As I was growing up, I would watch my mother apply her face serums and creams from beautiful glass bottles and jars that promised to firm, lift, and plump her skin. Though she’s in her 70s now, my mother hardly has any wrinkles and, had she used sun protection earlier in her life, her skin would be even more flawless today. Fast forward to my 21-year-old cousin, who has the radiance of a youth whose skin has been cared for by a dermatologist, since she was 13, and has never seen the sun without SPF.
It appears that both of my family members are representative of their generational peers. According to NPD’s Female Facial Consumer Report on skincare attitudes and usage in the U.S., Gen Z consumers, between the ages of 13 and 24, prefer brands endorsed by a physician or doctor. They also use as many products in a day as their Gen X counterparts do. Among older Gen Z, between the ages of 18 and 24, skincare product usage increased compared to last year. Among the top products they use are cleansers and other basic care items, as well as treatment-focused products, like lip moisturizers.
Socially savvy, 62% of Gen Z say TikTok influences their skincare purchase decisions, and Hyram Yarbro is the top mentioned “skinfluencer” on the platform. Yarbro is an Arizona native who relocated to Hawaii in 2015 and worked as a makeup artist at a high-end department store. In March 2020, prior to wide-spread COVID restrictions, he had just over 100,000 followers on TikTok. His follower count on the app currently sits close to 7 million, and he recently released his own skincare line, with products that adhere to his “ingredients don’t lie” mantra.
Skincare usage for Boomers, age 57 to 75, has also increased – with a slightly larger bump for those over 65. The top products they purchase focus on common trouble areas: facial and neck moisturizers rank at number one, with both basic care and treatments rounding out the top five. Value-conscious Boomers are more likely than other generations to say that mass brands are just as good as prestige, and almost 60% report they only shop to replenish. Boomers are also looking for proven ingredients that can solve problems effectively, such as retinol and collagen.
Despite the generational differences in skincare preferences, there are also commonalities. At the end of the day, it seems we’re not so different, after all. Whether they are more like my mother or my cousin, we see from consumers across-the-board that they are open to trying new things, are looking for clean ingredients, and simply want skincare that produces results from a brand they can trust. Regardless of the trends driving the category, the demand for efficacy and transparency is here to stay.