Acumen Insights

The Majority Teens Use Makeup to Express Themselves

By December 12, 2016 No Comments

Across the nation, American tweens and teens are indulging in makeup. Research from Mintel reveals that as many as 80 percent of all nine to 11 year olds use beauty and personal care products. More than half of 12 to 14 year olds use mascara (54 percent), as well as eye shadow, eye liner and eyebrow pencils (54 percent). But beauty isn’t just the preserve of young girls: while 90 percent of girls aged nine to 17 are beauty product users, seven in 10 (69 percent) boys of the same age enjoy a touch of beauty. Indeed, product usage among boys is high, with more than two in five boys aged 12 to 17 using facial cleansing products (44 percent), perfume/cologne (42 percent) and lip care products (41 percent), while three in 10 (29 percent) use hair styling mousse, gels and creams.

Although more than half (56 percent) of teens say they use makeup to express themselves and their style, confidence is a major driver behind beauty and personal care product usage. Some 42 percent of US teens aged 12 to 14 who use beauty and personal care products do so because it makes them feel more confident, rising to well over half (56 percent) of those aged 15 to 17. One in seven (16 percent) kids aged 12 to 14 use personal care products to look older/more grown up, with young boys (19 percent) more likely than girls (14 percent) to feel the pressure to look good.

The research indicates that teen girls in particular are looking for relatable spokespeople as overall, more than one third (36 percent) of all 12 to 17 year old beauty product users are eager to see people who are not photo-shopped or airbrushed in beauty and personal care advertisements, with girls (41 percent) twice as likely as boys (21 percent) to say this. What’s more, half (51 percent) of teens are looking for a spokesperson who is “like them.” It is clear that in beauty and personal care advertising, different spokespeople appeal to different genders, as teenage boys are particularly interested in seeing celebrities (40 percent) and athletes (33 percent); however, teen girls are considerably less moved by the use of celebrities (26 percent) and athletes (17 percent) than their male counterparts.