Face masks, which have now been made mandatory in enclosed spaces in many countries worldwide and must even be worn outdoors in cities that are particularly affected by coronavirus infections, are shaking up beauty regimes across the world.

No makeup: from dream to reality

While plenty of celebrities, such as Alicia Keys, embraced the "no makeup" face well before the global pandemic, lockdown has changed the game profoundly, offering people a real opportunity to accept themselves without makeup. A global trend that has visibly transcended borders given the proliferation of hashtags like "#nomakeup," "#nomakeupday," "#nomakeupchallenge" or "#nomakeupselfie" that have swamped social media this year, all accompanied by pictures showing the world that self-acceptance is today more than just a theory.

This analysis is reinforced by mask-wearing, which isn’t particularly compatible with wearing makeup. As well as hiding carefully made-up faces, masks cause foundation and lipstick rub-off in a few minutes, and can increase the risk of blemishes. Those are three reasons that have led many women to banish makeup from their beauty routines. In fact, a poll of 3,018 people carried out by Ifop for the Slow Cosmétique label back in June revealed that 21% of French women surveyed reported wearing makeup every day at the end of lockdown, compared to 42% in 2017. This drop suggests that major changes are afoot in women’s beauty habits.

New boom: mascaras and transfer-resistant products

And even those who aren’t (yet) fully onboard the "no makeup" movement have seen their habits change. This is again reflected in the Ifop survey for Slow Cosmétique, which shows that women who regularly wear makeup are now paying more attention to their eyes, rather than skin and, in particular, lips. And the reason, as mentioned above, is not only that it isn’t seen, but also that it simply doesn’t stay on due to the rubbing of the mask causing transfer. This observation is supported by sales and searches for these products online, which confirm the current appetite for mascaras, eyeliners and eyebrow products to the detriment of lipsticks and facial products. Interestingly, these products were all the rage before the public health crisis hit, notably driven by trends for contouring, highlighting and baking, and the generally sculpted look.

While many women have given up on lipstick and facial products, others are favoring more specific products, making way for a new trend — the boom in transfer-proof formulations. Brands have been offering such products for several weeks, responding to growing demand from makeup fans who don’t want to give in to the mask. Originally developed to stop lipstick transferring during a meal, when sipping a drink or giving a kiss, these products now seem like the ideal solution for mask-wearing times. Note that lightweight formulations and setting products like powders are also prime choices to overcome the inconvenience of mask-wearing.

Mascne and other skin blemishes

Compulsory mask-wearing also lead to the apparition of a new word, beside the corresponding phenomenon: "mascne" or "maskne" - acne from wearing face masks. Favoring fabric masks, which are more breathable than surgical varieties, and changing mask several times a day are some of the day-to-day ground rules that can help to prevent the problem. In addition, figures show that consumers are also trying to solve the problem with specific products. According to The NPD Group, sales of prestige anti-acne skincare products have grown by +7% in France over the past three months. Similarly, sales of prestige hand care creams have skyrocketed by +30% during the same period, probably linked to the regular hand washes and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.