Gen Zers have impacted the beauty business more than any of the previous generations. They have a spending power of $143 billion. Their commitment to diversity and clean products has pushed the industry to modernize its marketing and transparency about manufacturing. They are true digital natives and tech-savvy, well versed in using mobile devices, and immersed in internet culture.
Members of Generation Z use the accessibility of social media to advocate for authenticity. They champion products that are racially and ethnically diverse. As they come of age and go from buyers to makers, beauty brands focus more on inclusion and manufacturing sustainable products. Below are the best brands on the market created or influenced by Gen Zers.
Addison Rae founded ITEM Beauty in 2020. The brand is a cruelty-free, vegan line of makeup products developed in partnership with Madeby Collective. Rae wanted to build a brand that reflected her authentic self. Yet, is accessible for the 124 million followers across her social media platforms.
“When I think about beauty and what’s important to me, it’s putting something on my face that I can feel good about,” she said in an interview with Ipsy. “I wanted simple, unfussy products that are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously.”
Best Seller: Lip Quip, $14
Alison Haljun and Christin Powell launched Kinship in 2019. They aren’t Gen Zers, and both women have decades of experience in beauty. The pair came together. Their intent was to create the type of beauty products that weren’t available to them when they were younger.
“In my twenties, I was fascinated with plants and their power to heal our skin. I had really bad acne in my teens and early adulthood. I couldn’t find a product that worked without a lot of side effects. I’m not in my twenties anymore. But I have a daughter who’s thirteen and struggling with acne, and there’s still nothing,” Powell explained.
What sets Kinship apart from brands backed by older generations is Haljun and Powell’s inclusion of Gen Zers in the development process. They established the Kinship Circle, a group of 20 young people. The Kinship Circle provided direct input in all aspects of the beauty brand, from packing to product testing. It has now reached up to 120 members.
Best Seller: Glow Squad 4-Piece Skin Kit, $36
Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are social media stars with 180 million followers on TikTok and 69 million followers on Instagram. The sisters’ marketing potential is clear, having already secured branding partnerships with Dunkin’ and Hollister during the Covid-19 pandemic. After posting about their skincare routines on TikTok, beauty brand Morphe partnered with the duo to launch their own sub-brand. Morphe 2 is an affordable brand that highlights a more natural appearance.
Charli spoke on the brand’s message of self-acceptance during the line’s launch. “It’s so important, especially for teen girls, to have access to a brand like this. I love that Morphe 2 can be both colorful and fun, but also natural and affordable.”
Best Seller: Lippie Lullaby Lip Mask, $9
Skincare by Hyram
Hyram Yarbro has emerged as a crucial influencer in skincare. His 11 million social media followers turn to him for his brutally honest product reviews. He combined his background in makeup with an economical approach to design Selfless by Hyram.
“When I worked as a makeup artist, I was seeing people drop thousands of dollars on skincare products trying to get the best skin possible. It had me wondering if you need to spend a lot of money to have good skin. Once I started learning a lot about it, I realized that you don’t,” he said before launching the plant-based skincare line.
Best Seller: Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Pore Clearing and Oil Control Serum, $24
Topicals is a skincare line specializing in acne, eczema, and other conditions for every skin tone. Claudia Teng and Olamide Olowe launched Topicals from their apartment in the summer of 2020. The brand boasts science-backed formulas that clinical experts create.
“Everyone’s aspiration is to have clear skin. We want to take the focus off of having perfect skin and put the onus on making treatment more fun. I’m going to live with this skin condition for my whole life — I don’t want to dread taking care of myself,” Olowe explained. So far, their focus on well-being instead of appearance has resonated. Topicals’ hero product, an ointment called Slick Salve, is regularly sold out.
Best Seller: Slick Salve, $16
To learn more about how diversity and inclusivity is redefining beauty brands and industry or how to have a career that can impact change, check out Yellowbrick’s Ultimate Beauty Career Guide and Beauty Business Essentials.