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Brief Published: 3 Sep 2019

Inclusive Beauty Start-Ups Target Gen Z


Smart beauty brands are embracing ‘the new normal’ by championing diverse values throughout their marketing and product development strategies. Catering to clued-up consumer mindsets, we highlight two companies offering innovative avenues of self-expression and empowerment without tokenistic messages.

  • Get Real: British model and body positivity activist Charli Howard has created a skincare line aimed at young men and women. Squish is founded on the principle of celebrating diversity and visible flaws.

    Launched in August 2019, the company has pledged to never retouch the appearance of its models in a bid to promote body positivity. In the brand’s first campaign, ‘flaws’ such as acne, cellulite and scars are all shown on models of different skin tones, sizes and genders – fostering an inclusive community for all.

    Messages of self-love and authenticity are incredibly important for connecting with younger consumers. Most Gen Zers (80%) say that ‘being yourself’ is the phrase that best fits their personal definition of beauty (Viacom, 2019).

    The brand launched with three products to deal with common skin gripes, such as dryness and acne, with powerful actives. For example, the Cheeky Cherry Eye & Cheek Mask contains hyaluronic acid, lavender oil and aloe vera to plump and calm the skin.
  • Creative Expression: Capitalising on Gen Z’s desire to paint and play, British start-up Depixym has launched a range of highly pigmented cosmetics in packaging that resembles metal paint tubes.

    The multifunctional Colour Emulsion is available in 20 colours. Users simply apply the product with a sponge or by hand to the desired area, such as eyes, cheeks and lips, in a painting-like motion. The brand also encourages individuals to mix the colours together to create new shades.

    Depixym celebrates the idea of self-discovery regardless of race or gender through the power of make-up. In an interview with lifestyle platform Refinery29, co-founder Alice Rhodes said: “The brand has always been about other people. We got tired of labels and stereotypes and wanted to make amazing products for all humans."

To read more about Gen Z’s values, see Gen Z: New Beauty Developments, 10 Youth Trends to Watch 19/20 Update and Teen Media Trends 2019.