Understanding Gen Zs: The Beauty Activists

December 15, 2022
3 min read

Thailand’s Gen Z consumers are challenging the traditional norms of beauty. As digital natives, they are quicker to adopt digital lifestyles and are exposed to modern beauty conversations that may not have been publicly discussed before (eg inclusivity, genderless beauty, etc.). Mintel’s latest research on Thai Beauty Personas has identified this demographic as ‘Beauty Activists’.

They seek to redefine beauty standards

Thai Gen Zs appreciate brands that align with their personal values and ethics. While 70% of them find it fun to share product usage experiences, they will also call out if they do not like certain beauty campaigns (61%). A further 65% will go the extra mile and stop supporting brands that do not align with their values, including the social expression of beauty.

One of the key beauty shifts we’re seeing today is diversity. Brands can empower this younger generation by challenging beauty standards and pushing the public to appreciate different definitions of beauty. Mistine, a Thai colour cosmetics giant, launched the ‘I’m Perfectly Me’ campaign to encourage consumers to put on makeup looks that they personally like, no matter whether the turnout is mainstreaming or not — boosting consumers’ confidence for self-expression. A key strategy here is that brands need to be open and straightforward with their communication to convey genuine belief in the movement.

Mistine ‘I’m Perfectly Me‘ campaign (Source: Mistine/Facebook)

Furthermore, translating global social movements into local action can enhance their relevance among Gen Zs. L’Oreal Paris created a local campaign that spotlights skin tone diversity. The brand talks about the beauty of different skin tones in Thailand and how its True Match foundation in 13 varieties helps complement them.

L’Oreal True Match (Source: L’Oreal Paris Thailand/YouTube)

Some want to distance themselves from local celebrities’ endorsement

When it comes to beauty purchases, the top influencers for Gen Zs are beauty professionals (46%), online influencers (39%), and online beauty communities (36%). Interestingly, this group also shows the highest rejection (17%) for beauty products endorsed by local celebrities, indicating that they would like to stay ‘cool’ by expressing their unique individuality.

Breaking from traditional beauty norms can be a challenge for Beauty Activists; hence, they turn to like-minded beauty communities where they feel safe expressing their thoughts and getting support from others. Brands can provide a platform and be the moderator of such conversations to engage with these consumers.

One example is the Thai unisex colour cosmetics brand LESSON which openly discusses men wearing makeup so that they feel comfortable exchanging their interests and fear of stigma using it. Though not specifically targeted, the brand attracts LGBTQ consumers and discusses gender issues as well.

LESSON – unisex colour cosmetics brand (Source: LESSON/Facebook)

What we think

As Beauty Activists, Gen Zs are vocal about a brand’s purpose and more receptive to modern global beauty concepts as they rely more on digital technology (eg streaming services) for beauty information. They like to stay beauty trendy, but at the same time, to contribute to social movements or purpose that they believe in with their purchase. These present opportunities for brands to empower younger consumers to collectively speak up, embrace new beauty norms, and seek ways to express their true inner selves.

This topic was part of Mintel’s recent Thai webinar on Gen Z Consumers.

Sirinar Puppachat
Sirinar Puppachat

Sirinar is Mintel’s Beauty and Personal Care Analyst based in Bangkok. She specialises in analysing and providing insights into Thailand’s beauty and personal care market and consumer trends.

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