For many women, beauty products are a regular part of daily life. But with the quarantines enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the lifestyle changes that have emerged as a result, has at-home beauty changed? And how comfortable are consumers with in-store beauty shopping, moving forward? 

CivicScience asked U.S. women about their experiences with a variety of beauty products and how that has changed during quarantine. 

Beauty at Home

When it comes to personal grooming products, hair clippers and facial cleansing devices have become the most popular during quarantine. These two items saw increases larger than that of other items including hair dryers, curling irons, and more.

While hair clippers, trimmers and razors are most popular with Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X have largely kicked these products to the curb. Twenty-seven percent of the latter age group reported using these items less.

While Gen Z and Millennials may not agree on shaving, they can agree on skincare. In fact, 18% of both of these demographics reported an increase in using facial cleansing devices during this time. 

It is worth noting that younger generations of women are far more active in purchasing and using beauty supplies during quarantine–a nod to the eager audience that exists in the 34 and under crowd. 

While hair clippers and facial cleansing devices may have seen the largest quarantine increase, makeup applicators saw the biggest decrease. As the data show, 44% of American women reported using these items less in recent weeks.

With work from home the new norm and social events largely cancelled, it seems makeup applicators may have lost some of their appeal. 

Beauty Shopping: Comfort and Convenience  

That said, at-home beauty is only one part of the equation. In-store shopping has typically been a large part of the beauty experience for many women. But what does that look like in the era of COVID-19? 

Across the board, U.S. women are less comfortable in nail salons and spas than any other public beauty store location. 

Big box stores such as Target and Walmart have maintained comfort levels throughout the spread of COVID-19, perhaps given the fact that shoppers can purchase a variety of different items at these retailers, thereby decreasing the number of new stores (and potential new exposures) that would be necessary to pick up beauty products.

Beauty Consultations on the Outs 

While beauty shopping is one concern, beauty consultations are on another level of experience and exposure. And the data show that American women simply aren’t interested in taking the risk. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that they are less comfortable with makeup counter consultations as a result of COVID-19.

And to go one step further, 73% are less comfortable with a beauty advisor applying their makeup. As a result, the beauty consultation experience could be on pause for the foreseeable future–until comfort level rises.

In the age of COVID-19, beauty is still a priority for many (especially younger) women. However, focus and comfort levels have shifted. While at-home beauty is turning towards hair trimming and skincare, beauty shopping looks a little different than it did before. 

Now, more than ever, American women prefer an all-in-one shopping experience, where they can pick up their beauty products without making a trip to a special boutique store. As a result, the beauty counter is facing uncertainty. The majority of women are not comfortable with a consultation, let alone a hands-on beauty makeover experience. And as the beauty industry looks to the future, consumer comfort levels and convenience will dictate the next steps forward.