With gen Zers confessing to a dip in confidence during puberty, brands are now finding novel ways to better the adolescent years.
When it comes to skincare and wellbeing, generation Z spends more dollars on beauty products than apparel, according to a 2018 report by asset management firm Piper Jaffray. New and established brands are adopting a holistic approach to personal care, targeting this gender-fluid and expressive generation with a mission to make growing up easier.
In June 2018, Ellebox relaunched as subscription-based service Blume, offering sustainable selfcare products for teens, from pads and tampons to natural skincare offerings such as PMS oil and face wash. All are “geared and targeted towards gen Zers at this pivotal time in their life where they don’t have products created specifically for them,” Taran Ghatrora, who cofounded Blume with her sister Bunny, tells JWT Intelligence.
Blume is on a mission to make puberty an empowering, comfortable and educational process. Why? Because after conducting a survey, they found that 63% of girls felt embarrassed after getting their first period and 57% felt scared. “In our survey, we learned that 60% of women can pinpoint the exact moment when they felt their self-esteem drop, and that was at puberty,” says Bunny Ghatrora.
The survey also found that 79% of girls use the same products their moms use. “In almost every other vertical, that’s not the case,” says Bunny Ghatrora. “As the world changes, we use new products that are more timely, but girls were using the same tampons or pads as their moms—and really not talking about it, or trying a product that is better for them.”
In line with gen Z’s interest in education, Blume offers the Blume University resource library on its website, demystifying periods and puberty, correcting misinformation and instilling confidence in young women through knowledge. The platform includes a first period guide called “Know Your Flow,” a period glossary and articles written by contributors that address common concerns such as how to navigate your first visit to the gynecologist. Blume University also publishes videos created by an 18-year-old influencer to share her experience in a way that is authentic to this generation’s perspective.
Other personal care brands have taken an interest in this space, looking to help prepare young women for puberty. Last year, Lola introduced a First Period Kit and an e-book guide, and Angel Shave Club released a First Shave Kit and how-to manual.
Blume takes this model one step further by reflecting gen Z’s ethical focus and social mission, which are becoming baseline requirements to earn consumer loyalty. The company offers organic, biodegradable and FDA-approved products, and donates a portion of its proceeds to Days for Girls, a nonprofit which provides menstrual health solutions and education for girls in the developing world. As Taran Ghatrora explains, “This generation is so socially conscious and aware. They don’t really care what the cheapest price is—they’re looking to connect and are self-aware of their choices and how they impact the world. They’re quite politically active as well, so I think brands need to resonate on a deeper level and show more transparency.” She also says that gen Zers ask more questions. “Where does this come from? What are the ingredients? What’s your stance on being cruelty-free?—all of which impact their purchasing decisions.”
Big brands are also seeing potential in products specifically for gen Z. Johnson & Johnson is developing self-care solutions with its C&C by Clean & Clear skincare line, which is aimed at older teenagers and launches this month. “C&C brings up the sophistication a little bit,” Rachel Behm, head of the beauty incubator at Johnson & Johnson, tells JWT Intelligence. “We’re not going to be talking to our consumer as much about basic skincare and acne needs, but more about a lifestyle message.”
C&C by Clean and Clear is positioned as a brand that is “uncomplicated and there for you as a simple situation, while the rest of your life is crazy,” says Behm. It aims to attract “this generation of creative, honest and demanding consumers who are excited about partnering with brands to help them create things for themselves,” she adds.
In an effort to involve generation Z in every step of the process, the product line was designed in partnership with teenage influencers Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight. Although C&C products follow the same science as the Clean & Clear portfolio, Brooklyn and Bailey helped brand items from the new line for the social-media landscape, from the Total Zen Calming Lavender Mousse Cleanser to the Detox Clay Mask. C&C by Clean & Clear’s gender-neutral products also reflect gen Z’s interest in inclusivity. “With this generation, there is so much fluidity. There are really no limits to what you can introduce and have adopted by both boys and girls,” says Behm.
As noted in our “Generation Z” report, 63% of gen Zers think of themselves as influencers, 48% as entrepreneurs and 31% as brands—creating a markedly different relationship with companies than previous consumer groups. However, despite their entrepreneurial nature, they are looking for brands that can reassure them during the new experiences of adolescence and involve them in creating products and sharing their experiences. As generation Z grows up, brands need to make sure that they are keeping pace.