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Pandemic Beauty Trends That Are Here to Stay

Published July 14, 2021
Published July 14, 2021
Engin Akyurt via Unsplash

As we tentatively emerge into a post-pandemic world, the folks at Avon explored the question, Has beauty changed forever? The result is a report predicting how the global beauty landscape has shifted and how future product innovations need to address new consumer priorities following the pandemic.

Avon's team of experts and scientists delve into the beauty trends that have emerged from the pandemic, along with deep dives into the supporting data that surfaced six key trends.

"Consumer demand for simple and effective products that respect our skin and the world we live in are on the rise again."
By Anthony Gonzalez, Director of Global Skincare Research & Development, Avon

At-home treatments are here to stay: Avon saw a visible rise in at-home treatment products such as massage products, cleansers, and bath additives in 2020, as a result of the social restrictions depriving us of so many sensory experiences we previously took for granted.

With salons reopening the world over, a short-term spike and “revenge spend” is expected in professional treatments. But with the increase of consumer know-how and the quality of at-home products coupled with the ease of digital experimentation, infusing luxury into our everyday routine is here to stay.

Gina Ghura, Global Head of Fragrance Category and Future Innovation at Avon, said, "After so long without touch and social closeness, we have immersed ourselves in the pleasure of the sensory experiences provided by beautifully fragranced skincare products and textures with that we formed during more time at home will continue as we open up and recognize the importance of self-care. Coupled with a continued focus on our health and feeling of wellbeing, this is certainly a trend that is here to stay."

Skinimalism to reign supreme: According to Avon's report, only 10% of women now use more than five daily skincare products, with 64% of women using no more than three. Complicated skincare sequences using multiple, single-function products have been prevalent for the last decade, but a longer-term trend is on the horizon. Rather than a complex, time-consuming, costly regime of applying a series of products, there is a return to the use of fewer, multifunctional products.

As job insecurity became a reality for so many, so did frugality. While the time that women invest in taking care of their skin may remain high, their spending on multiple, single-benefit products is a luxury that beauty shoppers may no longer want to prioritize.

Hannah Roberts, Global Brand Director at Avon, said, "The proliferation of single-note skincare products has been confusing for consumers to apply, and confusing for the physiology of their skin. Multi-functional hero products can deliver better results with highly concentrated formulas, enable a simpler skincare and beauty routine, offer value for money and are a more sustainable option—we expect the popularity of such products to grow. Less but BETTER is key."

Science is our savior: With the future of the world's health under continuing threat from COVID, the development and deployment of an effective vaccine has seen scientists emerge as heroes. The trust in scientists and researchers has risen, with 64% of the public now more likely to listen to their expert advice.

The rediscovery of science and belief in its power leads Avon to expect a boom in skincare products that demonstrate evidence-based effectiveness with science at their core. Women today are conscious of only using products that are needed, with each detail and ingredient carefully considered and weighed against desired results.

Anthony Gonzalez, Avon Director of Global Skincare Research & Development, said, "Consumer demand for simple and effective products that respect our skin and the world we live in are on the rise again, as people look for solutions rooted in scientific truth with proven clinical results. Brands, like Avon, who have a long heritage of cutting edge research, development and innovation are well placed to deliver products at the forefront of scientific skincare.”

A stark realization that the pandemic has brought to us all is that getting older is not something to be afraid of or a battle 'to win,' it's something to strive for.
By Hannah Roberts, Global Brand Director, Avon

The end of anti-aging: According to Avon's research, 2 in 5 55+ aged women don't consider wrinkles and fine lines as one of their biggest skin insecurities anymore. In many cases the pandemic has highlighted the fragility of life, shifting attitudes about aging considerably. People now appreciate more than ever that aging is a gift, and attitudes to aging as a beauty concern have changed accordingly.

Avon’s Roberts said, "A stark realization that the pandemic has brought to us all is that getting older is not something to be afraid of or a battle 'to win,' it's something to strive for. So, in the conversations around skincare, we will see the shift in the narrative away from messages that we 'should' turn back time, towards conversations around effective products that address our specific needs to give us our most beautiful and resilient skin. Age does not define you, you will define you."

Beauty shopping goes digital: Digital transformation is not a new concept for the beauty industry, but it has now become a priority, according to Avon's report. With 44% of women saying they find it difficult to find a color match when buying makeup or cosmetics, app-based color match, hair match, and foundation match services are on the rise, and both niche and mass-market brands recognize the dividends in brand loyalty this brings.

The playful nature of color cosmetics and fragrance lends itself particularly well to product exploration. While the closure of stores during various lockdowns made this impossible in person, brands and retailers recreated this experience digitally. It seems consumers are just as enthusiastic about experimenting and playing online as they are in person. Digital sales for Avon achieved 132% growth in Q1 2021, with digital brochure sales up 175% globally.

Anna Chokina, Vice President, Global Colour Cosmetics: "Digitalisation of beauty, skincare and colour cosmetics has revolutionised our industry, and is projected to expand at a rapid rate. Make up and fragrance are particularly experiential and playful categories, and alongside a sampling service, these categories seem set to expand even more widely in the digital space."

Vibrant color makes its comeback: Pre- and mid-pandemic, a polarization in makeup trends had been evident. With mask-wearing the norm worldwide, Avon saw lipstick sales drop significantly in 2020, with 67% of women saying the pandemic allowed them to embrace a more natural look.

However, the report provides a counterpoint too—an anticipation of the return of joy and fun in cosmetics, with the much-discussed “Roaring ’20s” effect. Avon's research surveying women around the world during the height of the pandemic suggests that 41% of women lost confidence as a result of lockdown restrictions. So, while health needs will remain paramount, and some hesitancy to remove the mask will remain, it is inevitable that women will enjoy makeup again as “normal life” starts to come back, and a gradual return of vibrant colors should be expected, as well as a focus on lightness, happiness, and joy.

Angela Cretu, CEO, Avon, said: "We believe in the power that beauty can have on our wellbeing and our sense of selves, and the pandemic has shown that, despite all changes, beauty has an even more important role to play. Our team of 200 scientists and innovation experts work hard to keep pace with the dynamic nature of this industry and the needs of our customers. Be that mask friendly non-transferrable lipsticks and foundations, or the joy of a beautiful and luxurious moisturising ritual that was started during the height of the pandemic. The important point here is that we make sure that all this innovation is affordable and easily accessible so women across the world can truly benefit from it."


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