We’ve all handled this curve-ball of a year in different ways, adapting and changing just to survive the stormy sh*t-show that it’s turned out to be. Leaning on family and friends (albeit at a distance) for support, baking banana bread for sustenance, screening Schitt’s Creek for light relief. And, according to some pretty astounding statistics, turning to beauty in spades.
Online sales for beauty rocketed, with beauty-first retailer LookFantastic seeing a 200% increase in sales due to the initial lockdown, and Cult Beauty seeing similar figures across the board, including a 317% surge in the ‘relaxation and stress-relieving’ category, unsurprisingly. Beauty flooded our social feeds too: Instagram lives of how to dye your hair at home/master your own pro manicure/Zoom you way to an expert facial… the list goes on. Not to mention the endless horrible but hilarious Covid-haircut fails.
People went beauty mad. But as time went on, it became clear that meant different things to different groups. There were those who went all out, yes, but also those who slowed down, preferring mindfulness over make-up, showcasing their salt-filled baths and yoga progression. Others turned to health and beauty to amp up their regime, energy and confidence: waking up the flat downstairs with 6am burpee-ing.
And some stripped their complex 11-step beauty regime right back. But don’t be fooled into thinking that means they eschewed beauty altogether: the perfect ‘one step’ SPF/make-up hybrid had to be hunted down, whilst embracing natural hair minus the help of straighteners still takes a few sneaky products.
As the months passed, and lockdown continued, the beauty ‘tribes’ became clearer. The question is, which do you fall into?
After trying every skincare ingredient, diet and exercise fad in the world… they’re done. If this year taught them anything it’s that the important things in life don’t come wrapped in palettes and don’t correlate to the number of abs you have. Yes, it’s fine to want to look nice, but do we have to spend so much time, effort and energy doing it? No.
Five serums are now packaged into one (just as effective) super-serum. PG tips – milk from a cow and all – has replaced the usual oat matcha. Because (a) dairy is not the devil and (b) anyone who says they actually like matcha is a filthy liar (see also vegan cheese, and any drink prefixed by ‘charcoal’).
Straighteners are out, air-dry curl creams are in. They’ve realised they actually look better without fake lashes, and can spend those two hours a week with friends instead. They’ve kept to the weekly spin class because it’s FUN, they sacked off the marathon training because it’s not. Their Instagram likes may have gone down, but so has their screen time. And their quality of life? Way, way up.
Many of us took a moment to reflect this year, and maybe sift out some of the more vacuous things in our life. But this group took it to another level. Absolute disdain will be shown for celebrity launches or extravagant prices. Skincare must be unisex and fragrance free, routines must be minimal. Because there is nothing worse than looking like you care. And that extends to health and fitness too, sweating and smoothies are SO 2019. Cerave moisturiser (decanted into a MUJI container) has replaced Chanel. HIIT classes are out, breathwork and fixie bikes are in. To be fair, this tribe look exactly the same as they did before, but have spare change for it, so maybe they’re onto something?
If you bring wine to their flat, you better make sure it’s natural (and lord help you if it’s not organic too). Basically, anything made by a conglomerate – or that anyone has ever described as ‘cool’ – is not cool. Will of course make exceptions for Le Labo.
They started the year like the rest of us: excited for 2020, slightly over-indulged from the winter.
And while most of us will enter 2021 just happy we’ve survived, they’re entering it with abs. Rock-hard, sculpted abs, and the rest of the body to match. They got on the Pelaton hype early, wear leggings because they’re working out not just because they burnt all of their pre-lockdown jeans in a tear-filled rage, and befriended the local butcher via their Keto diet.
And with a new body they’ve upped their skincare and beauty regime to match: head-to-toe tan, glossy hair, glowing skin. You’re a bit jealous, but not mad about it because they’re still cracking fun on a night out (SO much energy from those protein shakes, you see), have almost-but-not-quite-annoying levels of positivity, and – since they are up at 5 am for their 7,346km run – are always available on the phone when you’re having a morning meltdown.
While many of us used our time at home to binge the best (and worst) Netflix programs and Deliveroo curries, this girl used it to find herself. The Zoom parties were soon sacked off for a night of self-care: candle lit baths, 10-step skincare regimes and hair masks. Friends were sent oil blends, neighbours were gifted kombucha scobies (and if you’ve never seen a kombucha scoby, it’s not a pleasant looking gift).
Like the rest of us, they’ve spent a lot of time in their local park, but it was for forest bathing and barefoot grounding, not Prosecco fuelled picnics. They’re, luckily, not preachy about this new way of life – mainly because it would be, like, super bad for their energy space. And they’re still a good dinner party guest: flexi-vegan and sober ish yes, but the old them still sneaks out (and even ‘out-out’) from time to time. And that’s ok, apparently: it’s all part of the self care process.
2020 has been a bumpy old ride, eh? But one thing is always within your control: your beauty regime. This tribe turned to beauty to ‘smooth the cracks’ as it were: face masks to pass the time, experimenting with hair colour to lift the mood, nailing nail art to get the creative juices flowing. The doorbell ringing 17 times a day has led to a few issues with the neighbours, but the thrill of ripping open that limited edition Sephora launch is worth it (even with the shipping fees).
They got their hands on Riri’s skincare line pre-launch (to this day, no one knows how) and have a kitchen cupboard stocked with the snazziest supplements. They’re happy, they’re healthy, and my god they’re GLOWING. And yes, they might bore you to tears about it, but they also got you hooked on that life-changing new setting spray, so your make-up will.not.budge in the process.
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