5 Min Read |

Sales of online beauty products offer some hope in what is currently a bleak retail landscape.

Under quarantine, Chloe Smith still makes time to ensure her hair and nails are done. The 17-year-old high school student has exchanged her normal salon appointments with an at-home DIY beauty experience, including a nail package, UV light for gel manicures, and also a box of home relaxer.

Classes may be cancelled — her Chicago-area college is shut for a minimum of a month — yet she’s still finding time to post on TikTok. “I won’t record if I look a mess,” Smith claimed, laughing.

For many Americans, quarantine and self-isolation has meant embracing loungewear. Sales of online clothing have collapsed, as people reevaluate how they spend their money as the threat of economic insecurity arises.

The beauty industry, nonetheless, hasn’t suffered the same impact. Sales for nail products like cotton balls increased by 58% last week, contrasted to the previous week, according to data from Nielsen. Nail polish remover purchases jumped more than 50% during that same time period. Sales for hair coloring products rose 19%.

For some, personal grooming regimens are a way to kill time. For others, self-maintenance is a welcome break and escape from the unrelenting news cycle on the global crisis. Then there are those who are taking hair and nail care to the next level. With beauty salons expected to be closed for the coming weeks and possibly months, many people have no choice but to figure out how to reduce their own bangs, remove thick gel nail lacquer, or address unmanageable eyebrows.

” We are doing it for self-care,” said Stephanie Smith, who stockpiled on supplies with her daughter Chloe in the last few weeks. As opposed to dwelling on a situation that are beyond her control, she does her hair. “Even if it doesn’t appear the way you desire it to, you can place something into it to make yourself really feel attractive, also when there are awful things going on around you.”

For black females, there are further challenges. Pigtails, sew-ins, and other safety treatments that decrease heat on natural hair generally need expert knowledge from beauty professionals. Styles can last several weeks; however lockdowns are expected to last longer. Tyra Staples, a 45-year-old stylist in Chicago already has clients concerned about maintenance. She advises putting on a bonnet to help keep hair hydrated. “You can just pull it off before your video conference,” Staples stated. Braiding courses have also emerged online to help black women maintain healthy hair.

The $85 billion U.S. beauty industry is driven by women frequently going to salons for manicures, pedicures, eyebrow threading, waxing and hair coloring, as well as men visiting their barbers’ every few weeks. However, that all came to an unexpected stop in March as the U.S. closed down non-essential services to assist in restricting the spread of the virus and told citizens to stay inside their homes.

Unlike other categories that have also witnessed a decline in e-commerce sales, purchases of grooming products have transitioned online or to pharmacies, which are still viewed under the current restrictions as essential businesses. Despite the forced closure of brick and mortar stores, Ulta’s seen a “significant uptick in e-commerce” this month, according to president Mary Dillon during a recent teleconference. The increased need has been so substantial that warehouses are running in “holiday mode.”

“The beauty enthusiast has an emotional, deep connection with beauty despite the economic environment,” Dillon said. “We don’t see that changing.”

However, with unemployment anticipated to rise to 15% in the coming weeks, the personal care market may eventually be affected. A survey by Morning Consult carried out in March discovered that 48% of participants would likely spend less on beauty products were it the case that someone in their family was affected by unemployment. Another Morning Consult poll found that 15% of those polled claimed they anticipated spending less on beauty items as a result of the pandemic.

For many, at-home care can’t replace the salon experience. Samantha Mendoza, a 23-year-old who lives outside Los Angeles, has her own equipment for manicures, facials, and also an eyelash package. Still, she chooses to visit a salon once a month. “For me, it’s more about the experience, not just the final outcome,” she said. “That’s what I miss the most.”

As soon as quarantines end, beauty treatment services are counting on individuals like Mendoza to return. U.S. beauty chain European Wax Center offered customers extensions on their service packages. Hairdressers and stylists are using Instagram to market offers to customers with images of their work. Many salons are considering the additional staff they will require to meet expected demand.

Chloe Smith might have embraced at-home care, yet she’s eagerly anticipating professionals taking over again. “I’m still willing to go to my nail tech for her to do my nails,” she said. “But if she’s unavailable, then I know how to do them now.”

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