Trend Talks: Back to School Trends This Year Include Affordable “Natural Beauty” (Thankfully)


Like holiday shopping, the back to school season arguably starts earlier every year.  But August, when national retail sales rise about 4.3%, according to ShopperTrak, is still its domain.  Subsequently, this month our data partner Tribe Dynamics studied online beauty trends among high school and college-aged girls, discovering that “natural beauty” and “barely there makeup” were two of the buzziest media phrases and searches.  Those America’s Next Top Model go-see episodes must have finally made their mark — Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Allure, Glamour, and InStyle all featured something on natural makeup looks this month.

Within the beauty sector, Tribe looked for sheer, nude, and natural face, lip, and eye products gleaning high earned media value through smart online outreach.  Prestige beauty brands like Nars and Benefit tended to be online media stand-outs in Tribe’s past analyses, but in keeping with back-to-school and back-to-college trends (and their shoppers’ budgets), this study’s most successful brands tended to be more affordable.  In particular, one of the most substantively talked-about companies was NYX, with both a matte lip product and a blush, each $6, taking Tribe’s top spots in EMV in their respective categories.

Before Tribe’s study, we’d never even heard of the brand, but maybe we’re just too old.  Apparently it’s all over the blogs the kids are reading these days, though, and Tribe estimates the August EMV of NYX’s Soft Matte Lip Cream, sold at Target and most drugstores, at around $96,761.  The number three finisher in the category was the more rarefied Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment, with an EMV of only $30,947.  It costs $22.50, as opposed to NYX’s six-buck product, indicating that in the school-age demographic, less really is more.

What Tribe found was all basically reassuring — back-to-school aged girls are a) still looking for affordable products b) trying to do their shopping all in one place (or their parents are, at least), and c) are willing to engage, online, with the brands that fit these criteria.  For beauty brands looking to attract a coterie of young online ambassadors, natural, inexpensive, and ubiquitous availability are the three tenets to social engagement.

Tribe Dynamics logoAll data is provided by Tribe Dynamics.  For more information on their findings, check out the full study.