Feel Good, Look Good. New Millennial and Gen-Z Beauty Behaviors

Consumers are increasingly paying attention to wellness and mindfulness. So how can brands best position themselves to capitalize on these trends? Our latest study takes a look at how wellness influences beauty behaviors for gen-Z and millennials, and what that means for marketers. 

The past twenty years have presented a rise in consumer awareness of concepts such as wellness, mindfulness, and self-care. This is especially prominent among younger generations – 96% of gen-Z and millennials see “wellness” relating to their overall health.

For the beauty industry in particular, self-care and wellness are increasingly incorporated into beauty routines. Consumers are becoming more conscious of changing definitions of beauty and are reflecting shifting norms in their personal care habits.

The data for this study stems from our Implications of Health, Wellness, and Mindfulness initiative, with insights into food and beverage preferences, and social media behaviors, among others.

Here, we’ll highlight three key areas from the study:

  • Perceptions across generations
  • Products as wellness
  • Implications for marketers

Perceptions across Generations

Given gen-z’s perceived open-mindedness and less normative outlook, do they still view beauty as an objective trait?

Gen-z does in fact acknowledge that beauty is subjective and in the “eye of the beholder.” Yet, at the end of the day, they place more value on conventional beauty than virtue.

They’re the only generation to place appearance over goodness in their definition of beauty. Millennials and gen-Z also crave individuality and a “mask-less” sense of self to heighten objective beauty. This desire for multi-faceted beauty makes them especially vulnerable to insecurity.

Products as Wellness

These products aren’t used just to look good, they also serve to feel good.

Exfoliating scrubs and face masks aren’t the only avenue to self-care. Makeup is gaining traction with the rise of Instagram and YouTube influencers demonstrating their routines in extreme detail. Older gen-Z and millennial women are most likely to consider skincare and makeup wellness products.

Younger gen-Zers are still incorporating makeup into their daily routines, which presents an opportunity to position makeup as a wellness product.

For older gen-Z and millennial women, wellness-oriented makeup means identity exploration and self-expression. They look for inclusive products, accessible across multicultural groups and the gender spectrum. Eco-friendly and products free from animal testing, also resonate with the younger set more than older consumers.

Implications for Marketers

As gen-Z gets older, beauty products will become an even more integral part of their wellness and self-care routines. Serving as a conduit for stress relief and self-expression, the industry is in a powerful position to influence their evolving identity.

Consider how your brand aligns to interpretations of self-care. To win trust with younger generations, brands should:

  • provide stress relief via products and accessibility
  • position products around personalization and self-care
  • embrace unique, dynamic beauty
  • promote products to enhance features, not mask flaws

Brands must integrate wellness into their product positioning to remain relevant.

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