What’s your lockdown personality? Are you the type that applies full face of make-up for a day at home or more the kind of person who has to think for longer than perhaps they should when asked when they last showered?
Yes, as lockdowns around the globe continue, it’s becoming increasingly clear that there are two types of beauty consumer. Those for whom personal hygiene and beauty treatments are more of a public service (i.e. only performed for other people) and those who do it for themselves.
I’m surprised to find that I belong to the latter group. Now, it’s well documented on this platform that I’m pretty low maintenance as far as beauty goes. Yet, I’ve spent more money and time on cosmetics in the past two weeks than I have in the last two years.
For me, beauty has become a lifeline. I’ve needed ritual and routine. I’ve craved indulgence. And I’m not alone. Studies have shown that wearing make-up can boost productivity – not to mention contribute to a wider sense of wellbeing. While I haven’t worn make-up in days (and usually don’t), I have spent time applying face masks, exfoliating, slapping on self-tan and luxuriating in bubble baths. I’ve also invested in some very expensive shampoo.
Yes, ‘comfort buying’ has replaced ‘panic buying’ and many are clinging to the consistency of their beauty regime. Refinery 29 has published a piece on the psychology of continuing to apply make-up, even when no one sees it. The consensus is that the ritual and moment of reflection is beneficial to our mental health. For me, that certainly rings true; I’m not only sticking to my routine but multiplying it with additional products and steps. Could that be a wider trend – could COVID-19 spell the end of minimalism?
Of course, lockdown is temporary – but are the beauty trends born from COVID-19? Some will be – for example, once salons reopen, no doubt the booming home color and root touch up kit sales will subside to only slightly elevated levels (elevated because with unemployment bound to be high and a recession widely forecast, salons will be unaffordable for many). It will be interesting to watch which trends persist as Wuhan reacts to the lifting of social distancing measures. Will eye make-up still be a thing? Will our obsession with safety, health and cleanliness persist? Will hand care last the distance? Will we ever go back to bricks and mortar stores in our droves? Traffic is ‘less than half’ of pre lockdown levels in Wuhan, says Nikkei Asian Review. And with many jobs lost and new habits formed, will there be cash or appetite for non-essentials? Will the protectionist fervour that’s been thrown up by this crisis extend to a surge in sales for homegrown brands?
Many are predicting, not least L Catterton who this week invested in Japanese natural beauty brand Etvos, that clean beauty will continue to trend, although those who make a profession out of forecasting say that the focus will be less on the natural and more on safety, going forward, paving the way for synthetics. We’ll all be watching this space with interest – I mean, it’s not as if we’ve got anything better to do.