With the lockdown in force, the month of April was a washout for the cosmetics industry but recovery was quick, according to Vineeta Singh, CEO of Sugar Cosmetics. “By May-end we had made up about 80 per cent across all online channels while retail was still opening up,” she says on makeup sales.
While a stringent two-month lockdown signalled economic gloom, the beauty industry has been resilient even when eyebrows have been continually raised over its long-term viability.
Despite the need to save money and spending only on ‘bare-essentials’ while being confined indoors, spending on beauty hasn’t really fallen behind yet. The question is, why?
Stafford Braganza, National Makeup Artist & Technical Trainer for L’Oréal Paris India, tells theindianexpress.com, “Makeup is known not only to enhance our external features but also give us a lot of confidence and positivity from within.”
Clearly, the need to apply makeup runs deep and the trend finally allows us to find answers to the age-old question: Do we apply makeup for ourselves or for others to see?
Are we still applying makeup?
For Roshni (name changed), a Master’s student, it’s about more than just buying a 25-pan eyeshadow palette for a party she has to attend. “To me, makeup is art. It is a therapy and allows me to express myself freely.”
Recently, as a part of the #virtualprideparade, she did up her face in rainbow shades representing the LGBTQ flag. “The idea is to depict diversity. I was highly inspired by Brenda Howard because I too am a bisexual and even though I haven’t come out to my loved ones, my makeup allowed me to celebrate my sexuality,” said Roshni.
Deep, a fashion designer who believes make-up is his best friend, says, “It has been my therapist, partner-in-crime as I thought of makeup as my armour. Slowly, that has changed as I no longer need makeup to feel empowered since I have now imbibed those qualities.”
This is reminiscent of the ‘lipstick effect’, which gives a boost of confidence to many by increasing the feeling of self-esteem. For many, makeup makes the world go round. In times of uncertainty, it can sure be one’s escape to an alternate reality. Agrees Bhavna, an IT professional, “Whenever I have back-to-back meetings, I simply do my eyebrows, apply lipstick and a hint of blush. I can instantly feel the difference. I know that I am ready to take on the day.”
With brunches replaced by multiple video meetings, makeup is a mainstay. Chinkal Anand, an entrepreneur and beauty consultant, believes that “makeup brightens up one’s day”. She has seen an increasing demand for shades such as nudes, peaches, pinks and vibrant colours during the lockdown since they make one look presentable for video calls.
Who’s buying what?
Surely, people have been applying and buying makeup even during the lockdown. Jiheersha, a Delhi University student, says, “I ran out of my favourite brown nude shade and ordered it along with a few other must-haves during the lockdown.”
Perhaps, it’s no surprise that lipsticks are dominating sales this year. Vineeta mentions, “Our bestsellers remain lipsticks. Our matte variant is getting a marvellous response alongside our Work From Home Makeup Kit, which is an ensemble of basic makeup products for quick do-ups before video meetings.”
At this point in time, many cannot spend on big-ticket luxury items. However, some are willing to make small “feel good” purchases. The current period has made us also reflect on how we treat nature. Arush Chopra, CEO of Just Herbs, mentions how consumers are veering towards the idea of clean makeup or products that are free from synthetics, chemicals and are easily biodegradable. The brand recently launched lipsticks which are 99.3 per cent pure, made from ghee and sesame oil.
“Consumers do not want their glam quotient to go down, but there is a shift when it comes to the kind of makeup products they intend to buy,” says Chopra.
While makeup lovers are biased towards lipsticks because it is a double-duty product and can be used in multiple ways as a blush and an eye shadow, it is the eye products whose sales are seeing a big surge. Vineeta says, “Eyeshadow crayons and brow definers are witnessing an increase. But so are stick products as the format is more hygienic and safer to use.”
What will your post-lockdown makeup routine look like?
As we inch towards the post-lockdown phase, our ‘new normal’ is going to consist of wearing masks every time we step out, with half our faces covered. But will that deter makeup aficionados?
Deep says, “I wouldn’t sport a full glam look, but a light touch concealer under my eyes, some mascara to bring the focus to my eyes will do. During the lockdown, we’ve all felt mediocre with no outlet to let the creativity flow. A touch of makeup on areas that are not covered by the mask will allow us to feel rejuvenated.”
With so much focus on eyes, Stafford points out possible eye trends that could emerge, “Trends like floating eyeliners, monotones, neon eye-shadow and cut creases are going to be the ultimate favourites. Also, filling the brows, while ensuring it looks natural, will be a big trend.”
While people may not glam up, there’s focus on skincare too. Advaita, a scuba diving instructor, shares, “Until now, I have gone out twice and have sported only heavy mascara. I am trying to focus on skincare.” Chinkal points out that it is easy to apply makeup on the skin which is healthy and hydrated. “My advice would be to drink lots of water and include seasonal fruits, greens and antioxidants in one’s diet,” says the beauty consultant.
The sales pattern shows that people want to invest in makeup that is transfer-proof and smudge-free when they venture out. Singh agrees, “Our current range would cater to consumers wishing to use makeup under their masks since most of our products are transfer-proof.”
Consumers are also not keen to invest in full-coverage foundations or skin-blurring products. “They are focusing on lighter coverage products like BB Creams and products that make the makeup last longer, like illuminating moisturisers and hydrating primers,” adds Vineeta.
Jiheersha, however, is sure that she won’t stop applying makeup even under her mask. She remarks, “I’ll go for a transfer-proof matte lipstick under my mask even if I have to head out for a second! Even though it will be covered under the mask, I will still know I have it on and that is enough to make me feel content and confident.”
As a part of our beauty series we also interviewed those in isolation to know how they take care of their skin. Check out the links below to know more
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