When the world shuttered in 2020, so did the desire for tight jeans, crowded social gatherings, and for many, full faces of makeup. The embrace of creature comforts and at-home experiences offered needed respite in a time of uncertainty, with some choosing to find little moments of luxury—and control—in the world of skincare. This laid the groundwork for a major shift between the beauty and makeup markets; a place where there was once great overlap became two distinct entities as consumers reevaluated their priorities in real time. So, where does this all stand two years later? CivicScience investigated the growing rift between makeup and skincare, and here’s what we know so far:
Daily makeup users have been in steady decline since 2020, while weekly usage has seen limited change. Monthly users have doubled since our original study, while those who never touched cosmetics in the first place peaked last year before reaching its early pandemic level this year.
With makeup falling out of favor with its most loyal users, skincare continues its meteoric rise in the market, especially in terms of consumer importance. Makeup users are split down the middle on this topic, while a whopping 86% of respondents give skincare some level of priority in their lives.
So, who are the makeup loyalists in the midst of this ongoing market shift? Women working in customer-facing roles or in-person office settings are still placing high importance on makeup, which likely reflects the desire for an added layer of confidence before interacting with others.
Gen Z and Millennials view makeup slightly more importance than Gen X and Baby Boomers, though the figures are all fairly relative.
Respondents who actively participate on Instagram also still see the value in makeup, with over one-third of frequent users reporting that cosmetics hold significance to them.
But enough about the hangers-on. As we observed back in April 2020, skincare has rocketed in popularity and has shown no signs of slowing down over the last two years. In fact, nearly half of respondents to a new survey proclaim their loyalty to cleansers, serums, and moisturizers in the form of a daily skincare practice.
When they’re not working towards hydration, cell turnover, sun protection, or all of the above, what are these individuals up to?
For one, they’re likely cuddling up to a kitty while the sheet mask sinks in. Those who subscribe to a daily skincare practice are more likely to be cat owners than monthly users. Also, those who don’t maintain any kind of skincare routine are the least likely to have a cat or a dog, potentially signaling a connection between interest in caring for animals and interest in caring for one’s self.
They’re also probably getting in a sweat session with some degree of frequency. Respondents with a commitment to fitness are more likely to also follow a skincare regimen—an interesting development that shows interest in one avenue of self-care can lead to another.
Shifting back to importance, Gen X and Gen Z assign similar value to skincare, though it’s Gen X who appears to be taking it the most seriously, with 45% of the demographic crowning its place in their lives as very important. Bookending the generational spectrum, Gen Z nearly mirrors Baby Boomers in this category.
Married women also appear to have the greatest attachment to skincare, followed by their single counterparts.
Lastly, aesthetic trends may not be affecting esthetic trends. Participants who place high importance on skincare are split on the importance of fashion. Those who are the least concerned about clothing and style also tend to be unconcerned with the latest in this specific self-care ritual.
With many makeup brands now including skin-loving ingredients like serums and SPF, will the burgeoning hybrid beauty trend finally usurp skincare’s frenetic rise? CivicScience will continue to keep an eye on where things are headed.