Gen Z thinks foundation is over. So, do they have a point?

One look in my makeup stash would tell you I’m a minimal makeup girl – especially when it comes to my base – and it seems I’m not alone. More and more I see my social media filled with barely-there looks or people just skipping a base product entirely.

And I totally get it. Those with massive Gen Z followings like Emma Chamberlain, Billie Eilish and Charli and Dixie D’Amelio are frequently seen on their platforms or in public fresh-faced. We’ve turned the page from the era of contoured Kardashian glam into one focused on skincare and a healthy glow instead of coverage.  

For me, I think it all started in 2014 when Glossier launched an extremely sheer skin tint and their “skin first, make up second” message. Whilst the idea was not revolutionary, it was wrapped up and given to us in covetable packaging, literally saying “here, you don’t have to cover up anymore”. We were all out here waiting for it to be ok that our skin wasn’t ok.

Even more than that, the rise of TikTok has introduced us to an attainable standard of beauty. We see people all over the world who look like us, dancing in their bedroom with no makeup, gaining millions of views and follows. In a sea of social media that’s increasingly edited and curated, we just want to see the real stuff.


Our vocabulary around makeup has also changed and shifted to represent the new. Instead of chasing a ‘blinding highlight’ or ‘full glam’ we’re seeking natural, fresh and glowy daily looks. It’s all about altering beauty to fit into our lives, making it work for us instead of striving for contoured perfection. 

Add into that a global pandemic and we’re now seeing a seismic shift in how people approach beauty. We’re staying home more, dressing down and basically doing the opposite of everything that girl in 'Hotline Bling' does. It hardly feels worth wearing primer, foundation and powder for just ourselves, or for a mask to rub it all off. Even Zoom makeup tutorials are all about speedy looks that often skip several traditional steps.

2020 has finally seen product launches that reflect what we’re actually after. Skin tints, lip tints, cheek tints – products offering a less structured, more lightweight look.

Morphe2, a sub-brand aimed directly at their centennial audience, was a big one, collaborating with the D’Amelio sisters. At the centre of their line is the Hint Hint Skin Tint, a sheer tint that “lets your skin shine through”. 

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@charlidamelio & @dixiedamelio are fresh and glowing in everything #morphe2. ✨✨ Are you ready for more? ⁣ new product releases coming 9/10 featuring: ☁️ Brow Crush Tinted Brow Gel (available in 5 shades) $7 ☁️ Happy Glaze Lipgloss (available in 5 shades) $9 ☁️ Gleamcatcher Illuminator (available in 3 shades) $14 ☁️ L-Balm Lip Balm (available in 4 shades) $8 ☁️ Prep Polish Lip Scrub $8 collection launch dates: ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ✨ 9.10 on ✨ 9.15 select Morphe stores, @sephoracanada, @theofficialselfridges ✨ 9.20 @ultabeauty ✨ 9.22 @prettylittlething ✨ 10.27 @meccamaxima - #morphe2 #browcrush #browgel #lipbalm #lipscrub #happyglazelipgloss #morphe2xcharlidixie ⁣

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Other notable launches include the Covergirl Clean Fresh Skin Milk line, ColourPop Pretty Fresh Tinted Moisturiser and even the Chanel Les Beiges Eau De Teint. Go back two years ago and I struggled to find any base that wasn’t matte and medium coverage at a minimum. Now, I have a pick no matter my budget

Centennials are also becoming some of the most informed and educated consumers yet, armed with the knowledge of what the heck hyaluronic acid is and why we need it. We’re demanding more from our products and blurring the lines between categories as we seek out simple and multi-use products. The beauty market is absolutely flooded with product choices, so why settle for a different product for every. single. step?

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Tinted glosses or lip oils packed with hydrating ingredients? Yes please. 

A coloured stick that won’t cake on my lids, cheeks or lips? Give it to me. 


Balm that can be used for dry lips, cuts, cuticles or even as a dewy highlight? I’ll take five.

So where do we go from here? 

It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see 2021 bring even more launches in the pursuit of a natural glow. Indie brands will continue to thrive as their more traditional counterparts play catch up, realising the true spending power of Gen Z.  

Gen Z have grown up in a digital world, where we can give feedback and tell a brand exactly what we’re thinking at any time. We vote on product development in Instagram polls, share make up hacks on TikTok and determine the fate of entire brands in a YouTube video.  

We’re savvy consumers that demand the most from brands and products and refuse to cover up just because "everyone wears foundation".

For more from Morgan, follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Instagram /morgansskinjournal