Tech

TikTok is reshaping beauty and skincare trends among teens. Here are the brands that are the biggest winners.

TikTok has become a powerhouse driving cultural trends and viral phenomenons among US teens. 

But it’s not just viral dances or songs coming out of TikTok — the app is influencing teens’ preferences when it comes to buying products, particularly in beauty and skincare. 

TikTok “has significantly reshaped these preferences,” according to Piper Sandler’s spring 2021 edition of its biannual report, “Taking Stock with Teens.” 

Take CeraVe as an example. 

The brand is currently ranked as teens’ No. 1 favorite skincare brand, according to Piper Sandler’s recent survey of 7,000 US teens. CeraVe skyrocketed to the top in 2020 after being ranked at just No. 10 in 2019. 

The L’Oreal-owned skincare brand is dermatologist-developed and was a drugstore staple for years. Then, in 2020, the brand started flying off the shelves as teens and young adults threw out their other fragranced and vigorous skincare products in exchange for the gentler, affordable product. 

Why? 

A new generation of skincare influencers was emerging on TikTok and millions of people flocked to the wisdom of creators like Hyram Yarbro, a 24-year-old creator with 6.8 million TikTok followers. CeraVe is one of Yarbro’s frequently recommended products, and the brand has also sponsored Yarbro in the past. 

CeraVe told Insider in August that it had experienced a spike in sales during 2020.

But CeraVe isn’t the only brand that’s seen a boom out of TikTok. 

  • In 2019, The Ordinary didn’t break into the top 10 favorite skincare brands for US teens. But now, it ranks at No. 4 and has stayed there since fall 2020. The brand is another a cult favorite among TikTok “skinfluencers” like Yarbro and Young Yuh.
  • Last fall, e.l.f. made its ascent as the No. 2 favorite cosmetics brand for teens, moving up from its previous No. 4 spot. This spring, e.l.f. was only 8 votes away from being the No. 1 favorite, the report said. The cosmetics brand was one of the earliest brands to tap into TikTok’s marketing power, launching a viral hashtag campaign with its own original song “Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.)” in October 2019.
  • Both Morphe (No. 6) and Fenty Beauty (No. 9) have significant TikTok audiences as well, with 1 million and 785,000 respectively. Morphe launched a collaboration with TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio in 2020.

“The explosive rise of TikTok has given marketers the ability to reach Gen-Z in previously unimaginable ways,” Kory Marchisotto, e.l.f.’s chief marketing officer, told Insider in 2020.

TikTok leads in other ways, too. The platform ranks as the No. 2 favorite social media platform among the teens surveyed by Piper Sandler. It was narrowly edged out by Snapchat by about 1%. TikTok passed Instagram last fall, pushing Instagram down to No. 3.

Approximately 86% of female teens rely on influencers to discover beauty brands and trends, Piper Sandler found. That percentage has steadily increased over the last few years, and that impact on teens’ purchasing decisions is greater than word of mouth from friends (69%), brands themselves (35%), or magazines (14%).

Spending on skincare also increased for US female teens, according to Piper Sandler’s report.

Female teens are spending $107 a year on skincare, which increased by 6% year-over-year. And although cosmetics spending has been down by 17% year-over-year, teen spending increased by 1%, compared to fall 2020.

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