The beauty industry has been growing like crazy, fueled by a crop of independent brands that Gen Zs adore. To understand how Gen Z discovers new brands and what they look for in cosmetics and skincare products, we asked a Gen Z what's in her makeup bag. Here's what she said.
Makeup is a lot.
A lot of choices, a lot of uses, a lot of price points and opinions. To market successfully to Gen Z, it’s important to know not only what they look for in products but also where and how they find out about them.
For this blog post, we went straight to the source -- a Gen Zer -- and we asked her to bring along her makeup bag. (Note: it wasn’t really a bag, it was more of an oversized bin chock-full of luxe-looking shadow palettes, tubes, tubs and jars.)
The following is an interview with Audrey, a makeup-adoring Gen Zer.
What are your top three favorite makeup brands and why?
- Tarte Cosmetics - they have so many products to choose from. Cheeks, eyes, lips, foundation and concealers. They don’t test on animals and have a natural look with good pigments. The palettes are great too-they keep me from guessing about what shades to put together. (Although I still like experimenting.)
- bareMinerals - their products are good for my face and don’t cause breakouts. Their brand was the first makeup set I ever got (from my mom) and I like them for the basics. I get a natural look with their products.
- Mario Badescu - I like them for pretty basic reasons, their stuff is good for my skin, it helps keep my complexion clear.
You’re looking for new makeup. Where do you go to find out about new products to try?
I love checking out ‘Get Ready With’ videos on YouTube. They’re basically videos of people getting ready for the day or an event. I can see how they use certain products in different ways. Like how and what makeup to use for a natural look but then also for more of a glam look. It’s a quick way to learn something new and I can replay it and pause it without feeling stupid for not getting the technique down the first time.
What product have you recommended to a friend recently, and why?
Tarte’s Shape Tape. It’s my favorite concealer, it blends nicely and there are lot of shades. (We checked. Audrey’s correct. At the time of this writing, there were no fewer than 30 shades to choose from.)
What makeup product have you tried recently that most disappointed you? Why?
Ugh. A highlighter my mom got me for Christmas. It didn’t show up. There was no pigment, just sparkle.
You’re on a desert island and you can have only one makeup item. What is it, and why?
Concealer because it makes my face all one color. Not blotchy and no blemishes.
If you could create a makeup product, what would it be?
Color-changing concealer. One shade that would adapt to anybody’s skin color. That’s what I would invent, closely followed by a mascara that never clumped.
Are you ok with buying makeup dupes or does it have to be name brand?
While the packaging of name brands sometimes looks better, if the less expensive one works fine, why not get the cheaper one? I don’t really care too much about the packaging. I care more about the product.
Does it matter if a beauty brand is cruelty-free?
Yes, it’s a concern. If I happen to notice or hear that a brand isn’t cruelty-free, I probably wouldn’t use their products. But I don’t necessarily go looking for it either.
Who are your three favorite beauty and makeup influencers and why do you like them?
James Charles gives really good tips, and does really great makeup. He does videos using drugstore makeup and he’ll also use high-end brand makeup. His tutorials are really helpful.
Hannah Meloche mostly focuses on how to pull off a natural makeup look. She knows how to make it simple and she keeps it quick. Her ‘Get Ready with Me’s’ are also good.
Jeffree Star has his own makeup brand and he still reviews other brands too. All his videos are very entertaining-he doesn’t talk just about makeup while he is getting ready. His tutorials are helpful and real-he’s not afraid to say what works and what doesn’t even if it’s a big name.
What are the top 3 makeup brands you follow on social and what keeps you following them?
The only makeup brand I follow is Milk Makeup. I like their feed because it just looks cool. They have really unique ways of putting their product on the models and they happen to be cruelty free.
What was latest ad that made you buy a product or at least check out their website?
I don’t really pay attention to ads. I see stuff on my ‘Explore’ page (on IG) but I don’t really pay attention to it. Ads tend to annoy me, they’re unnecessary. I find out about products I want to try from the YouTubers I watch and other videos I might see.
What advice would you give makeup brands trying to market to your generation?
Make it cheap but still good. Take it easy on the packaging, keep it simple and not too over the top or over designed. I like easy to use and fast to apply. Also consider putting product in a stick format-like toner and foundation sticks-not always liquids or powders.
For advertising advice, I’d say influencers are helpful but many times they are so boring. Or the products they use are just too expensive for me. What really makes me click is the perfect video title from a person (influencer) I like or find out I like. It’s not always the product. But if I see a product I’ve heard of and the person is trying out the product, I’ll click on it.