One of the largest and most profitable industries in the current marketplace is the beauty industry. Annually generating billions of dollars, the beauty industry holds enormous significance for both Millennials and Gen Zers. Beautycon, an annual worldwide event with meetings held in cities across the globe, is one of the largest gatherings of beauty brands, their consumers, and original content creators. Beautycon has now become the go-to place for people passionate about beauty to learn about and sample new, innovative beauty products and see what the future of the beauty industry looks like. Below are the top five trends of this year’s New York City Beautycon 2017.

  1.     Unicorns

One such beauty trend that was especially noticeable at Beautycon was the abundance of unicorns. In this case, it is not so much the mythical creature that is important for brands to pay attention to as the reasons behind the sudden popularity of unicorns. Oftentimes disillusioned with the daily stressors in their lives, Millennials and Gen Zers respect creativity and search for even a minute amount of magic and fantasy in their lives. While it may not be possible to avoid a monotonous morning commute, it is possible to use a fun, shimmery beauty product that can add a bit of fantasy to an otherwise mediocre day. Color, sparkle, and whimsy have become key words for what Millennials and Gen Zers are now looking for in their beauty products. Brands must pay attention to and cater to this desire for fantasy and a sort of escape from the mundane things in life if they hope to successfully engage Millennials and Gen Zers.

  1.     Healthy Makeup

Another one of the top 5 trends at Beautycon 2017 was the advent and promotion of healthier makeup products. Millennials and Gen Zers are increasingly becoming health-conscious, and this desire for a holistically healthy lifestyle also manifests itself in the beauty sphere. Breathable makeup products with added vitamins for healthier skin offer an appealing alternative to other heavy, pore-clogging makeup products. In addition, makeup brands are increasingly adding SPF to their makeup products to protect skin from dangerous, unwanted UV exposure. Certain beauty brands are now even creating sweat-proof makeup specifically designed for people who wish to wear makeup while working out or partaking in other intense physical activities. These creative new makeup products further illustrate the current demand for beauty innovations that align with Millennials’ and Gen Zers’ belief in healthy alternatives to conventional makeup products.

  1.     Empowerment

In light of the desire for authenticity and originality that characterizes Millennial and Gen Z culture, Beautycon 2017 promoted unity through diversity. While they were indeed promoting beauty products, the beauty brands present at Beautycon made a noticeable effort to celebrate natural beauty rather than promote a false image. Using beauty as an accessory and as a medium for self-expression rather than as a mask to hide behind has become the new mantra embraced by the beauty industry. Since Millennials and Gen Zers do not appreciate gimmicks or superficiality, the beauty industry has had to adapt their marketing strategies to reflect this desire for authenticity and personal empowerment by using brand slogans, brand influencers, and beauty products that their consumers can stand behind and engage with.

  1.     Beauty Influencers

In keeping with the current marketing trend toward using micro-influencers rather than celebrities, one of the top trends at Beautycon was the presence of such beauty micro-influencers. With millions of dedicated followers, these micro-influencers have become celebrities in their own rights, and the fans at Beautycon this year were especially eager to meet the very people they’ve been following and looking up to. These micro-influencers earn and maintain a following as a result of their engaging personalities and respected reputation. As mentioned earlier, Millennials and Gen Zers want authenticity and likeability from the beauty influencers they follow. A famous name is no longer enough to maintain a dedicated following. Rather, for Millennials and Gen Zers, a beauty influencer with a positive personality and genuine values will earn them a loyal following.

  1.     Sponsored Content

These beauty influencers earn a living by partnering with certain beauty brands to sponsor said brands and their products. Such sponsorship is perfectly legal as long as the brand and the influencer disclose the nature of their relationship to their audiences. According to the beauty fans at Beautycon, these sponsorship relationships do not represent an issue for them. They realize that beauty influencers must earn a living and therefore often enter into mutually beneficial partnerships with beauty brands. For most Millennials and Gen Zers, these sponsorship relationships in no way affect the credibility of these micro-influencers. Beauty fans trust the authenticity they see in these beauty influencers, and therefore, regardless of the reasons behind a certain product promotion, beauty consumers trust that a micro-influencer’s recommendation is genuine despite the monetary incentive behind this promotion.  

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