In 30 seconds:
- Skinfluencers are the next big thing for beauty brands and skincare brands. Offering skincare advice on social media, these content creators are reaching Gen Z where they’re at.
- The skincare industry thrives on trusted individuals sharing skincare tips. Gen Z trusts influencers more than brands, so skincare influencers, or ‘skinfluencers’ are a surefire hit.
- From certified dermatologists to at-home aficionados, this new breed of beauty influencer is about putting self-care first.
Have you caught your reflection lately and spotted a new skin problem? Perhaps dry skin or uneven skin tone?
When it happens to Gen Z, they head to social media for advice – specifically from skincare influencers, or “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.
But why are they so popular – and how can your brand work with them to win over Gen Z?
The rise of skinfluencers
Skinfluencers are increasingly popular on TikTok. #skincare has a whopping 66.9 billion views, #skincareroutine has 13.8 billion, and smaller tags like #oilyskin and #koreanskincare have 350+ million and 476+ million views respectively.
Skincare content on TikTok generates the kind of viral engagement you can’t find on any other network.
This is in part due to TikTok‘s audience. Two-thirds of TikTok’s massive 1 billion active user base is Gen Z, and this group loves skincare. 90% would rather spend on skincare vs makeup. They’re more ‘skincare savvy’ than previous generations: they research product ingredients, care about sustainability and have even made it trendy to wear ‘boring’ products like SPF.
The pandemic also skyrocketed Gen Z‘s increased focus on skincare. After all, when you can’t go out, you might as well focus on improving your bare skin. But even after lockdowns lifted, Gen Z‘s interest in skincare stayed high.
The other key factor to Skincare‘s success on TikTok is video.
TikTok‘s short-form video content is perfect for bite-sized advice. Gen Z trust users to be their natural selves on TikTok, which is important for gaining help about skin flaws, rather than hiding them. The video-first nature of the platform means users can talk through experiences or demonstrate clearly how to use products.
TikTok has become a source for Gen Z to find rich information about skincare from their peers. And from amongst these TikTok users, some profiles have gained more clout.
These users have grown to become influencers. When looking for advice and product recommendations, Gen Z turn to these skinfluencers for unbiased, authentic opinions.
Gen Z & skincare
TikTok’s young skincare-loving audience makes it the ideal place for skinfluencers (and skincare brands) to connect with Gen Z.
The skincare market has been rising solidly since 2012, and is expected to be worth $189.3 billion worldwide by 2025.
The demand comes from younger people, who view the world – and their place in it – differently. They care about transparency, and demand it from brands. This value also plays out in their preference for skincare over beauty: they don’t want to cover up a blemish. They want to treat it.
It may surprise you to learn that despite their young age, Gen Z are also passionate about anti-ageing. They want to take preventative steps to tackle ageing skin, rather than relying on more drastic measures later on.
This means that all skincare brands should be focusing on Gen Z, not just the brands carrying products associated with younger skin. Gen Z are becoming increasingly loyal to brands, so it’s important to win them over now.
So what’s driving this shift? What do Gen Z think of skincare, and where do they get their skincare content from?
Skincare vs makeup
While makeup sales suffered in 2020, the pandemic boosted sales of skincare, hair-care and bathing products. Skincare became ‘in’ because it represented self-care, something everyone relied more upon during lockdown.
But Gen Z were way ahead of the rest of us. This group are the ‘self-care generation’. They prioritise their mental health, and they head to their favourite app, TikTok, to boost their happiness levels.
In skincare, Gen Z are looking for experiences to counter their anxiety. The brands they like are ones that offer them fun, creativity and ‘feel-good factor – for instance via sustainability.
They also enjoy the actual processes that skincare involves.
For Gen Z, skincare isn’t always about big brands. The leading skincare brands for teens are Neutrogena and Clean & Clear. Gen Z care about what’s in the bottle, not the label on it.
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 in the 2010s. Influencers like Tanya Burr and Kaushal Beauty posted videos for millions of subscribers as early as 2013. This content was mostly 10-20-minute videos, often with a long chat at the beginning.
