What make-up means to Gen Z: an introduction


Adin Heller

Senior Research Executive, New York

An introduction to our series on key insights into Gen Z’s relationship with make-up, cosmetics, and beauty.

Make-up, cosmetics, the beauty category: it’s blowing up. K-beauty, clean beauty, mermaid & unicorn looks, Kardashian & RuPaul inspired looks – they’re all having a moment.

But during our recent research with Gen Z gals and guys in New York City, we found that the looks and trends that go viral and are seen as ‘blog-worthy’ don’t necessarily filter down to the real world.


While the Gen Z-ers that we spoke to have completely different looks for everyday and special occasions, many of them (especially the gals) tend to be more subtle with their everyday looks. They stick with the basics (foundation, mascara, eyeliner, traditional lip colors) rather than experiment with bolder colors and complicated techniques like contouring.

Indeed, Gen Z-ers who enjoy cosmetics but aren’t ‘beauty junkies’ are often overwhelmed by the vastness of the cosmetics landscape and the speed at which new trends pop up, as well as intimidated by the proficiency displayed by their peers and self-styled ‘beauty experts’ across various social channels. They have a desire to experiment and explore the category more fully, but are uncertain how to do so.

Source: http://www.likeable.com/blog/2016/6/how-the-makeup-and-cosmetic-industry-is-ruling-social-media
Source: www.likeable.com

This means that there is a world of opportunity for brands to connect with consumers more deeply, empower them, and give them the confidence to use a wider range of colors and products. Just as Nike has given everyone permission to be an ‘athlete’, beauty brands can inspire consumers to broaden their beauty horizons and become their own makeup artists (MUAs).


To accomplish this, there are 3 key insights from our research into Gen Z’s relationship with make-up, cosmetics, and beauty that brands should keep in mind. We’ll share these insights in a series of blog posts.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these insights, get in touch with our New York office.