Covid changed our outlook on a lot of things: houses are being rapidly refurbished after a year of looking at the same four walls got boring, work environments, so engrained in us as an inevitability that had to be endured, is now changing to accompany working from home and talking about four-day weeks, and beauty standards changed in many ways. Read on for a look at how the Covid lockdowns affected trends in beauty and fashion.
Skin care over makeup
Skincare has exploded since lockdown. Once beauty gurus are now selling their own skincare products. Although it’s not a new concept, the feeling is that rather than being the last option when they run out of make up ideas, skincare is actually the money-maker and at the forefront of modern beauty.
We were inside, happy to press our faces to the window for some vitamin D, our faces cleaner and therefore clearer due to a lack of foundation for days, possibly months, on end. Then the dreaded “maskne” was uncovered and extra effort was needed to stay the plague of Maskne.
Suddenly people were rethinking their skincare routine if they even had one. Taking off makeup before going to sleep was no longer a suggestion but as crucial as eating your veggies. Demand for aesthetic medical treatments went up, with people looking for spa day deals to get a decent facial. Products were bought, dermatologists were listened to, hormonal contraceptive was even dumped in the name of a clear complexion.
Even skin beyond our face was considered, with products like Truly’s Buns of Glowry Smoothing Butt Polish being just one of a new range of body acne solutions hitting the shelves since the start of 2020. And to top it all off, fake tan was readily embraced again as the sun became more out of reach. Plus, they’ve improved. Orange is now a thing of the past, there are a million application techniques and streaking is easier to avoid.
And now that the doors to society are slowly opening again, it is clear the fruits of our labour are being seen, rather than hidden behind another layer of foundation. Natural-looking makeup is still around: a little blush, a lipliner, some mascara never hurt anyone, but they are more subtle to match your glowing skin.
It only took a pandemic to break womankind’s dependence on makeup.
Makeup is getting simply wild
But that doesn’t mean makeup is gone, it’s just considered more fun than necessity.
A wise man called Hawkeye once told Ellen DeGeneres, “Brows. Lashes. Lips. Frame the face. Five minutes”. The ex-make up artist turned Avenger was absolutely right. These are the building blocks you can use on days when you simply cannot be doing with a full face of makeup, but still want to look presentable. Keep them bold, keep it simple.
The current need to wear masks isn’t helping, with your bold new lip look smeared on the inside by the time you’ve even reached the veggie aisle of the supermarket. You can offset this buy investing in matte and 24 hours stay lipsticks.
But less effort doesn’t mean a lack of creativity. Maybe those lips are as red as a Louboutin heel, or neon blue, or solid black. Maybe those lashes are subtly sitting in front of a blaze of colour and pattern on your eyelid, with designs you found online or came up with yourself. Maybe your brows would put Cara Delevingne to shame or are decorated with a brow slit, or five.
After a long absence of any colour in our lives, make up is ready to get experimental and it all depends on your own temperament. Are you desperate to wear your creativity on your face for all to see or were you grateful for the break from the daily grind that is presenting your face to the world?
Look after your teeth
With makeup taking a back seat, your natural beauty had to be enhanced. Cosmetic procedures were being searched, although they ranged closer to skin peels and microblading than “lifting” anything.
People started looking up the cost of braces in the UK to straighten their pearly whites, and teeth whitening kits were sent through subscription options to people who thought they weren’t quite pearly or white enough.
Adult braces are only gaining popularity, with options like clear aligners coming from brands all over the world, straight to your door. The mostly out-patient procedure is simple enough once a mould of your teeth is taken. A clear invisible retainer will straighten your teeth over time discreetly, with some designed to be worn at night for eight to ten hours, removing the interruption to your daily routine and only known to who you deem worthy.
Let your hair flow … or not
One thing Covid did was close the barbers. That’s bad news for barbers but good news for anyone who were drooling over Kahl Drogo back when Game of Thrones was remembered. The once dreaded “lockdown hair” is clearly here to stay. When the barbers reopened a surprising number of men were not in fact tenting outside their doors and were instead embracing their long and wild mane.
And yet, women were buying clippers. Why? TikTok video after YouTube tutorial and Instagram story showed women proudly mowing through their previously pruned and well-kept hair. A scene often repeated in movies to express a girl going through extreme torture or a mental breakdown was now seen as a liberating moment of empowerment. Who needs to use 20 products per shower? Who needs to worry about what state it will be in the morning? Who needs gender roles?
It was quite the flip for hair’s position in determining gender and it seems everyone feels freer for it.
Fashion got chilled
Shops are full of them: joggers, hoodies, bicycle shorts, oversized tees. Fashion has got comfortable and it’s here to stay.
Maybe fashion is once again victim to the 30-year cycle, calling for the same demand in sports brands that made the 90’s, but the more likely culprit is lockdown. We got to work and live in our pyjamas, only ever getting into our ball gowns to visit the supermarket. Life was fluffy, unrestrictive, food-stained, and comfortable.
It’s no wonder shoppers are staring at their “tummy control jeans” with contempt. No one is loving getting back into restricting blouses and shirts, so alternatives have been found. Jumpers, t-shirts, anything described as elastic or oversized online, these have all found a new place in modern closets.
The height of fashion at the moment is an oversized hoodie with bicycle shorts. Originally introduced as a way to avoid chub-rub under our summer sundresses, they have been adopted as a way to stay comfortable while out and about. It was bound to happen after years of leggings as an outfit staple. As the warmer days become fewer, we can expect to see more professional looking jumpers and flowing tops for work paired with comfortable leggings, with the dreaded jeans forever sitting untouched on the “I’ll wear it sometime this week” chair.