The biggest beauty trends of the year so far haven’t been sparked by celebrities or runway models — they’ve been the result of lifestyle changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Spending more time indoors during the lockdown, the closure of beauty salons, the wearing of face masks – all these factors have impacted how we approach make-up and skincare, with retail stats backing up the trends that have been emerging on social media.
Here are five ways our beauty routines have completely changed in 2020.
For months, beauty salons were closed, and facial treatments – including lash extensions – were out of the question. In the meantime, lash lovers were stocking up on falsies, with Superdrug reporting growth in the lash category of 35% during one week in June, while Primark said it sold nearly 800,000 pairs of lashes in the month after shops reopened in June.
Now that we are all used to wearing face coverings, we think false eyelashes will continue to be a must-have as shoppers ditch the lipstick and focus on adorning their eyes.
With more time on their hands during lockdown, beauty buffs got serious about skincare. New research from Mintel, asking women about their beauty routines, found that the popularity of a variety of cleansing products has risen over the last 12 months. Face wash usage has gone from 50% to 55%, micellar water is up from 25% to 29%, and toner has jumped from 25% to 31%.
As skincare soared, make-up took a back seat – because what was the point of getting dolled up when you didn’t have anywhere to go and had to cover up your handiwork with a face mask anyway? Mintel reports that sales of color cosmetics are down 5% this year compared to 2019, part of a continuing trend.
“Even before the pandemic, the color cosmetics category was struggling as women cut back on make-up spend,” Mintel head of beauty and personal care Roshida Khanom says. “Korean beauty trends have benefited the women’s facial skincare category in recent years, with women reducing their use of make-up to show off the hard work on their skin.”
While PPE face masks have become the fashion accessory of the season, there’s also been a spike in the popularity of complexion-boosting masks as well, with Mintel reporting that peel-off or wash-off mask usage has jumped from 25% to 32% in 2020, with sheet mask use increasing from 15% to 22%.
Young people have been particularly keen on skincare masks, with 62% of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they have used one in the last 12 months.
Fragrance is another booming “new normal” beauty trend, but not in the way you’d expect. Fine fragrance is one of the most expensive beauty categories, and while many shoppers didn’t want to waste their precious perfume or cologne when they were barely going to leave the house, they were willing to splash out on another aromatic buy.
The Perfume Shop reported that sales of sleep scents rose by 350% during the lockdown, as stressed-out and sleep-deprived people attempted to soothe themselves with lavender and chamomile-infused pillow sprays.