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What Are Skinfluencers?
‘Skinfluencers’ are influencers specialising in skincare and beauty. They go beyond sharing their skincare routine and provide in-depth content around skincare regimes, even tackling complex topics like active ingredients.
Skinfluencers are the next big thing
Skinfluencers are increasingly popular on TikTok. #skincare has a whopping 24.3 billion views, #skincareroutine has 5.9 billion and smaller tags like #oilyskin and #koreanbeauty have 137 million and 272 million views respectively.
While Instagram might have been the go-to for beauty years ago, skincare content on TikTok generates the kind of viral engagement you can’t find on any other network. This is in part due to the 70% Gen Z audience: two-thirds of TikTok’s massive 1 billion active user base is under 24 years old. Gen Z love skincare: 90% would rather spend on skincare vs makeup. They’re more ‘skincare savvy’ than previous generations: they look at product ingredients, care about sustainability and have even made it trendy to wear ‘boring’ products like SPF.
The pandemic is also responsible for a focus on skincare vs makeup: after all, when you can’t go out, you might as well focus on improving your bare skin. When looking for skincare guidance, it’s natural Gen Z turned to their favourite social network for bite-sized advice. And when looking for advice and product recommendations, they turn to skinfluencers for unbiased, ‘authentic’ opinions.
So, TikTok’s young skincare-loving audience makes it the ideal place for skinfluencers (and skincare brands) to connect with their core audience.
Gen Z & Skincare
The skincare market has been rising solidly, forecast to double in size from 2012 to 2025. This demand comes from younger people, who are getting into skincare early on to avoid the signs of aging down the line. As Gen Z grows older and controls their own spending power, we’re seeing demand for natural and organic products grow faster than the rest of the market.
So what’s driving this change? What do Gen Z think of skincare, and where do they get their skincare content from?
Skincare vs makeup
While makeup sales suffered due to the pandemic, COVID has actually boosted sales for skincare, hair-care and bathing products. McKinsey reports a 300% year-on-year increase in sales of ‘self-care’ products like candles, aromatherapy and home spa goods.
The message is clear: skincare is in because it represents self-care, something we’re all relying on more heavily mid-pandemic. Gen Z are the ‘self-care generation’: they care about their mental health. In skincare, they’re looking for playful experiences to counter their anxiety, looking for creativity and sustainability.
They’re willing to spend time and integrate multiple ‘steps’ and products into their regime: over 60% said they would follow a 10-step Korean skincare routine. Gen Z is also comfortable with drugstore products at lower price points: the leading skincare brands for teens are Neutrogena and Clean & Clear.
The message for skinfluencers and brands is clear: skincare is self-care, and its experiential.
Youtube vs TikTok for skincare
YouTube pioneered makeup tutorials and skincare content early on, with influencers like Tanya Burr and Kaushal Beauty posting videos for millions of subscribers, as early as 2013. This content was mostly 10-20 minute long videos, often with a long chat at the beginning.
YouTubers had a mainly millennial audience, but this kind of content is less popular with Gen Z. The always online generation have famously short attention spans of 8 seconds or less, so ‘bite-sized’ short form TikTok videos are popular. Moreover, lots of YouTubers are also on TikTok now, so it’s a one-stop shop.
People have misunderstood TikTok to be a kids’ app for comedy and dances, but it’s really matured over the past year. TikTok’s educational initiatives prove there is an appetite for educational content.
This is great news for ‘serious’ skincare brands: TikTok’s Gen Z audience want to discuss formulations and ingredients. It’s not just product recommendations or cute packaging that can differentiate you – but also discussing the science behind skincare. This video from @dermdoctor showcasing azelaic acid as an ingredient gained 890k views and 54.1k shares, a great example of the ‘serious’ content Gen Z want to see.
Our Top 5 TikTok Skinfluencers
These skinfluencers are some of the leaders in skincare content on TikTok. Their content is great inspiration for skincare brands looking to get involved on TikTok. Moreover, they hold power: an endorsement, organic or sponsored can make or break a skincare brand.
Hawaiian influencer Hyram Yarbro is credited with ‘kicking off a skincare movement’. With 6.7M followers 249.5M likes, he’s known for his signature ‘duets’ with other TikTokkers where he gives them feedback. As a result, his personal hashtag #skincarebyhyram has nearly 2 billion views and is full of users requesting duets.
Hyram’s personality is built on being authentic – he pulls no punches in his content.
For example, he disapproved of Dixie D’Amelio using a pore vacuum, and told his followers to ‘throw away’ their St Ives Scrubs since they damage the skin. He praised CeraVe organically before working with them, and endorses The Ordinary unsponsored. This authenticity is why Gen Z rely on skinfluencers.
