How the Pandemic Has Changed the Beauty Industry

COVID-19 has forever changed many things, including how businesses operate. While the beauty industry is known for its innovative nature, no one could’ve prepared it for what the pandemic had in store. From visiting salons and spas to shopping for products, every aspect of the industry saw a transformation. Now with vaccines rolling out and many restrictions being lifted, what comes next? What can we expect from businesses and brands moving forward? 

We may not be able to see the future, but we do have an idea of what the beauty industry could look like in the coming months and years. Here are a few ways salons, beauty trends, and shopping for cosmetics have changed and what we can anticipate going forward.

How Beauty Salons Changed with COVID-19

When it comes to salons and spas, customers can expect more personalized care and a cleaner environment. Although, this may mean saying goodbye to that complimentary coffee and professional blowout that make beauty appointments feel like a luxury. 

Here’s what we can expect to see at hair, skin, or nail appointments:

1. Virtual consultations

Before stepping foot into a salon or spa, clients could be asked to attend a virtual consultation. This change will not only keep unnecessary contact to a minimum, but it will cut down on potential communication issues that come with wearing a mask in a busy (and often noisy) salon. It will also allow stylists and technicians to catch up with their clients in a way that may feel more personal.

2. Going touchless

For now, many owners are choosing to forgo magazines, waiting areas, and complimentary refreshments. Instead, clients are encouraged to bring their own refreshments and reading materials or come with a charged smart device that contains entertaining apps and games. Some salons are even sending their clients links to curated articles upon their arrival. In place of waiting rooms, many businesses ask that people wait outside or in the comfort of their vehicle for a call or text to let them know their beauty professional is ready to see them. We can also anticipate electronic payment and cashless systems, like tap-to-pay.

3. More thorough cleaning procedures and PPE use

Post-pandemic sanitation practices are going to be much more detailed moving forward. 

This includes:

  • Disinfecting surfaces, products, and tools thoroughly after each client
  • Washing hands before and after services
  • Limiting the number of shared materials such as pens and clipboards
  • Implementing touchless hand sanitizer stations throughout the building

Another pandemic trend that will continue to be an industry standard is PPE, like masks, gloves, and face shields. This will keep both staff and clients safe and reduce any potential spread. Some businesses may also continue requesting patrons to do their part by wearing masks, but only time will tell.

How the Beauty Industry Has Changed Since the Pandemic Began

Changing Beauty Trends

Those in the industry know the world of beauty relies heavily on cultural shifts and events. So, it’s no surprise that a pandemic could influence the world’s upcoming beauty trends. 

Here are three beauty trends we can anticipate seeing as things reopen:

1. Minimalistic hairstyles

The 2020 lockdown forced many salons to close up shop and clients to “fend for themselves” regarding hair care and color treatments. This resulted in some not-so-great DIY jobs, but many took the opportunity to let their roots come through and embrace their natural hair. The pandemic also led to a flood of creativity when it came to styling, ranging from your basic high pony to adding bold hair accessories. Moving forward, many are choosing minimalistic styles with little to no up-keep required, like pixie cuts and curtain bangs, just in case.

2. Bold vs. Natural

Since wearing a mask is still highly encouraged, we can anticipate more fun and bold eye makeup, like dramatic eyeliner, vibrant eyeshadow, creative designs, and glitter (lots of glitter). With half of your face covered, the possibilities for your eyes are truly endless. On the opposite end of the spectrum is natural beauty. Many are forgoing their routine of foundation, concealer, bronzer, and blush and trading it for light skincare products or, at most, a tinted moisturizer. Many have found the freedom of going natural to be more appealing and better for their skin. Some professionals predict that this will be the new norm.

3. DIY nails

When lockdown went into effect, many were forced to remove their acrylics or SNS and go natural. DIY manicures became a huge trend, and many worked to achieve healthier, longer nails. Companies created easy dip manicure kits and beautifully designed press-on nails for those who don’t care for the all-natural look. However, with nail salons reopening, technicians expect business to return to normal. Because let’s face it, no one does a mani-pedi better than your trusted technician.

Changes in Shopping Habits

Perhaps the most significant post-pandemic change for the beauty industry is how consumers are allowed to shop. Most stores and brands have had to up their digital game, but as things reopen, they will need to find creative ways to make the in-store shopping experience personable yet safe. 

Here’s what we can expect from companies in the future:

1. Beauty gone virtual

At the start of the pandemic, beauty brands knew they had their work cut out for them, with the main concern being, “How can customers swatch and sample products?” Companies eventually turned to detailed beauty quizzes, augmented reality (AR), and virtual makeup filters that allowed people to “try on” products before purchasing them. This virtual beauty experience is likely to continue and improve as technology advances. 

With brands’ focus leaning ever more digital, online sales are predicted to account for over 23% of beauty spend by the end of 2021.”

2. In-store changes

While online shopping has its perks, like convenience and available options, there’s nothing quite like shopping in-store. For starters, you get personal attention and care from beauty experts, and you have the opportunity to see how certain products look and feel on your skin. Some of these perks, however, have changed until further notice. 

While you can still look at the products on the shelf, most stores won’t allow the use of testers unless you specifically ask a sales associate or makeup artist for assistance. 

Find out how salons are getting back to business. 

Post-Pandemic Beauty Boom

While we can’t say for sure if these changes will be permanent, one thing is for certain: the beauty industry is seeing a huge surge in sales following the pandemic. This “post-pandemic beauty boom” is the result of thousands of consumers spending big bucks on self-care and grooming products, and we can anticipate this continuing for the foreseeable future.

To stay up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations, check the CDC website or contact your favorite salon or cosmetics store and ask about their current health and safety guidelines.

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