sunscreen, makeup, hamburger illustrations

Millennials have definitely been on a rollercoaster ride through the ever-evolving world of beauty, with trends and fads catching fire and burning out just as fast. Luckily, they’ve come out on top, going from worshiping celeb beauty routines in the early aughts to seeking expert advice from dermatologists and aesthetic pros like us at LaserAway!

As they’ve grown and gained wisdom, Millennials can’t help but facepalm at some past beauty blunders. So we asked over a thousand American Millennials, aged 26 to 42, to spill the tea on their top beauty regrets in five key areas: facial skincare, hair and makeup, health and nutrition, body skincare, and dental care.

Ready to see what topped the list, and how their practices have changed over time? Let’s dive in!

Key takeaways

  • The majority of Millennials (85%) are more cautious about the beauty practices they follow now than when they were younger.
  • Nearly half (49%) regret past beauty trends that they followed when they were younger.
  • For close to half (43%), past beauty practices have negatively impacted their skin.

The beauty practices Millennials regret most

Taking a trip down memory lane can leave anyone cringing, and when it comes to beauty trends, it gets even worse (raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by pencil-thin eyebrows!). For Millennials, past beauty regrets have left their mark in more ways than one.

These regrets range from the physical, like premature aging and sun damage, to more emotional and internal. For instance, many Millennials look back on their past and wish they would have been more body positive, embracing their natural features like skin tone, hair texture, and body shape instead of conforming to society’s beauty standards at the time.

As they’ve grown, not only have Millennials learned how to take better care of their physical beauty, but they’ve also learned to practice more self-love. Their past regrets help guide them to a healthier future. In fact, 49% say they regret a beauty trend or practice they followed when they were younger, and 85% are more cautious about the beauty practices they follow now.

From skipping sunscreen to not using a hair heat protectant, what may seem like small practices can leave lasting impacts on future health. In fact, 43% of Millennials say they regret beauty trends or practices they followed when they were younger because those trends have impacted their skin negatively down the line.

The top beauty regrets Millennials have expressed are a tie between not investing in quality skincare and eating too much junk food. And they’re certainly paying for it now: 57% say they spend more money on their beauty and health now than when they were younger.

the beauty practices millennials regret

Millennial’s top beauty regrets by category

Now when we say “beauty”, we’re looking way beyond aesthetics. Beauty encompasses everything from one’s outward appearance to how they feel inside. We asked our respondents about five different topics across all areas of beauty in order to get the full picture. Regrets? They’ve had a few! From sugar overload and skipping braces to over-washing their hair.

What are the biggest mistakes by category? Our survey says: dodging dental visits and ghosting sunscreen are major no-nos. See also: not splurging on A+ skincare, ditching workouts, and (yup, you guessed it) over-plucking eyebrows.
millennials top beauty regrets by category

Who influences Millennials’ beauty practices?

Back in the 2000s, Millennials relied primarily on their peers (68%) and celebs (36%). Dermatologists and medical professionals had the least influence with only 14%. Thankfully, Millennials have grown older and wiser over the years, and so have their sources of influence. Now, 57% say that their beauty practices are swayed by dermatologists and medical professionals—phew, much better!

who influences millennials’ beauty practices

While those are some big numbers, the results aren’t all that surprising when you think about it—when Millennials were coming of age, Google search was kind of new, phones were just getting smart and social media consisted primarily of your MySpace top 9.

Consider the concept of researching expert advice online! 81% of respondents said they rarely or never researched expert advice on beauty and health topics when they were younger. Compare that to now, when 41% say they always or often research expert advice for these topics!

The role of social media has obviously also evolved for Millennials, especially when it comes to beauty. 29% of Millennials surveyed cited social media as a major source of beauty influence when they were younger, and now it’s their second highest source (at 48%). And which social platform wields the most influence when it comes to beauty? The Millennials we surveyed cited Youtube as their platform of choice.

Social media connects Millennials with their peers, as well as a wide variety of influencers and experts, who in many ways have become celebrities themselves. In fact, Millennials named beauty influencers as the group that influences their beauty routines the most, tying narrowly with friends and easily beating out traditional celebrities.

Beauty influencers make a living from promoting products to their massive communities, but it’s important to note that high follower count doesn’t necessarily mean credible beauty and skincare knowledge. Dermatologists and medical professionals have stressed over the years the importance of checking sources and avoiding misinformation on social media—in fact, many have taken to the platforms themselves to set the record straight and amassed followings of their own (i.e. #DermTok!). Millennials and their Gen-Z and Gen Alpha counterparts now have the opportunity to follow dermatologists, gain easy access to legit medical advice, and (hopefully, depending on who they follow!) avoid some of the beauty mishaps of previous generations.

General trends Millennials regret

For Millennials, not all beauty regrets are about health—unless you consider ‘dying of embarrassment’ a medical condition. Top offenders? The dreaded side part, ‘90s-inspired butterfly clips and frosty eyeshadow. And let’s not even start on wearing a darker lip liner than lipstick (…why was this a thing?).

Here’s the top six beauty trends our respondents would like to remove from the narrative.

  1. Wearing a side part
  2. Wearing butterfly clips
  3. Frost eyeshadow
  4. Wearing a zig-zag part
  5. Using body glitter
  6. Wearing a darker lip liner than lipstick

Hopefully, future generations will learn from this list of Millennial regrets and avoid these trends like the plague!


It’s clear that Millennials have had their share of beauty regrets over the years, but hey, every mistake is just a life lesson in disguise, right? These faux pas teach us how to make smarter choices for our future selves.

If you’re feeling like your skin’s been a lil’ shook by past beauty blunders, don’t worry—LaserAway has got your back! Hit us up for a free consultation, and we’ll pinpoint your skin situation and create a game plan for those life-changing, jaw-dropping results. Investing in skincare? That’s one beauty decision you won’t regret.


From April 24 to 25, we surveyed 1,003 Americans on beauty practices they followed when they were younger that they regret now. Respondents ranged in age from 26 to 42 years old and were 43% female, 55% male, and 2% nonbinary.