Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when we are between 11 and 15 years old it can be very difficult to find it in oneself. This stage of life is often called “tween”- hood, a compound word that refers on one hand to being a teen or adolescent, and on the other hand to being in between one thing and another: childhood and adulthood. This apt term encapsulates the ambiguity and uncertainty inherent to this stage in life: it is a critical time in a person's development, and can therefore be extremely sensitive. Beauty and wellness brands operating in this space must take some responsibility and caution in how they address their audience.
A new wave of brands leading and innovating for the tween segment responds to their needs with proposals that, far from imposing a prescriptive standard which could exacerbate the discomfort of living a moment of transition, alleviate these tensions, feeding curiosity and celebrating the adventure of finding and defining oneself. This post highlights some inspiring examples of brands that propose a different model, based on optimism, de-stigmatization and, above all, empathy.
The list of mysterious and unexpected phenomena that arise around this age is long: odors, hair, acne, etc... And that is why, for many people, this period prompts a first approach to the world of beauty and self-care. A few years ago, we would have said that these brands were in charge of offering solutions to all these new "problems" faced by tweens, but today we find brands that approach their offering in a totally different way. Instead of stigmatizing these physical changes, they present the associated hygiene habits in a friendly and empowering way, assuming the role of facilitators in achieving a proactive management of wellness and self-care.
The positioning of the American brand Topicals stems from an unequivocal statement: "perfection is a myth". Even more so when your own body never ceases to surprise you, a real threat to self-esteem which Topicals confronts with authenticity and a certain sweetness, reminding its public that the essential factor in looking good is, above all, feeling good. The brand emphasizes its message to tweens by calling out the negative effect that skin conditions can often have on mental health, causing anxiety and even depression. Their brand purpose is supported by donations of a percentage of profits to social causes that offer resources and psychological support to those affected.
Another brand moving the needle for tweens is Stryke Club, founded with the mission to help boys take better care of themselves too. Simple, self-explanatory and low-commitment products or kits, based on generating preventive routines for issues that might worry them, such as hormonal acne or the irritations that can arise for a beginner to shaving.
On the other hand, young people are beginning to approach the world of beauty from a more creative and experimental point of view, using products as tools for play and fantasy that allow them to explore the central enigma to the moment they are living: their own identity. Many brands respond to this curiosity and need for self-expression by emphasizing the more playful side of their products and services.
The tween hyperreality represented in the series "Euphoria" has marked a before and after in beauty, with its exaltation of the most aspirational aesthetic elements and beauty standards for the new generations. With such cache, it's not surprising that the name of the show's makeup designer, Doniella Davy, is on everyone's lips. Her philosophy and approach can be a very useful reference to better understand how young people are understanding and expressing beauty: in a recent collaboration with Face Lace, she states that her design seeks to "amplify the superhero/heroine in you." She is also about to launch her own makeup line, Half Magic Beauty, which will offer a range of products aimed at playing boldly, breaking conventions and taking risks.
Underlining the “between” aspects of this stage of life, brands that work well with fluidity can also connect very well with this segment. Fluide operates in these undulating waters, with a message suitable for all ages, but particularly appealing to younger people. "Our goal is to evolve the concept of mainstream beauty, empowering people to express themselves more authentically," says founder and CEO Laura Kraber, "if makeup is joyful, transformative and fun, no one should feel excluded."