Fernanda Soro, global marketing manager at ingredients firm Sensient, has observed a split in the colour cosmetics market between millennials and Gen Zs.
As the pandemic recovery kickstarted, the younger Gen Zs have been in a celebratory mood, she said. This is vividly reflected in their choice of bright and vibrant colours in their makeup.
“We’re seeing a lot of gloss. Bright reds and peaches – very juicy colours. It’s not just in lip, we also see coloured eyeliners. They dye their hair in many different colours as well. This is obvious in Japan mostly, where Gen Zs can access these products easily in the drugstore,” said Soro.
She suggested that Gen Zs were making up for time lost during the pandemic.
“The teenage years are a nice phase, it’s when you’re building up your personality and having fun with friends. A lot of them missed it and now they have a you-only-live-once attitude.”
The trend for vibrancy is not just seen in Japan, but Korea and China as well, albeit at varying degrees.
“The Chinese are perhaps not as playful as the Japanese. For instance, I see many teenagers with different hair colours like blue or pink, but they are more discreet, they will just dye the ends of their hair.
“Korea is in the middle of Japan and China. You see more colour than in China but it’s not as eccentric as Japan.”
Soro believes the theme of freedom and celebration is likely to continue in the next couple of years.
“When you’re free to express yourself, it’s hard to pull back. I think until 2025, 2026, we will be on the same path.”
‘Colour and care’
While Gen Zs celebrate colour, older millennials seek to cocoon away in comfort with soft colours and balmy textures.
“The older consumers – millennials – are looking for comfort. The want their skin to be flawless and they follow more nude make-up palettes compared to Gen Zs, where we see a lot more celebration and expression,” said Soro.
In line with this, we can expect further ‘skinification’ of makeup. Since the pandemic, hybrid makeup – makeup with skin care benefits – has become “mainstream”, said Soro.
Makeup products are also mimicking skin care characteristics, such as texture, which was improving rapidly, even in the mass market segment.
“Even though makeup suffered during the pandemic, looking back there was some good. It’s come back with more sophistication. Consumers want hybrid makeup now because people understood how important it is to treat your skin, so they want colour and care,” said Soro.
Regardless of mindset, Soro is certain the demand for makeup will continue on its rebound.
“Makeup empowers you and makes you feel beautiful. It brings us happiness. It doesn’t matter if its more expensive makeup or cheaper makeup – today you can find a good solution anywhere.”