The Changing Face of Gen-Z Beauty: #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt


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The Changing Face of Gen-Z Beauty: #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt

TikTok has been rapidly changing the way we buy beauty.

With #SkinTok reaching an incredible 10.2B views, and a reported 52% of users stating that they discover new products on TikTok - it’s no wonder brands are eager to cultivate a cult following for their product lines.

Product hype is a real thing. There have been hundreds of examples of products that have sold out overnight thanks to TikTok alone. Just take a look at The Ordinary who experienced a surge in sales of over 426% for two of their products which went viral. So what can we learn? Every marketer's goal should revolve around authentically establishing connections with their audiences and fostering communities centered around their brand.

It’s created a new form of B2C interaction with social proof at the forefront. As such, long gone are the days where customers had to filter through hundreds of reviews in their decision making process. It’s no surprise then that Gen-Z are using TikTok as their primary search engine, and they are using it to search out pretty much anything.

… So how can beauty brands achieve success with Gen-Z?

We ran a live focus group, where we invited our Gen-Z network to share their thoughts on beauty trends, and here’s what we discovered:

  1. TikTok is the first step in the purchasing journey

The consensus among our focus group was unanimous: TikTok takes the lead in their initial decision-making process, often serving as their "starting point for inspiration". The reason? Honest reviews, with UGC allowing them to see what the product looks like on different skin tones. This is where TikTok's B2C capacity shines: it enables the display of products across a wide demographic - something that just wouldn’t be scalable without influencers.

“I like to see what it looks like on real people, not just models…”

Another Gen-Z participant pointed out that TikTok offers a better quality of search, especially when exploring smaller brands with specific niches like ethically sourced or vegan products. However, if you were to input the same terms into Google, it would always prioritise frequently searched, and leaving behind the independent brands.

  1. Social proof is ranked equal with influencer trust 

While views and engagement are important factors when it comes to beauty, when our focus group were quizzed further, they revealed an equally crucial aspect: influencer credibility. They unanimously shared that if a trusted influencer endorsed a product, it would instil greater confidence in their recommendation. This comes as no surprise when it was recently reported that 81% of Gen Z rated their friends as their top influence when deciding what to purchase. 

So what determines trust for Gen-Z?

“It doesn’t come down to followers, but instead about the reputation the influencer has with their audience.”

  1. Buying beauty on TikTok Shop divided the group

This one really divided the crowd. One participant stated, “it has become more normal to shop on TikTok Shop”, but that they would always check to see the amount of sales, UGC and engagement the product had before making a purchase decision.

Our focus group highlighted a recurring pattern: a desire to test products before committing to a purchase, particularly with products like foundation. Additionally, more than half of the participants stated that once they were convinced on a beauty product, their next step would involve a Google search to secure the best available deal.

So what have we learned? It’s clear that TikTok is overtaking Instagram as the preferred platform for searching for beauty products, especially with the report that UGC videos are 22% more effective for influencing consumer behaviour than brand videos. It’s the sweet spot for B2C beauty brands and will only grow in popularity.

Feeling inspired? Find out how we can take your brand to Gen-Z by emailing: