13 ways our beauty habits have changed since the pandemic began

woman looking in mirror
8:00am, Tue 23 Mar 2021
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It’s not exactly an anniversary anyone wants to celebrate, but as we mark 365 days since lockdown restrictions began, it’s fascinating to consider how different our lives are compared with this time last year.

And it’s not all bad news. When it comes to cosmetics, we’ve learned some valuable lessons about how to look after our skin and hair, and as much as we’re desperate to get back to the salon for a cut and colour, we’ll certainly be continuing with some of our DIY rituals in the post-lockdown world.

1. Less lipstick

As face coverings became mandatory, adorning our lips became a waste of time, because who wants a smudged pout and a load of lippy smeared on the inside of your mask?

2. Going foundation free

One positive of the pandemic is that many people who would previously not have left the house without a full face of make-up learned to embrace the bare-faced look while working from home, or opted for tinted moisturisers and BB creams instead of heavy foundation.

3. More eye make-up

As lippie became obsolete, make-up mavens took the opportunity to emphasise their peepers instead and #maskmakeup started trending on Instagram.

4. The false lash effect

With beauty salons closed for months and eyelash extensions off the menu, sales of falsies soared, with Primark reporting it sold nearly 800,000 pairs in the month after stores reopened in summer 2020.

5. Washing hair less frequently

One of the many benefits of working from home? It’s easier to disguise greasy hair on Zoom calls, which means we haven’t had to wash our locks as often. Saving time and leading to healthier hair, it’s a win-win.

6. Cutting down on heat styling

Less shampooing meant less blow drying, curling and straightening; another hair-boosting benefit.

7. Hoarding hand cream

To counteract all that hand washing and sanitising, hand cream has become a pandemic essential in order to prevent flaky fingers and parched palms.

8. Tackling ‘maskne’

An unfortunate side effect of wearing face masks, ‘maskne’ outbreaks saw adults of all ages suffering with spots for the first time in years.

According to Boots, sales of medicated skincare have risen by 39% since July 2020, which is when face coverings became mandatory in many public places.

9. DIY dye jobs

As the weeks turned to months and salons remained shut, sales of box dye went through the roof.

While some people mastered the at-home approach (and realised they can save a fortune in future), hairdressers reported they had to fix many a DIY disaster when they reopened for business.

hair dye products on supermarket shelves

10. Home haircuts

Clippers and scissors also flew off the shelves as kitchens and bathrooms throughout the land were transformed into makeshift hair salons.

If you were lucky, a quick trim at the hands of your partner, parent or housemate tidied up your overgrown tresses, but there were also plenty of home haircut disasters too.

11. Worrying about wrinkles

After an extremely stressful year, one during which we’ve had to stare at our faces on video calls for countless hours, is it any wonder we’re worried about ageing?

Research from Boots found more than 55% of women believe their skin has aged by up to five years during the pandemic, with sales of anti-ageing products up as shoppers try to erase their ‘lockdown lines’.

12. Pampering time

While make-up brands have struggled during the pandemic, skincare has been a huge hit, as consumers took advantage of having more time on their hands to indulge in things like double cleansing, sheet masks and multi-step routines.

13. Hair treatments

Similarly, pandemic pampering sessions focused on repairing damaged hair. Olaplex, a potent two-step treatment loves by celebs, became one of the bestselling products of 2020 at Space NK.

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