How The Coronavirus Is Changing the Beauty Industry

By Srusti Acharya and Reha Matai

Though the term beauty in essence has different meanings to each and every individual. Yet, living in society often insists on participation in various norms that have developed into our daily lives. According to Statistica.com, as of December 20th, 2019 “According to a May 2017 survey of American consumers, 41 percent of Americans between the ages of 30 and 59 years wear makeup on a daily basis, and 25 percent wear makeup several times per week.”


However, living in these different times, the coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives including our beauty regimes. Whether we use makeup for personal or professional use, the way that we use and express our beauty has changed. Many people from all over the world have changed their beauty routines. According to a survey by Cult Beauty, ever since the outbreak, “82 percent of women are currently wearing less make-up, with 52 percent of us having changed our beauty priorities.” In addition, people have begun to feel more comfortable and understanding when seeing each other without makeup. While platforms such as Zoom have become much more popular among students and working adults, they have allowed for people to be accepting of others without makeup. Varga, a beauty expert, states “Without an audience, there will be less reason or need to put on a full face of make-up every day – the effort won’t seem justified.” As such, a large number of people use less makeup daily because they don’t find the need to use as much as they regularly would.  
After lockdown, shopping and sampling products have also changed completely. With the physical stores closed, customers don’t have the same experience where they get to test and try on products, resulting in a more likely buy. For this reason, products aren’t as publicly engaging as they would be in store. If physical stores were to re-open, consumers wouldn’t be as willing to sample makeup as it comes with high risks. Instead, according to WWD, makeup stores should expect “single-dose and ‘touchless samples’, alongside antimicrobial displays and protective shields.”


While a large portion of the public continues to work predominantly over virtual platforms, when people do choose to venture out, it is often with face masks. The Beauty Business Journey, “The beauty market is likely to see a rise in color cosmetics such as mascara, eye shadow, eyeliners and concealers throughout the COVID-19 crisis as consumers are adopting the habit of wearing masks and applying this as part of their daily routine and outfit choices.” Eyebrow products as well as eyebrow-shaping have also increased in popularity and relative importance due to the fact that the majority of one’s face remains covered with a mask. Particularly, the effects of wearing masks have been detrimental to the lipstick industry. Fortune Magazine claims, “After all, why wear lipstick when no one can see your smile anyway?” Along with this, lipstick found to have been sloppy under masks, further leading to the newly coined term, “maskne,” or acne formed in the areas in contact with masks. 


With that said, people generally find themselves with more time at home to care for themselves especially when developing a skincare routine. Social media has further emphasized this with celebrities also focusing more on self-care rather than sporting outdoor makeup looks. It is important to note, however, that much of the prosperity with self-care philosophies have been continued with homemade ingredients that are far more accessible than store-bought products. As per Vox in their article, “Skincare sales are also lower than pre-pandemic levels thanks to store closures, but they haven’t suffered nearly as badly as makeup has.” 
In all, COVID-19 has evidently taken quite the toll on various forms of the beauty industry be it makeup, skincare, or standards for appearance. While the trends have drastically changed given the unprecedented times, it is vital to understand that societal norms are based upon life and endure a journey of their own. Changes are expected to occur as always as they will when the pandemic fades, until then it is worthwhile to explore.

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