Beauty and Skincare Brand Strategies for Zalphas

From Zara’s Mini Artists to Fenty Beauty’s Fenty Snacks, retail approaches engage teens and tweens.

Sectors & Markets

07 May, 2024

Table of contents

Zalphas, the bridge between Generation Z and Generation Alpha (2010-2024), is already penetrating the beauty market with a general spending power that is expected to increase three times quicker than the other generation groups by the end of 2030. Unlike other categories, the beauty market has a limitation of the consumer age; the minimum age being 13. This demographic group is highly influenced by the social media world.

According to NIQ, the tweens have grabbed 49% of the skincare market and sales growth. In the US, teens and tweens are getting into makeup and skincare routines. Around 54% of 12 12-to-14-year-old US consumers are using mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, and eyebrow pencils. At the same time, 45% use concealer or foundation, and 30% use bronzer and blush, followed by 10% using hair coloring products. US Teens’ spending on beauty products has reached its highest from 2018, with a CAGR of 8% and an estimated spending of $339 per consumer on an annual basis.

Here are the beauty and skincare brand strategies to follow to get Zalphas’ attention.

Not too Minimum, not too Maximum

Retailers and brands have to design products, merchandise, and store designs that attract Zalphas and, at the same time, do not avoid Gen Z customers. They have to focus on connecting with the consumers through emotional and unusual approaches. Instead of sticking to a rigid plan, it is crucial to build a fluid process that can be changed anytime.

A generation has a routine of avoiding the lifestyle rules of its predecessors. Millennials were interested in soft and neutral tones, whereas Gen Z got hooked on bright hues. Therefore, the brands have to have a more bold and minimalistic aesthetic.

Glossier and Starface partnered to launch a collection of hydrocolloid acne stickers with the former’s classic pink color. China’s Hi!papa created the sunscreens in a light blue shade, packaged in triangular bottles that can fit into small hands.

Allkinds of Australia worked on a store design featuring an amalgamation of maximalism and minimalism with white walls and rainbow-influenced merchandise arrangement.

Gamification in Retail

Roblox, with 50 million users worldwide, recorded higher engagement in beauty among Zalphas. This space can help brands to inject a proper relationship with Zalphas. They can focus on the more sustainable digitalization of the physical products which can enable them to balance supply chains.

Along with that, the retailers can set up VR tech to give a proper phygital experience in-store. For the teens, they can employ sensory stimulations to indulge in an emotional connection. This innovative technology grabs the attention of Zalphas.

Sunsilk has a Roblox-based Sunsilk Hair Care Lab Tycoon that assists Zalphas in acknowledging their individuality through hair collections that can be interchanged. It also offers educational experiences on mental health. Sol de Janeiro presented a Roblox experience that was inspired by the Carnival of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. It involves various activities such as product tutorials and scavenger hunts which can be educational for Zalphas. E.l.f. Cosmetics has e.l.f UP!, a Roblox-powered game that highlights self-expression and skill-learning activities. There are shops in it with products that can be purchased with digital currency named Robux.

In-store Shopping

Even though they are more of digital-savvies, Zalphas are preferring to check the products physically through in-store experience. The highest sales of teen beauty products are occurring online. However, there are a lot of opportunities for retailers to focus on providing a noteworthy physical experience to get ready for this real-time spending before others.

The brands and retailers can work on distributing the products on a wholesale basis. They can level their investment between luxury and mass-market to offer premium-yet-bridge products. Collaborating with fellow brands to create a spark is also a considerable option. Another approach is to produce mini-beauty products that can be benefitted by both parents (spending power) and brands (last-minute purchase and customer loyalty).

Fenty Beauty has launched their best-selling products in mini versions under the name Fenty Snacks which are available in Ulta and Target. JB Skrub and Walmart worked on a joint venture to sell tween beauty sets of five products, including body wash, lotion, face wash, face pads, and body spray for boys aged between 10 and 16.


The brands have to be more careful with this age range. One cannot push a skincare routine to this group as they are going through enough body and hormonal changes (puberty). Therefore, the products have to be soft and delicate to use. Retailers and brands have to offer products with age-specific labeling that can help the parents to be aware.

It is important to educate this generation on how they can take care of their skin properly by themselves. Meanwhile, the sellers have to focus on the emotional and mental health of the consumers. The products have to be an answer for their confused yet maturing minds. Hiring Zalpha influencers can engage the consumers more.

Indu from the UK has embraced self-expression and individuality. It explores the concept of building confidence among teens with insights and news. KYND of Indonesia has introduced KYND Face, a makeup line for consumers in age four and above. Dove is working with seasoned psychologists, dermatologists, and body image experts to provide cost-free insight on how to approach and make a connection with young audiences on anxiety and anti-aging. Canada-based facial studio Formula Fig has launched a new skincare treatment that is compatible with tweens and teens who are interested in spa experience but not as strong as adults.

Implement Customisation through Co-creation

Zalphas are more interested in knowing what they are getting to before going through it. They want to be part of the process instead of seeing just the result. So, looping them in for a fun and educational journey can help brands build loyalty among them.

The labels have to provide personalized bespoke treatments and services along with in-store experience and sensory stimulations to engage the multi-focussed generation. Building a playscape to develop their own beauty products is another way to make Zalphas feel more involved.

Zara has unveiled its own kids’ beauty line Mini Artists which offers make-up in a form of self-expression. This also includes a complementary mixing palette, paper face chart, and mini apron. Drunk Elephant has skincare smoothies that will be made according to customer's preferences. Evereden from the US dropped water-soluble cosmetic items for Zalphas to experiment with them.

Cover image: Sol de Janeiro's Roblox activation inspired by the Carnival of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, courtesy Glossy.