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Gen Z green is the new Millennial pink for beauty products


TextAlex Peters

Nature is healing

Ever since watching Dakota Johnson’s breezy, cool girl tour of her dreamy Hollywood Hills home I have really come around to the idea of green. Those green kitchen cabinets. Those sunshine-lit rooms full of leafy green house plants. All those limes. I’d never had particularly strong feelings about the colour but during those ten minutes of heaven Johnson’s love of green transferred to me as if via osmosis. It turns out I was late to the game. 

Slowly but surely, over the last few years, Gen Z green has been replacing the Glossier pink that came to define millennials. First, Gen Z green took fashion. “Pistachio hues are infiltrating the fashion industry,” Elle wrote in 2019. Then Gen Z green took interiors. “As we enter a new decade, there’s already a new haute hue: green,” wrote Vogue in 2020. And now, Gen Z green has come for beauty. 

From sage to mint, eucalyptus to avocado, verdigris, emerald, kelp, pistachio – green has been taking over packaging and branding in the beauty and wellness market. The most high profile case is no doubt Pharrell’s Humanrace skincare range which is completely packaged in bright green, but there’s also the dark sage that dominates the branding of Olivia Palermo’s beauty line launched just yesterday. Huda Kattan’s skincare branch Wishful Skin recently came out with lime green under eye masks, while Drunk Elephant’s new Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum has a leafy green motif on its bottle. MAC Cosmetics chose a very neon shade of green for the packaging of its relaunched balm-gloss hybrid as did Bad Habit’s Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil.

But what’s driving this flock to the colour green? For Pharrell the colour of the Humanrace products reflects the importance he put on sustainability – the packaging is made from more than 50 per cent recycled plastic from landfills. Gen Z care about the environment and the effects of climate change on our planet. They are protesting, organising, tunnelling, even bringing the issue into their dating lives. They are demanding greener options from their beauty brands and this seems to have seeped into the packaging as well.

The turn to green also reflects the industry’s shift of focus onto wellness, health and all-things CBD, as well as everyone’s new lockdown obsession with house plants. Plants brought a sense of nature and the great outdoors inside when we were even more disconnected from it than ever. Plus, garden centres were one of the sole establishments deemed essential by our government and thus allowed to remain open in the deepest of lockdown. There’s something soothing about green, something earthy and fresh. It’s associated with new beginnings, energy, and growth. It recalls good luck, optimism, wealth, Billie Eilish’s slime green roots. It means go! And after the past year that’s a message everyone is looking for right now. 

Here are some of the brands and products tapping into the green trend.

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