16 months later, beauty is coming back.
Across the country, vaccines are turning the tide in the fight against Covid-19. The return of in-person socializing has brought about what some are calling a “post-pandemic beauty boom.” People are flocking to salons, spas, and retailers for the beauty fix they couldn’t have in quarantine. Spending on cosmetics is up by nearly 25% and some companies, such as Ulta, are seeing record numbers in sales.
So, we decided to investigate what’s trending in the world of post-pandemic beauty using Spate, a consumer intelligence firm that uses public consumer data to see and predict changes in consumer interest.
While hair-related searches are still the most popular beauty-related search on the internet, according to Spate, they are also the most rapidly declining search.
At the height of the pandemic, home treatments and styles were all the rage. Salons were shut down and many were forced to rely on their own skills. But as vaccination rates increase and salons enter a new phase of reopening, customers have returned to salons en masse and they’re demanding the professional services they couldn’t quite achieve at home.
As a result, hair product-based searches have started to trend downward, while style-related ones are becoming more popular, and social media is, once again, proving to be a big factor in trends. The styles that have become popular amongst youth on Instagram and Tik Tok are proving to be of interest to searchers.
“Curtain bangs,” the shaggy look previously common in the ’60s and ’70s and popularized by iconic stars such as Farrah Fawcett and Goldie Hawn, has seen a huge jump in popularity both on social media and search engines. Spate reports that searches for it have increased by 967.6% since this time last year, averaging over 600,000 searches each month.
Just like hair, skincare-related searches have also seen a significant decline since their peak during the pandemic. During quarantine, self-care, including skincare, became a large focus as people were forced to adjust to the extreme social isolation. This caused interest and searches for skincare to skyrocket, even higher than pre-pandemic levels. But now, the enthusiasm has waned and very few skincare-related searches have been trending in the months since.
However, acne-related products have still managed to trend substantially. Hydrocolloid patches, which have become an increasingly popular way to treat acne, are just one product that has seen an increase. Searches for them have jumped by 222.1% since last year.
Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that has recently evolved into one of the more buzzed-about ingredients in skincare that can do everything from helping fade hyperpigmentation to fighting and rosacea, has also been trending recently. Spate determines that searches for the ingredient have increased by 125.7% year-over-year and searches average nearly 250,000 each month.
The post-pandemic decline in interest in makeup had been heavily predicted and searches for many products have dwindled in the past year though it has occurred at a lower rate than skincare.
Some techniques, like soap brows, have become popular on social media and that buzz has been reflected by its internet search data. The term, which refers to the technique of using bar soap to craft brows into a soft and arched shape, has been around for several years but has only become mainstream in the beauty lexicon in the last few years. Searches for soap brows have increased by 124.9% in the past year.
Graphic eyeliner is also a technique that has experienced a surge of growth this year. Its searches have gone up by 132.6% year-over-year. This is unsurprising since pre-pandemic makeup was heavily influenced by the hit HBO teen drama, “Euphoria,” whose characters’ looks revitalized interest in bright graphic liner, glitter, and face stickers.
How to nail the graphic liner look at home
Very Good Light reached out to Boston-based makeup artist, Alicia Dane, for tips on how to achieve the trendy graphic liner look. She advises that “eyeliner, and any eye makeup for that matter, is best done looking straight into a mirror,” but if you can’t look and apply at the same time, “go step-by-step and keep checking in what it looks like with your eyes open… you want to see the liner and see the negative space that makes it graphic.”
Creativity is key, according to Alicia.
“Have fun! Get inspired by patterns in some of your favorite pieces in your wardrobe. Use Instagram and Pinterest to see what versions you love. Adventure into using different colors,” she recommends.
What are the best ways to get the look? Alicia says that liquid liner from a felt-tip pen can be the easiest.
“But in the realm of graphic liner, there are no rules,” says Alicia. “Using products off-label is a cool way to experiment without buying extra makeup. Use a liquid lipstick and a brush, use a pencil and clean it up with a wet q-tip or concealer, or even use a waterproof mixer like AquaSeal from MakeUp ForEver to mix into any powder product (i.e. eyeshadow or blush).”
You’ll have plenty of practice because, according to Alicia, the versatile nature of the trend means it won’t be going away for at least a few years. Other post-pandemic trends she’s watching?
“Since we all haven’t been able to wear lipstick over the past year, there’s now this need to express ourselves with fun lip colors! Other than that, I am so excited to see a less full-coverage skin routine. My guess is that we all got a little more comfortable being in our own real skin and are less focused on covering it up.”