Gen Z has infused make-up and hair with impetus. What before was considered a way to make yourself more standard and fit the beauty status quo, is now a compelling tool for empowerment and social impact. And we’re not just referring to the message they are intently communicating with their hair and make-up, we’re also referring to their purchasing behaviour.
Gen Z’s consumer behaviour has transformed the beauty industry from being rooted in vanity to being rooted in purpose and impact. We are seeing a new expression of beauty. One where the empowerment of beauty is highlighted. One where people aren’t afraid to wear what would be previously deemed as too much or too extravagant.
Empowering beauty: Brands must go beyond the surface level
Gen Z won’t just trust a brand with its money for its product, the brand has to be trustworthy in itself. Its value must reflect that of Gen Z. Gen Z beauty is all about sustainability, inclusion, transparency, corporate responsibility… All elements that the new generation of consumers look for in a brand. A contrast to beauty ventures in the past, which were meant to stick to their territory and now get involved with worldly issues. Now, brands are expected to speak up and do their bit in healing the world. They are expected to take a stance, to be outspoken, political, and driven. In a time of thriving outspoken beauty, superficial beauty has been left behind.
One of our personal favourite examples of this is Lipslut, a brand whose motto is “fashion, subversion, and a middle finger to the current political landscape”. Their only products? Lipsticks with packaging that reads ‘F*ck Trump’ ‘Notorious RBG’ and ‘I’m Speaking’ among other epic phrases. Talk about outspoken beauty. Moreover, the buyer gets to choose among a few charities that support women to which to donate 50% of the proceeds. Lipslut takes making a beauty statement to a new level.
The beauty industry has completely changed as a result of Gen Z’s expression of beauty
Consumers aren’t buying into the brand’s product anymore, what they’re truly doing is upholding the brand’s philosophy. Gen Z puts their money where their mouth is (for the most part).
And by putting their money where their mouth is, we are witnessing a transformation of the beauty industry itself. Marketing campaigns in the industry now, have nothing to do with what we saw a decade or two ago. You can appreciate this a great deal simply by taking a look at the models that are booked today, differences are celebrated and features that were considered imperfections are now cause for admiration. All expressions of beauty are valid and beautiful.
Hair and make-up are the new tools for self-expression and individualism. Beauty impact matters
Whilst before make-up was solely used to cover up, to homogenize one’s look and make it more similar to “everybody else’s”, today the trend is quite the opposite. Of course, this attitude hasn’t gone away entirely, we haven’t miraculously lifted the pressures of unrealistic beauty standards. But nowadays, it is much more common practice to celebrate one’s freckles, birthmarks, and texture. Or at the very least, not pretend like they don’t exist and make people whose skin doesn’t look airbrushed – which would be pretty much 98% of the population – feel like they should hide away. On the contrary, there are Instagram accounts that celebrate acne and rebel against its long-standing ostracism from society, having been antonymous of beauty since forever.
Doing one’s hair and make-up before could even be seen as fake, dolling-up. Now beauty products have the power to allow you to step into yourself and show who you truly are. The polar opposite of what it used to be. Talk about the rebranding of the decade. Finding yourself via your own make-up identity is quite common practice, and social media is the perfect platform to then showcase your findings with the hopes of contributing to the wide palette of expression of beauty.
The core difference of this new generation’s view on what has traditionally been considered the beauty industry is that it’s not about beauty at all, it’s about self-expression through beauty products. Gen Z make-up harnesses empowerment beauty.
Outspoken beauty = The expansion of product lines
Now that hair and make-up aren’t necessarily used to homogenize one’s look and fit in anymore, the demand for more outlandish and varied beauty products has significantly expanded beyond the niches they were traditionally confined to. Being flawless, or rather looking flawless, isn’t the goal anymore, rather the goal is to bring out who you are through hair and make-up, outspoken beauty And that process sometimes even includes highlighting your flaws, thus flipping the script on the narrative and turning your alleged “flaws” into your crown jewels.
Hair and make-up are no longer superficial elements, in fact, they are meant to go beyond the surface of our skin. Loud and bold looks are welcome. Graphic liner, striking shapes and colours, both on one’s face and one’s hair. This has translated into a booming beauty product industry too. The amount of marketable products for the masses has multiplied tenfold.