How Will the Pandemic Change the Face of Beauty?


I recently read this article in the NCEA News magazine, and found the perspective (written by a writer and beauty influencer in India) pretty relevant for our industry here in the US. The months in lockdown have changed much about how we live - so how might that influence skincare and beauty trends now that the country has begun to reopen and how long will those trends last? Here's one opinion.

Free of make-up during the lockdown, have women finally begun to feel comfortable in their own skin?

Right now, at this time of lockdown, anyone who appears on your feed with full make-up is bound to look out of place; you might also believe that such pictures show bad taste. But will this low-key look continue once the lockdown has been lifted?

‘Clean beauty’ relates to any product that uses organic, natural, pure and sustainable ingredients. Its popularity has been growing steadily for a while. Celebrity make-up artist Namrata Soni says, “People have become more and more conscious about the things they use.” The sudden pause that the lockdown has created in our lives has also made us think about how we treat nature and so a move towards clean beauty is almost predictable. All global reports have shown that while sales of many beauty products have taken a hit during lockdown, the sales of clean beauty products have been on the upswing in the past few weeks. India, with its tradition of Ayurveda, has an in-built affinity towards herbs, flora and fauna in beauty rituals.

Vivek Sahni, founder and CEO of Kama Ayurveda confirms the trend. “Our communication on social media has seen an increase in engagement. As a result of staying home and reading, people have begun taking care of their health to build immunity. Immunity has become a buzzword. The use of chemical-free products, ones that are pure and authentic, is a natural outcome of this trend.”

Jessica Jayne, who runs the clean beauty brand Pahadi Local, has noted an uptake in clean beauty products as well as everything associated with wellness. Customers have been happy to make prepaid purchases despite knowing there could be considerable delay in delivery, she observes. “One of the biggest reasons for new customer acquisition is being able to convince them that our skincare products are less harmful to our skin and to the environment,” says Jayne. Pull facewash, which is a lake sediment salt, has proven to be Pahadi Local’s star product at this time. “Maybe that’s because salt is also assumed to be a wellness product,” explains Jayne. The product also doubles as a soft exfoliator, adding to its charm. Beauty rituals, such as the 10-step Korean skincare regime, had reached a painstaking extreme and things were getting out of hand.

Staying at home means we are more make-up free than usual, and the feel and look of natural skin has become more important than ever. Forest Essentials’ chief managing director Mira Kulkarni says, “As there is no requirement for make-up, the lockdown is enabling people to finally be comfortable in their own skin.”

The lockdown has not only turned us into chefs, it has also turned us into kitchen beauticians. This is not surprising, given that we have a centuries-old tradition of elaborate home remedies for skincare and we have the time to practice them.

Wearing masks will be part of the foreseeable future and they are not friendly to heavy make-up, in particular lipstick. This is why lashes may become even more important as a beauty trend. With Zoom calls becoming part of every working woman’s life, we will want that coat of lippy, but perhaps colours will be more subtle. Soni believes some of the important make-up products to use right now are the ones with skin benefits, like primers and tinted moisturisers. Influencer Scherezade Shroff sees masks becoming a bit like socks – we will match them to our looks. The mask will just become an extension of the make-up ritual.

Even social media, which has in many ways encouraged the use of bold and beautiful colours, is toning things down. Popular beauty influencer and author of the best-selling book, Roots to Radiance Nikita Upadhyay says, “What makes me happy is that my followers genuinely want to work on their skin concerns rather than use concealers.”

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