Vi Lai has 640k followers and over 13.6M likes. Her approach is refreshingly accessible: she amplifies drugstore products with affordable price tags. While broadly posting about skincare, she does post related videos discussing ‘the most overhyped Sephora products’, creating an intimate dialogue with her audience.
Vi is also popular because she emphasizes mental health in her content – highlighting the self-care aspects of skincare. She is open about how she started paying attention to skincare as a coping mechanism and her struggles with anxiety. She uses dark humor that resonates with Gen Z, and has been called the ‘funniest skinfluencer you don’t know yet’. This makes her endearing and relatable to her young audience, who feel they can trust her opinion.
Dr Dustin Portela is a dermatologist skinfluencer with over 1M followers and 18M likes. His content is more educational, focusing on skincare from a doctor’s perspective. Since he’s a qualified dermatologist his opinion carries huge credibility and weight.
Alexa of Glowopedia has 237k followers and 5.4M likes. Her approach is self-care and ASMR focused, so she produces ‘soothing’ and aesthetically pleasing skincare content.
She’s also great at finding Target dupes for high-end products. In the run up to Christmas, she’s been working with smaller brands to promote their skincare products as gifts. With a focus on affordable products and self-care, it’s easy to see why Gen Z love her so much.
Tanisha of skincare crazy takes it a step further: promoting all-body skincare to her 260k followers. Her unique ‘showertok’ content has 5.2M likes, in which she shows off all the products she’s using across face, bath and body.
Skinfluencers like Tanisha are interesting because their followers are there for more than just facial skincare. While Tanisha does talk about traditional skincare, such as serums and moisturisers, she also uses the ‘self-care’ theme to review products from bath and body brands (Lush, SheaMoisture and Bath and Body Works – to name a few).
How To Leverage Skinfluencers For Your Brand
So, now you know skinfluencers are the next big thing and you’re well acquainted with the top players. How can your brand leverage TikTok skinfluencers? We take you through all you need to know.
Skincare Product Reviews
Gen Z trust influencers and micro-influencers – they’re the go-to for product recommendations and purchase guidance. Skinfluencers have additional credibility: typically they’re either qualified estheticians or dermatologists or have invested significant time into dermo-cosmetic research. Their content often focuses on ‘active ingredients’: hard to pronounce chemicals they demystify for the general audience.
So, their audience is primed and willing to buy what they review positively. Skincare product reviews can be invaluable when reviewed by the right influencers.
However, this is a double-edged sword and can go badly if your product isn’t well-received. Take @skincarebyhyram’s critique of St Ives Walnut Scrub: when he told his audience to ‘throw it away’ explaining that it damaged skin, he received thousands of comments to the tune of ‘throwing it away right now’. However, his endorsement of Panoxyl’s benzoyl peroxide for acne received nearly 90k likes and is a great example of reviews done right.
Monitor Organic Influencer Content
For skincare brands hesitant about joining TikTok, a great tip is to watch skinfluencers’ organic content. Keep an eye on skincare trends and monitor what skinfluencers talk about.
Skinfluencers will often organically praise brands they believe in, so if you’ve been shouted out or offer a similar product, you’ll get better results once you reach out to get reviewed. Make a list of skinfluencers who advocate for your brand and approach them for more effective partnerships.
At Fanbytes, we use the same approach but with our industry-leading TikTok analytics tool Bytesights. This helps us identify emerging trends and influencers across industries.
This video by @whatsonvisface uses a TikTok trend to educate her followers to wear SPF everyday. This is a great example of how viral trends can be leveraged ‘on theme’.
At Fanbytes, we send a weekly trends newsletter helping brands identify what’s trending, why and how they can leverage it. This can be helpful if your brand needs some guidance getting started.
Give Skinfluencers Creative Freedom
When working with skinfluencers it’s important you don’t restrict creative control. Remember, you’re partnering with them because they know their audience better than you do. They’ve been producing content that works for their following. If sponsored posts ‘feel’ like pure advertisement, this will only be off-putting to a Gen Z audience.
So, keep your brief goal-focused and let them decide how to deliver. Gen Z influencing is all about storytelling: people are looking for authentic recommendations from influencers they trust. TikTok is also a lot more ‘real’ and doesn’t focus on airbrushed perfection in the same way as Instagram, so bear this in mind with influencers’ content.
So, skinfluencers are on the rise, and after a stressful year for everyone, we’re a lot more receptive to self-care content including beauty. Skincare brands should get involved early so they don’t miss out on TikTok as a crucial digital channel.
We’ve covered the top 5 skinfluencers on TikTok and discussed the kind of content they post, as well as why this works. We hope this provides inspiration to your brand.
Furthermore, we’re always here to help support your brand leverage skinfluencers on TikTok. We’ve included some tips in this article, but if you want to take your TikTok campaigns to the next level, get in touch!