Overall, women are wearing less makeup than they were four years ago. In a survey of women 18+ in 2019, only 39% of women say they wear makeup daily, down from 52% in the same survey in 2015. The number of women who say they never use makeup has risen since 2015 from 15% to 23%.
There’s not much of a shift in the other options, though, which tells us women are swapping some makeup for none.
After Ulta reported major losses at its most recent earnings call, these results are not surprising. But who exactly is driving this shift?
Well, it’s everyone’s new favorite generation to scratch their heads at: Gen Z, of course.
The chart below mimics the overall one, but is much more dramatic. In 2015, 50% of Gen Z adult women (18-24) wore makeup daily. That number is now at 38%. And, even more stark, the percentage of Gen Z women who never wear makeup has more than doubled over four years, going from 12% to 27%.
Millennial women look different: more women say they’re using it daily and weekly now vs. 2015, and the ‘never’ and ‘occasionally’ numbers have decreased.
While Millennials may have more spending power than Gen Z right now, that doesn’t mean Gen Z makeup behavior will change. This generation, an outlier in many areas, may change the future of the beauty industry.
Looking at the other age groups, daily makeup wearing has gone down only slightly among both Gen X and Baby Boomers as well. For Gen X women, it looks like they are wearing makeup weekly instead of daily.
For Boomers, the decline of ‘daily’ corresponds to the rise of ‘never,’ much like Gen Z. We could guess that part of that could perhaps be due to leaving the workforce.
Though wearing makeup does not at all mean that someone doesn’t think they are attractive as a blanket statement, Gen Z is by far the generation most likely to think they are much more attractive than those their age and gender.
What the future holds, in many ways, is in the hands of Gen Z. What happens to makeup is up in the air.