There’s certainly no shortage of things to think about at the moment. And while there’s no denying that the current situation is affecting the most fundamental aspects of our lives, it’s also worth noting that it’s affecting the more secondary concerns, too. Like the beauty industry, for instance.
Over six months into the world changing dramatically, those who love beauty have started to consider what it means for the industry. Recently, I’ve taken some time to reflect on what could be the future of beauty in a world we still can’t quite picture.
DIY services at home
For many of us, a trip out to enjoy a beauty treatment was a moment of true mediation in an otherwise difficult and overwhelming world. But as we’ve slowed down and stayed in, many of us have started experimenting more with DIY beauty treatments at home.
There are benefits and drawbacks to this. I’m extremely pro messing about with your own appearance—trimming and dyeing my own hair has long been a coping mechanism in times of sadness. But it’s also important to consider those whose entire livelihoods depended on making us look and feel better. Finding a balance between reclaiming a sense of autonomy and ensuring hardworking professionals remain in business may be a challenge beauty-lovers have to face down the line.
A boost in diversity
It isn’t cool to promote or support companies that have over fifteen white foundation colors, or don’t offer products for different hair types. There’s a huge focus on buying from smaller, independent, and Black-owned brands. This is opening up the industry, and it’s granting us access to tons of new, exciting products.
Lack of an in-store experience
Right now, the idea of walking into a makeup store and touching products seems like something from a horror movie. Sephora was already sort of considered a little germ factory, but with one particular germ spreading exponentially and killing hundreds of thousands of people, things are just more serious. Makeup shopping was always something of a meditative experience for me, so in spite of the hygiene issues, it’s something I’ll always miss. But hey—if giving up swatching sparkly eyeshadows saves a life, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
Online brand relationships
The benefit to beauty shopping heading online is that I imagine we’ll start to see brands actually cultivating relationships with their customers. Seeing how different brands respond to this need for interactivity and relationship building will be interesting—and it seems like smaller, indie brands may benefit from this style of marketing, too.
Wellness takes over
“Wellness” is a bit of a contentious issue to some in the beauty world. It’s true that the word has some annoying connotations, conjuring up vague assertions that a scented candle and a bath will cure depression. But in times when depression is set to be more common than ever, perhaps there’s nothing wrong with spending a little extra time and money on things that are just...nice. Will cultivating a beauty routine objectively help the terrifying state of the world? No. But could it give you the comfort you need to not totally give up on everything? I reckon so.
Skincare comes to the forefront
As so many of us are spending more time at home than ever before, putting on a face of makeup has effectively gone out the window. Instead, we’re investing more of our time and beauty budget into our skincare. Not only does this make being at home evening after evening feel more enjoyable, but it actually feels like an investment in the future. You’re keeping your skin looking its best, because one day, the world will see it again. That mindset, in itself, feels pretty revolutionary.
Makeup as occasion wear
In a similar vein, as the “everyday makeup routine” seems to fly out of the window, makeup has taken on a brand new role in our lives. On the days we do decide to wear it, it seems a waste not to make the most of it, right? Remember that neon blue eyeshadow that you thought was too “out there” for a trip to the grocery store? Well, it now seems like the perfect way to add some interest to your errands. I’ve always been very keen on wearing the makeup I want to wear, rather than what best suits the occasion, and I hope embracing this “fuck it, why not” spirit is something that more people start to embrace.
Since being outside of our homes basically means having to cover the bottom half of our face, lipstick is facing an unsure future. But with eyes on display, it’s time to let them rule the makeup roost. Creative eyelid looks are one of the things that excited me most about mask-wearing. Oh, except for all of the saving lives, of course.
One gripe I’ve always had with the beauty industry is the desire to take itself far too seriously. While there is certainly a time and a place for medical-grade treatments and scientific innovation, the side of beauty I love just a little more is the silly, happy-making products that lift a mood even in times of strife. I’m talking vanilla body mists, glittery hairspray, bubblegum-flavored lip gloss, and shimmery eyeshadows. If we’ve ever needed you, the time is now.