ coverage that they’re best left to those with younger, unblemished skins. However, Glossier’s toned-down approach to beauty (‘Skin first. Makeup second. Smile always’ is one of its catchphrases) makes sense when you read recent research from Mintel that states that millennial women like ‘natural’ beauty looks, as well as multitasking, fuss-free products that speed up their beauty routines.

Moving away from makeup and looking at personal care, which bridges the gap between the beauty and health industries, there’s Thinx, which is doing a lot more to connect to millennials than deploying soft pink hues in its advertising. “We're able to talk about something that's taboo, something that's uncomfortable for a lot of people, but in a totally relatable way,” the brand’s co-founder Miki Agrawal explained to AdWeek. Thinx sells underwear for women to wear during their periods, and the way the brand tackles a taboo topic is laudable. Ann Fishman, author of Marketing to the Millennial Woman, told The Washington Post that Thinx has found success within the millennial market because “you’d have to go quite a distance to hit ‘inappropriate language with young women. They want you to treat them as the strong people that they are.” Other brands, regardless of their industries, would do well to take notes from the way Thinx speaks to open-minded millennials.

Instagram-approved cosmetics

Milk Makeup is often pitted as Glossier’s key competitor, but while Glossier puts skincare first, Milk Makeup, unsurprisingly, is all about the makeup. Look at Milk’s product offering, which includes a full-coverage foundation, Liquid Matte, plus holographic highlighters and rich metallic liquid lipstick, and you’ll quickly see the difference between the brands. Milk’s products, with their glossy finishes and ethereal feel, seem perfectly suited for its selfie-loving target market. One of Milk’s bestsellers, the Blur Stick, is dubbed a ‘universal face filter’ – perfect for millennials and Gen Z-ers who want to look selfie-ready every day.

While Pat McGrath has an MBE to her name and a cosmetics career that spans back to the 90s, she only entered the consumer-facing cosmetics market in 2014, launching Pat McGrath labs, her own label. “The makeup-obsessed are taking over social media and using it as platform to experiment, be risky and express themselves. It’s magnificent to watch,” McGrath told Vogue Italia last month. Many people are watching her, too – her Instagram account boasts 1.4m followers and most of her products sell out within minutes. The brand launches products in kits, inspired by dramatic runway looks. In the age of selfies and social media-friendly make-up, why go for a natural finish when you could pull in more likes with glitter-coated lips or an intergalatic-themed eye look?

The future looks green

A survey conducted last year by Kari Gran revealed that 73% of millennial women seek out natural or ‘green’ beauty products. Given that millennials are frequently purported as the most socially and environmentally conscious generation to date, it’s somewhat unsurprising to hear that adopting a more ethical, informed approach to beauty shopping is making Gen Y click. Indie brands are ahead of the game in this area, and companies like Herbivore Botanicals and, at the cheaper end of the market, Frank Body proving a hit with millennials. Herbivore Botanicals’ Instagram-friendly packaging and therapeutic, eco-friendly products, are well-received by clean-living consumers. Frank Body, which produces naturally-derived facial and body scrubs, is currently presenting its fans with a ‘challenge’: “for all of August everything that goes in your bod and on your bod is as natural as can be. That means nothing toxic (including your ex),” its website says.

Interviewed by the Business of Fashion, beauty industry analyst at NPD, Larissa Jensen, stated that, for the Gen Z demographic (the cohort following millennials), “purchase priority in beauty is that the product is formulated with pure and natural ingredients. The fact that this is the most important thing to them means things are going to have to change.” It seems that the popularity of green, clean beauty will rise along with the younger generations’ spending power. 

Georgie Greville Jasper, co founder and creative director, Milk Makeup will join us to discuss millennial beauty and more, at the Decoded Beauty New York Summit (November 2). Book your ticket here.

Reported by Grace Howard

Image Source: Byrdie

Topics: Weekly Stories

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