YouTubers had a mainly millennial audience, but this kind of content is losing its appeal for Gen Z. This generation have attention spans of 8 seconds or less, so ‘bite-sized’ short form TikTok videos that cut straight to the valuable information are more popular.
Gen Z spend more time on their phone than at a desktop, and TikTok‘s mobile-first design is better suited to the way users consume videos on their phone. It feels better to watch TikToks on your phone than Youtube videos.
Moreover, most YouTubers have opened up on TikTok now, so even the hardcore Gen Z Youtuber fans can be found on TikTok.
TikTok’s educational initiatives bodes particularly well for skincare brands. There is an appetite for educational content on the platform, and for skincare, that means discussing formulations and ingredients.
It’s not just product recommendations or cute packaging that can differentiate skincare brands on TikTok. Gen Z are hungry for content discussing the science behind skincare. Take this video from @dermdoctor below. Here, qualified medical expert (turned ‘skinfluencer‘) Dr Shah talks through azelaic acid and how it functions as a component of skincare products. So far, the video has received 923K views.
Gen Z grew up online, and are naturals at finding information. This kind of video appeals to this generation’s desire for frank information that’s centred in scientific fact, rather than marketing jargon.
Our Top 5 TikTok Skinfluencers
These skinfluencers are some of the leaders in skincare content on TikTok. Their content provides great inspiration for skincare brands looking to get involved on TikTok. Moreover, they’re a great partner for influencer marketing: an endorsement from one of these names can do wonders for a great skincare brand.
Hawaiian influencer Hyram Yarbro (@skincarebyhyram) could be credited with kicking off the skincare movement on TikTok. With 6.6M followers and 282.4M likes, he’s known for his signature ‘duets’ with other TikTokers where he gives them feedback. His personal hashtag #skincarebyhyram has 2.4 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 trusts skinfluencers.
Vi Lai (@whatsonvisface) has 881.2K followers and over 22.5M 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, conspiratorial dialogue with her audience.
Vi is also popular because she emphasises 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 humour that resonates with Gen Z, earning her the review, ‘the funniest skinfluencer you don’t know yet’.
Vi isn’t afraid to share negatives as well as positives. While that can be scary for brands, it makes her endearing and relatable to her young audience, who feel they can trust her opinion.
Dr Dustin Portela (@208skindoc) is a dermatologist skinfluencer with over 2M followers and 46.9M 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 (@glowopedia) has 292.2k followers and 7.3M 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 (@skincarecrazy) 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.
1. 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: often, they’re either qualified estheticians or dermatologists or have invested significant time into dermo-cosmetic research.
These influencers‘ audiences are primed and willing to buy what skinfluencers review positively. Skincare product reviews can be invaluable when reviewed by the right influencers.
Your product needs to live up to the hype though. If your skincare products don’t work, these TikTok influencers won’t fabricate a good review.
Consider @skincarebyhyram’s critique of St Ives Walnut Scrub. He received thousands of comments from followers to the tune of ‘I’m throwing it away right now’.
However, his positive endorsement of Panoxyl’s benzoyl peroxide for acne received nearly 90k likes. Precisely because he’s not afraid of leaving a bad review, his good reviews are accepted as genuine. Users know he’s not spreading misinformation – and the brands he compliments see a massive boost in sales.
2. 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.
3. 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 their followers love – that’s why they have so many followers!
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.
For more examples of how beauty and skincare brands are reaching Gen Z on TikTok, check out our article on Skincare TikTok here. We’re diving into the brands who’ve got it right + what you can learn from them.
For a more in-depth view on how to work with TikTok influencers, check out our article here.
Get skin(fluencer) in the game
Skinfluencers are on the rise. Skincare brands should get involved early so they don’t miss out on TikTok as a crucial digital channel for gaining Gen Z‘s trust.
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 or skincare line.
Gen Z are forming loyalties to brands now, so it’s an important time to be marketing to them. Skincare influencers know exactly how to do that.
Furthermore, we’re always here to help support your brand and 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!
Want to know more about beauty and skincare marketing on TikTok? We have more insights on how to perfect your routine here: