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(United Kingdom) The beauty industry has played an essential role during the pandemic by providing people with basic hygiene products and supporting their self-esteem. However, Covid-19 has prompted consumers to re-evaluate their beauty products and needs.
As we emerge from the pandemic into a recession, consumers are seeking to do more with less. Younger people are improvising to care of their appearance by using household items and food ingredients as substitutes for products. This has led to an increase in DIY beauty advice, seen on social media.
Within days of lockdown, people turned to DIY solutions in an attempt to imitate the work of their trusted beauticians and stylists. Social media has been saturated with images of homemade face scrubs and dye jobs attempted in front of bathroom mirrors while successful and failed attempts to remove acrylic and shellac nails were well-documented on Instagram.
The desire to continue our beauty routines during lockdown saw scores of people turn to the internet for advice with the number of Google searches for DIY beauty treatments quadrupling between March and April with more than a million related queries. This surge translated into sales on the high street too, with data from IMRG – the UK’s industry association for online retail – showing that sales of beauty products during the week starting March 15th increased by 31.6 per cent year-on-year. Box dye supplies at high street retailers such as Superdrug quickly sold out with sales skyrocketing by 76 per cent. Sales of hair clippers rose by 228 per cent in the first two weeks of April alone and have been sold out on Amazon for weeks.
Of course, there’s more to at-home beauty than just convenience. Older adults are likely sticking to actual beauty products but may be trading down or rationing what they already have. Discovering the money that can be saved by eschewing an expensive personal grooming routine has certainly raised some questions. The cost of fitting false lashes can mean the difference between a $5 DIY home kit as opposed to a $40 trip the salon.
Value & Ethics
Post pandemic, consumers will start re-evaluating their beauty purchases and seek items with added value. They will be quick question whether they really need an item and will want products to be durable and long lasting.
Clare Varga, head of beauty at trend forecasting company WGSN, predicts that most beauty consumers will be forced to reassess their needs amid the fear of future outbreaks and financial concerns, causing the increase in DIY beauty treatments to continue long after the coronavirus crisis subsides. “Beauty’s role in our lives has changed completely during the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s a total beauty reset,” she says, adding that people will move to a “buy less but better” mentality to save money. Varga predicts that this attitude will also see people adapt to a “pick and mix approach to beauty treatments”, combining at-home with the professional services. “People have lost a lot of their fear over DIY treatments but are also enjoying the low cost, low maintenance aspect too,” she explains.
With 61% of adults agreeing that it is important to buy ethical brands, consumers will also be drawn to companies that embrace well defined ethics and sustainability in their products. Consumers—particularly Millennials—increasingly say they want brands that embrace purpose and sustainability.
Meeting this demand is important not just for achieving corporate sustainability goals but also for the planet. Unilever estimates that almost 70% of its greenhouse gas footprint depends on which products customers choose and whether they use and dispose of them in a sustainable manner.
People Before Profits
Some brands have recently been criticized for hiking the prices of crucial cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment and failing to meet safety standards. Consumers will remember the behaviors of companies during this crisis, for example the website www.didtheyhelp.com tracks how corporations and public figures have responded to the crisis, noting good and bad acts and assigning them a score.
According to Jared Bailey, global brow expert for Benefit Cosmetics, the company is going to be asking all employees to check their temperature before entering work, with all staff members and customers masked and gloved and a two-metre distance between chairs. “All brow bar stations and chairs will be thoroughly sanitised upon store opening, every hour, and again after a service,” Bailey explains. “All used materials will be disposed of after each service and any used non-disposable tools, such as tweezers and scissors, will be washed with warm soapy water, sanitised and stored in barbicide for disinfection.”
In the future, customers will buy from brands that put people before profits and share support for others.